November 3, 2015
Testing Our Preparedness
Please participate in the college-wide emergency preparedness drill this morning! The short drill will take place from 10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. and will be a shelter-in-place drill. The drill, which has been jointly planned by Campus Police and ASO, will test our new blue pole communication system, as well as our emergency call out text and phone system.
Campus police has created several educational materials that can help each of us prepare for the drill today. The materials were included in the email I sent Monday, but can also be accessed on the website at www.swccd.edu/drills
Open Dialogue Regarding Reorganization
Last week I had several opportunities to meet with employees interested in sharing their ideas and concerns about the upcoming Academic Affairs reorganization.
What I heard during the open forum Tuesday and at my coffee chat on Thursday was a question of timing. Some asked why we were "in a rush" to implement by January. Others asked why it's taking us so long to implement.
I can tell you that we have been thinking about the reorganization for over a year and actively planning for over six months. Once we announced the early retirement incentive, we knew there would be a major personnel shift. That expectation has come to fruition. We have five deans who will have retired by December and we knew that redirecting duties was not going to be sustainable.
During the fall semester, we held seven open forums to gather ideas of how best to realign academic affairs. I want to thank Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathy Tyner for leading this initiative. We seriously listened to the many ideas that were proposed and did not impose a plan. We also did not impose a budget restriction. Instead, we developed a model with significant input and support and assured that the budget would support it.
Legitimate concerns expressed at both of my recent meetings were questions of sufficient resources to support the academic realignment and the ability to attract quality personnel.
We are reviewing all areas in terms of classified support. VPAA Tyner and the deans have been meeting and discussing a myriad of details—everything from faculty mailboxes to supply budgets. We have, and will continue, to rely on our employees to let us know the impacts to their areas. I know that many of you are passionate about those concerns. I assure you, we want to hear your concerns and ideas. If we find anything insurmountable, I promise we will reconsider the implementation.
To address the question of quality personnel: we want to have our academic leadership in place as close to the beginning of the spring semester as possible. Why the urgency? We expect to hire more than 20 full-time, tenure-track faculty next semester. This is our largest investment, and we want to ensure permanent academic administrators help make those selections.
There has been a question of how we ensure diverse and robust applicant pools. We want our employment announcements to go far and wide. Human Resources is responsible for recruitment but you can help. We are asking that you send job announcements to your network of colleagues and encourage them to apply. We hope that many of our own staff members will consider applying for open positions as well.
To encourage more diversity in our hiring, we’ve updated the screening and hiring process to include a revamped orientation for all hiring committees. The orientation now includes training to better address personal bias and encourage the value of diversity in hiring.
We can make this a magical moment in our college’s history. There is a true sense of family here. I know that we will all come together to welcome these new family members.