End of a Year ... End of a Decade

President's Message

December 17, 2009

End of a Year …. End of a Decade

Celebrate DVC
One of the best things about the end of a year is the opportunity to take some time for reflection. For DVC this is especially true as people reflect on the many changes that have occurred over not only this past year, but also this past decade. Looking back causes you to look at where you have come from, in relationship to where you are now. In reflecting on our accomplishments at Diablo Valley College, I am truly amazed by how far we have come during my tenure.

Our timeline of progressive change from the inward point of view

August 2008, 62 faculty, staff, administrators/managers, and students attended a four day “leadership-training” seminar on a strengths-based participative approach used in organizational settings known as Appreciative Inquiry (AI).

October 2008, thirty people gathered to share how they had used this information.

January 2009, using the information from the August leadership training, 164 people participated in a day long activity “Wisdom of the Past, Visions of the Future.” 131 people made personal commitments to implement their creative possibilities such as: Emmanuel Akanyirige was going to work on activities that bring more faculty, staff, administration, and students together as a community with a shared goal of student success; Irene Menegas was going to mentor part-time faculty; Ellen Krause was going to enable transformations, inspirations, learning moments; “rocking” students to happen in our larger DVC Community. She was also going to recall our goals and visions more often as we meet in committees; Dave Johnson was going to communicate and collaborate more with my colleagues; and Jennifer Tejada committed to participate in a classroom research network that is multi-disciplinary to be able to talk about teaching – what works, what doesn’t.

February 2009, we were notified by the Accreditation Commission that we had been placed on “Show Cause.” This was determined because four of the five deficiencies identified by the 2002 comprehensive evaluation team were not resolved by the institution and were again identified as deficiencies. The cited deficiencies paraphrased were: governance, integrated planning and budget, program review, curriculum, communication, student learning and achievement (SLOs), and the absence of an updated Technology Plan. An Accreditation Oversight Task Force and six work groups were established and most began meeting weekly on Fridays.

April 2009 at a day-long integrated accreditation work group meeting, more than 80 people around the table were asked what they hoped to accomplish through the accreditation work other than the obvious. The following themes were repeated in many different ways:

  • A progressive institution;
  • A flow-chart on how we do business at DVC;
  • Better feelings about working together;
  • Clearer vision of DVC’s goals for the future and a sense that we’re working together to achieve the goals;
  • Better lines of communication between ourselves and our students;
  • Open and honest dialogue;
  • Appreciation of the different roles and responsibilities and how we integrate together;
  • Mutually value all our responsibilities;
  • Core identities, working for DVC without constituent groups;
  • Communications across all constituent groups;
  • Design a truly premier institution;
  • Focus our energy on students;
  • Peaceful, respectful dialogue to complete our mission to educate;
  • Focus on students and work together effectively;
  • Open and honest dialogue;
  • Fun place to work again;
  • Put down old luggage and see ourselves new;
  • Higher quality education and focus on independent thought;
  • One team to help our students;
  • Integration to make whole, unified, and a realization that we all play an integral role;
  • Information shared in a more structured and comprehensive way;
  • Improvement to support open and sincere dialogue among all;
  • What we’re doing today: to continue open and honest dialogue;
  • Clear decision making process that values everyone;
  • Trust;
  • Equity and trust;
  • Timely decision making;
  • Care about each other as much as we care about ourselves;
  • Develop something that is sustainable;
  • True inputting processes;
  • Respectful college with everyone working together;
  • Transparency and collegiality;
  • Clear understanding of how to best share ideas;
  • Increase participation at all levels;
  • Changes understood and articulated by all members;
  • Simple but effective;
  • Effective and working shared governance structure where all work together;
  • Where we all work together efficiently and share in harmony;
  • Not lose sight of what we are going to work on today.
  • That it is a means not an end.

The goals and ideas we heard that day seemed somewhat lofty at the time, and yet when I look back over the list now, I think most of us would agree that we have made tremendous strides toward accomplishing the items on this list. We should all be extremely proud of how our continued hard work is contributing not only to improving our accreditation status, but also accomplishing our dreams of making DVC a better place to work for all of us, regardless of the role we play.

Based upon the collaborative work done between August 2008 and January 2009, getting to know each other, interviewing each other about our past strengths, and discovering the thoughts and ideas that people had, having the conversations and working together in a non-threatening atmosphere, we created a foundation-model for dialogue to occur. I never guessed at the time of our first AI meetings how useful this core training would turn out to be. Although difficult at times, the work groups and integration meetings were able to have courageous conversations, to form a more collaborative heart and become better at involving a wide range of people with common values.

October 15, 2009 our report was sent to the accrediting commission with resolutions to the five recommendations and responses to two eligibility requirements.

November 2-3, 2009 the accreditation team came to visit and to validate our report. We showed them (and they saw) a whole new DVC! We also presented them with a follow-up report (Addendum One) to the report sent in October, showing our continued work.

December 16, 2009 we filed Addendum Two, showing our continued improvement.

January 6-8, 2010 I will personally attend the Accreditation Commission meeting to answer any questions and to present our testimony regarding DVCs continuous and ongoing progress toward the changes that we are making and the commitment we have for student learning and success.

Meanwhile, during all of our inward work toward change,
many things were happening with the outward manifestation as well

  • We’ve honored our commitment to sustainable solutions with the parking lot repaving project , which included drought resistant landscaping on the islands
  • We’ve moved through the schematic process of our commons project and it continues to go forward
  • We kicked off DVC’s 60th year celebration with the unveiling of our new monument signs at four locations around the campus perimeter
  • We celebrated our 60th year with the athletics department with barbecued ribs and a football game against Santa Rosa where the DVC Vikings were victorious (36-7)
  • We designed a new 60th anniversary logo and sent it out for everybody to used on their e-mail messages
  • We have ceremoniously broken ground on the bus transit center, celebrating with all of our local partners on the project
  • We created a pocket mission statement and have broadly distributed it in publications, on signs throughout the campus, and everywhere else it can fit.

As we look ahead, we know that the state budget will hold further opportunities for us. While we don’t yet know what those specifically will be, what we do know is that we have all learned to work together, share open dialogue even in very difficult conversations, and work through hardship and change. I know we will be able to get through this, and if and when we have tough decisions to make, we know that we are capable of making those together.

Thank you for all you do for students. And may we all have a great and wonderful 2010.

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