Faculty Association Releases Resolution
The OCCC Faculty Association released its resolution to the OCCC Board of Regents firmly asking that more be done to raise the morale of faculty and staff at OCCC and asserting that faculty wants a national search for a replacement for outgoing OCCC President Jerry Steward.
THE FACULTY ASSOCIATION OF
OKLAHOMA CITY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
2020-2021 RESOLUTIONS TO BOARD OF REGENTS
Whereas OCCC’s Faculty Association (FA) acknowledges several positive advancements occurred under the current president’s tenure, the FA also acknowledges that, during that same time, either intentionally or not, a sustained atmosphere of perceived and overt indifference from high-level administrators and fear of retaliation has resulted in historically low morale among college faculty.
OCCC faculty’s ability to work with administrators to resolve these problems has not been productive. Faculty members have worked through all available channels by directly communicating with supervisors, filing grievances against administrators, reporting violations of policy to Human Resources, and by working through the FA Chair to report directly to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs and the college president. These efforts have resulted in few to no positive changes, and, in some cases, brought further retaliation for the faculty bringing forward concerns.
Policy-based and practice-based impediments to communication, including Board of Regents Policy IV-4, the devaluing of input from faculty members and committees on which faculty members serve, and changes regarding committee structure, and fear of retaliation for faculty reaching out to administrators other than their deans, have contributed to these issues. Furthermore, Policy IV-4 lessens the accountability of the president to the Board of Regents.
It has been regular practice over this time for administrative vacancies to be simply filled by appointment and not via hiring committee searches. In these instances, there is little to no input from faculty, staff, or students. It is the opinion of the FA that this prevents/stifles new voices from being heard and results in a few like-minded administrators making the majority of impactful decisions for the faculty, staff, and students.
To address the problem of lack of communication:
Let it be resolved that the FA, therefore, requests a continual, regular means of communication directly between faculty and the Board of Regents and that these mechanisms operate independently of any administrative position or administrative employee at OCCC. Faculty serving in this capacity should be chosen at large by other faculty members and not be appointed by academic division deans or other administrators.
To address the problem of appointments and lack of hiring committees for administrators:
Let it be resolved that the FA requests permanent replacements for administrative positions are the result of national searches and not the result of internal appointments, and that there should be no lowering or ignoring of any standard, be it policy-based or qualification-based, when these hiring decisions are made.
Let it be further resolved that if an interim appointment is necessary in any administrative position, including academic deans, the FA requests that any individual appointed will meet the minimum qualifications for the job and that there should be no lowering or ignoring of any standard, be it policy-based or qualification-based, when these appointments are made.
Let it be further resolved that if an interim dean is to be appointed, the FA requests that willing and experienced faculty member(s) from that division be appointed as interim dean.
To address the problem of the failure of the committee structure as a mechanism to provide faculty input:
Let it be resolved that the administration or the Board of Regents provide question and answer sessions before impactful/significant policies are changed or before changes are made to the committee structure at OCCC, namely for those committees that require faculty participation and/or directly impact students.
To address the problem of Presidential accountability:
Let it be resolved the President should have accountability like all other employees and that Board of Regents Policy IV-4 be reworked to re-establish this accountability.
To address the overall problems that have been the focus of the FA over the past several years and their link to the current administration:
Let it be resolved that the FA supports the Board of Regents in their search and implores the Board to perform a thorough, national search that involves input from students, staff, and faculty throughout the hiring process.
George Risinger, PhD Date