November 1, 2008
This has been an eventful week in many ways. At Monday's Academic Senate meeting it was reported that the Professional Development Committee is recommending that part-time faculty be included in the dispersal of Professional Development funds. The committee is still working on the details of how this will work out and it is possible that the newly devised system and processes will not be implemented until next fall, but part-timers will be allowed to apply for Professional Development funds in the future.
Also at the Senate meeting the issue arose regarding the newly implemented policies regarding the email system as we make the transition to Outlook. There was considerable discussion of how the limitation of who can use some of the previously existing "group" mailing protocols really does hinder and discourage the freer exchange of information between and among the college constituencies. Right now the use of "AllUsersOC distribution" for emergency purposes is available through the Office of the President, the Office of Instruction (Student Learning), the Student Services Office, the Business Services Office, the Office of Maintenance and Operations, and the District Chief of Police. The use of "AllManagersOC" and "AllSupervisorsOC" is similarly assigned. The Academic Senate President can send messages to all full and part-time faculty as is the case with this message. If you have something that needs to go out to the wider faculty then please send that message to the Academic Senate President and it will be forwarded. To register the Senate's feelings on the matter, a resolution was passed in the Senate the text of which is available at the Academic Senate Governing Documents page:
On Tuesday, October 28th there was a PEPC meeting and much was accomplished at that. The PEPC process is in full swing. It turns out that we do not have an electronic version of the facilities master plan that can be posted for consultation in completing the PEPC forms. Therefore, it will not be expected that any commentary regarding the conformity and support to that plan will be provided by the PEP Report authors.
On Wednesday we were visited by a two-person WASC team in their follow-up to our ongoing need to address some of the issues that were first raised some time ago with our 2004 self-study report. In debriefing afterwards, it was the consensus of those who met with the visiting team that we have made progress that was duly noted. We remain cautiously optimistic with regards to what the team's final report might be.
Friday, Carolyn Inouye and many of the team that has helped write our successful STEM grant hosted a gala lunch and launch of the project with attendees from our partner institutions CSUCI and UCSB. It was a marvelously organized event and a fitting start for such a promising endeavor.
October 25, 2008
There was no Blog last week so this one will help reignite the communications beacons. Last Saturday, October 18th, the Board of Trustees had a planning retreat that helped examine where we are and where we need to go in terms of serving our students, accreditation and in navigating successfully the fiscal whirlpools that are swirling around us locally, statewide and even nationally. This group of five talented and intelligent individuals has really gelled as a Board that is dedicated to their duties and genuinely concerned about the welfare of everyone within the VCCCD world.
Looking more locally, the Academic Senate endorsed a plan at its October 13th meeting to accelerate our progress in reaching the goals and expectations of WASC regarding Student Learning Outcomes. For the past two years or so the development of SLOs was tied to the revision or creation of course outlines. However, since course outlines need to be revised every five years, that means that there are many courses that are up-to-date regarding that timetable but that do not have SLOs. So it was proposed to the Senate by the Curriculum Committee that a separate process for Stand Alone SLOs be devised to allow anyone interested faculty the opportunity to develop their SLOs before the clock has expired on the course outline. The process is simple. Faculty who develop these Stand Alone SLOs will submit them to Betty Hough. From there they go to the revived LOT for evaluation. If they need no attention then they will be reported to the Curriculum Committee for action. If LOT has suggestions or recommendations regarding the SLOs those will be sent back to the author. The author then addresses those issues and resubmits to Betty Hough. This whole process is explained more fully at the SLO webpage under the link to SLO Processes.
As we prepare for the Accreditation Visit next Wednesday, October 29th, many of you have already completed the SLO Form 2 (formerly known as the pink form) to report on the dialogue you have had regarding your SLO assessments and submitted them to Lilia Ruvalcaba in the Math Department. If you have not completed filling one out regarding your results or if you have just not submitted the form to Ms. Ruvalcaba, please do so as soon as possible so that we can have the most complete documentation of the good work you are all doing available for the visitation team as possible.
So far we have received 32 Form 2’s documenting those dialogues and efforts. We have also received three (3) Form 3’s documenting the dialogue and analysis of the course level SLOs on the Program level. So we are making progress. Anything you can add to this would only enhance our case to the visitors that we are making progress implementing SLOs.
The PEPC process is in full swing. Those of you working on PEP Reports will find the correct and authoritative data you need at the PEPC webpage at:
The PDF file is the file of record to be used in these reports.
August 30, 2008
Well our second week of instruction has come and gone and I hope you are all enjoying this long weekend in rewarding and regenerative ways. Though it is early in the semester, some things are already beginning to percolate. Here’s what is going on.
The District Council of Administrative Services (basically the District Budget Committee) met on Thursday, August 28th. Though there is no state budget and that is beginning to worry Sue Johnson, Vice Chancellor, Business & Administrative Services, that the District would be able to issue both August and September paychecks without any pain or suffering. After that, Ms. Johnson would have to get creative if there still is no state budget.
In terms of enrollments, all three colleges are enjoying enrollment increases and in the case of Oxnard College the growth from August 2007 to August 2008 is about 96 FTES representing a 6% increase. As long as we do not achieve unfunded growth, things look alright for the college.
The general topic of the allocation model distributing the District funds among our three colleges came ups and there is general agreement that it is working pretty well. However, some anomalies have become apparent and we will be working on adjusting the model to correct for them. One of the areas of concern involves how efficiently each college delivers its educational program. The three college presidents are also discussing this issue and it is likely that some mutually acceptable approach to these issues will be developed this year.
There was also a meeting of the District Council on Human Resources on Thursday, August 28th. At that meeting we all learned that a new Scantron system with the accompanying software (Class Climate) has been purchased for all three colleges and the District Office. This new system will support the implementation student evaluations of instructors as well as more flexible capabilities in just developing and administering a whole host of surveys. It turns out that our own Carolyn Inouye, Ph.D., is already experienced in the new system and was instrumental in moving the District towards this innovation. The machines are not on the campuses yet and the appropriate people have not been trained; but these tasks will be completed in the near future which should improve our sampling, survey and research capabilities.
The three Academic Senate Presidents also agreed that our current process of applying for and receiving “equivalency” could be improved by some guidelines behind the four avenues by which a faculty member can receive equivalency. Therefore, the Senates and interested parties at all three campuses will be invited to join in a wide discussion of what might constitute “eminence in the field” for example. There will be more on this as it develops.
After lunch on Thursday, DTRW began its year under the sage leadership of President Richard Duran. There are many issues DTRW has to take up this year to assure that the District and the colleges are in compliance with the changes in Title 5. This is particularly as regard to our new degree tracks and evolving graduation requirements form the state.
Finally DCSL, under the guidance of President Robin Calote assembled. It was a convivial group and spent most of the time reviewing the minutes and accomplishments from last year and getting ready to forge ahead this year.
So that is it on the District level. Closer to home, it is getting time that we might consider using and taking advantage of the webSTAR early alert system to toss a lifesaver or two to our students. We all know that there is a body of research that strongly suggests that communicating with at risk students early has a significant impact of their retention and success. Here is just one quick list of “best practices” in retention that notes the role of early alerts: