AUGUST 13, 1996
A special meeting and work study/strategic conversation of the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board was scheduled to be held at 6:30 p.m. at the District Support Services Center, 2411 West 14th Street, Tempe, Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice having been duly given.
Donald R. Campbell, President, Nancy Stein, Secretary, Linda B. Rosenthal, Roy C. Amrein
Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr., Paul Elsner, Ron Bleed, Rufus Glasper, Janice Bradshaw, Arnette Ward, Raul Cardenas, Larry Christiansen, Ken Roberts for John Cordova, Art DeCabooter, Stan Grossman, Homero Lopez, J. Marie Pepicello, Phil Randolph, Linda Thor, Joyce Elsner for Tessa Martinez Pollack
Ed Contreras (Mr. Contreras was present for Executive Session)
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m. by President Campbell.
President Campbell called for a motion convening an executive session, notice having been previously given.
Linda Rosenthal moved that an executive session be convened. Motion carried 5-0.
The meeting recessed at 5:31 p.m.
The special meeting reconvened at 6:40 p.m.
(A-1) CONSIDERATION OF EMPLOYMENTS, RESIGNATIONS, RETIREMENTS AND TERMINATIONS - Dr. Waechter recommended the approval of the Employments, Resignations, Retirements and Terminations Item with the following modifications: Page 3 - pull Donna B. Guhse - job offer had not yet been made; Page 3 - pull Roger McKinney - refused job offer; Page 6 - Gail Mee - change to "step 5" with corresponding salary; Page 6 - pull Jo Wilson - will come before the Governing Board at another time; Page 6 - Rodney P. Holmes - leave on the agenda at new title, same salary and step, as Mr. Holmes temporary assignment ends this date and needs to be reappointed to some assignment - question on salary placement, not the job title.
Dr. Amrein moved that the Governing Board approve the Employments, Resignations, Retirements and Terminations Item with the following modifications: Page 3 - pull Donna B. Guhse; Page 3 - pull Roger McKinney ; Page 6 - Gail Mee - change to "step 5" with corresponding salary; Page 6 - pull Jo Wilson; Page 6 - Rodney P. Holmes - leave on the agenda at new title, same salary and step. Motion carried 4-0.
The special meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.
A Strategic Conversation convened at 6:51 p.m.
(I) STRATEGIC ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH SYSTEMS THINKING
The outcome was to share definitions for systems thinking, and dialogue about the characteristics of people in a successful system and the systems and systems thinking in the Maricopa Community College District. Carol Scarifiotti welcomed the group, went over the ground rules, and reviewed the focus and schedule for the evening. The intent of the conversation was not to get into the scientific aspects, but an everyday version of systems thinking. Dr. Scarifiotti introduced Laura Helminski, who also welcomed the audience and showed a film clip from the movie, City Slickers, showing the characters running in front of the bulls in Spain. Ms. Helminski indicated that this was a video metaphor for the "forces of changes coming." To deal with the forces of change people in the District need to collaborate together and think as a "thinking" system. Dr. Scarifiotti showed a video of Russell Ackoff, an expert in systems thinking. Dr. Ackoff described a system as a whole having two or more parts, with three requirements 1) each part affects the behavior of the whole; 2) the way a part affects the behavior of the system depends on what at least one other part is doing; and 3) subsets of the system, not matter how they are created, with have the same properties as the parts. Dr. Scarifiotti asked the audience to think of Maricopa as a system, that the whole is greater than the parts, and more can be done as a group working together than as individual colleges. Dr. Helminski explained the aspects of cause and effect and the implications that can occur. She went on to show another film clip from the film, City Slickers, of how the grinding of coffee beans caused a cattle stampede - this being a metaphor of the cause and effect which do not appear to be related, but have implications on each other. This also gave a picture of how what is done by one college can impact the whole system.
The audience was then divided into five groups for a game activity, where five envelopes were given to each group. The groups were to represent Maricopa Community Colleges as a system. Each envelope contained pieces to make a square. The smaller goal was for each table to have five complete squares. The larger goal was the entire group to make twenty-five complete squares. Participants could not speak to one another, could not take pieces from another participant, but could give pieces. The activity showed a demonstration of behaviors of people working in a system. At the conclusion, it was noted that some participants finished quickly and helped others, people shared quickly, and one table did not have enough pieces and went looking for others. Laura indicated that one of the hardest behaviors to display in this activity is for a participant to break one complete square apart to help someone else make complete their square.
Carol Scarifiotti went through a list of characteristics in a successful system. She then identified five of these characteristics and asked the audience to break into five small groups to identify driving and restraining forces for them in the Maricopa Community Colleges system. Each small group was given one of the characteristics to discuss and report on. Results from the small groups discussions are as follows:
* Identified as priority
Recorder: Karen Mills and Reporter: Roy Amrein
Characteristic: Communication is open, accurate, clear, complete (no secrets), timely and multi-directional. Communication "loops" are completed; senders and receivers take responsibility for communication.
Driving Forces * A-1/E-Mail - total accessibility of communication flow - improved communication Policy governance Outstanding governing board (dedicated professionals)
Restraining Forces * Failure to duplicate - differing interpretations - inconsistency of information - complexity of information - volume of information Size of District Receiving after-the-fact information Mis-use of total accessibility
Recorder and Reporter: Ron Bleed
Characteristic: In an effective system, every employee is educated in matters of the whole; each knows meanings of information, not just facts; issues are talked through, not merely about.
Driving Forces - Matters of the Whole Clear vision, mission - written version distributed Good electronic communications
Restraining Forces - Matters of the Whole Size of MCCCD Complexity Multiple agendas Time to teach, to participate
Driving Forces - Meanings of Information Understanding is a competitive advantage Information Age Society Quicker access
Restraining Forces - Meanings of Information Complex Multi-function impact
Driving Forces - Issues Talked Through Context Culture Forum
Restraining Forces - Issues Talked Through Lack of time Too many issues Decisions must be timely
Recorder and Reporter: Shirlene Bruce
Characteristic: People identify with and take responsibility for the purposes of the whole organization; they see their responsibilities as going beyond their job description.
Driving Forces * Share a vision * Employees are passionate about District's purpose Caliber of employees Empowerment Competitiveness (ex.: MCCCD vs U of Phoenix) Some structure Renewal
Restraining Forces * Job classification (re-classification) * System does not reward going beyond job (no merit element) Employee policy groups Time Competitive (individuals/parts) Burn out
-Recorder: Carol Wilson and Reporter: Stan Grossman
Characteristic: Change is common and as natural and uncontrollable as growth of a living thing. Maintaining "status quo" is not valued as an end in itself.
Driving Forces * Sharing of knowledge and understanding * System for rewards, support for risk taking Open communication Change is inevitable Attitude
Restraining Forces * Individual's lack of knowledge, specialization * Existing measurement system for "success" Closed minds Comfort factor of known Existing policies/processes Existing funding system Attitude
Recorder and Reporter: Arnette Ward Characteristic: People focus on the "big picture", that is they solve problems rather than shifting them to another place in the organization; make decisions, and view their job world from the perspective of "what is in the best interest of the organization for the long term?" Although "quick fixes" are readily available, they are not elected over long-term systemic solutions.
Driving Forces * Knowledge about the whole system Individuals have to be unselfish Good communication When basic needs of employees are being met A philosophy of relationships - "we" rather than "I"
Restraining Forces * Poor communication * Philosophy of individualism Lack of knowledge The division of labor which creates job titles, which creates hierarchy Competition: concerned about individual survival rather than "big picture"
Comments following the small group reporting:
Laura Helminski indicated that the purpose for the conversation was to designed to begin the process to explore and think about Maricopa as a thinking system. Linda Rosenthal suggested that some of the restraining and driving forces be further explored. Don Campbell suggested that further discussion and conversations be held at the campuses and that the public be involved, as they are part of the larger system. Other suggestions given included that a systems approach be practiced, perhaps on a smaller, pilot scale, and that Maricopa as a system be looked at as part of a state-wide system with distance learning, etc. In response to an inquiry as to what Rio Salado is doing in the way of training or practicing systems thinking, Carol Scarifiotti indicated that Rio has a SMART Team, a group of individuals who have gone through systems thinking training and that this team has done some marvelous work.
No plus/delta was conducted.
The meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.