Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What Led Us to Here

A Timeline Documenting Adversarial Leadership Style/Lack of Cooperation/Interference


Nov. 2004: Martha Graham, Director of Research, suddenly announces retirement in March 05, takes a medical leave, and does not return. She recommends Analyst Brandon Aneiri to take her place at our Academic Program Review meetings. Academic Program Review (APR) goes smoothly despite the loss.

Fall 2005-Spring 2006: APR Committee reviews and streamlines APR process and takes it through consultation for input from Academic Senate, Deans, at each School Meeting, and Department Chairs. Cycle is shortened to review every 3 years with annual review of Summary Work Plan. SLOs are added to Component V as a whole Criterion 1 with annual review integrated. Process is adopted with unanimous support. (Please note that clerical support for this was requested and not provided.)

New design for “snapshot” of research data is designed by Brandon and piloted for review through consultation again and unanimously approved. The goal is to program the data for annual production for each program on campus.

Fall 2006: New Chair, Veronica Burton, of APR starts two-year tenure for Senate.

Spring 2006-Fall 2006: College denies programming by Brandon. After months of requests, programming is finally approved.

New Director of Research, Darlene Cole, is hired and starts Fall 2006. This results in disruption of APR data such that no APRs can occur in 06-07 or 07-08 due to the lack of data. Darlene Cole resigns in Feb. 2007 and is hired as a private consultant for Fall 2007 start. APR Committee is uninformed of resignation until May 2007 meeting despite numerous requests by Ms. Burton for information.

Fall 2007: Despite hiring as a private consultant, Ms. Cole produces no useable data for 07-08. Some programs go forward with APR with no data; others wait.

Aug. 2007: Ms. Burton resigns as APR Chair in protest over Vice President of Academic Affairs Dyste’s actions surrounding APR. An emergency election by Senate takes place and Richard Fielding is elected to a one-year term.

Fall 2007-Spring 2008 and Fall 2008-Spring 2009: Ms. Cole’s company, CoBro produces APR data characterized by delays, changes to definitions with no consultation, and confusion and frustration by programs and their deans. Repeated requests are made by our Senate President for the hiring of an “in-house” Director of Research with no action taken.


2003-2005: Please refer to SLO History and Plan for details.

Fall 2005-Spring 2007: No action is taken on development of SLOs due to disruption of all college Senate committees by instability in administration. Much interference and pressure by certain members of the Governing Board in Senate work prevented forward progress here, including policy approvals.

This culminated with the resignation of President Norma Hernandez at the end of Spring 2006 over the appointment by the Governing Board of Ron Dyste as Vice-President of Academic Affairs. Ron Dyste was/is a personal friend and colleague of then Governing Board member David Agosto. Mr. Dyste’s experience is only in Student Services as is Mr. Agosto’s. Greg Sandoval serves as interim President in Summer 2006 until Dr. Yoneji is formally appointed as interim in Aug. 2006. By Feb. 2007 Dr. Yoneji is fired by the Governing Board. Dr. Chopra is hired and begins Fall 2007.

Fall 2007-Spring 2008: The SLO Coordinator, Alma Aguilar, goes out on medical leave for the rest of the year. Patti Flores-Charter is asked to step in as SLO Coordinator at the end of October. She receives no release time. Despite her requests to attend CCC and ACCJC sponsored trainings, Mr. Dyste refuses.

Fall 2007: A new SLO Committee is formed with decisions made quickly on use of CurriCUNET, SLOs as addendum to Course Outlines, and Spring 2008 Opening Day planned to begin implementation of writing phase of SLOs.

Spring 2008: Opening Day focus is on SLOs, and writing of SLOs begins in School meetings with SLO Committee support. Goal is implementation in Fall 2008 with assessment at the end of Fall 2008.

By Feb. the VP of Human Resources is fired, VP of Fiscal resigns, and Mr. Dyste resigns. Dr. Chopra takes on roles to save money. Chaos ensues.

Trainings and support for writing course SLOs is provided formally via Staff Development and one-on-one trainings. SLO Committee begins work on organization of Program SLOs and SLO web site. SLO Liaisons are identified by program with communication structured from the SLO Committee to the Liaisons to the program faculty. The system works.

Fall 2008: Course SLOs are implemented and continue to be written. Program SLO plan goes out for consultation and is adopted unanimously. Work with web team occurs and SLO web test-site is erected. Writing by the SLO Chair of documents occurs with review by SLO Committee members. To support assessment of SLOs and posting of aggregate results, eLumen is adopted.

Because we had no Research Office, SLO committee requests that faculty collect informal data for possible use once we have an office. No support exists for quality development of assessment measures or for data collection.

Spring 2009: February meetings held with web team and Eva Hedger, new Supervisor in Office of Instruction and of CurriCUNET. Plan is to go live with SLO web site until web developer Eli Singh is fired via a campus-wide reorganization the end of February. College stops all web site work in Spring and Summer.


January 2009: eLumen is to go live. Faculty volunteers are excited and ready to beta test. This is delayed by CSS.

April 2009: eLumen is to go live; however, by May eLumen test site is still not live. Serious problems with computing persist on campus.

Fall 2009: New Dean over Research, Evaluation and Planning is finally hired. Our SLO Committee is guardedly optimistic that we will be able to make solid and quick progress on our SLO assessment requirements now.

Additional continuing concerns about college:

Budget lacks short or long-term plan and no process for quick collaborative action as conditions change:

1) Poor planning and management of long-term funding for operational costs of Centers. Very low enrollment at Otay is causing danger of cuts to state funding.

2) Last minute directives to cut large percentages of classes as stop-gap solutions to the lack of planning. Last year cuts of course sections included 10% in Fall with another 5% shortly thereafter.

3) SWC Associated Students Organization (ASO) president and senators worked through the weekend of Sept. 23/24 and put together a 14-page document detailing alternative options to cutting classes as this causes direct problems for students finishing degrees, certificates and transfer requirements in a timely and cost effective way. On Wed., Sept. 30 this group of students worked all night on another document in response to this latest round of course cuts.

4) Two weeks ago right before our Spring 2010 class schedule should be going to print and getting posted online, our Department Chairs were told to make another quick round of larger cuts to our Spring offerings. This delays student access to the schedule of classes for planning with Spring registration just a month away.

5) Accreditation site visit begins Monday, Oct. 5. This process was flawed continuously by Dr. Chopra’s and the Governing Board’s lack of participation with our campus Accreditation Committee.

Here are two of numerous examples of what became a time-consuming and stress-filled preparation process for writing our Accreditation Report and preparation for our site visit:

  • This process includes a two-year self-study process (Fa 07-Sp 09) in which a committee is formed and in the first year of the self-study is required to interview and gather a "culture of evidence" responding to the requirements of 4 Accreditation Standards. Dr. Chopra and the Governing Board refused to work directly with our committee for Part 2 of Standard IV requirements on Leadership and Governance, despite a year spent (Fa 07-Sp-08) trying to schedule interviews and gather information as required.

  • The first year of the self-study we only had two faculty chairs leading and organizing the process as the administrator (Dyste) designated by the President did not attend meetings or participate. He resigned in Spring 2008.

    Instead documents for Part 2 of Standard IV were prepared unilaterally by the President's Office with no communication and brought to the Accreditation Chairs in Fall 2008 for inclusion in the written report. This lack of cooperation and collaboration is unheard of in the Accreditation process.

Fall 2009: A blog, Save Our Southwestern College, is created as an opportunity to inform our community about what is happening at our college.

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