Is it people or systems that make our college function well?

It is certainly people:  Hiring the best! 

I guess we all know well how much disruption can occur in our work when we don’t have people in various positions, and we are in such a better place than during the 4th week of Fall 2019!  I am happy that we have Dr. Bell at the helm as Interim President.  In my experience so far, he’s shared a lot of constructive perspectives in a collegial way that I think will really help CCC in the long term.   Hiring Committees have been formed for CCC VP and Director of Marketing, so let’s hope for some great new managers to join us at CCC before long!  

I’m our faculty representative to the 4CD Chancellor hiring committee (this is public record because the Governing Board made the appointments at their February 8 special meeting).  The committee met for the first time on Feb 13, and are following the aggressive timeline shared at the December 11 board meeting (item 18F). This means the position closed at 11:59 last night (Feb 18), and that questions and criteria for screening and interviews are being developed between now and March 2.  The time for you to give me (or Mayra Padilla) suggestions and feedback about what you’d like in a Chancellor is now!  

I took notes in the public meeting held by the search firm (Collaborative Brain trust- led by former CA state Chancellor Brice Harris on 12/3/19) that was meant to help develop the job posting. At that meeting, Dr. Harris shared the Aspen Institute’s ideas about community college leaders (p 4-5 this document) This is one excellent view of desirable qualifications the committee can evaluate in the candidates.  Here is an alternate idea of leadership which might be closer to capturing what I heard during that meeting and in other campus conversations.  It’s called flipped organizational hierarchy.  

Inverted business hierarch pyramid
Taken from “Flipping Organizational Hierarchy on Its Head“, a blog by Bailey Parnell.

Here are two descriptions of the idea: Flipping Organizational Hierarchy on Its Head- Who We Should Actually Work For, and Flip Your Org Chart and Avoid the Iceberg of Ignorance! Am I on the right track here?  Let me know what you think so I can best represent CCC on this district and community-wide committee!

Let’s also not forget the 2nd minimum qualification required of all faculty and academic administrators in CA community colleges:  

“…meaningful consideration is given to the extent to which applicants demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds of community college students. ‘Meaningful consideration’ means that candidates shall be required to demonstrate sensitivity to diversity in ways relevant to the specific position”. Source: California Code of Regulations Section 53024(a).  (Title 5)

What would a chancellor demonstrate during an interview that would show this competency?  I’d love to hear different ideas about this!  Please email me with your thoughts, or let me know if you’d like me to simply call you and hear what you have to say without your having to write it!

Structures are essential to function:  The Accreditation ISER ….

The ISER is a document that’s supposed to describe the structures and processes that help our college run according to the accreditation standards and show evidence that CCC is following them.  A draft is available now so take a look!  You’ll notice that some areas aren’t complete and still lack evidence.  If you have input to provide, please contact one of your ASC representatives (listed on agendas and minutes), as we are discussing this at the March 2 ASC meeting.

How do we “prove” our structures and processes are functioning?  Well, one big source is committee minutes.  I’ll attest that we have a lot of minutes publicly available, but it takes some commitment to read through them and find good examples.   No matter what, we should all be able to talk about how we see ourselves and our work in this document by October when the accreditation team visits!  Do keep an eye out for Dr. Padilla’s requests for contributions to the project! 

The QFE (quality focused essay) describes something the college chooses to highlight.  The college also commits to providing evidence of improvement in the next couple of years.  The current topic chosen by the Accreditation Steering Committee is Equity, with specific examples related to equity goals and alignment in planning with AB705 and Guided Pathways.

Slide from accreditation presentation listing some QFE topics
QFE related to equity: broad outline presented to College Council, Chancellor’s Cabinet, and Accreditation Steering Committee.

The numbers (metrics) measure it all…

An outline of the QFE should be produced within a month, and one important decision to be made is which metrics CCC will use to show improvements in equity!  Which numbers best represent our people, our work, and our systems?  Will focusing on these numbers help us best improve students’ lives?  

Slide from Katie's All college day presentation, has metrics for 6 community college initiatives and funding sources listed
I created this summary of “key” metrics used by CA Community College initiatives and funding

Which of these do you want to describe your work? What about our students’ successes? Let’s keep working to communicate what we are doing! I believe that processes only work well when the people involved have knowledge and input.