Special To / The Advocate
Administrative leaders outline academic goals
Strategic Planning process underway
Since the passage of a bill mandating shared governance in 1988, there has been a process for decision-making through shared governance at Contra Costa College, but no two people on the campus would be able to define that process in the same manner.
While there has been work in the past to clarify these procedures, it has not reached the wider campus community. Now that the college’s Strategic Plan has come up for renewal, the Strategic Planning Committee hopes to make this process as efficient and effective as possible.
On Feb. 28, constituency groups on the College Council will receive draft of changes to the Strategic Plan so that on March 6, the President’s Cabinet will be able to work together with input from groups’ review to create a final draft that will be re-submitted to the College Council.
If approved, the draft will become a voting item at an April College Council meeting.
Institutional Effectiveness and Equity Dean Mayra Padilla, with Academic Senate President Katherine Krolikowski, serve as chairs of the Strategic Planning Committee.
Usually, this planning effort would be handled with the help of the college’s vice presidents, but in the absence of those positions they have completed this task.
“We have a consultant, Christina Paul, working with us right now,” Dr. Padilla said. “We are now in the second phase of the writing for the new Strategic Plan. The first phase for the plan was gathering information and assessing where we were.
“The second phase was Christina (Paul) meeting with over 50 people on the campus to do focus group interviews. The idea is basically to get a sense from those people about what are the areas that work well for CCC and what are the areas we need support in, that are areas of growth.”
She also sent out a campuswide survey from the focus groups and from about 120 responses they created a forum for the college, she said.
There, she summarized what they found through surveying the community.
“I asked folks to think if this is going to help be the guiding light for where we go over the next five years as a college — what values do we want to use in moving this work forward?” Padilla said. “I wanted people to have an opportunity to really think about their values.”
Through anonymous polling, they grabbed information on the values around the campus, she said. Values such as student success, equity and community came up.
“Yet often, when we hear these goals we complain or think about how that’s impacting me or my role — we have sidebar conversations,” Padilla said.
“So I asked a question, if we know those conversations are happening on the side, why aren’t we having those conversations as part of our shared governance process? In what spaces could we be having these debates and how could we have them in a respectful collegiate manner?”
Through the feedback they received on All College Day and other events they have focused on a few main objectives. These include organizational capacity and community cohesion, academics and student support, and student success. Subcommittees have been made to work on creating a draft for each outlined objective. Students have been included in this process as well.
Associated Student Union Vice President Alfredo Angulo said, “In terms of the planning committee, they always make a point to ask every once in a while, ‘Hey what do you think about this’ just to make sure students are speaking up. We also have a chance to be a part of the validation committee.”
They have been very much included in the process, he said. “I definitely think that we’ve had more access to represent students better because we have more in depth knowledge and the issues that occur.”
By setting measurable goals that are in line with the mission, vision and values of the college’s educational master plan, programs have a direction to work toward.
“It (the plan) aims to streamline the process the program review making sure the institution is aware of work being done by departments,” Padilla said.
This information would then be cross-referenced across all departments so that during budget allocation the campus could make a more informed decision about the type of resources to provide. Especially items that would reap the most benefit across all departments.
The Strategic Planning Committee shaped their proposed draft to allow every program to uniquely set its goals and standards to work toward in program review.
Committees could then use this data to observe what is needed to reach their goals.
Depending on what is needed from multiple departments, these plans could help the budget committee cross-reference areas in which aid could support multiple programs.
“Continuous improvement would allow leadership to think and analyze clearly from year to year instead of waiting for five years at a time,” Padilla said.
The Strategic Plan with its newly drafted model hopes to provide the college with comprehensive information to allow it make informed decisions as it strives to improve its service to students.
At the heart of this work is a desire to see the campus at its peak of institutional effectiveness.
Krolikowski said, “College Council, which is our synthesizing body and then planning, budget, operations and student success will have to be on board with the Strategic Plan for us to have it work.”
Those spaces are important because that’s where all the different groups come together, she said —students, managers, classified and faculty.
“Separate from that we have each of our constituency groups, ASU, Classified Senate, Academic Senate and Management Council and those are spaces where people have certain ways they go about their time here on campus.”
After discussion between constituency groups on how to proceed with this item, the College Council decided to ensure that a draft be sent out to constituency groups. The decision was made to ensure constituents can provide feedback through their representatives in the President’s Cabinet.