Interim President Bob Miller stated at the College Council meeting on Thursday that, despite student and faculty support for a winter intersession, he will not be recommending a 2015-2016 winter calendar to the Board of Trustees.
His announcement comes after the Calendar Committee voted 8-3 in their last meeting to recommend a winter calendar to the College Council and the Associated Students formally backed a winter session after analyzing their student survey results last week.
Miller chairs the College Council and told the council in the last few minutes of the meeting that while he would not recommend a winter calendar to the board, he would submit the proposed winter calendar that the council voted to move forward with.
Miller gave two reasons for not supporting a winter calendar at this time. First, a decision still has not been made on the Pasadena Area Community College district’s appeal of the Public Employment Relations Board’s 2013 ruling that the district violated the Educational Employment Relations Act by unilaterally implementing a 2012-2013 trimester calendar. Additionally, the new superintendent, who has yet to be hired, should be able to weigh in on such a large decision, he said.
Associate Vice President of Student Services Cynthia Olivo brought up that the deadline to submit a financial aid disbursement schedule was on Jan. 1. If a winter calendar is adopted next year, students could be left waiting for their financial aid money for winter session until the scheduled spring disbursement.
“We need time to work on an ed plan. We need to program in the appropriate financial aid disbursement schedule,” said Olivo.
Miller said a switch in a calendar at this time could leave students in a similar position to when they switched to the no-winter calendar in the middle of the 2012-2013 academic year.
“I’m very, very open to this topic,” said Miller. “I just want to make sure we don’t do what we did last time leaving several hundred students in a lurch.”
Following the meeting, Lewis said in an email that he disagreed with Miller’s assessment that it was too late to switch to a winter calendar for the 2015-2016 school year. When the calendar switched to a no-winter calendar, it was done in the middle of the school year.
“We are in a position now where that can be done with much more preparation. That is what the students want, so that is what I feel we should do,” said Lewis.
Despite this, Lewis said he appreciated Miller’s openness and honesty.
“I appreciate that he gave valid reasons instead of what we’re used to which is, “Because it’s my recommendation so I can,” said Lewis. “I do want to move forward with a winter calendar but I do understand the difficulties at this point with a presidential hiring on the horizon.”
The College Council also discussed the Student Equity Plan, the Spring Campus Survey of faculty and staff, Brown Act training and the difficulties in hiring committees when there are not enough volunteers or the same faculty members keep volunteering.
Associated Vice President of Strategic Planning and Innovation Ryan Cornner proposed an informal gathering between the Board of Trustees, staff, students and the community in a program called Strategic Conversations aimed at creating an open dialogue between those that create policy and those who are affected by it.
“The goal of this effort is to help our Board of Trustees thoroughly examine what drives its policy decisions by involving everyone who wishes to express a point of view and gathering information in a less structured atmosphere than a traditional board meeting,” said Cornner.
Miller said he planned to submit his calendar recommendation and the College Council’s approved calendar to the Board of Trustees at their meeting on March 18.
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