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11-member task force plans for the future

Emily Land

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[media-credit id=21 align=”alignnone” width=”400″]11-member task force plans for the future [/media-credit]

The 11-member task force is expected to present a new plan of action to Accrediting Commision for Community and Junior Colleges by Oct.15.

San Jose City College has named an 11-member task force to enforce forward moving momentum in response to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges visit that led to the school probation.

Hector Cordova, the Vice President of Student Affairs, is in charge of the Program Review along with English teacher Dorothy Pucay. This “is a positive force for bettering the school,” Cordova said.

The staff had gotten a little too “comfortable and complacent,” Pucay said, “thinking the school will just run itself.” Pucay said she is confident that the changes being made “will make for a better school and learning environment.”

Program Reviews, including policies and procedure, are to be refined.
When the ACCJC visited SJCC on Jan. 11-13, it placed the college on probation for two years and required a new plan of action due by Oct. 15, according to a letter sent by the ACCJC to SJCC’s then interim president, Douglas Treadway.

The school will maintain its accreditation and could only lose it if the ACCJC finds the school is not moving forward in its plans after the two year probation period.

The ACCJC recommended six major concerns for this college alone to be addressed, along with district wide recommendations. This includes: Integrated Planning and Assessment, Board/District/College Governance, Program Review, Student Learning Outcomes, Distance Education and Facilities / Human Resources.

To get back to the standards listed by the commission, Integrated Planning and Assessment must be modified to have a “mission-based strategic plan” and the leaders of the task force from that section, like Cordova, will have to update the ACCJC on a regular basis.

This means that the college must plan, set goals and “implement a regular cycle of review,” says the ACCJC standards. “To improve the governance the Board of Trustees must be up-to-date on its policy manual, and the college must clearly map out functions and improve communication” both district wide and inside SJCC.

The task force leaders said they are confident in the plans of attack.
Michele Fuqua, the Financial Resource head of the task force, has planned out her role and said she “is really looking forward to it.”

“It (probation) gives us a lot of opportunity to move forward,” she said, to “make some institutional and district-wide changes that will build back the foundation that has eroded over the past two years.”

In addition to decreasing spending, Fuqua said, “district wide, we need to own the fact that we need to try to reduce cost as much as possible so we can achieve a high-ending balance.”

“That’s the fun part,” she said while talking about the new budget.
Fuqua retired last year, but she said she was not only happy about fixing the school but also said she is looking forward to working with President Barbara Kavalier.

“Dr. Kavalier is a fabulous leader,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here unless I really thought so.”

Student Learning Outcomes describe what an average student should be able to do by the end of a semester, and the ACCJC recommends that “the college accelerate(s) its efforts at identifying, assessing, and communicating Student Learning Outcomes in order to meet the requirement(s).”

Math teacher, LaRae Helliwell, who is on the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee, said that class evaluations will be “hard to get going,” because of the “past consistent problems” but she said she is positive we will get out of this.

SLOs were a major part of SJCC’s downfall Kavalier has said. Helliwell said that there is a lot to do, but the entire SLOAC is “trying to improve.”

The last recommendation that was to develop a new plan for the Facilities Resources, by planning a way to support the new facilities and calculate the total cost needed to house these facilities.

The aforementioned guidelines and standards to help the school get off probation were outlined in the ACCJCs letter to Treadway.

“Under the leadership of Interim President, Dr. Doug Treadway … the college had already identified strategic directions for moving forward,” Kavalier said in the SJCC response to accreditation concerns after replacing Treadway. “As the new president, I will be working closely with all constituent groups.”

“San Jose City College recognizes the importance of accreditation and the gravity of the recommendations” she said. “I feel confident that we can respond successfully to all recommendations and meet the October 15, 2011, deadline for the Follow-Up Report.”

Some students have noticeably been alarmed by the news of the probation. Alan Fuentes, a 20 year old Dental Assisting student, said he was “concerned” before hearing about the task force.

“There’s a problem, and they are actually trying to fix it,” he said. “Hopefully, they are doing it so if they’re supposed to be at a certain level, I hope that they go above it.”

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11-member task force plans for the future