Yo College! Does anyone know where we're going?

By King Collins

Recent activity and discussions around the college and around the Eagle have made it clear that we all need to take some time to think about the purpose of our activity together.

If you are a faculty member, an administrator, or on the staff of this newspaper, it is important to do some soul searching about what your goals are, and how your work relates to the college and its goals.

In the last issue (the first of the academic year) we printed an article on the front page which set a significant, though not exclusive, agenda for the EAGLE.

"The EAGLE is not 'just' a student newspaper. It is by and for the entire college community. At Mendocino College, the EAGLE is currently the only place where the college community publicly thinks about itself. This thinking or dialogue will sometimes be profound and sometimes silly, but underneath it all is the awareness that there is a lot at stake."

What is at stake is not only the college but the community it is a part of.  Mendocino College is an institution of higher learning located in an area of Northern California where there are no other similar institution for many miles-the nearest college campus is 60 miles away! Therefore, to be worth its salt, the college must be more than a grab-bag of programs and stepping stones for our academic or professional careers.

We are in the midst of a communications revolution, and this college and this little paper are part of it. In such a time, the college, its newspaper and the newspaper's staff must rise to the occasion. Is there any doubt?

Perhaps the idea is not one that has occurred to you in such exact terms. So then, yes, let us ponder the question for awhile. Maybe you will take the time to write your own version of the college mission.

The significance of our effort together does not mean that we have to be weighed down by it. It just means we have to be clear.

Our first step for the EAGLE is to see what has been officially stated as our goal. With the help of some members of the Academic Senate and the staff of the library we have something to report about that.

The Official College Mission

From the College Catalog, the mission of Mendocino College is to:

Quoted from page 24 of the College catalog.

So that is Mendo's official goals. What do you think of them? Do they cover your interests? Do they cover the interests of the wider community?

I defy you to get inspired about them. They sound like boiler plate on a grant application. We'll get back to this at a later date. (Next issue, maybe) There are some other matters to be concerned with.

The Accreditation Process

For any college in California to be recognized as such, it must periodically undergo a review by the official "Accreditation Commission."

Mendocino College is fully accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. This status is granted for an unlimited period of time, with a provision for an institutional self-study every six years, along with review and visitation by the Accreditation Commission.

Our college was reviewed last year. On leaving, the Committee issued a report. A press time the EAGLE did not have the full report, but we do have a summary of the Commission's findings contained in a memo from our president, Dr. Carl Ehman. Here are the relevant parts of that important document:

"At 1 pm Thursday the 28th (1996), the Accreditation Team gave their exit presentation...:

Recommendations (for Improvement):

· Work to develop an over-arching vision to assist in priority and decision making, which speaks specifically to our college..

· Evaluate the work load of all staff; develop strategies that address equitable work loads.

· Assure timely and consistent evaluation of classified and management/confidential staff.

· Make the library a high priority in funding. Increase the library and Learning Center resources (collection, staffing, technology, and space.)

· Consider clarification and simplification of the budget planning process so it is understood by all; integrate budget and planning.

· The Board, administration, students, faculty and classified should reach consensus on the meaning of shared governance, with an eye toward streamlining the process (committee structure, etc.)

So, what can we say about this report? I don't know about you but three things jumped out at me.

1) The first recommendation by the Committee is that we "develop an overarching vision!" Needless to say, the EAGLE agrees. I am reminded of a conversation with a faculty member who said that the trouble with the college is that the planning is driven by funding sources

2) Make the Library a priority. Yes! Definitely! And is it true, or just a rumor, that a few years back, the college turned down the chance to connect the Library to the campus network for a mere $2000? If there is substance to that rumor would someone please come forward and tell us about it? (Calling all moles: come to the EAGLE!)

3) And yes! We should "reach consensus on the meaning of shared governance, with an eye toward streamlining the process." That is a good critique! The college needs a clear and timely process for getting action on good ideas (like mine!).

Let's get on with it....

Whatever your role in the college, please take the time to communicate with the Academic Senate and with the EAGLE. We-the EAGLE, concerned faculty and administrators- are on the case. And we are going to stay on the case.

* * *

Note to faculty and the Academic Senate. Help bring us all up to date on what is happening with the college mission and how the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee are coming along. Please contact Dale Glaser, King Collins, Susan Kegan or Cindy Bollens (Susan and Cindy are the part-time faculty representatives to the Academic Senate).


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