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- In the self-evaluation section of this report, the college cited inadequate communication on a number of levels. Some of the problems include a lack of information and involvement of our adjunct faculty, a lack of follow-up notification on shared governance decisions, failures in distributing information about meetings and/or committee efforts, and just general obstacles in maintaining a well-informed staff about changes and activities that occur in a complex educational setting. In all cases, the college needs to consider "incremental quality improvements" to increase the frequency, access, and quality of information available to college staff and others. We suggest that a collegewide task force be formed to study and recommend ways to improve in this area of concern such as better utilization or implementation of technological tools (e.g. email, Intranet, internet access, etc,), which are currently available to us but underdeveloped. For instance, the college could create a master college committee database that would allow for meeting agendas and minutes and/or actions taken at every campus meeting to be posted in one location. Faculty and staff, especially part-timers, might be required to "subscribe" to one or more of these committee sites and to gather information for the division/department on a regular basis. In addition, each of these committee sites could function interactively to allow the committees themselves to reach a wider audience as well as allow for input on committee issues from end users. Other educational institutions or private industries may successfully utilize a host of communication modalities and innovative ideas, some of which could be easily adopted by the college.
- In addition to improving communication methods with our college staff, we need to continue exploring new processes to interact and communicate with our students. The college has already implemented notable improvements such as Student Central Internet access and online services, faculty Web sites, distance education, and improved email availability. However, the college would benefit greatly if it had the ability to connect with specialized groups of students who represent a special category or situation. For instance, quick contact with students would prove highly advantageous in the following situations or for the following reasons: (1) intervention services for probationary students, (2) reminders of faculty/counseling appointments, (3) invitation to special events or specialized personal services (e.g., undeclared majors), (4) notification to process forms (e.g. financial aid, graduation application, class add/ withdrawal, (5) etc. Establishing an interface with our SCT Banner software to other proprietary or custom databases could offer a wealth of new service delivery systems. In addition, the college should explore ideas for: (1) expanding student email access/ internet connectivity, (2) establishing automated phone bank systems, (3) creating the means to update student contact information, (4) creating better marketing and promotion for campus events, etc.
- Ventura College staff work diligently to generate highly collaborative, collegial, and effective shared governance operations. The efforts of faculty and staff on numerous districtwide and college-level committees and groups demonstrate this fact. However, the majority of our college staff, especially adjunct faculty and other part-time employees, do not possess general knowledge of all the established components of shared governance or the procedures to be followed, as indicated in the preceding paragraphs.
- Ventura College needs to update and develop new written documents and/or flow charts that delineate the numerous shared governance entities on campus; outline their respective roles, functions, and duties; and assign authority and responsibility. These documents would provide procedural guidelines and indicate by what process decisions are made and by which groups. The college needs such written guidelines for staff reference and orientation purposes. At present, no definitive document exists that describes how the college practices shared governance or how it can help new members to understand how their involvement in committee efforts work as part of a concerted shared governance process for the institution.
- If the college is to achieve its educational intent, it needs to maintain its focus on the college mission and goals as an institution-wide endeavor while continuously reinforcing awareness of each staff member's need to accept personal responsibility. The college promotes its institutional goals at every level, from committee meetings, divisional meetings, and special interest groupings to department or office-level meetings. However, the college, as a whole, needs to accept responsibility for monitoring, measuring, and presenting written documentation of college successes, goal attainment, and performance indications to the staff responsible for its implementation. The college needs to acquire, organize, and present data on the achievement and college performance as it relates to the ten established institutional goals and subset goals. Ideally, the college will conduct this review and presentation of achieved performance indicators on an annual basis, and the data will result in an "annual report on goal attainment" to be distributed collegewide. If for no other purpose, a review of our college performance as it relates to our established institutional goals will enhance staff involvement and awareness, create momentum toward change, and maintain staff motivation to the importance of the student-centered goals.
- In order to promote better student participation in the shared governance aspects of our campus, the college needs to accept responsibility for the orientation, reception, and preparation of students as "active participants" and contributors in our shared governance committees. The college achieved success in previous efforts to promote student involvement, and we need to reinstate and/or expand upon those efforts. In the recent past, the college "required" all Associated Student Body (ASB) leaders to enroll in a leadership course as part of their student government leadership role. The leadership course provided students with overall knowledge of the community college educational system, philosophy and practice, as well as some general understanding of college operations. In addition, when the ASB appoints a new student representative to one of the shared governance committee, the committee should assign that student a committee member and/or mentor to help orient the student on the purposes, activities, and current projects of the committee. The college needs to devise and implement an organized and fully supported plan in order to provide for quality student input and direction within our shared governance model.
3. Through established governance structures, processes, and practices, the governing board, administrators, faculty, staff and students work together for the good of the institution. These processes facilitate discussion of ideas and effective communication among the institution's constituencies.
The Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) and Ventura College enjoy an established governance structure, with prescribed processes, which allows the governing board, administrators, faculty, staff and student to work effectively together for the good of the institution. But, perhaps more importantly, Ventura College has established an atmosphere of mutual respect, which allows for open and honest discussion at all levels of the decision-making process. Many years ago, certain employee groups did not feel comfortable contributing to the open discussions in fear of retaliation. Now, however, all employee groups and students effectively participate and successfully contribute to the decision-making process, an accomplishment that required an extraordinary effort on the college's part.
The Ventura County Community College District Manager's Policy and Operations Manual articulates the role of academic administrators in the governance process. Article 1.A Philosophy Statement, "The Role of Management Employees, " and Article 1.C "The Role of Management in Shared Governance" (IVA-29) provide each academic manager's job description and also articulates the role of the manager within the governance structure (IVA-30). All academic managers serve as members of the Administrative Council through which the college filters most issues. The district and the college expect academic and classified managers to encourage and facilitate the established governance process beginning at the department level and extending through to the President's Cabinet.
At the department level, faculty actively participates in the planning and budget development process through their faculty department chairs, coordinators, or directors. The duties and responsibilities of the department's faculty leadership include clear articulation of the planning and budget development process. The college expects all faculty members within the department to participate in department planning. As evidenced earlier in this document, the formal evaluation of individual faculty members contains a significant focus on the performance of the faculty member's responsibility in governance of the institution.
The college also expects adjunct faculty to provide individual ideas or concepts for institutional improvement through a new faculty orientation presentation and at discipline, department, or division meetings. The college encourages adjunct faculty to attend these meetings and compensates them for their attendance as set forth by the labor agreement between the American Federation of Teachers and the Ventura County Community College District. Adjunct faculty also serves on the Academic Senate and on many college committees and councils. With the loss of many full-time faculty positions, many departments rely very heavily on its adjunct faculty for continual program evaluation and improvement.
The college also encourages support staff members to participate in institutional improvement through their participation at discipline, department, and division meetings. The District Service Center provides new support staff members with a limited orientation. The college, through its Classified Senate Council (IVA-31) and at the department level, offers new staff orientation with emphasis on the individual commitment to continual institutional improvement. Support staff most often provides ideas/suggestions for department/division-level program and service improvement via their department/division meetings. Collegewide institutional improvement suggestions most often occur through the Classified Senate Council or through the Administrative Council via the immediate supervisor or Dean. On occasion, support staff members present institutional improvement ideas to the college's Executive Leadership Team, which is composed of the college president, executive vice president, and vice president. The executive leadership team would then send the issue to the appropriate division, council, or committee for their review and recommendation. Our orientation efforts need significant attention if we are to ensure that every new member of the college team understands his or her individual responsibility to develop ideas for improvements in his or her area of assignment.
The Classified Senate Council and the student government council keep staff and students, respectively, well informed. Presidents of both organizations serve as members of the President's Cabinet as well. Support staff also participates in governance on a consistent basis at the standing committee and the department/division level. A more comprehensive and collegewide orientation program for new support staff members, either by the Classified Senate or at the department/division level, would ensure that every member understands his or her role in campus governance. The Staff Development Committee began a new employee-mentoring program, which is currently in place, but operates on a volunteer basis due to budget restrictions. The Staff Development Committee is currently in the process of reviewing and revising the mentoring program.
At this point, no comprehensive orientation program exists for new non-tenure track faculty, new adjunct faculty members, or new classified support members. While we have a very comprehensive tenure review process for new tenure track faculty member, we make a much more limited attempt to provide a comprehensive orientation for other new members of the college team. Every semester, members of our faculty and management team conduct a two hour orientation program for new adjunct faculty members. The college encourages all adjunct faculty members to attend, but only a minimal number do.
Ventura College has developed and instituted a one to four year tenure review process in the AFT/VCCCD Labor Agreement, through which all new faculty members are introduced to the expectations of their department/division and to the college as a whole (IVA-32). Successful faculty could receive a recommendation for tenure at the conclusion of their third year, but the vast majority of new faculty continues through the tenure program for four years. Through this tenure review program, and under the guidance of their faculty peers, department chair, and dean, the college introduces new faculty to the expectation of an individual commitment to continual institutional improvement. Tenure review procedures, which are part of our contractual agreement, undergo review during negotiations period. The contract specifically outlines procedures and practices, which include annual peer and student evaluations, on-the-job visitations and observation, and recommendations for professional improvement.
Most likely, the most intensive identification and discussion of college goals occurs at the departmental and/or office meeting level as each group strives to discover quality improvements in its operations to serve students better. The college's institutional goals and the ever-present attempt to improve our educational and support services are intrinsically linked. Ventura College does not exist as a stagnant institution; instead, we pride ourselves on our willingness to seek quality improvements for our students and become more efficient in our operations. In addition to our presentation of institutional mission and goals, the college seeks to maintain a pervasive and ongoing process to keep institutional performance information on the public radar screen. The college delivers its communications on a multidimensional basis in order to maximum our informational flow to a variety of audiences.
The following descriptions illustrate some of the more prominent institutional efforts to highlight our college achievements and performance.
Technological modalities have increased our communication accessibility and informational exposure. The districtwide utilization of the SCT Banner system has brought Internet capabilities to end-users. Our college Web site allows for a multitude of information forums and variety of important online services to students and staff such as registration, distance learning, financial aid access, etc. A relatively new email informational service called the "Builders Report," which is generated several times weekly during registration periods and less frequently during the semester, has been initiated by the district/colleges to ensure maximum informational flow of ongoing enrollment data and other important institutional information. The district has also increased access to faculty in a number of important ways, including through the Banner information system. Additionally, email capabilities now allow staff and students to contact faculty online. The college also provides faculty with important bureaucratic operations, which, for example, allow faculty electronically to update class census rosters and report grades, activities that had been clumsily handled by manual methods.
Recently, the college experienced an exciting and new development in a collaborative partnership with the college and the City of Ventura for public television access and broadcasting. Located on the college campus, the new public television station offers an array of educational opportunities for the college such as, distance education, public service announcements, special college promotional opportunities, and educational programming capabilities.
The college promotes our institutional performance in more personnel-driven efforts. Examples abound and, in fact, permeate our entire college effort. For instance, Ventura College has actively sought to establish direct and extensive media exposure to our local service population. Several previous efforts resulted in our close contact with local newspaper, professional publications, etc. For years, our Public Information Officer (PIO) cultivated these media relationships, which provided the college a distinct benefit. The hiring of a full-time Public Information Officer itself demonstrates a significant commitment to distribute college performance information. Having a PIO on campus has greatly advanced our overall communications flow in general and promoted our institutional performance and activity information specifically (IVA-33).
College outreach programs in high schools and other inter-segmental educational components also provide a method for promoting our college profile and performance. Some notable projects include our Middle College project; outreach grant effort; concurrent arrangements with Foothill Technology High School and others; Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA)-National Science Foundation (NSF) grant; cooperative athletic program arrangements; High School Counselor's Exchange Day; on-site matriculation program; secondary school tutorial/mentoring program (PACE), etc. The college also maintains curricular connections as a transfer institution through Project Assist, California Articulation Numbering (CAN), regional University Transfer Day, Transfer Alliance Agreements, and science "Career Pathways."
Ventura College staff also engages itself in a variety of infrastructure and external relationships based on campus level departments, consortium groups, and professional affiliations. The college participates in a variety of districtwide meetings and cohort groups representing areas of responsibility or mutual interests. For instance, college personnel involve themselves in district enrollment management, fee enforcement, district financial aid, Educational Assistance Center (EAC) and Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) registration, staff development, Banner user groups, College Managers Association (CMA), etc. With each of these organizational groupings comes an accompanying opportunity to distribute and discuss our college performance profile. College staff members are also fully engaged in educational organizations from national, state, regional, and local affiliations. Many of the groups and associations with which we become involved are based on program or instructional areas. For instance, the college is affiliated with governing and professional agencies for vocational education, allied health programs (Nursing/Paramedic), technology, distance learning, National Science Foundation, Commission on Athletics/Western State Conference (COA/WSC), and Student Financial Aid, to name just a few. Affiliations to professional organizations span the entire spectrum of college personnel. Our extensive memberships and involvement form an essential component of our staff development and/or contributions to the larger educational purpose.
Ventura College maintains a continual link with the local businesses and industry within our service area. Aside from special events, such as our Council for Institutional Development (CID) external scan, we maintain numerous ongoing connections. Programs, such as EOPS, EAC, Friends of the Library, and the college Foundation maintain active community advisory groups. In addition, our instructional programs promote this relationship through cooperative work experience education, federal student work-study, biotechnology internships, allied health preceptor/on-the-job placements, vocational program internships, etc. One notable joint project greatly adds to our connection with our local area: the relation of Ventura College with our county public service and workforce agencies via the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). As previously mentioned, the genesis of this unique relationship involved the loaning of college administrators to create and supervise county One-Stop Centers , Cal Works, and other county service operations. We maintain several other important business and interagency links through our extensive Institute for Community and Professional Development (ICPD) contract education arrangements and grant generated cooperative ventures.
Along with a college culture that values new ideas and quality improvements, we continuously attempt to improve communications among ourselves and to the constituencies we serve. Some of the efforts to communicate effectively with individuals and groups engaged in our institution are as follows:
The college president has sought to enhance recognition of overall college performance, staff recognition, and public acknowledgment of exemplary campus activities and programs through his periodic President's Report (IVA-34). This widely distributed publication serves as a barometer of the state-of-the-college currency and progress. In addition, the college conducts several staff recognition programs that acknowledge staff for outstanding contributions to the college. One dominant and highly publicized service award is the Ventura College Starfish Award (IVA-35). A designated subcommittee of the Staff Development Committee determines the winner through nominations received from the entire college community. The college presents the award on a monthly basis to a deserving employee, regardless of classification, and announces the winner in a number of public formats, such as the President's newsletter, college newspaper, and electronic message board along the front of the campus. The college also gives its annual Ventura College Distinguished Service Award to three college staff members, one from administration/management, one from faculty, and one from classified. The college presents these awards at its annual year-end Staff Breakfast (IVA-36).
Each contributing division/department reviews all major college publications for update revisions and accuracy. The college uses an established standardized process of scheduled departmental/program review, edit, proofreading, and publication, all of which ensure greater currency and accuracy of information. Unfortunately, the college ceased mailing our class schedule publications to the surrounding service area residents for one year due to funding constraints. Based on this cost containment decision, we lost some public awareness concerning the college and its educational offerings. However, commencing in the summer of 2004, the college will reinstate these mailings, and we hope to be able to continue this practice. Furthermore, we will continue to provide class schedules at various community events/locations and at local businesses.
All segments of the college make sincere efforts for information currency. While sometimes difficult, the advent of email has greatly enhanced these efforts. Mandated reporting requirements (e.g., categorical and grant funded efforts as well as pre-established and scheduled review and evaluations timetables for some efforts) sometimes promote currency and access also. The college frequently weaves institutional research into the fabric of our overall college operations, usually on an informal basis. At times, the empirical data presented by our surveys and studies identify an area of inadequacy that prompts activity. In some cases, the response involves seeking outside grants, while for others it produces an internal reaction to remedy the shortfalls. Some examples of institutional efforts triggered by research findings are: (1) identification of a lack of Braille instructional materials by our new Assistive Technology Specialist generated an initial National Science Foundation grant and an eventual $2 million grant to create a regional Alternative Text Production Center, (IVA-37) (2) student satisfaction surveys indicating insufficient outreach and unfavorable "first impressions" by first time students initiated subcommittees for outreach and first contact planning by the Student Success Team, (IVA-38) (3) a new high school facility (Foothill Technology High School) next to the college sparked our pursuit of our Middle College Grant, (IVA-39) (4) need for greater minority participation in math, engineering, and science curriculum and in subsequent careers in these fields promoted the pursuit of our National Science Foundation/Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (NSF MESA) Program (IVA-40).
The current governing board has recently developed a posture that recognizes the need for more effective communication and embraces the concept of participatory decision-making process. Members of the board meet with all leaders of the college in the effort to gather relevant information to ensure informed decision making. Over the past six years, the governing board made little attempt to interface with the leadership of the college, except at the President's level and often lacked the valuable input from those who develop and directly implement student programs and services. However, a recent desire on the part of the governing board to reach out to all of the college leadership, including department level managers, faculty, classified and student leaders, has brought about an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding that should lead to more effective policy making by the board in the future. In the past, the board's primary reliance upon the Chancellor for information led to an atmosphere of distrust and isolated decision making. The new board's expectation and reliance upon the colleges to make very difficult and severe budget reductions indicates that this board understands its primary role as policy makers for the district and the college's primary role as management of the institution. To assume that the entire governing board is in concert with this new approach would be an over simplification, but the college regards the actions of the newest members of the board as extremely encouraging.
Not all college staff members understand their roles in shared governance or become involved in the overall operations of our college. While a lack of knowledge concerning the intricacies of shared governance may exist, the college expects all staff to understand our shared philosophy that student welfare and educational success remain the dominant center of our efforts. If asked what drives our institutional existence and energy, staff members will respond with resounding consensus that students provide our motivation and remain our central concern. The college provides every member of the college staff and many of the college stakeholders ample opportunity to contribute ideas and provide input to the plans and operations of the college. For example, the college widely distributed, discussed, and presented in publications many of the documents generated through earlier CID efforts and adopted by the President's Cabinet. Staff orientations at all levels, while limited, also assist in allowing opportunities for new staff to review and engage in discussions on how the college operates. Staff evaluations contribute toward the clarity of institutional performance. If our institution instills that every staff member needs to make an individual commitment to somehow contribute toward supporting this college and its overriding philosophy, then our shared governance structure has served an invaluable service, in spite of a lack of specific detail.
Evidenced by monthly department and standing committee meetings as well as weekly council and cabinet meetings, Ventura College operates with a very active and energized group of employees who work together effectively to support the mission of the college. Further evidence exists in the frequency and number of full-time and part-time faculty, classified support staff, and managers who gather together in any number of different forums to facilitate a shared decision-making process focusing on institutional effectiveness.
Ventura College must develop a mechanism through which it effectively communicates the Strategic Decision Process to all members of the college. The lack of consistent and widespread understanding of how decision making flows through the college's subset structures continues to leave some members uncertain as to how decisions are made or how they might more effective participate. The college must ensure that the Strategic Decision Process follows the clearly defined shared governance process on the Ventura College campus which encourages full participation by all members of the organization
Ventura College must continue to encourage full participation with the governance structure by all members of the college unit. With the infusion of more full-time faculty, the full-time employee interest in institutional effectiveness should naturally increase. The college must continue to seek additional revenues through which additional full-time faculty can be hired.
Ventura College should continue to assess its need for more classified support staff. Increasing the numbers of support staff will not only strengthen the day-to-day operation of the college but also allow for more involvement in the decision-making process. As the number of support staff members decreased, those who remained found themselves with greater operational duties and responsibilities. With a greater workload, fewer support staff members possessed the energy or the ability to actively participate in the governance process.
For all new employees, Ventura College should develop and implement an orientation program that emphasizes the governance structure and the expectation that all employees will participate in the decision-making processes of the college to the greatest extent possible. While Ventura College currently enjoys an environment that supports the inclusion of all of its members in participatory governance, many employees do not participate at a level that would produce the greatest outcomes for institutional effectiveness. Much of the decision making falls on too few employees. We can and should do better.
4. The institution advocates and demonstrates honesty and integrity in its relationships with external agencies. It agrees to comply with Accrediting Commission standards, policies and guidelines, and Commission requirements for public disclosure, self study and other reports, team visits, and prior approval of substantive changes. The institution moves expeditiously to respond to recommendations made by the Commission
All recommendations to improve our student learning programs and services offered by our internal college staff prove valuable; however, recommendations that are derived from qualified external sources hold special merit. Through the objective and in-depth nature of previous visiting accrediting teams' reports, the college received important change agendas that it utilized to make improvements.
Over the past several decades and with a significant amount of documentation as evidence, Ventura College has demonstrated its integrity in attempting to respond expeditiously and honestly to any recommendations. However, during the March 2002 Self Study, the site visit by a six-member team appointed by the Accrediting Commission of Junior and Community Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges concluded that "the format and preparation of the report was not completely representative of the college's current status or progress on the recommendations of the previous team." This problem occurred, in part, due to a misunderstanding regarding the nature of the report. In addition, the report preparation did not have, in the team's opinion, "appropriate involvement of the college constituencies to ensure an accurate portrayal of the college's current situation" (IVA-41).
The visiting accreditation team justifiably expressed concern about the college's need to articulate clearly the many improvements, successes, and innovations that were occurring at the college as well as our need to ensure appropriate involvement of all constituencies in the portrayal of the college's status. The expressed concerns caused the college community, at large, to feel angry and embarrassed by the quality and lack of comprehensiveness the 2002 Self Study and the subsequent "warning" status attributed to the college. In order to respond to the concerns of the visiting team and to reestablish an honest, professional relationship with the Commission, the college made a very significant effort the following year, which resulted in the Ventura College Progress Report for Accreditation Site Visit during April 2003 (IVA-42).
The Accrediting Commission's letter to our college president concerning the 2003 site visit best illustrates the result of our subsequent effort. The Commission letter, authored by Dr. Barbara A. Beno, states "The college is commended for the seriousness with which it engaged in the preparation of the Progress Report and for its ability to address Commission concerns in such a short period. The college is further commended for its staff development activities, the positive relationship that exists between the Academic and Classified Senates, and for creating an improved level of college communication" (IVA-43). Additionally, the April 2003 site visit team retired five of the ten recommendations forwarded by the 2002 evaluation team and cited "progress" on the remaining five recommendations. While the college is committed to improving some difficult institutional issues, the Progress Report proved to be a vastly better document that articulated clearly the many innovations and improvements at the college. Furthermore, it resulted from the collaboration of an extremely broad-based group of contributors. Ventura College remains committed, as demonstrated in its newly revised mission statement, to the teaching and learning process and will continue to present to the Commission a comprehensive, honest assessment of its organization and its responses to any future recommendations.
Ventura College enjoys a strong network of interrelationships with external agencies, community-based organizations, business and industry, and other educational institutions within its surrounding service area. Our extensive connections and working relations with neighboring agencies tends to be unique, extensive, positive, and sometimes exemplary.
The prominence of our working relations with other agencies can be found within the fabric of nearly every division, department, or group at the college. Each one of these many relationships originated differently; however, they are bound by common threads: (1) the symbiotic benefits to each participating organization, (2) benefits to students, and (3) advantages to our community in general. We derived some of our external relationships from funding efforts that sought to establish collaborative projects in order to strengthen our grant proposals and expand the impact and significance of projects.
The college believes it is also worthy to note that many of the relationships, which were first created on external funding motives, have endured long after the funding sources were institutionalized or "dried up" altogether. In addition, Ventura College has engaged in many grass roots and community based efforts such as Enlace, Alternative Text (Braille) Production Center , or Biotechnology collaborations, even before the college realized funding. Our early associations and informal partnerships with other agencies served, at times, as the impetus to obtain external funding for new joint ventures.
The blending of resources and talents between the college and the Ventura County Department of Public Social Services agencies to form several new county One-Stop Centers serves as a prime example of our successful partnerships with external agencies. As previously mentioned in this report, the college "loaned" the county two academic deans to develop and manage important county operations in our service areas of Ventura and the Santa Clara River Valley . This institutional decision has not only firmly established an educational presence and agenda within our county public services sector, but it has had significant and far-reaching impact on the entire spectrum of our relationship with the county. Many new and innovative joint projects have emerged from our mutual connectivity. Some recent examples include the Home Builder Apprenticeship Program, collaboration between the college and the county Work Force Investment Act group, and the new Human Services associate degree and certificate program, which began in spring 2003 as a training module for improving the skills of county social workers.
Our Institute for Community and Professional Development (ICPD) operations within business and industry has placed Ventura College at the forefront of vocational training/ continuing education for many local employee groups. The extent and effectiveness of the ICPD center helps ensure that the college will be actively involved in maintaining a skilled and ample workforce for the Ventura County area. ICPD offers specialized training in some of the following contract education arenas: (1) computing and software competencies (e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Internet, etc.), (2) personal health, safety and stress management, (3) management and supervision, (4) customer service skills, (5) communication skills, and (6) others (IVA-44).
Ventura College engages other local educators and educational institutions in a number of valuable ways. Student support services and outreach efforts tend to provide the mainstay of intersegmental relations. In our efforts to provide our college students with services such as transition from secondary education to college, matriculation services on high school campuses, university articulation, and transfer, the college maintains working relationships with a host of public and private educational enterprises. For instance, college Transfer Day, job fairs, campus visitations for high school students, university tours, Counselor Exchange Days, Principal Exchange Days, as well as many other events characterize our ongoing and mutually beneficial relationships.
Ventura College has preserved its commitment to quality teaching and learning in part through our reliance on many professional, community-based advisory committees. These advisory bodies provide a continual assessment of the quality and relevance of many instructional training programs through which students prepare for specific job opportunities. The Ventura College School of Nursing and Allied Health, the School of Prehospital and Emergency Medicine, Toyota (T-Ten) Automotive Program, Biotechnology, and Public Safety (Ventura County Public Safety Training Center) all enjoy the benefit of advisory committees that meet on a regular basis (IVA-45). Successful passage of Measure "S" in 2002, which will provide the district $356 million dollars, of which $117 million dollars is slated for the renovation and building of state-of-the-art educational facilities over the next ten years at Ventura College, serves as a testament to the respect that the college enjoys within the community (IVA-46).
As one of the oldest and more established educational institutions, with over 75 years of quality service to the community, the college has truly become a permanent fixture for generations of local residents. Probably very few long-term Ventura residents cannot trace how the college has directly or indirectly benefited themselves, a family member, or friend.
Ventura College has made a very significant effort over the past two years to strengthen its self-evaluation process, enhance data collection, and accurately report the results of our continuing analysis of our programs and services to its membership, the community, and the Commission. The college has focused special emphasis on the concept of teaching and learning and on the careful analysis of student outcomes.
The ICPD strives to maintain ongoing relations and communications with our business community in order to keep abreast of the ever-evolving changes in workplace training and education needs and to fulfill our objective of providing these needs in a timely and economical manner. At present, the ICPD primarily functions as a self-sufficient operation and generates contract education revenues for self support. This fiscal relationship to the college proves important, especially in hard fiscal times; however, the lack of program investment funds also affects the ICPD's ability to be responsive and sometimes creative in meeting local business needs.
College marketing and publicity budgets have historically been highly vulnerable to the instability of budgets. In difficult times, the college frequently considers marketing and publicity funds to be discretionary and often eliminates them first. To some extent, the decline in college funds has dramatically affected our ability to market ourselves and engage in meaningful relations with the outside community. Like profit enterprises where public image, customer service, and positive relations serve as the lifelines for success and survival, Ventura College needs to be cognizant of the linkage between image, enrollment, and productivity as it develops future budget plans.
Over the past few years, public and press perceptions of Ventura College and/or the Ventura County Community College District have not been entirely favorable. Several widely publicized personnel conflicts either posed or resulted in litigation and costly court proceedings. These conflicts included the dismissal of an instructor/coach, counseling staff grievances and lawsuits, and the removal of our district chancellor, all of which resulted in strong negative public relations for the college. The college considers it unwise and unnecessary to assess the merits of the legal positions taken in relation to these cases. However, we understand that the end result hurt the college in terms of lost educational dollars, low staff morale, and poor public relations.
The college needs to maximize its already strong connection with local business and industry in ways that heighten teaching and learning methods for our students in practical ways. The important learning connection between our college's instructional programs and business and industry needs to be enhanced. The college's strong relationship with the local business community could make numerous teaching and learning opportunities available to us. Some prominent examples might include experiential learning, on-the-job training, Cooperative Work Experience Education (CWEE), internships, apprenticeships, and corporate-sponsored fellowships. Providing our students with "real life" and "applied learning" experiences through non-traditional educational delivery systems serves our students in a number of ways: increases educational relevancy, helps graduates transition to the "world of work," and makes students better trained and equipped to meet the needs of future employers and our business community.
Continue to rebuild a strong relationship between Ventura College and the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges through the expression of honest and accurate reporting of its many institutional strengths and self-identified weaknesses. Continue to respond expeditiously to any and all recommendations made by the Commission. Continue to seek broad-based, collegewide employee participation in the development of responses to such recommendations.
Ideally, the college/district should use legal remedies only as "the solution of last resort" and should put a number of intermediate conflict resolution processes in place as a means to intervene and avoid conflict escalations. The college, district, and union leadership need to confer with one another in an environment that is non-specific to any case or issue, to determine if all parties could agree upon alternative mediation processes. Obviously, it is probably unwise, and surely unnecessary, to try and assess the merits of the legal positions taken in relation to these cases. What is abundantly clear to everyone was that the end result was costly in terms of educational dollars, staff morale and public relations.
Continue to seek the active participation of trained professionals within our community as members of our many advisory committees to ensure consistent program monitoring in regards to course content, teaching methodologies, skill development, and job placement. The advice of working professionals in our community would prove invaluable in the successful preparation of students who intend to move directly into the workplace.
5. The role of leadership and the institution's governance and decision-making structures and process are regularly evaluated to assure their integrity and effectiveness. The institution widely communicates the results of these evaluations and uses them as the basis for improvement.
While Ventura College regularly considers the elements of its governance structure, evaluates their effectiveness, and then communicates the evaluations to the college, it does not always do so in a consistent manner. We formally evaluate some elements of the college's governance structure on a regular basis, but for other elements, we possess no formalized process for evaluation. The college has historically found the effectiveness of its governance structure challenged most severely during crises. Annual management and classified personnel evaluations provide some assurance that the institution's expectation for facilitation and participation in governance are being met at the department level. Furthermore, despite recent reductions in the number of managers, which has led to increased size and complexity of most college subsets, college faculty and staff generally believe that individual departments are performing highly effectively. Recent broad-based participation and successful enrollment management decisions by all instructional units in response to severe fiscal restraints serve as evidence of this department effectiveness. The college's ability to execute a mid-year budget reduction of a half million dollars ($500,000), on top of other general fund reductions over the past two years and not displace large numbers of students, serves as further evidence of the decision-making effectiveness of the various subset organizations (IVA-47). The college provided each department with a budget reduction target amount and each department presented their reduction proposal to the Administrative Council. Despite severe fiscal and scheduling reductions, the college continues to encourage new innovations in teaching and learning, and it continues to attempt to support such innovations through increased external funding as evidenced in the 2003 Progress Report.
Over the past three years, Ventura College has actively pursued a plan for improved class scheduling efficiency. Ventura College currently enjoys a highly productive and efficient instructional schedule (IVA-48). The development of this action plan and its extraordinary results indicates that Ventura College enjoys an effective participatory governance structure beginning at the department level and extending through the committee and council level to the President's Cabinet.
As mentioned earlier, the active participation by large numbers of college employees on councils, standing committees, ad hoc committees as well as their leadership's participation on the President's Cabinet demonstrates that Ventura College possess an inclusive governance structure. Activity abounds on all standing committees and councils as Ventura College prepares for the challenges ahead.
A review of management and support staff's annual personnel evaluations reveals a highly energized, determined, and effective team (IVA-49). The successful actions listed above strongly suggest that the governance structure works effectively, despite the fact that no formal evaluation process for college governance exists.
Ventura College possesses no formalized, comprehensive process by which to review its decision-making structures and processes. The college evaluates various elements of the its governance and decision-making processes as evidenced by the annual evaluation of individual managers, which includes examining their role and function within the college structure and their ability to effectively facilitate the governance process. The college expects managers and department chairs to fully engage their faculty and support staff members in participatory governance at the department level, a level from which most innovations and program changes originate.
Several years ago, the college abandoned its "committee on committees" approach to an annual review of its standing committee structure and membership participation. The college had established the "committee on committees" to evaluate annually the mission, membership, and effectiveness of each committee; to affirm each committee's role in the governance process; and to make recommendations for modification or changes through the Administrative Council to the President's Cabinet. The respective councils appointed the faculty, classified, and management leaders who served on this "committee on committees." Since this committee no longer operates, the standing committee structure no longer receives the annual review and effectiveness evaluation that had once been established.
Ventura College depends on its many committees and councils to make recommendations on institutional effectiveness to the President's Cabinet. These committees and councils appear to be functioning effectively since the college continues to enjoy active and vibrant participatory governance and has effectively resolved a major budget shortfall. Concern exists, however, among the classified support staff that they have had limited involvement in critical decisions regarding budget reductions. Many classified support staff members express the concern the much of the budget reductions are unfairly placed upon their membership.
- Ventura College should develop a standing shared governance committee that would be charged with the responsibility of annually evaluating the governance structure and its effectiveness in bringing forward ideas, concerns, and considerations for institutional improvement from all segments of the college community. The Committee on Shared Governance (CSG) should include broad- based representative membership, a formalized mission statement, and an effective and well-understood evaluative process. The CSC should report its annual analyses, conclusions, and recommendations to all appropriate councils (Academic, Classified, Administrative) and to the President Cabinet.
- Once reviewed and accepted by the President's Cabinet, the analysis and recommendations from the Committee on Shared Governance (CGS) should be distributed to the entire college membership through the various councils and through the Public Information Officer (PIO). This information should also be reviewed and analyzed at the organizational subset level. All college subsets (divisions, departments) should have the opportunity to respond to the annual report of the CSG. Following the collegewide review process and its own final analysis, the President's Cabinet would make a determination about implementing any substantive governance changes. The establishment of the CSG and its annual review would not only strengthen the governance process, but it would greatly improve the memberships' understanding of how the participatory governance process works beyond the department level.
- Ventura College will strengthen its institutional research component to assist in the evaluation of the effectiveness of the governance structure. Ventura College possesses a strong institutional commitment toward seeking continual quality improvements. Performance evaluations frequently include ongoing review of performance criteria, service needs, and quality improvement. The establishment of an Institutional Research Department on campus would help to ensure that all of our current practices, including governance, successfully effectuate teaching and learning.
- Ventura College should re-establish a standing committee whose primary function is to annually review the mission statements of all standing and ad hoc committees; evaluate their membership for diversity in experience and thinking; and ensure consistent rotation of its membership. This committee review process worked effectively in the past and could be extremely useful in the future to ensure committee structure effectiveness as a significant segment of a successful participatory governance process.
Decision Making Roles and Processes
List of Documents:
|IVA-1||College Mission and Value Statement|
|IVA-2||CID - The College Plan|
|IVA-3||College Goal Statement|
|IVA-5||Planning Utility Procedure Document|
|IVA-6||Programs and Services Goals Document|
|IVA-7||Contract language - pay for adjunct faculty meeting participation|
|IVA-8||Original Staff Development Orientation/Mentoring Program|
|IVA-9||CID Membership List|
|IVA-10||President Cabinet Member List|
|IVA-11||Standing Committee Structure|
|IVA-12||SEIU/VCCCD Labor Agreement - Release Time|
|IVA-13||Article 12 AFT/VCCCD Labor Agreement, Tenure Review|
|IVA-14||Article 5.2A (4) Faculty Participation in Governance|
|IVA-15||Staff Development Mentoring Program|
|IVA-16||Part-Time Faculty Evening Orientation|
|IVA-17||Draft, New Staff Development Orientation and Mentoring Program|
|IVA-18||Citation from 2003- Collegial Relationship|
|IVA-19||Strategic Decision-Making Flow Chart|
|IVA-20||Section A.16, Board Policy Manual|
|IVA-21||Eleven (11) Point Agreement, Board Policy Manual|
|IVA-22||Academic Senate By-Laws|
|IVA-23||AFT/VCCCD Labor Agreements, Committee Stipulation|
|IVA-24||Section A.17, SEIU/VCCCD Labor Agreement|
|IVA-25||SEIU/VCCCD Labor Agreements, Committee Stipulation|
|IVA-26||Article 13, Department Chairs - Guideline of Duties and Responsibilities|
|IVA-27||Sample- Director/Coordinator Duties and Responsibilities|
|IVA-28||Standing Committee Charge and Membership List|
|IVA-29||Managers Policy and Operations Manual|
|IVA-30||Managers Job Descriptions|
|IVA-31||Classified Senate Council Charge and Membership|
|IVA-32||Article 12.8 B (1) (c) 1 Tenure Review Process, Collegewide Expectations|
|IVA-33||PIO News Releases and Bulletin Board|
|IVA-34||President's Monthly Reports|
|IVA-36||Distinguish Service Award|
|IVA-37||Alternative Text Production Center Grant|
|IVA-38||Student Satisfaction Survey|
|IVA-39||Middle College Grant|
|IVA-41||Self Study - Letter from March 2002 Accreditation Team|
|IVA-42||Progress Report, 2003|
|IVA-43||Letter Commending Staff Development, Progress Report - 2003|
|IVA-44||Catalog - Workplace Training and Learning Opportunities|
|IVA-45||Sample - Community Advisory Committee Minutes|
|IVA-46||Project List - Measure "S"|
|IVA-47||$ .5 Million Dollar Mid-Year Budget Reduction|
|IVA-48||Productive Data Analysis Sheet|
|IVA-49||Department Management and Classified Evaluation Forms|
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