Eastern Iowa Community College chancellor’s search violates own values, faculty say | local education
Some faculty members at Eastern Iowa Community Colleges say its board of trustees is mishandling the search for a new chancellor.
Just days after announcing the names of two finalists for the top job at the EICC on March 31, the board held a last-minute meeting on Saturday and voted to expand the search instead.
A new timeline has been set in the search for a chancellor for the Eastern Iowa Comm…
In an unsigned “statement of concern”, faculty members criticized the handling of the research extension, saying the process violated EICC’s core values and professional standards. Four faculty members spoke to the board at this week’s meeting and referenced the statement.
They also criticized the administration of the EICC.
Faculty members allege:
• The board did not provide email notification to university communities of the Saturday meeting at which the search for a chancellor was extended. This was contrary to the stated objectives of collaboration and communication.
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• The meeting was held via Zoom read-only, meaning faculty, staff, students, and community members had no say in the decision. This, again, they say, violated the EICC’s stated values and standards of communication and collaboration.
• The last two nominees nominated on March 31 were no longer final nominees three days later, due to the board vote. The dismissal was unfair to candidates Dr John Maduko and Dr Ellen Bluth, the statement said.
“To treat Dr. Bluth and Dr. Maduko with the dignity, empathy, care and kindness that professional standards enshrine, the public forums already announced should have been allowed to continue,” the statement said. “The college community should have had the opportunity to meet with these two highly qualified candidates before deciding whether or not additional candidates were needed.”
Faculty members also said the board’s decision to reject the last two nominees ran counter to EICC’s strategic priorities related to diversity and equity. One candidate is a woman and the other is a black man.
“It seems the problem wasn’t so much that there were two candidates; instead, the problem became that there were only those two candidates,” the statement said.
The two finalists vying to lead the Eastern Iowa Community College district are sch…
The new timetable for the Chancellor’s search also excludes from participation those who have a 165-day contract with the EICC, the statement said. As timing delays the final decision, those who wish to contribute will not be compensated for their involvement, the statement concludes.
In response, the board issued the following statement: “It is important for us to listen to the concerns expressed in this statement regarding the Chancellor’s research, and we are committed to working with all of our stakeholders to ensure that the college is ready to meet the needs of our students and our communities, now and in the future.”
The statement said the trustees “welcome and encourage feedback from faculty, staff, students and the community in the public forums that will be held for each of the final candidates for chancellorship during the first week of June.”
The professors who spoke on Monday also criticized senior administration, which they say excludes faculty, staff and students from college decisions. One speaker referred to a “disconnect” between administration, faculty and staff.
Administration officials responded Tuesday in a statement.
“We know we could not fulfill our mission without the dedicated faculty and staff who lead with passion and determination both inside and outside the classroom, and we are grateful for their willingness to voice their concerns and seek solutions, together,” the statement said. bed. “Like many organizations, the EICC has faced challenges, and we recognize that there have been times when we may not have done quite well. This has been especially true during the pandemic , when quick decisions needed to be made in order to keep the organization moving forward.”
But while “the complexity of the EICC can be challenging, with our many diverse sites and communities, it is also one of our greatest strengths,” according to the statement from the EICC administration.
“Gathering feedback from all stakeholders is key to our success and we are committed to not only listening to concerns but, more importantly, to improving the way we communicate and work together,” the statement said.
Amy Foley, a doctoral-level faculty member at Scott Community College for a decade, said the administration would be wise to solicit or accept feedback from faculty and staff.
“When we give a voice, you’ll gain a more holistic perspective,” she said.
After the quartet spoke, instructor Stephanie Newell pointed out that they had a combined 70 years of teaching experience at the EICC, but said they were “nervous wrecks”, if addressing the Board of Directors. Their discomfort, she said, should demonstrate the uncomfortable relationship between the board and some faculty and staff.
Board Chairman Robert H. Gallagher thanked the speakers but appeared to dismiss the seriousness of their concerns, saying the issues were something he “will likely discuss with the next chancellor.”
The search for a new Chancellor has been ongoing since current Chancellor Don Doucette announced earlier this year that he would retire on July 1. Doucette has served as district chancellor since 2011.