MARICOPA COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
NOVEMBER 6, 2009
A retreat of the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board was scheduled to be held at 8:30 a.m. in the Governing Board Room at the District Support Services Center in Tempe, Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice having been duly given.
Colleen Clark, President
Randolph Lumm, Secretary
Debra Pearson, Member
Don Campbell, Member
Jerry Walker, Member
CALL TO ORDER
The retreat was called to order at 8:47 a.m. by Governing Board President Colleen Clark. Ms. Clark welcomed everyone to this retreat which would include an opportunity for discussion of the fine points of the report submitted by the Consulting Team for the HLC Complaint. The two facilitators, Norm Nielsen and Wayne Newton, would have an opportunity to use their expertise gained over the years in the community college setting. She encouraged board members to have an open mind as they moved forward. She stated that there were points she personally disagreed with in the HLC report.
Dr. Nielsen and Mr. Newton provided biographical information on themselves prior to beginning the discussion scheduled for the morning. They called attention to copies of the extended agenda which included questions they would be asking and indicated these would be the basis for their discussion. The purpose would be to establish a plan to address issues raised by the Consulting Team that investigated the complaint filed with the Higher Learning Commission. Mr. Newton stated that he has conducted over 300 different board retreats in the last five years and oftentimes has visited one board as many as five times. He stated the situation faced by the Maricopa Board was solvable. It was a matter of finding the solution that would work in helping them get a grasp of the mission and then they would become advocates. Finding process defects could include finding many things that can be changed. He explained that he would be utilizing a flipchart to post ideas offered by board members and at the conclusion of the day’s retreat, he would use an affinity model.
Chancellor Dr. Rufus Glasper thanked the Board for their attendance which would provide the opportunity to have a conversation to address the Consulting Team’s report and findings. This was the first of three retreats intended to be held and it was his desire to respond to the HLC by February 15th. It has been questioned if this report can have an affect on accreditation. Whatever we do now will determine whether the HLC will take any action. It is his hope that we will have a very open discussion and delineate how to move forward.
Opening Comments by Board Members:
Randolph Lumm: Policies are in place with procedures, and it has been recommended that Robert’s Rules of Order, as well as Civility, be added.
Dr. Don Campbell: Commented that this year several new members joined the Board. This has had an impact as we look at what has happened. As he looks back on his own experiences, he and former board member Linda Rosenthal also did a lot of debating and discussing. As time went by he began to realize that the Board had policies, as did the Administration. As board members pulled back, the District then began to operate better. As the District grew, the Administration continued to run the operations, and the Board set policies. There is a need to pull back on egos and let the Administration do the administering of the District.
Debra Pearson: No comments
Norm Nielsen: Stated he really wanted to hear from board members and the chancellor on any questions they might have. The format is to get issues on the table. They were not here to dissect the consulting team’s report but rather based on questions to get reactions from board members as to how they want to answer questions and rationale. He stated he would ask questions and then call on each one to comment. Hopefully by doing this the Board could come to some conclusions.
Question #1: Do you believe that good governance and providing educational opportunities can benefit the Maricopa Community?
Dr. Campbell: We have to understand that we are all on the same page when we speak of good governance. Some may see it as being administrative and some as policy makers.
Wayne Newton: Need to compare it to a commission. In this case it is working as a team with board members and a chair.
Dr. Campbell: Good governance would benefit students and using money wisely.
Randolph Lumm: Don’t have additional thoughts than Dr. Campbell. Good governance is beneficial to the county. Board members need to be educated on policies.
Norm Nielsen: Cedar Rapids used to have a Commission and then transitioned to a Council and Mayor. He has observed that we have to be careful as to judgment. The Chancellor has authority similar to a Commissioner. Board Chair feels like the authority. Other than calling meetings to order they don’t have any more power than other board members. The Board remains in policy-making role.
Colleen Clark: Nebulous in the lines of what we always did. Means to an end. This is what we have friction with. Policies in place and A&M is looking at a dashboard. Simply not monitoring self. Need to monitor behavior, civility, and collegiality. Need to demonstrate to those that are watching.
Norm Nielsen: Perception can be a reality. Perception is that there are problems out there.
Jerry Walker: Education that we offer can benefit community and United States. Maricopa is the largest district in the world. Concern is that we educate and not indoctrinate. We need to teach how to think, not what to think. Modify the way we do things in the past and comments that threaten people.
Norm Nielsen: That is all part of change. Boards express on Vision, Mission, and Values and need to be incorporating it into what is there. Use a team approach and one of compromise and open-mindedness and hear all sides of argument.
Jerry Walker: Compromise needs to be on both sides.
Debra Pearson: Stated she wanted to show agreement with Dr. Campbell on definition and interpretation. A broad statement is easy to answer appropriately. Is sure that in their own heart and mind their intent is in the best interest of MCCCD and community. The question begs definition. Each board member needs to define in their own mind what it means.
Norm Nielsen: As you get into major issues, somehow we have to figure how to get through the process on how we come to some agreement and closure, and not go into some sort of tangent because of own views. Through dialogue and following process, come to agreement and not personal attack.
Dr. Glasper: Good governance can connect us to the community. Need to have a common mental model regarding our mission and purpose. Need to look at what we have in place as a community college and, if necessary, change as appropriate. The planned community forums will look at the mission and vision and values.
Norm Nielsen: Given the nature of a five person board, there are five versions of what good governance is.
Dr. Glasper: This is an opportunity to set a new vision/mission/values. The opportunity to share the district strategic plan with our Governing Board had not presented itself before September 8. Will work with the Board for a structured schedule.
Question #2: Do you agree/disagree that all or parts of the Consulting Team findings reflect the Board’s conduct?
Norm Nielsen: There is a need to look at total body as a board, not as individuals. Come to some kind of strategy that allows district to operate better. MCCCD has an outstanding reputation and no one wants to distract from that. There is a concern from HLC that there is something wrong. You cannot afford to put accreditation on the line.
Wayne Newton: Trustee Shumway referred to Arizona Statutes and accreditation needs. Compliance with law must be in place. Obligation to accreditation committees.
Jerry Walker: Accrediting Board needs to understand that they have an obligation to us.
Randolph Lumm: The theme that we have to improve our communications. There is merit to findings. We do need to improve.
Norm Nielsen: There is a large list of recommendations. Does board need to pay attention to them? Secondhand information. Does not go into great detail.
Jerry Walker: Believe we had some information that has some derogatory effects on us. Subjective and not objective at all. They lambast us. Some of it was subjective and not objective. Reflection that part of what they did was negative and reflects their lack of judgment. Imperfect world. There are things that we have done right.
Debra Pearson: Agree with report.
Colleen Clark: There are things we can do better. Opportunity for us to move forward from systems to one vision/mission and voice for the board. Image and reality are not the same.
Norm Nielsen: Moving forward is the key because we cannot ring the bell again.
Don Campbell: The team that visited had tremendous experience in education. They did not just drop in here and not have background. Those same people talked with people before they came to their conclusions based on information they received from people in this district based on their experiences at the community college
Wayne Newton: They would not ruin a college deliberately.
Dr. Glasper: Agrees with report. This was an independent team that made an assessment. Comments made were experiences shared by those that spoke to the team. Believe that the information received and conduct of some Governing Board members is as demonstrated. Comments such as “If you think that we micromanaged before, you haven’t seen anything yet!” There is merit in listening to the concerns. No one needs to be in that type of environment. People make mistakes. Cannot send a message of fear through an organization.
Norm Nielsen: What we don’t realize is the Governing Board’s positional authority. As President I was pretty open but for trustees to go out and confront or demand is inappropriate. The organization will not work. How many employees they come in contact with and they have to wonder if there is trust or if they feel threatened.
Wayne Newton: Reflect on “Micromanaging.” Not black or white. It is what you need it to be in MCCCD. Changes every time the board changes. Create awareness of what that is. Trustees should ask “Are we in your space?” If yes, then back off. Need to see how things work here. Dr. Glasper is a bean counter. When it comes to numbers that is how he is wired. If a program comes forward and one board members knows about this, then Dr. Glasper needs to be open to what is being offered. Always could be a way that we could be violating a principle. What is policy and what administrative?
Norm Nielsen: A team cannot add objectivity and some subjectivity. We have to give attention to the report if there is going to be improvement.
Question #3: Do you agree/disagree that some of the Board’s actions have negatively affected the MCCCD’s image?
Question #4: Do you agree/disagree that some of the Board’s conduct could affect future enrollment and the revenue sources?
Colleen Clark: Would agree that there is negativity from board actions and behavior. Need to think about how to work with that. There have been so many different voices on the board that would create fear and distrust. Creates lack of credibility and authenticity. A&M can come and link information of consulting team’s findings towards goal of student success. Focus of end goal.
Jerry Walker: If you were to ask Dr. Glasper to go for a major bond campaign, how would it work out? We are in an awesome office.
Debra Pearson: Has negatively affected image and revenue sources and bond sources.
Don Campbell: In looking at 3 and 4, he goes to different district locations and has talked with people in the last year or so, and has gotten more negative comments about board member comments. In 2004 we received support from 74% of the public in Maricopa County when they voted in favor of the bond. Would probably not get that support today. We could be affected drastically unless we change our attitude.
Randolph Lumm: Have been to a few colleges. When one board member attacks another, how it affects enrollment. If we ask them for money, then we need to spend it wisely.
Jerry Walker: Some board actions have negatively affected these. Have to preface with comment that items 3 &4 are unnecessary. Don’t have to agree with each other 100%. Three or more making a comment that they agree, then other two need to support the decision. No right to dissent or demean. Have been outspoken on occasion and to my personal regret it has been taken out of context. Is human. Response as to what they say. We want to make sure that we do as little damage as possible. When we have an individual that is outspoken about the Board, then that is distracting to board.
Dr. Glasper: Agrees with both statements and how they affect both. In last 2-3 years there have been in place more incidents than we would like. If we have not been able to address, Board took affirmative steps to address these issues. How do we get back to 2004 when we were able to pass that bond? Business community is behind us but broader community may not be. Students coming to us because of costs. Need to let them know that we are the best choice. Need to demonstrate integrity to community. Unless we pull together collectively.
Norm Nielsen: Did not mean to imply that trustees making contact with communities but rather that they should not be directing things. People do come with expertise that can benefit colleges. Fully respect that people have different opinions. Ask for that when you vote for them. What is the behavior in letter to editor blog, if you want to change image. Obligation not to badmouth because you do not agree.
Wayne Newton: I would think that it is essential to let college presidents know that you are on campus. Anytime we are acting out of the norm. Strong conduct is being assessed every time you are out there. Body language is sending a message. You want to empower the Chancellor to be the best administrator he can be. How do you get back to 2004?
Colleen Clark: Board changes all the time. Much different economic level in marketplace.
Wayne Newton: Cycles have been going on since time began. This is not new. Challenges have always been synonymous. Think seriously about what we can do to recreate collegiality.
Colleen Clark: The idea that the Board is changing and evolving as we look at the principle. Continuity is passed on policies and procedures.
Norm Nielson: There are some things in the report you agree with, perception is a reality, and certainly perception is out there. If we believe that we are not in the same popularity as 2004, what do we do to change that image if we lost that public support?
Jerry Walker: As he is out in the community, people ask him “Are you going to come to us with a public request?” Everything that we see and do is open to public disclosure. If they don’t give us a public bond increase, the economy itself is part of that picture. If the economy does not improve, no matter how well the team is working together a bond will not pass. Multiple factors enter into this passage.
Wayne Newton: A very positive image does control the passage of bond issues.
Norm Nielsen: How are we going to fix it?
Jerry Walker: You don’t say you agree with everything but you don’t agree with one thing. What do we need to do to correct image?
Randolph Lumm: Two areas we need to address are civility – be polite and enhance civility policy. Defaming when we overstep our bounds in what is appropriate behavior at meetings or away from meetings. Need to focus on trustee professional development, civility, and respectable behavior and when you are stepping out of bounds.
Norm Nielsen: Do not get on the attack. Say, “I don’t agree with you but . . “ When we are demanding, sometimes that is costing the District time.
Jerry Walker: How do we clear up expectations? I want to know something. Act as a board to move forward. Clarifying through parliamentary process. Time and expenses are important.
Colleen Clark: In January, Debra Pearson suggested that we start a top ten list so that we understood loose ideas come out of that. Spun into a lot more requests for information and then grew into efficiency study.
Debra Pearson: Efficiency and effectiveness study was created in December. Would like clarification on that. After lists were created something had to come out of them. How we are pursuing. Two way conversation between Chancellor and board members. That has to be a two way street. Address dashboard needs.
Norm Nielsen: How do we accomplish that (improve image and credibility)?
Don Campbell: Go to the various election districts and have public hear us and make presentations to them. Additional meetings for board members to go to communities.
Norm Nielsen: Do you ever go out and hold meetings at the colleges? Might get people that never come to meetings.
Debra Pearson: The District used to have study and work meetings. We need to move these informal meetings to different areas in which we serve.
Dr. Glasper: We don’t do study sessions any more. This year when we are putting together the calendar we looked at putting together study sessions but no topics came forward.
Debra Pearson: The schedule has not been followed. Held at different locations.
Colleen Clark: Consistency on fourth Tuesdays and maybe at beginning of year when board members said “let’s understand and we will commit to meetings.” Board had desired to understand. Erratic meetings. Board wanted to commit to understanding.
Dr. Glasper: What the Board wanted to have addressed was not planned on the calendar.
Colleen Clark: Different from the past. There was a commitment to understanding who we are as a district.
Wayne Newton: Difficult for staff to put together. Set a schedule. Communication is everything. Doubt and suspicion enter when routine meetings do not take place. There is an average of 100 formal hours/year to service when serving on a board.
Dr. Glasper: From agenda perspective we were given permission on September 8 when the strategic plan presentation was made. The previous strategic plan was adopted by a different board. What began to occur is that the Board did look at their top ten items and thus became the items that were explored at the board meetings. This was different to other years. One month we had five meetings.
Norm Nielsen: Three factors have occurred: budget cuts, efficiency study, HLC. This is a different board.
Debra Pearson: Out of twelve boards that she has served on, more were start-up boards and leadership capacity.
Norm Nielsen: We will be having two more retreats. One will be after the efficiency report.
Colleen Clark: How do your other boards respond that come on board with their curiosities and maintain adopted schedule. Recognizing that they need adaptability and flexibility.
Wayne Newton: Time and place for everything. If not lucky, it will explode.
Debra Pearson: Return to positive image, the image of 2004. How do we get back to that. We have to put into place requirements of what it takes to be a leader and what leadership is.
Norm Nielsen: It cannot be personal or going to public with views that are opposed. It is not going to benefit district or students. They can only change.
Colleen Clark: Anything that is stated to Rufus Glasper is something that comes as a Board. Agenda to get rid of him is not appropriate. An individual board member is not the Board. Nothing should be said such as “I am the board of Maricopa.”
Question #5: Do you agree/disagree that some of the Board’s conduct could have a negative effect on future hiring?
Debra Pearson: In San Francisco at ACCT, I heard comments such as: How long is it before the Board runs off the most talented Chancellor in the country? Do you want to come to Maricopa – no way? This is hurting our District.
Wayne Newton: You need to restore the image that you support him. Need to have the notoriety that MCCCD had at one time.
Don Campbell: Sometimes we make comments and we assume it is a generalization and yet others may want to come to MCCCD. We must continue to improve our positive image.
Jerry Walker: Confronted by individual at Dallas. She would love to come to MCCCD. Board conduct could have effect on future hirings. If you want to affect someone, you will.
Colleen Clark: Generally we are going to attract various types. Can be quickly revealed. Elected to non-partisan role. When we are outside of Maricopa, talk about it as a board.
Rufus Glasper: Two presidential hires open now. The fact that there is a Chancellor that reports to Board, as long as there is someone in between us there is not much of a problem. Different impacts. Terms of other employees and levels of comfort and security. What happens if the Chancellor is not here? If they could rally around a Chancellor they could trust. If he was replaced could they trust one another? What are the steps that the Board needs to take to trust the Chancellor and trust each other? Need to have a plan that gives future candidates and current employees that is predictable and consistent.
Norm Nielsen: Those things are when they could put trust in place. Can build camaraderies that are not in existence.
Wayne Newton: Has worked with President types who get their feet on the ground. Need to encourage people to become community college administrators. How you interact with each other and staff.
Question #6: Do you agree/disagree that Board discipline is a Board responsibility?
Jerry Walker: Discipline. None could resolve. Three board members he trusts implicitly. Not sure of that anymore. Person not being trusted, it is that person’s responsibility to make themselves responsible.
Don Campbell: One of the things that he tried to put out when the consulting team was here, a problem we have on our board, is our egos. We have to think as a group, not as individuals. Need to work together for benefit of taxpayers and students. We are a team and not individuals. Needing time to get to that point. As time goes by we are beginning to reach that level. We have to keep working on this.
Randolph Lumm: Need to change things that we can such as civility policy and remind each other when we are acting out of order. Need to be respectful even though we don’t agree. How to approach and help them to understand when they have question and get them to understand. Can do with policy, sanction policy.
Debra Pearson: Cannot have a sanction policy. Board’s responsibility.
Norm Nielsen: Chancellor is not going to be affected. Board has to address. Policy cannot speak to them but it is Board responsibility.
Wayne Newton: You create that type of relationship. There are things that you can do.
Colleen Clark: In the event that it is important that the Board needs to very thoughtfully look at what it would like to look like. After Board self-evaluation there was no interest in addressing consistency or confidentiality.
Question #7: Do you agree/disagree that findings cited in the report are resolvable?
Question #8: Do you agree/disagree that working as a team with the Administration, Faculty and Staff will result in improved service to students and the Maricopa community?
Don Campbell: No question in his mind that working with staff will benefit students and district. We all need to recognize that we have egos and need to work together. Accept the fact that we are capable of making mistakes. We may disagree but you accept and move on.
Norm Nielsen: Whenever we add new trustees, we need to set aside egos. Personally egos will cause a breakdown.
Debra Pearson: Absolutely. When a team is working together, the organization is bound to be successful. In terms of ego, one of the big issues that we confronted was when we wanted to have a company come, it was very difficult to accept this decision.
Norm Nielsen: Yankee team right now?
Jerry Walker: Yes.
Randolph Lumm: Agree. Avoid triangulating. Not helping anyone. This will destroy the organization.
Norm Nielsen: Triangulating is prevalent in middle and senior high schools. Need to put aside and work as a team.
Colleen Clark: Agree
Rufus Glasper: Agree
Wayne Newton: When board working unanimously, if board chair would recognize how board came to that conclusion, describe that process.
Question #9: Do you agree/disagree that the Board needs further professional development to address/resolve the issues identified by the task force?
Colleen Clark: Agree. Got time to do that.
Don Campbell: Need to spend more time when you can open up and share feelings and emotions and relate to each other. Develop professional relationships.
Debra Pearson: Absolutely.
Jerry Walker: Yes
Randolph Lumm: Can’t change the stripes of a leopard but need to work at this.
Norm Nielsen: Need to go through questions of board members.Establishing Priorities
1. Review and Revise Board Policies As Appropriate: ASAP. January/February 2010
Administration & Board Chair and Board Secretary
6, 1, 1, 3, 6 = 17
2. Dashboard-like Monitoring Display - Geared by A& M (Recruitment, Assessment/Achievement, Retention): Administration & Board Committee. January 2010
3, 3, 6, 1, 3 = 16
3. Method of Improving Board Relationships
1, 6, 3, 6, 1 = 17
No priority. They overlapped. Have to address all of the above.
A: RL #1 CC #1 A=3 6=9
B: RL # JW # B=6 6=12
C: DC #1 C=6 = 6
E: DP #1 RL #1 DC #1 JW #1 CC #1 E=1, 1, 3, 1 = 6
F: DP #1 DC #1 JW #1 CC #1 F=6, 1, 3, 3 = 13
G: 1 =1
I: DP #1 I=3=3
A. Civility Policy – January 1, 2010. Staff, Administration, Board
B. Professional Development – Ongoing. Board Monthly Report – December
C. Board Self-Assessment – ACCT – March 15, 2010. Board Chair, Board, Administration, Legal Counsel & Staff
D. Additional Board Retreat
E. Best Practices – Good Governance Practice – January 30, 2010. Board, Administration, ACCT
F. Ethics – January 1, 2010. Staff, Administration, ACCT
G. Succession Plan – New Officers
H. Move meetings around
I. Annual Board Calendar – Study Session – November 2009. Board Chair, Administration
Issues That Surfaced:
• Revise Board Meeting Schedule as necessary
• Dashboard-like monitoring
• Method of Improving Board Relationships
• Professional Development
• Governance Issues
• Practices and Behaviors
• Open Meeting Violations
• Additional Board Retreat
• New Board Orientation
• Succession Plans for New Officers
Debra Pearson: Thank you.
Jerry Walker: Ideas about direction
Colleen Clark: Good for us to move forward on what we have.
Randolph Lumm: Thanks for putting a target date in place Appreciate the day and ability to set a timeline and what is on for December and January.
Facilitator: Appreciates openness, honesty and integrity. Before now and December 4 think in terms of teamwork and really work to stay away from personal attacks. Don’t let it become personal or go to media. Until December try to function as a team.
Adjournment of Retreat::
The retreat adjourned at 12:40 p.m.
Randolph Elias Lumm
Governing Board Secretary