“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him” (David Brinkley). This quote outlines my philosophy of leadership and my response to the article appearing in the Glendale News-Press on March 31 (“Report: Supt. is divisive”).
The article does not reflect that which is current and positive at Glendale Community College. Despite state budget woes, the college will not be laying off any employees, enrollment is up by 8%, obligations to creditors have been met, the college is more prominently and positively being viewed by all of the communities (local, regional, state and national) and we are fiscally solvent and legally compliant.
Over the past three years, we established a 5% general reserve, revised more than 130 of the 200 outdated board policies, brought transparency and accountability to many functions, hired and empowered strong new employees, gave faculty and staff a 7.5% raise in 2006-07, made major strides to fulfill the promises made to the community regarding the Measure G bond (completed the parking structure and health sciences building, and started construction at the Garfield site) and so much more. It is to be noted that this could not have been done without the commitment, hard work and dedication of the faculty, staff and students.
The college, in preparation for the 2010 accreditation visit, has been working to ensure compliance with the Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges accreditation standards. As part of the college’s self-audit, there are three areas (faculty hiring, administrative evaluation and governance) in which the college sought the help of the state technical assistance process. On Jan. 30, the team sent from the state presented an hour overview and then interviewed faculty, middle management and the board. However, during their four-hour visit on that day, the team did not interview the superintendent-president nor the senior staff. The report that the technical assistance team wrote and delivered to the campus March 10 did not address the three issues for which their assistance was requested. Instead, the report focused on other dynamics which, by the time the report was delivered, steps had already been put into place to address.
It is unfortunate that the information that the News-Press printed cast a negative light on an institution that has been the mainstay of education in the community and also sought to discredit the sentiments and hard work of many. Hopefully, as the college continues to transition with new leadership, the focus from all fronts will be on building a stronger foundation.
AUDRE LEVY is a Los Angeles resident and the superintendent-president of Glendale Community College.