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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Administration struggles to bridge gaps with faculty and involvement

Angel Corzo
Students stroll to and from classes across the Campus Bridge on Dec. 4 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The bridge connects the east side of the Main Campus with its west side counterpart.

City College has undergone a number of changes in the past semester, including rentals in the Interdisciplinary Center for Antioch University, an Ocean Collective memorandum to expand ocean-centered education at City College and the college’s commitment to Follett, a provider of course materials and store merchandise, to take over the campus bookstore next semester.

“Every one of those ideas seem to come to the board before there was enough chance for us to know that they were coming,” said Kimberly Monda, Academic Senate president at City College. 

The Academic Senate gives faculty at City College a say on matters regarding academia and professionalism, all of which influence the trajectory of the college.

The awakening approval and signing of contracts brought forth to the Board of Trustees has created concern among City College faculty as to why communication between the administration and the Senate has accumulated into an undermining trend.  

According to Monda, the president and vice president of City College run the majority of the campus, though the key to successfully improving the college and its service to its students is taking into account the “insights and experiences” of faculty and staff. 

As indicated by Erika Endrijonas, superintendent-president of City College, running the college means that every contract that goes through administration does not need to go through the Academic Senate.

“Faculty are not business people. Faculty teach their classes,” Endrijonas said.

Endrijonas questioned where the extent of the Academic Senate’s purview over contracts ends, and stated how nothing in their “ten plus one,” which are the list of circumstances the Senate has influence over, covers the way administration conducts business for the college.

In light of recents agreements the administrations has made, City College’s contract with Follett pertained to the nature of the course materials and the course material prices that Follett provided.

 “We’re not in agreement as to whether or not that’s faculty purview,” Endrijonas said in regards to the authority faculty have over the process of conducting business with Follett. 

According to City College’s Board Policy 2510, all items within the “ten plus one” fall under the Academic Senate’s purview. As stated within the “ten plus one,” one of the matters the Senate holds impact over includes “standards or policies regarding student preparation and success.” 

The compromise between administration and faculty during the final stages of the Follett contract, according to Endrijonas, was an online forum hosted by Vice President Brian Fahnestock. 

“From where I sit, the faculty had concerns, they felt like they didn’t have enough information, so we provided the information,” Endrijonas said.

The online forum for Monda appeared differently than Endrijonas’ vision. 

“It was kind of late, and it was a tough format because we could only do Q-and-A by typing,” Monda said. 

The Academic Senate president shared that although the extra work that compensated for the lack of communication with the administration was difficult, at the end of the day City College benefits from an agreement such as Follett’s to take over the bookstore. However, the process leading up to this was “harder than it needed to be” according to her. 

“Faculty have no interest in seeing all contracts or expertise,” Monda said. 

Nevertheless, passing on information to faculty at an earlier time about contracts that do relate to teaching and students would be Monda’s ideal future for communication with the administration, as well as clear descriptions of the agreements and their purpose pertaining to the Academic Senate purview. 

“Check with the people who are, you know, working with our students in those areas to see if there’s any concerns that somebody up at the VP level just wouldn’t know,” Monda said.

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