The Accrediting Commission issued a warning to the South Orange County Community College District on Feb. 3, citing various areas of concern and making recommendations for improvement.
Since then, the district has been taking steps to fulfill the commission’s recommendations.
In February 2011, Chancellor Gary Poertner, who replaced former chancellor Raghu Mathur because he did not meet up to the standards of his position, formed a task force to address each recommendation, in a joint effort with presidents from the colleges.
This task force focused in on needs for improvement involving three major areas.
Recommendations regarding Planning and Resource Allocation addressed a deficiency in the area of strategic planning because of a lack of clarity in the process of linking planning with resource allocation.
With the help of college governance groups, the district, throughout the last eight months, developed a district wide manual.
Problems regarding communication, and a lack of transparency in how decisions were made, are now being resolved through the use of a new intranet tool and new guidelines to ensure that process and action items are reported and consistently made available to staff.
There has also been an increase in communications to employees throughout the district.
In another step towards better communication, board highlights will now provide a complete recap after board meetings, which will be emailed to employees and posted on the district’s website.
And college-wide forums will be held twice a year on both campuses in order to increase dialogue between the board and the chancellor.
Ethics policies have also been addressed, and recommendations for the board to include a violation clause in the board ethics policy were also given and approved in September.
Another recommendation calling for the board to conduct a survey, in addition to a self-evaluation, was fulfilled last spring.
The first effort to provide regular updates on their progress occurred at the college forums held on both campuses Nov. 2.
Poerter issued the following statement regarding the districts actions concerning the recommendations: “I am very proud of the effort our district has made in addressing these recommendations. This has provided us with an opportunity to come together to implement important planning and processes that will serve as a foundation as we focus on our commitment to serving students.”