Monday, May 7, 2012

Governance: The year in review

Effective governance is not always easy, pretty or simple; it is, however, important, necessary, and significant to helping a college make good decisions and get things done. I wrote about our evolving governance system in the fall of 2010. Two academic years later, the results our governance system is producing are worth noting. While the journey continues for us all, the system is evolving incrementally and the results of the past year affirm the idea that this year was a little better than last year.

The governance system is comprised of the College Senate, College Councils, College Workgroups, Task Forces, and Design Teams. All of these groups address various issues at the College and engage the Cabinet and Board of Trustees as needed.

College Senate

A quick review of the Senate’s meeting minutes from the past year shows topics of interest to Senators that affected College operations and warranted discussion, dialogue, and debate. The array of topics shows the relevance and importance of Senate discussion on issues such as textbook costs, smoking on campus, pets on campus, instructional space and technology, inconsistent clocks, academic appeals process, emeritus status, and Web content filtering. In addition, the Senate provided input to the work of the Strategic Planning Council and a number of design teams; created a wellness committee of the Senate based on a design team recommendation; endorsed a number of resolutions from the Faculty Council of Community Colleges; created a charter for the Senate Advisory Committee; and enhanced communication with Senate committees. To represent the College Senate, the Chair reported to the Cabinet and Board of Trustees each month, attended the FCCC’s Fall and Spring Plenary as a representative of MVCC governance, and held a Senate Committee Chairs Training Workshop.

College Councils

While all the Councils made progress this year, a number of significant achievements are worth noting. Crisis Management oversaw the upgrade of security cameras at both campuses and implemented a new emergency communications system. The Cultural Events Council coordinated another amazing year of events at both campuses. The Employee Enrichment Council once again put together an incredible array of institutes and workshops for faculty and staff. The Enrollment Management Council developed plans for enrollment and student retention and success. The Institutional Effectiveness Council made recommendations to redefine critical success measures for the College.


While Councils deal with more overarching issues and plans, the workgroups have very focused responsibilities in collaboratively addressing work that requires interdepartmental coordination. Some highlights from the various workgroups include the following accomplishments. The Administrative Process group coordinated nearly 50 major projects and enhancements to our information management systems and IT infrastructure. The Behavior Evaluation Response Team group met regularly to address potentially concerning student behavior reported throughout the College. The College Calendar workgroup updated the calendar for the next three years. The Distance Education Workgroup coordinated continued growth of our online and hybrid course and program offerings. And Team MVCC coordinated nearly 1,000 participants over 12 events to raise more than $30,000 for community organizations.

Design Teams

The purpose of design teams is to research best practices at other community colleges, inventory our current practices, and then compare and contrast them to make recommendations to improve various systems and processes at the College. This past year included the work of design teams on issues related to annual evaluations, civility, internships, and service learning. While the work on evaluations and civility continues, the internships and service learning teams delivered their reports that will help reshape the College in those areas.

Committeed to death” is a phrase often used in education. Unfortunately, that can be true if intentional thought and effort aren’t given to structuring and actively engaging a robust governance system with meaningful and valued work. The results of these groups this past year speak to the commitment required to coordinate the collaboration of intelligent, hard-working individuals who care about the work that they do and the success of this College and our students. We’ll continue to refine the system and improve it as the living system that it is. Thanks to the hundreds of faculty and staff who accomplished so much through governance this year.