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Criterion Committees:
Criterion 1
Criterion 2
Criterion 3
Criterion 4
Criterion 5





Criterion Chair, Writers and Executive Group Retreat
Room HC 3
January 19, 2005

Present: Dr. Solley, Dean Kakar, Brent, Marian, Nancy, Patricia, Denny, Ann, Mike, Karen, Queta, Judy, Don, Linn, Sara

Meeting Notes:


12:30              Lunch
1:00 – 1:30    Dr. Solley Opening Remarks
                       Timeline update
1:30 – 2:45    Diane Nyhammer input on writing samples sent
2:45                Break
3:00 – 4:00    Cross-cutting themes
                        Process and deadlines

The retreat began with a welcome by Brent and everyone introducing themselves and what their role is.

Dr. Solley began her opening remarks by congratulating everyone for the work they have done thus far. She has served as a consultant evaluator since the 1990s because she wanted to give back and learn more. She noted that it is admirable to see what has been done and that there has been only one chair for the whole process. It really is a self-study; opening yourselves up and collectively looking at the recommendations that come from that self-study. The next step is to take those recommendations to the next level – probably PCLC. Dr. Solley noted that it is important to take a look at what other institutions are doing. We may want to consider inviting other institutions to talk to us, especially Paradise Valley Community College since their evaluation is in February. It is helpful to learn from the other consultant evaluators in Maricopa. To learn from these other evaluators we may want to consider having a mock review in the fall with some of the Maricopa consultant evaluators. The evaluation needs to be based on data; every aspect of the self-study should focus on data, evaluation, anything that can be used as support. Dr. Solley did note that if we decide to stick to the timeline we need to be mindful that the April document may need to be a draft draft. She also mentioned that an Electronic Library is key for consultant evaluators. This library will have any document that is mentioned in the self-study so that if the evaluators have questions they can just look it up. Dr. Solley noted that as issues arise, it may be helpful to keep a running list of what they are. Then those issues will be looked at and addressed.

Dr. Solley then allowed some time for questions and any issues. (Her responses are in italics)

1. Have you ever seen a campus that has five different writers to each community?

No, hasn’t, but it doesn’t say that it can’t work, have very strong writers. I have seen where writers have been hired and have also seen where the faculty writes up the report.

2. One issue that is unmistakable is the change in high level leadership. It is important to address this and make sure to note it in the self-study report.

3. One difficulty has been having the new criteria and not knowing what exactly HLC is looking for. Looking forward to see what information other Criterion 3 reports have and how they are written out.

4. Another issue has been what do they mean by evaluation? This has been a struggle.

For everything that you write and do, you need to ask so what?

5. There is a sense of an incomplete process at PC; the loop has not been closed. Not sure the campus has had a chance to ask what they want assessment to do for them.

We need to think of different ways to elevate these discussions and address those with other committees on campus.

6. There is a lot of data, but it isn’t dispersed to the campus as a whole. That does not allow for campus wide discussion as to what it means and what its purpose is. What does this mean for us?

To deal with these things we can consider having forums, dialogue days to address these issues.

7. Some departments are doing assessment, but we need to look at how to do assessment as a whole campus, not just individual departments?

For the self-study we do need to also toot our own horn, it is a balancing act. When the team comes they want to be sure that whoever they talk to knows what the self-study is. Need to look at how to make them aware, i.e. breakfast meetings. Need to find different ways to get this out there besides just the newsletter.

Moving on to the next topic: the timeline. There is a new and revised timeline, which everyone received. On this timeline everything that has been completed has been shaded. In the second column of the timeline are the people that are responsible.

Top of page three of the timeline is where we are now. We have already received confirmation of our dates for the visit. Remember to save March 24 for Dianne Nyhammer’s visit. She is willing to do what we feel is most beneficial after she meets with the President. Maricopa has three liaisons, Diane is one. It is very important to get the word out for this visit in March.

It is a good idea to have students on the Steering Committee, possibly up to four, one from each of the different areas: academic, occupational, night, etc. There are more specific timelines for writing which we will go over later.

The next thing discussed was the feedback from Diane regarding the drafts that were sent to her. Before the drafts were sent Brent, Marian, Nancy and Patricia went through them and tried to pick out what is evaluative language and have Diane comment on that. Good news is that she said that this is very definitely evaluative. She said there is a whole page that is evaluative that wasn’t marked as such. So we took evaluative language to heart and overachieved on that. Brent visited with her for about an hour last semester and that had been her main comment then, to get from descriptive to evaluative. She went through the two documents that everyone has copies of. Documents that we put together have to all have the same voice - whole document needs to look like it was written by the same person, same team. It will make committee writing easier and faster because you won’t have to worry about formatting. To format and edit the parts turned in will be the job of the main writers, Marian and Brent. There is a process that will be followed to ensure that what wants to be said is said. Diane also said to not assume that the reader knows the background, make sure to explain everything that we mention and not assume that they know what we mean. When writing, pretend to not know anything about PC. Be sure to address the transition issues that have been going on since the last self-study. Those transitions have caused little wrinkles, but it has not affected the college or the students, so make sure to make mention of that as evidence that we are doing what we are supposed to. Last thing, a general rule was to be careful of rhetorical complexity – flowery language, extras, analogies, etc. They want specific, to the point - this is what we did, this is the criteria, yes we meet it and this is how or no we don’t meet it and this is why. Also, be careful of outlines and implied hierarchies. Totally concerned that used primary, secondary concerns, it may seem like concerns equals problems, but it doesn’t. Watch the words that you choose. She really didn’t have any criticisms, more like suggestions and things that she didn’t understand.

Details from each chapter:

Criterion 4, Chapter 12 – good job of analysis and evaluation:

  • Whole last paragraph on page 1 should be somewhere else, should not be within the chapters, this information needs to be in the introduction or appendix, but not in the body of the structure.
  • Overview was good, rhetoric too complex, too much going on – needs to be more to the point, direct.
  • Liked the description of information literacy, excellent example. But where it says that penalties are vague, may want to put in what we are going to do to deal with this and may want to say handbook will be revised to reflect that.
  • State that you met with other departments and what resulted from that, from page 3-4.
  • Show that there will be follow up.
  • Liked page nine.
  • Don’t make the committee hunt for anything and don’t assume anything.  

A question from all of this is should it be the people who are writing the chapters who decide what should be linked to and what should go there? This may be easier to do once the document is finished or almost finished.

Criterion 5:

  • It isn’t a continuing education chapter! Quoted Steve Crow who says this.
  • Said it’s very good, didn’t have comments on what was in here, but did mention not only do we have external but also internal councils. Include all partnerships and connections with the entire district.
  • Basic message is we have a lot of connections, many within the college, how have you maximized these connections?
  • How we focus on reaching out beyond the college experience for students.
  • Her comment on the continuing education piece was from other colleges, not that she saw it in this chapter.

It is reassuring to hear these comments from an outside person. It makes it easier to continue writing now that we know, instead of continuing without knowing for sure. Remember, there has to be some description, but not excessive. We have to make sure that we put down and give evidence of what is going on. Having the whole document out is best to get feedback and to make sure that we aren’t missing any vital areas.

Regarding the Crosscutting themes, we talked to Paradise Valley Community College and they did not even address them. They didn’t have a separate section. So it may be a good idea to point it out as we are writing our components. Instead of having a separate chapter, we should mix it between all of the criteria. Know them well enough so that in data gathering and writing you can point them out with a sentence or two.

Faculty Practices Survey was distributed to all faculty on campus. We had about 240-260 responses, sent out about 700-750, including adjunct. This gives us a return rate of 30%. The survey was to find out about the practices that are going on on campus. This is a real draft and numbers are still being added. The answers can be divided into residential, OYO, OSO, etc. allowing us to pull data by employee category. Complaints about the nature of the survey or the survey itself have not been heard. Looking at some of the results:

  1. We did well in the first section. Have high average of people who have all these policies written.
  2. It is an issue. 107 reported that they have not had problems.
  3. Numbers are low, but that is expected because not every department does this
  4. A lot of people do this, but a lot also asked what is this?
  5. Did not discuss
  6. Did not discuss
  7. Missing means they did not answer the question

Report Template: if we are going to meet the April 16 deadline, we are 13.5 weeks away. This is based on what we heard from Diane. We added objectives based on what Diane said (4 objectives).

The template is:

  1. Tell us what the core component is and does PC meet it or not.
  2. If it does, then go to #3, and do a and b. Each criterion may want to do as Karen did and mention that we have a lot of examples, but these 2-4 are what we selected. An appendix can then be added listing the other examples.
  3. If we are not meeting the criteria, then need to talk about why it isn’t and what we are doing to fix it.

Regarding question 4, second part – when a committee finds a gap or concern, it is not committee’s responsibility to resolve it, it IS up to them to move it to a place where it can be resolved, and note what body is addressing it, saying we have given it to XYZ to review.

This is solely related to the core components.

This template replaces C on the old outline. The other sections (a,b) may be revised, compiled into one.

As each is writing they are responsible for deciding if they want to bullet, what they want to explain, etc.

After talking with Diane yesterday the committees were divided into two groups; criterions 3 and 4, and criterions 1,2, and 5. A timeline was made for each group in order to get the report written in rough draft by April 16. From the timeline given to each group we are assuming that nothing is written, but if it has been then go from there.

Would it be better for the committees not to write the intros and summaries but allow the writers to do this? It is a good idea, and can be done. It may be better to have someone else write them since they require having a bigger picture. Let the committee review those before they are finalized.

We need to identify some better processes for things that are coming up from the self-study.

How many pages are we looking at for each criterion to be? Shorter is better than longer, and if you’re careful in how you present it, it will be shorter.

In closing the group decided that a retreat in the summer is necessary. The group agreed on having it June 29th, 9:00 – 4:00. The summer retreat will be to analyze what feedback has been received and what things we have noticed in the report, as well as where to go from there. In the morning the group can review what has been done and in the afternoon where we are going. We may want to reserve B121 or 122 for the retreat.

Brent closed the retreat mentioning his appreciation to everyone for the work that they have been doing and noting that everybody holds a critical role in this.


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