College given props

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — After more than year of broken trust between the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees, senior leadership and its campus constituent groups, an outside panel Thursday said there was no need for improvement.

The remarks by Constance Carroll — chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, the nation's sixth-largest — mark a turning point for the college, officials said.

“What this means is, a recognition that all of you, your Board of Trustees, your faculty, your classified staff, your student leadership, everyone involved in the governance of this institution has got it right,” she said. “And that will be one of the hallmarks of this report.”

Carroll led a team of 10 educators and administrators from around California as they verified and inspected Glendale Community College for the all-important accreditation renewal through the Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges.

“They set these standards, and it's our job as a college to show that we meet or exceed these standards,” said Jill Lewis, a program manager in instruction services and accreditation liaison officer. “The whole point of this is quality instruction and a continuous cycle of improvement.”

The remarks foreshadow a more formal presentation and report that is slated to be released in June by the larger accreditation commission in Sacramento.

“The recommendations will deal with areas that you've said you're working on, [or are in] need of improvement and we as a team have indicated you need to work on a little bit more,” Carroll said.

And when it came to leadership and governing — the college's Achilles' heel in the last year — Carroll's team would have no recommendations. John Queen, president of the Academic Senate, said it was a vindication for much of the last year spent in open, transparent dialogue aimed at restoring trust.

“It's truly amazing,” he said. “It shows that we truly looked at the [governance issue] square in the face, made adjustments and are all on the same page.”

More than 100 people gathered in the auditorium to hear Carroll's remarks, including John Davitt, the college's president of 21 years who retired in 2006.

“[Everyone] was on the same team, and I think she brought that out because she recognized that as something different here than you'd find at most community colleges,” he said. “And it makes a difference in the product.”

Carroll's team recommended the college emphasize budgetary considerations in its strategic plan, something that administrators have continued to link, President/Supt. Dawn Lindsay said.

The panel also recommended that the college refocus on the 2012 deadline to fully comply with the state's standard for student proficiency.

“You've done a great job, but we're worried about the time frame,” Carroll said.

The team will send its report for fact checking within the next 15 days, the last action until June. Accreditation is typically renewed every six years.

“Glendale Community College is one of California's and one of the nation's premier community colleges,” Carroll said. “[It] is a very special institution. It is strong, and remains strong, because of who you are.”

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