FEBRUARY 14, 2006
A strategic conversation was scheduled to be held at 4:00 p.m. in the Turquoise Room at Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice having been duly given.
Scott Crowley, President
Ed Contreras, Secretary
Don Campbell, Member
Linda Rosenthal, Member
Jerry Walker, Member
Mary Kay Kickels
Jean Ann Abel
Linda Thor Gene Giovannini
Attendance: Approximately 130-150, not including facilitators, camera staff, and campus staff.
STRATEGIC CONVERSATION (4:10 p.m. through 6:35 p.m.)
Scottsdale Community College President DeCabooter welcomed everyone present to Scottsdale Community College. He then passed the podium on to Faculty Executive Association President Jamie Moore who acknowledged members of the Governing Board that were present and members of the Chancellor’s Executive Council. Ms. Moore offered her gratitude to members of the planning committee and others who had assisted in preparing for the evening’s conversation on academic vision. The planning committee consisted of the following members:
Naomi Story, District Office
Pat Case, Rio Salado College
Laura Helminski, Rio Salado College
Maureen Zimmerman, District Director for Academic Affairs Support Programs & Services
Mary Kay Kickells, Paradise Valley Community College
Holly M. Beene, Glendale Community College
Craig Jacobsen, Mesa Community College
Jeanne Christen, Rio Salado College
Maria Harper-Marinick, District Office
Ms. Moore commented that the intent of the conversation this evening would be to create an academic vision. She further stated that although growth at Maricopa by way of buildings and land had taken place, as a leading institution there was a need to share a vision that everyone could embrace and serve as a guide. She offered that the quote “What I do and what I dream include thee, as the wine must taste of its own grapes” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning fingerprints our purpose. She encouraged everyone to bring who they were to the particular tables they were at. Because she felt that everyone present shares our vision of Maricopa, she encouraged everyone to share it this evening. If thoughts were going to be written, the components of our vision needed to be identified. Jamie then instructed everyone to write a one-minute paper whereby thematic elements could be identified with reference to academic vision. They were then instructed to share their thoughts with fellow table partners and summarize three for reporting out purposes. 37 themes surfaced and participants then voted to narrow the list to three themes they wished to discuss further. These three themes were: Academic Freedom, Student Learning Success, and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
Laura Helminski then came forward to explain how the World Café Concept would be followed. She explained that the café was meant to be a space of possibility for fostering conscious conversation, accessing collective knowledge, catalyzing collaborative learning, building shared knowledge and vision, strengthening community, surfacing compelling issues. Participants were directed to choose one table according to color group of their preference in order to discuss the “profound” questions developed for conversation. The questions were:
• Integrating this theme or element, what could our academic vision be?
• Integrating this theme or element, what are our educational responsibilities in terms of a district academic vision?
• Integrating this theme or element, how can we make sure we foster our academic vision?
These questions were discussed for each of the three themes for a time period of 25 minutes. At the end of the three group discussions, participants regrouped and were asked to share words or phrases that summarized key concepts, elements, insights and/or ideas that related to academic vision. Some of the comments were:
Insights for Vision Statement:
• Freedom of inquiry
• Resources – money to support staff, growth funding, scholarship of teaching and learning
• Reflective practices
• Study critiqued
• Multiple intelligences
• Culture of evidence
• Challenge students to develop critical thinking
• Encouraging risk taking
Insights for Academic Freedom:
• Right to question assumptions
• Freedom of inquiry
• Respect for opposing views
• Pursuit of truth
• Faculty expertise
• Teaching critical thinking to students
• Evaluation of information
• Who should facilitate writing statement of academic freedom
• Need to share it with parents and public
Further comments made by Ms. Moore included:
• Putting a man on the moon requires having a picture in their minds and achieving it. They must push themselves to the very limits
• What would be so compelling to push forward?
• What is that vision that faculty want?
• Would need policy changes and need to be adopted.
• Evaluate and assess for achievement
• We learn better together and it was good to have this conversation.
• A vision is not words; it is a picture. We need to determine what the picture is supposed to be. Tonight may be the start of a path. This has been a great start but we may not be ready just yet. Conversations are needed at the individual colleges.
• We need to influence the future. Need to put success plan in place, i.e., junior faculty.
• Academic Freedom: Move on it so that we can have something to battle with.
Chancellor Glasper commented that Academic Freedom is being discussed at the Legislature and at Maricopa it should be faculty driven. It should carry the voice of supporting policy. Needs thoughts on board to open it up. Don’t let it stop here and don’t let it be just faculty. Keep an open mind. There is a level of urgency, otherwise it will be done for us.
Table group comments are summarized on the attached report.
Closing comments were made by Jamie Moore and Vice Chancellor Maria Harper-Marinick. A video titled “Leading in a Complex World” by Pegasus Communications was shown for closing thoughts on the need for everyone to take part in recognizing new leadership possibilities and achieving uncommon results through self-inquiry, collaboration, shared vision, and systems thinking.
The meeting concluded at 6:35 p.m. The Board proceeded to meet in Executive Session following the strategic conversation.
Governing Board Secretary
Report to the Governing Board on Strategic Conversation on Academic Vision
The Strategic Conversation on Academic Vision was held on February 14, 2006, aka Valentine’s Day from 4:00-7:00 PM. Between 130-150 participants attended the rich conversation at Scottsdale Community College. The planning team led by Jamie Moore, President of the Faculty Association, and Naomi Story, Special Assistant to the Chancellor on Strategic Initiatives, submitted a white paper on Academic Vision with supplemental information on Academic Vision and Educational Responsibility (AAC&U, 2005) as a catalyst for reflection and discussion prior to the conversation. The team also employed the World Café Conversation method led by Laura Helminski, Rio Salado College faculty. Numerous faculty and administrators facilitated three sessions at 20 tables of 6+ conversants to sustain conversation on Academic Vision and to achieve the following three conversation goals.
• Sharing ideas, insights, and perspectives on components for an academic vision that is realistic, credible, well-articulated, easily understood, appropriate, ambitious, and responsive to change and action.
• Developing compelling and meaningful questions for a series of conversations throughout 2006-2007, the results of which will establish a clear and simple academic vision that should challenge and inspire us all.
• Surfacing the basis for a cogent and cohesive Academic Freedom statement that is based on Maricopa’s Academic Vision.
We initially used the one-minute paper so that each participant could identify thematic elements when thinking about Academic Vision. Thirty-seven themes surfaced, and participants then voted to narrow the list to three themes they wished to discuss further. The three were: Academic Freedom, Student Learning Success, and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Participants had approximately 25 minutes to discuss three questions for each theme: what could our academic vision be, what are our educational responsibilities in terms of a district academic vision, and how can we make sure we foster our academic vision? To summarize the conversations, Jamie asked the group as a whole to share words and phrases that summarized key concepts, elements, insights and/or ideas from their World Café conversations on the three themes as they relate to our academic vision.
Overall comments focused on the need for us to craft an Academic Vision statement that distinguishes us (community colleges) from universities and other educational institution, but also demonstrates our connections and convergence with them. We agreed that we have a compelling, urgent and proactive need and desire to craft an Academic Freedom statement as well as responsible guidelines and communication in the implementation of such as statement, especially for those “faculty in the trenches.” It was also suggested that we review, evaluate, and possibly change our policies and practices that contradict our teaching and learning goals and student learning success goals.
Finally, it was stated that the evening results should be seen as a genesis of a picture or images of us. To this end, similar conversations were encouraged at each of the colleges as we embark on a journey to cultivate our soul for those who follow in our footsteps and for the next generation of community college students who will come to us.
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Maria Harper-Marinick concluded the evening by stating that the conversation themes and results would be compiled and integrated into subsequence strategic conversations. Plus/deltas comments were collected in print form to get feedback from participants. In general, people placed value in the conversation process and looked forward to moving to the next steps or actions, e.g., crafting a district statement on academic freedom and engaging in more dialogue on academic vision at all levels and with others.
Specific comments from each of the groups will be shared on the Chancellor’s and Faculty Association websites once they are compiled. Other key elements shared by the World Café groups’ notes included the following.
1. Academic Freedom is:
Freedom of inquiry for and by All
Understanding and appreciating different perspectives
Respect for faculty expertise in their field and in teaching and learning
Teaching critical thinking so that students can assess their thinking and
develop ideas intellectually and as life-long learning skill
Subject to rigorous standards
The Heart of Democracy
Our responsibility regarding academic freedom in terms of our overall academic vision:
**We re-confirm the long-standing academic tradition of academic freedom and responsibility
**We academics need to do a better job of explaining what Academic Freedom is, what it means, and its importance to the community.
**We (faculty and District in partnership) need to craft a more specific Academic Freedom policy that honors faculty expertise and integrity and respects diverse viewpoints (AAUP and AAC&U as models).
**We need to establish students’ responsibility for Academic Freedom.
**We view and define education broadly.
**Members of the academy (faculty) are free to responsibly express diverse ideas/perspectives civilly (with civility) and respect the context of the setting and
To insure Academic Freedom is fostered, the Chancellor and the Governing Board are responsible to support faculty and their Academic Freedom.
Faculty must promote safe environments in the classroom.
College Presidents must assure faculty of support for Academic Freedom.
2. Student Learning Success is
Getting the most out of college
Instructor and student collaboration to define goals
Redefined student success according to student goals and perspectives
Academic vision that is a contract with our communities to provide a ready
workforce, ready transferees, and ready life-long learners
To insure student learning success, our responsibility includes learning how to teach should always be meaningful #s versus success; access versus success rethinking systems to measure quantitatively and qualitatively student success, review policies, e.g., curriculum and student assessment. Student learning success is the responsibility of all employee groups.
We foster student learning success by integration of student support and the responsibility of learning falls on everyone in and outside the classroom and with our partners, including K-12. Publicly recognize, celebrate and support the contributions of all employees to student learning success
3. Scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) is
Education practice that is studied, critiqued by peers, and built upon and
that helps our students learn better
Respect for faculty expertise in discipline and teaching and learning
Rewarding scholarship of teaching and learning
Understanding your audiences-what they know and what they need
Providing faculty with opportunities to challenge students to achieve their
For SOTL to occur:
Everyone has to embrace the idea of teaching and learning
Risk failure of a teaching method/risk taking
District to continue support for faculty development
Encourage innovation and risk taking with resources
Support of faculty who want to do more research in
Teaching and Learning
To be better at recognition and rewards for scholarship
Probationary period should been scholarship of teaching and learning
Develop a culture of evidence to support critical thinking
Recognize SOTL and celebrate it
Caring, concerned, connected faculty who care about students
Climate that supports faculty to improve their skills
Resources: funding, staff support, experts, and space in centers for teaching
To foster SOTL,
Change takes time
All faculty will embrace the scholarship of teaching and learning
Relevance has to be established –how does this relate to me?
Jamie Moore, President, Maricopa Faculty Association, Executive Council
Naomi O. Story, Spec. Asst. to the Chancellor on Strategic Initiatives
February 24, 2006