A lack of communication may stem from college presidents, Leslie says.
By Bleah B. Patterson
Chancellor Bruce Leslie acknowledges a lack of communication between administrators, faculty and students, and said he will release a letter this week explaining processes and reiterating the importance of following them.
Leslie said there is an “expectation that presidents and vice presidents will communicate with faculty,” based on the information they receive in meetings with Leslie and the vice chancellors.
Last semester, faculty and students were furious with a lack of communication surrounding an attempt to implement ebooks in some core courses.
Another decision faculty and students said lacked communication was replacing one of the two humanities requirements in the core with EDUC 1300, a course based on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” a self-help book by Stephen Covey.
Both initiatives were stalled by the board of trustees until district administrators found a way to involve faculty in the decisions.
This semester, a similar problem arose when the administration chose to stop printing majors on diplomas and instead offer transfer degrees that include 18 unrestricted hours above the core.
Students, faculty and community members protested during an Oct. 28 regular board meeting, and trustees agreed that the administration should have communicated with the public more clearly.
Leslie said there are many channels established to allow those lines of communication, one of which is the PVC, a twice-monthly meeting of presidents and vice chancellors. There are also meetings between vice chancellors and vice presidents in their respective areas.
College presidents and vice presidents are expected to communicate with faculty during meetings such as College Council, and vice presidents to deans and department heads.
Leslie said it is also expected that faculty will actively engage with their department heads, deans, and college administrators when new initiatives have been announced if they want to stay informed.
However, Leslie said it is a challenge.
“I’ve noticed that often people appointed to committees either aren’t available to, or do not make themselves available to, share the information gained in committee meetings with others,” he said.
He said it is difficult to include everyone, and he relies on the administrators of the five district colleges to spread the word.
He said district administrators were surprised by the opposition to the transfer degree change, saying, “It was quite a surprise to us when we’ve been discussing this since last year and made the decision at the PVC (in April). We didn’t anticipate it would be a big issue because we heard no noise when the decision was made. It wasn’t until this semester that noise was made and people said they hadn’t heard of it before.”
Leslie said to anticipate the letter he will be sending districtwide to outline the communication process, the failure to follow it in this case and the need to apply it in all district business.
He hopes that will solve misunderstandings and lack of communication in the future.