Accreditation & Enrollment Update from Chancellor Miner - Oct. 16, 2017


Monday, October 16, 2017 17:26
Dear Colleagues:
Many, many thanks to all of you who contributed your time and talent to the countless efforts leading up to and during the accreditation site visits! I was incredibly proud to hear compliments about every aspect of the visits and especially happy about the kudos from the team members about their interactions with our students. I share the enthusiasm about the positive reports as reflected in the emails from Presidents Nguyen and Murphy.
On a more somber note, at the end of this email is an update on our Fall 17 enrollment and the dispiriting news about our budget.

De Anza College Accreditation

Following is an excerpt from President Murphy's accreditation message to De Anza:

"At the exit report, the chair noted several areas of commendation, including the college’s:
• commitment to equity and student civic engagement as being core elements of our identity and informing all programs and planning;
• “heart” for underrepresented students;
• welcome and support for online students;
• support for a vibrant student life through programs and facilities design; and
• avid commitment to professional development.

De Anza College, she said, should be proud.

It is worth noting that the chair, while delivering her report, wore a De Anza College T-shirt she had purchased at the Bookstore.

Evaluation teams also identify areas in which they have “recommendations.” There were two recommendations related to ACCJC Standards, including a technical issue in which some SLO course outlines may not have matched or were inconsistent on syllabi. In addition, after reviewing a percentage of online courses, there was a sense that they did not demonstrate sufficient interaction. It must be noted that we were only three weeks into the quarter, using a new course management system. In addition, not all aspects of online interaction were apparent to the visitors, including student and instructor emails and grade book comments.

The final comments – which do not pertain directly to the Standards – were the recognition that we have a continuing decline in enrollment, making even more difficult how to handle the structural budget deficit the college and district are managing, and second, support for taking a long-term view of our enrollment and budget planning, communicating the mission and values in doing so. The team recognizes that the college is fully aware of our enrollment decline, and wanted to support us in our planning for a long-term approach, as opposed to a short-term “fix.” Both of these comments align with our own plans to develop both a three-year budget reduction scenario and, significantly, initiate a long-term strategic planning process, as I had announced on Opening Day."

Foothill College Accreditation

Following is an excerpt from President Nguyen's accreditation message to Foothill:
"Below is a summary of the team’s observations as conveyed by the team chair (Dr. Linda Rose) at the exit interview, with my comments:
Recommendation for Compliance (Standards I.B.7, I.C.5; and III.A.3)
 The college does not meet this set of standards: the team recommends that the college regularly review and evaluate its institutional policies, procedures, publications and practices across all areas of the college, including instructional program, student and learning support services, resources management, and governance processes to assure effectiveness in supporting academic quality.
 My Comments: the key words are “regularly review”. There are policies and procedures (and possibly publications and practices) that have not been reviewed for many years. I have preliminarily spoken with the chancellor and president’s cabinet about how to proceed with such review. It would involve collaboration with central services and De Anza College. More to come on this item later.
Recommendation for Improvement (Standards I.A.2; I.B.4; and I.B.9)
 The college meets this set of standards. However, the team recommends the college still focus on making improvements: in order to improve institutional effectiveness and enhance the college’s culture of evidence-based decision-making, the team recommends that the college engage in continuous, broad based, systemic evaluation and planning by assessing, analyzing, organizing, and applying its assessment data to establish a robust set of evidence to determine how effectively the college is accomplishing its mission and meeting its institutional priorities to meet the educational needs of the students.
 My Comments: the key words are “institutional effectiveness” and “evaluation". Does the college make a point to systematically evaluate whether or not it is effective in what it has implemented? The team observed that the college is indeed making progress in evaluating its effectiveness, but wanted to make this a recommendation nevertheless to encourage the college to follow-through on such efforts.
Commendation: Exceeds Standard IV.A.1
 The visiting team commends the college’s leadership for creating an environment where support for administrators, faculty, staff and students (regardless of their titles) to take initiative and encouraging innovation to create equity-based, student-centered programs and services that meet regional and statewide workforce and educational needs.
My Comments: the key words are “college’s leadership”, “innovation”, “equity”, “workforce and educational needs”.
Although not required to do so, many accreditation visiting teams do point out one or more areas for praise (exemplary practices) in which a college not only meets the standards, but exceeds it in a noteworthy manner. Since Standard IV falls under the heading of “leadership and governance,” the team is praising the people at Foothill College – that is, YOU! Whether you are in a “leadership” position to support innovation or someone who actually takes initiative and innovates (no matter your title), you have impressed the visiting team.
This commendation speaks to campus culture, and as a college president, I could not be more elated by such praise. It is that “can-do” culture (especially in the areas of equity, workforce, and education in general) that will position Foothill College to be an institution of even greater transformative change and enable us to close that equity gap (once and for all). "

Enrollment and Budget Update

Because our enrollment decline surfaced as an issue, I want to provide the latest information. On District Opening Day, you saw the data on our losses in recent years and estimates of the structural deficit if we stabilize enrollment over the next three years. However, initial census reports show that we have not yet reversed the decline districtwide and the projected loss in revenue is approximately $1 million for Fall 2017 alone. 

To review our current three-year budget reduction plan, please visit Please know that we stand by our commitment of no layoffs during 17-18.

I want to assure you that Chancellor's Cabinet will be even more proactive in the coming year to identify and support opportunities to increase enrollment and retention. I have scheduled a number of meetings with senior and middle managers at our colleges as well as partners in high schools and universities to develop actionable strategies for this academic year.  
I am grateful to each and every one of you for your dedication and commitment and will keep you apprised of our progress.

Warm regards,

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