The college’s academic reorganization plan has encountered strong opposition from some faculty who believe the administration is unilaterally appointing new dean positions without input from shared governance groups.
An open forum for the academic school dean candidates was held on Wednesday, where members of the public could listen to their goals as possible heads of the new schools. However, members of the faculty were confused as to how the candidates were selected.
Robert Bell, senior vice president of student learning services, explained the forum would give the faculty more input in the selection process for the deans and more responsibility in terms of the new academic school model.
“It gives people a chance to hear the person [up for the position],” he wrote in an email. “The goal of reorganization is to establish a model in which the faculty within each School assume a lead role in the formation of decisions that are of direct importance to faculty. The input of faculty will be central to the final selection of the School Deans.”
But according to a letter written by Academic Senate President Eduardo Cairo, faculty was not given a chance to be involved in the selection process.
“Their selection has not been an open and transparent procedure; in fact we have no idea how these candidates were selected,” Cairo said. “These positions are to all appearances new positions with new responsibilities. We do not understand why the normal hiring process (PCC Policy 6300) is not being followed.”
According to Policy 6300, a set of procedures must be followed in selecting an in-house candidate to an appointed position. However, the governing board has the final say in hiring.
Bell explained that the forum was simply an informal way for the public to hear what the candidates had to say, and a formal hiring process may still go into place.
Joseph Futtner, interim dean of visual arts and media studies, thought the reorganization was long anticipated and that shared governance groups were mistaken in their belief that they had more power in the decision-making process.
“There are certain underlying approaches to decisions,” Futtner said. “If you look at the policy, [reorganization] is part of the administrative decision. People should treat the process with the respect and gravity it needs.”
The forum candidates include Jim Arnwine, current dean of performing and communication arts for the School of Visual Media and Performing Arts, David Douglass, current dean of natural sciences for the School of Science and Mathematics, Salomon Davila, current dean of career and technical education for the School of Career and Technical Education, Barbara Freund, current dean of health sciences for the School of Allied Health Services, and Amy Ulmer, current dean of English for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Davila thought the forum would help keep communication more open between the deans and faculty.
“I think this is very important part of this campus to hear us out so we have our moment to share our thoughts with every one of you,” he said.