FAIRFIELD — As 2014 begins and another semester opens to students, the president of Solano Community College outlined a list of several items – from accreditation to the college’s organization structure – that he considers some of the most pressing issues for this year.
The college continues its trek to remove itself permanently from sanctions after being hammered over the past few years from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Jowel Laguerre said the subject of accreditation needs to be continuously looked at and not just under the watchful eye of the accrediting commission that is monitoring the district.
Following on the accreditation is more critical self-study in the area of faculty peer evaluation. Laguerre said he would like to see a formal negotiated peer-review process put in place.
Laguerre also acknowledged the numerous hirings the college has seen over a recent period and said during a recent speech that “we need to be more rigorous in the selection of qualified candidates and more vigilant in mentoring and evaluating new hires.” He also wants to see an “upgrade in staff and faculty diversity.”
One target of Laguerre is the “interim” titles that have plagued the college for several years. The college came under fire in 2009 from the accrediting commission for its revolving door in administration and for having too many interim or acting titles.
“I share the concern of many of us that we must move away from interims to the re-establishment of permanent hires,” Laguerre said in a written copy of the speech he gave Friday. “But, let me share with you that having had interims (who) are internal employees gives us an opportunity to evaluate the talent pool we have and give our own internal employees an opportunity to showcase their potential as well as to gain experiences to be competitive in a broad search.”
Laguerre said he also has plans to continue working on the college’s student loan default numbers, refining the college’s organizational structure, expanding the Middle College program – the Fairfield-Suisun School District is establishing a program this fall with Rodriguez High School as the host school – and increasing communication between committee representatives and constituents.
During his semi-annual speech to faculty and staff, Laguerre praised many staff, faculty and administrators for their drive that he said wasn’t based on rank, privilege or pay grade. He urged all staff and faculty to strengthen their drive, calling for Solano College to have the best faculty for the students.
“I want a staff that is willing to support the faculty,” he wrote. “I want to support those serious, well-intended ‘drive(s)’ in each of you that will, in turn, vitalize the college as a whole.”
Laguerre said he gives the speeches each semester as a way to set the tone for that semester or year and as a way to share information.
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