PCC officials recently released the final version of the Accreditation Self-Evaluation report, which at times paints an unflattering view of the school’s recent history.
The report has been the subject of extensive discussion and revisions by both administration and Academic Senate members, with the Planning and Priorities Committee (P&P) having the final say on what was included.
“I believe that the final version of the self-evaluation accurately describes the last six years,” wrote committee co-chair Stephanie Fleming in an email. “It may not reflect any one person or group’s perspective, but it does include the multiple perspectives that currently exist at PCC.”
The report details recent campus difficulties, including 10 pages on the conflict over the elimination of winter intersession and the schisms that followed.
“A variety of incidents/situations occurred that undermined trust and collegiality,” the report states. “Faculty felt that there were instances of faculty not being told the truth, particularly in regards to the cancellation of the Winter intersession.”
“Some campus members have expressed concern that there has been a general lack of respect for norms of public discourse and professional behavior,” it adds.
Members of both parties acknowledged collegiality among Senate and administration as an issue.
“For the most part, the level of collegiality was very good throughout this lengthy process,” said Fleming. “However, there still continues to be issues of trust on our campus and these concerns have had some impact on the latter stages of the process.”
“P&P made themselves the final content-editing body and they are finished with the document, so when exactly is the Academic Senate supposed to have a chance to give feedback?” said Senator Melissa Michelson.
The senate will meet Monday to discuss the report in greater detail.
Michelson alleged that the committee did not allow the Senate adequate time to review the report.
Earlier this semester, several senators, including Michelson, spent two days making revisions at what has been referred to by the participants as a retreat at a nearby hotel.
The committee evaluated those changes, but Michelson said the committee delivered the final report with inadequate time for the senate to evaluate its current state.
“P&P delivered the hard copies on Monday of a three-day work week. By then, it was too late to put it on the agenda for this week,” said Michelson. ”So no, the senate has not been given a fair hearing because of the lack of time, and this could have been avoided.”
P&P committee co-chair Matthew Jordan responded positively when asked if he felt the senate feedback had been helpful.
“All feedback that was submitted on the Self-Evaluation was extremely helpful,” he said. “Comments and suggested changes that were submitted by the Academic Senate were reviewed for inclusion and edited by a member of the Academic Senate Executive Board and members of the college administration.”
He added that the committee then reviewed each revision and determined whether or not to include or edit it.
“This process improved the final document by incorporating additional perspectives,” said Jordan.
The 400-plus-page document is divided into four main areas: institutional effectiveness, student services, resource management, and school governance.
Within these four groups, there are a total of 129 individual standards that the school addresses.
Each standard receives a descriptive summary of what actions and policies are relevant to following it, a self-evaluation that discusses how effective the measures are at keeping the school in compliance, and finally a section that details any “actionable improvement plan” that may apply.
Once approved by the Board of Trustees, the report will be sent to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), who will evaluate it for accuracy when representatives visit the campus in March.
In all but 10 standards, the self-evaluation section contains the sentence: “Pasadena City College meets [the standard].”
Several of the standards that are missing this language cover significant aspects of PCC’s recent history, including the cancelation of winter intersession, full-time faculty hiring practices, and the role of the school’s president.
However, Jordan said that the absence of that language does not mean that PCC is failing to meet a standard and he stressed that there is no requirement for such a statement.
More likely, said Jordan, the author of a given section may have chosen to present the evidence and let the report’s recipients judge for themselves.
“It could be that the author wanted to leave it up to an ACJCC team member to make that determination during the upcoming site visit in March,” he said.