As far back as 2019, FRCC started the process of collecting input from employees and students about how it could improve its organizational structure. The administration came to agreement on one major problem at FRCC: disunity. FRCC is made up of three different physical campuses and online, and all of those campuses have different processes and procedures. That makes it difficult for students to find information that they need, and creates barriers where there don’t need to be any. 

For example, “In some cases, students who want to access services like academic support,…or disability support have different processes to follow at each campus,” Jessica Peterson, Director of Public Relations for FRCC, told The Front Page. “They may have to fill out different forms for each campus they attend (including online).”

These issues go beyond student inconvenience. According to one staff member, “I was tasked with building a program at one campus, but that program already existed at another campus, and there was no communication between the two [campuses] to support the new program, and that [communication] would have happened under [a One College] model,” they said. “We missed an opportunity that took us years to correct, to make sure that our programs were aligned so that student opportunities are equal across campuses.”

Knowing all of this, it’s easy to understand why the administration would want to move to a more unified “One College” model. The only question, then, was how exactly the administration was going to go about unifying the college.

Right now, FRCC has one president, four vice presidents, and each campus, including online, has deans that answer to those vice presidents, and department chairs that answer to those deans. Department chairs are the ones who deal with faculty and students directly, also often teaching courses themselves.

Current Model:

Focuses on Science departments.
*These positions have others under them that are not shown by this diagram
***Many of the faculty members under the online chair are shared with departments at physical campuses.

The administration’s current plan for One College starts with changing the roles of vice presidents. Instead of being in charge of an entire campus, they’ll be in charge of one specific thing across the entire college. This means that all academic departments, for all three campuses, will report to one vice president. A similar change will be made to the dean position. Instead of deans focusing on managing the chairs and courses across one campus, the plan is that deans will focus on one particular field, and will be in charge of every course that’s part of that field across the entire college. There will be one “Science dean”, one “English dean”, ect., who will oversee all Science and English classes respectively across the entirety of FRCC. The hope is that this will allow deans to be more focused on, and more informed about, whatever field they’re overseeing, rather than spreading their knowledge thin over multiple different disciplines on one campus. 

The restructuring doesn’t stop at the level of deans, either. The current plan is also to expand entire departments across the college, including the creation of college-wide chairs. Of course, you can’t just combine three departments across the three campuses and online, no chair could ever be reasonably expected to oversee that many faculty. The plan to deal with this is similar to what was done with the deans and vice presidents: division across disciplinary lines. As an example, after the restructuring, there will no longer be four Science departments for the four different campuses. Instead, there will be one Science dean, and four Science chairs, with faculty divided between the deans based on their discipline.

Administration’s Planned Structure

Focuses on a future ‘One College’ Science department.
*These positions have others under them that are not shown by this diagram.
**Exact positions for each discipline have not yet been decided. The positions shown are for demonstrative purposes only.

Those first parts of the restructuring have been relatively uncontroversial. Not a single person that The Front Page reached out to took issue specifically with the unification of deans and vice presidents. A significant number of people, however, took issue with the reorganization of entire academic departments and chairs across the college, and the communication around some of those plans.

“Uniting and standardizing some of our policies and procedures for students for enrollment, advising, and some of those things across the college is a really good move,” one faculty member said. “I think I’m pretty correct to say that most faculty support those moves. Most faculty- and I mean most- are not happy with the cross college academic departments, because we feel like our students are on a campus, and we need to serve [those] students [on that campus]. Collaboration in our department is really important, and for us to do that effectively, being available for students on our campus is important.”

“I think the collaboration across the campuses is a fantastic idea, and having a Dean that’s across the campuses will allow us to do that much more effectively than we ever have,” a faculty member said. “So I’m very much in favor of having college wide Deans, who supervise the chairs, who supervise the faculty. But not the chairs being across the campuses. They are the ones that are on the ground talking to part-time instructors, and talking to students.”

These concerns are not shared by all faculty members, though. Some support the entire plan, including the expansion of academic departments.

“Right now in our structure, the chair and the deans oversee a vast array of programs, because they just happen to be based on physical campuses, and under this new program, it will really provide the chairs and the deans the opportunity to really be subject matter experts,” a faculty member told The Front Page. “I think that students would be best served having a chair that understands the program and the classes that they are part of.”

While some faculty see it as an opportunity for department chairs to focus on one discipline, others see it as a potential point of division that will act as a barrier for interdisciplinary communication.

“To me, what [Dr. Simpson]’s doing is silo-ing us,” a faculty member told The Front Page. “If we split every department into [three or four], we suddenly have … thirty two departments that are siloed, you know? Like now [one discipline]’s apart from [another discipline], right? We never talk to those colleagues because we’re in our own department”

In an email conversation between a number of faculty and the administration, provided to The Front Page, faculty listed some concerns that had previously been raised in a meeting. They were as follows:

  • Faculty morale is already very low post-pandemic, and this reorganization will make it unsustainably lower.
  • Adding “point people” on each campus to deal with student/instructor/facilities issues is just reinventing the chair role, adding an additional level of administration to our departments.
  • This reorganization is a waste of institutional resources that could be used to do more important things.
  • Many of us would be evaluated by a chair who doesn’t know us.
  • Chairs would presumably have to spend at least a couple of days a week on different campuses.
  • There is no physical space for traveling chairs to use while on different campuses.
  • Chairs don’t have the background or bandwidth to run online course development and scheduling in addition to their other duties.
  • Hiring someone to oversee lab coordinators would add additional administration.
  • Adding “point people,” lab coordinator oversight, a fourth chair, etc., will cost a lot more money and be a lot less efficient than the current model.
  • Only 1.7% of students take courses on more than one physical campus. [Additional Context: Depending on the year, ~2% of students take courses at more than one physical campus in one semester. However, ~15% of students will take such a course across their entire academic career.]
  • Coordinating the scheduling of different science courses on the same campus is more important to 98.3% of students than cross-campus scheduling is.
  • Cross-campus scheduling could be facilitated easily within the current department structure.
  • Physical space is much more important to the sciences and requires a chair who understands lab scheduling on each campus.
  • People who teach across more than one discipline would have multiple chairs to deal with and would lose their voice for some of their disciplines.
  • Losing campus-based chairs would increase faculty load, which is already stretched to the limit.
  • Faculty are not being listened to.
  • Our existing communities and culture are not being honored.
  • Concern that [we] haven’t heard a single reason.
  • It appears the change will only improve the role of deans and campus leadership.
  • Belief that a one college model will be detrimental to students.
  • Concern over the timeline.
  • Concern that there is not a plan.
  • Recommendation to have faculty and chairs wait a year before moving to one-college.
  • Most of the examples mentioned are about student support—why are we messing with instruction?

Insight from faculty survey:

Question, Agree/Disagree: Moving to collegewide deans will streamile decision making.

Note: some people contest the accuracy of these survey results. See more below.

Some faculty, though, feel as though there will still be room for that cross-disciplinary communication and collaboration after the reorganization.

“Those chairs [will] sit under a single dean [which will allow for] active conversation and communication,” a faculty member said. “I do think there has to be recognition that there should still be cross [disciplinary] collaboration, and so creating intentional space for that really should be part of the dean’s role.”

This concern over interdepartmental division has prompted a number of faculty members to propose a different model for One College, under which vice presidents and deans will be unified across the three campuses and online, but academic departments and their chairs will stay campus based.

Unofficial “Compromise” Model, Preferred by Some Faculty.

Focuses on Science departments.
*These positions have others under them that are not shown by this diagram

Not all faculty members support this proposed model.

“I think it would be more difficult without the unification of the chairs,” a faculty member told The Front Page. “I think a lot of the conversation…happens at… the faculty and the chair level. So setting up a scaffolding and a system where those levels are collegewide [provides a significant benefit]”

The Front Page asked why the administration whether there is room for this sort of “compromise” model.

“If you’re going to build an effective structure, you have to look at consistency and standardization,” Dr. Simpson said. “And so if you build a structure where 50% of it has moved into a centralized model, how then do you support the decentralization? Because it’s a trickle down effect. So, if you have your deans that are centralized, you have student affairs that are all centralized, and then you say to the campus chairs, ‘you’re going to be decentralized.’ You’re now saying to a dean, ‘you now have to work across 3 campuses again in order for you to have any kind of success.’ That only creates more complexities.”

Another fear that some faculty have expressed is that the distribution of budgets will change such that students at one campus will effectively subsidize students at another campus.

“I think you guys on this campus would really lose out, because there’s high-cost course fees associated with [our department]’s courses that are supposed to pay for [costs associated with our department],” a faculty member said. “Well, they’re talking about centralizing the budgets too. So our students that pay into [that]- about half the students come here, so half the budget should be ours. But I don’t think that would happen. I think they’d end up spreading the budget evenly, which means our students would lose out on their high cost course fees.”

The administration assured The Front Page that this would not happen.

“No, that shouldn’t happen… High-cost course fees … will be allocated the same way that they’re allocated now. Our budgeting department tells us exactly how much high-cost course fees come from students at each campus to ensure that those fees are spent at those campuses.

Another fear that a number of faculty have expressed is a lack of face-to-face communication between both faculty and chairs, as well as students and chairs, if the chairs are spread across different campuses. 

“[With chairs being shared across the college], that can minimize providing a cohesive, communal space for faculty and instructors to connect, which spreads out into student’s experiences,” a faculty member said. “If you don’t have a strong relational department- face to face- then how does that translate into student experiences? Whether that be programs, initiatives, events, or even classroom experiences.”

“I have students come [in] who have something happen in their class, or they’re unhappy with whatever’s going on,” one faculty member said. “They leave class, they walk over here, they talk to the administrative assistant, who says ‘let me see if [they’re] available’ They walk into [my office], and 5 minutes after they’re out of class, they’re in my office talking. And the Kleenex are right here. And that’s a lot different than having someone tell you. ‘Oh, the chair of the department is [on another campus], and let me make an appointment for you for Thursday to talk on the phone.’”

“If you have a full time job and you come to Front Range to teach one class [as a part-time instructor], you need to have someone accessible to talk to,” a faculty member said. “We provide lots of mentoring and materials and help and…support for those folks who aren’t here everyday seeing everything that’s going on. If they have a question like, ‘hey, I have a student with this problem, what should I do?’ They need somebody who can talk to them in the moment and say, ‘here’s how you can help your student with such and such problem,’ right? And if [the] chair that supervises them is on a different campus, and maybe working different hours or whatever, I mean, it’s just…not very accessible.”

Insight from faculty survey:

Question, Agree/Disagree: Students and employees will be best served if there is an on-campus chair.

Note: some people contest the accuracy of these survey results. See more below.

The administration, however, disagrees with the premise of that claim.

“62% of our courses are taught by [part-time] instructors, which means they are not physically on our campus [very often] at all,” Dr. Simpson said. “They are popping in, teaching their courses, [and leaving]. They don’t walk in just to see a chair. They have to either make an appointment, or send an email, because they’re doing other things in life…So I don’t see it as a loss at all, I see it as ‘we’re gaining some efficiencies’. Now, of course, people will say ‘but there are organic conversations that…need to happen.’ Those will still continue. When I have free time here at BCC, people walk into my office, and those organic conversations happen.”

Dr. Simpson similarly disputes the idea that students need to “pop in” to chair’s offices.

“I ask the question, because you know I’m going to use data, who are the students that we’re serving?” Dr. Simpson said. “76% of our students are part-time. They’re not popping up in anyone’s office at all. So when people say that to me, I ask them ‘who are the students you’re serving?’ And so here’s where I’m going to push back a little bit, because…you hear from our part-time students: ‘I’m working, life’s happening, and I’m in and out, coming [in] and taking classes. I have a schedule. I have to send an email.’…And so I push back a little bit because I don’t think that’s our reality at all.”

Some faculty disagree with that perspective.

“We’ve been told that most students use email to make appointments with their professors [and chairs] when they want to talk,” a faculty member told The Front Page. “And I don’t think that’s true. That’s not my lived experience. Most students come and just show up at my door.”

Dr. Simpson also questioned whether faculty is being entirely honest about their claims that they need face-to-face communication, and time on campus.

“[In] May of 2022, the faculty came to the cabinet and asked for us to redefine when they are required to be on campus,” Dr. Simpson said. “They asked for us to reduce the time faculty is required on campus. And so in May 2022…we redefined their comp handbook to reduce their time on campus. And so that’s why I’m like, ‘I’m getting mixed messages here, from faculty!’ May 2022, you asked for reduced time on campus, but then you’re telling me you’re on campus and all these students are coming to see you? And I’m like, ‘OK. What is the reality here, [what is it] that’s really going on?’”

Regardless of the truth in that scenario, the administration assured The Front Page that, in cases where it’s really needed, face-to-face communication will be accommodated.

“We just started the process of looking at the roles and responsibilities for these chairs, and one of the pieces that we included in there was that any chair can respond to [an] urgent issue, “ Rebecca Woulfe, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Online Learning, said. “Because we recognize that sometimes something is very urgent, maybe there’s a student issue that needs an immediate response, or maybe there’s something physical in a classroom [or] a lab. We are charging all of our chairs to represent Front Range as an institution, and to be available for faculty, instructors and students. So that if somebody is present, and that and that is needed, …we’ll have approximately 30 chairs across all three campuses, [so] at any given time there will be…several department chairs on any given campus, so that will help.”

Insight from faculty survey:

Question, Agree/Disagree: Reorganizing into college-wide departments with college-wide chairs will make my workload more manageable.

Note: some people contest the accuracy of these survey results. See more below.

It’s not just face-to-face communication that people are worried about. Some faculty expressed concerns to The Front Page that making chairs cross-campus would have a detrimental effect on campus communities.

“[Right now], I could go down the hall and just [say to my chair], ‘this is what I need, this is why I need it,” one faculty member said. “[And my chair would say in return] ‘Oh yeah, I went to your event last week, and I saw how many people were there, and this right to support, because look at all these students who are involved!’ I can’t imagine a chair from [another campus] is gonna drive 60 or 70 miles to come to [one of our events], to see that there were [a lot] of people there, and the energy that was there and all that. I mean it’s just not gonna happen.”

The administration assured The Front Page that this wouldn’t be an issue.

“I don’t think [that’s going to be a problem] because- it’s planning,” Dr. Simpson said. “Just like what I do right now. When there are major events, I know a year in advance. Unless it’s something that just pops up, and if it pops up- depending on what it is- I can realign my schedule. But I’ve attended all [sorts of] student events, I’ve attended art Expos, I’ve attended everything, because it’s planned.”

And for cases where a chair really can’t make an event, the administration plans to keep program leads tied to a campus. Those faculty members, the administration hopes, will be able to understand local campus culture, attend events, and advocate for student organizations that are tied to one campus in the same way that chairs do currently.

A number of faculty also expressed concerns that they hadn’t been given solid data, showing that this model works.

“I don’t know why we’re doing it,” a faculty member told me. “I’m not sure. No one has told me ‘well there’s this College in upstate New York who’s done this, and these are the results.‘ You know, tangible, like research…I’ve yet to see that. Now, maybe it’s somewhere, but I haven’t seen it.”

I asked Dr. Simpson if the administration had data on colleges which had a similar structure.

“I came in having worked at 2 other systems that had multiple campuses, and…I asked Front Range, ‘show me the data of colleges that exist like Front Range,’” Dr. Simpson said. “Nobody really has showed me that data yet…. Here’s what I’m saying to Front Range, ‘are we doing the best practice?’, ‘[is what we’re] doing…leading to the greatest success for our students?’ And I will tell you, if you look at colleges that have multiple campuses, this is not the model that they have at all. And so, I don’t have data to show [that] Front Range [is] successful in this current model. What I do have is a network, which is the American Association of Community Colleges, that can show multiple campuses that have a model similar to what we’re building, and that model has shown that that has been scaled up and [is the] best practice.”

Beyond the concerns about the proposed structure, a number of faculty have raised concerns about the communication, or lack thereof, coming from the administration during this process.

“They’re not listening,” a faculty member told me. “Every single time we’ve raised our concerns, they have brushed it off. It’s a travesty, is what it is. We have shared governance, which means that we’re supposed to have a say in anything affecting faculty. Well I think our academic departments are the definition of something that affects faculty, and we are not only not heard, we’re not given any shared governance, any participation and making the decisions. And that’s been a big frustration for us.

“The pulse of the faculty- even though I am not the pulse of the faculty- is that the administration has not been listening to some of the things we’ve been wanting to have changed within the restructuring of the organization, and that’s disappointing,” a faculty member said. “It’s a pretty bureaucratic shitshow.”

“I’d say they have physically heard our concerns,” a faculty member said. “I don’t think they understand them, because they haven’t made the effort to come to [our department’s] faculty and ask: ‘Why are you concerned?’, ‘What are your concerns?’ … For instance, [the] budget [issue], they don’t think of that, right? So when we do bring it up, they say ‘Oh yeah, we would have to deal with that somehow.’”

“The communication around the details of [the restructuring has] been confusing, and the confusion is causing a whole spectrum of [problems] from frustration to anxiety to all that kind of stuff,” professor John Kinsey, faculty senate vice president, said. “It’s a combination of not [being] clear, and [being] dismissive of the pursuit of more information. Like, when questions are asked, they’re often brushed aside. The best description I could give would be, it’s like you’re playing 20 questions, and you only guess yes or no answers, and [the answer] is ‘breadbox’, but until you say ‘breadbox’, all you get is ‘no’. So you’re kind of, like, feeling around dark, trying to figure out- ‘is it going to be this?’, ‘is it going to be that?’ So that part is confusing, causes anxiety, [and] generates rumors, because the absence of information generates misinformation, so all that’s really stressful.”

Professor Kinsey provided a specific example.

“One particular case was the math department, and the math department- Like, the basic math is: you will have one chair for every 10 faculty, and that chair will serve across the entire college,“ Kinsey said. “The math department, college wide, is about 30 faculty, so that’s three chairs. And so the math department is like, ‘well, since…it breaks out to three chairs, why not have those chairs be campus specific?’ And the answer is basically just no. When they had the discussion, the math department, being the math department, worked out all these formulas and you know, like, ‘here’s the argument as to why [we should have campus based chairs],’ and at the end of the conversation, one of the faculty said, ‘is there any evidence I can provide, any case that I can give, that would change your mind about how we’re doing this?’ And the answer was no. Which takes me back to the bread box. It’s like, OK, You already had the answer, so to a certain degree, at least this conversation was a farce.”

Insight from faculty survey:

Question, Agree/Disagree: Faculty and instructors have had a voice in the One College redesign.

Note: some people contest the accuracy of these survey results. See more below.

Not all of the concerns about communication were voiced to The Front Page so cordially, either.

“[Dr. Simpson] said, ‘you do your job, I’ll do mine.’ She told another faculty member, ‘my job is up here with the big picture. Your place is in the weeds,’” a faculty member said. “So no, they’re not trying to hear us. This President is a disaster. It was a big mistake to hire her…She has no understanding of faculty autonomy, which is the idea that we’re not just peons, right? In a big sense, our part of the college is run by faculty, right? We were in our classrooms, we’re the one students come to usually. We have day-to-day contact with our students, we know our students really well, right? And … I mean, in her mind we’re just peons that should fall into place and do whatever she tells us to. And in our mind, we work for students. We don’t work for her.”

The Front Page provided this specific quote to the administration to give them an opportunity to comment.

“Dr. Simpson feels that faculty and instructors are the lifeblood of the college—they are absolutely critical to the success of our students,” Jessica Peterson, Director of Public Relations for FRCC, told The Front Page in an email. “She has great respect for FRCC’s professors and for their autonomy in the classroom. As the President who oversees and manages the entire college, she also has to do what she sees being the right thing for students and for the institution as a whole to be sustainable into the future. We all want FRCC to be a strong resource for our communities for many years to come—and this new structure will help us get there. We’d also like to point out that how a department is structured does not interfere with classroom autonomy or intellectual freedom.”

In general, everyone agrees that Dr. Simpson and the administration have physically heard the concerns that faculty members have raised- Dr. Simpson specifically has held over 50 ‘Listen and Learn’ sessions in order to make sure of that. The issue a number of faculty have is that they don’t feel like plans have been changed in order to adequately address their concerns. Some suggested that was because the administration didn’t understand their perspective, and others said that, while they believed that administration understood their perspective, they thought their concerns weren’t being addressed because the administration believed that they “knew better” than the faculty. I asked the administration what they would say to those faculty members.

“I would say to them, I don’t know better. What I do know is that I’m serving as a president for Front Range Community College, which consists of faculty, staff, The System Office, 13 colleges, external partners, and a community. And I have to make the best decision for all of those stakeholders. And in making those decisions, as you know very well, there is going to be one or two individuals that will not be able to say ‘I support this.’ But I have to look at the whole. This is the hard part about being the president. I can’t make a decision just based on one group of individuals, because I also have to be accountable to the college that I serve. And so that’s what I would say to them, that I’m serving the whole of the college, but what can I do to help you be successful in your job?”

The administration also disagrees with the idea that their plans need to change in order for concerns to be ‘heard’ or ‘understood’.

“​​Just because leadership still thinks that collegewide chairs are the best way to proceed doesn’t mean they aren’t listening and hearing the concerns,” Peterson said in an email. “FRCC leaders have absolutely heard and understand the concerns that some faculty are expressing. We don’t think those concerns are insurmountable—and we’re confident that we can work together to find ways to overcome any specific stumbling blocks as we encounter them.”

“When you tell a person that you disagree with them and you explain your reasoning, do they always change their mind?” Peterson asked in an email. “Or can you have a constructive discussion, listen and share differing viewpoints and learn to understand people who disagree with you—and still come away with differing opinions on the best way to proceed?”

And it’s not just administration that feels this way, a number of faculty expressed similar sentiments.

“Faculty opinion is a hugely important aspect, but there is a bigger picture,” one faculty member told The Front Page, “FRCC Is the largest community college in the state… how do we interact on a state stage, that really does mean that we have to have leadership in place that are good vetted leaders on all different levels. Faculty engagement, understanding higher education in the state, in the nation, industry background- whatever that may be as a leader, is all really critical in making sure that we have leaders that come with different perspectives, not just from faculty but from each other.”

“For us it is fantastic.”

Some departments have already undergone a One College style restructuring. The Front Page reached out to Chance Folmar, chair of the Computing Technology department, which went campus wide in July of 2022. He says he’s quite happy about how it’s gone.

“For us it is fantastic,” Folmar said. “In our area we have large issues that have strategic problems, and we can’t solve those strategic problems at a local level, right? You know, we need to get our programs aligned better as a college. We need to build infrastructure that [allows for] students to go remote in. And every one of our campuses could do that individually, but it’s a lot of repetition of effort, right? It takes a lot of time, and it takes a lot of knowledge and we have that knowledge, but it’s not all on one campus.”

“Before it was like layers of bureaucracy at each college to try and get a decision,” Folmar said. “The faculty would get together, we would come up with a solution. Then we’d each have to talk to each one of our chairs. Each of the chairs would then have to talk to each of the Deans. The Deans would probably have to talk to the VPs, and then it would have to come back down. And if there’s any problems in any one of them, then the whole thing gets canceled and then we have to start all over again… Now that’s all streamlined… Whereas before getting anything done would take a month, or two months, now we can get these decisions much more quickly.”

All of this talk about the different, often conflicting, perspectives of faculty raises an important question: exactly how much of the faculty is ‘on board’ with the reorganization? The college-wide faculty senates have set out to answer this question with a survey of instructional staff. The results of this survey were not particularly flattering to the administration’s plan. 324 people took that survey, 173 full-time faculty, and 148 part-time instructors. That represents 73.93 percent of all full-time faculty, and 17.94 percent of all part-time instructors. A majority of people surveyed, 51.7 percent, have taught at FRCC for over ten years. The full results of this survey can be found here, but the key points were, essentially:

  • A minority of those surveyed (10.24%) believe that faculty and instructors have had a strong voice in the restructuring.
  • A plurality of those surveyed (48.6%) believe that moving to college-wide deans will streamline decision making.
  • A majority of those surveyed (58.69%) disagree that the move to college-wide chairs will streamline decision making.
  • The vast majority of those surveyed (83.54%) agree that students and staff would be best served if there were an on-campus department chair.

To sum it up, the results of the survey suggest that a significant portion of faculty and instructors disagree with the administration’s plan for One College. The Front Page asked the administration if they believed this data was an accurate reflection of the beliefs of faculty at FRCC.

“I think the data is accurate based on the kinds of questions they ask,” Dr. Simpson told me. “So, if I can be very honest with you, I’m not a part of that survey, I was not given the opportunity to review the survey, in terms of creating it. I was like any other user; it came into my inbox and I completed it. So I consider that to be a third-party survey. It’s a survey that was done by a group of individuals at our institution, which is our faculty, and it is their right to do that survey. I have looked at the results, they’ve shared the results with me, and…I am respectful of the results of the survey, but I don’t necessarily say that those results are going to be the only decision point in the college moving forward.”

Dr. Simpson isn’t the only person who has cast doubt on the results of the survey.

“I think that surveys can be written in a way that produces an intended outcome,” a faculty member told The Front Page. “Whether that’s done consciously or not. I think the data itself is important for leadership to acknowledge, any data collected is important to acknowledge. Look at [it], and really decide- does this change what we’re doing?, does [the data] change how we’re doing it? Or should it?”

That said, the faculty senates stands by their survey.

“The survey produced and facilitated by the three Faculty Senates was collaboratively created by a team of over 15 faculty members college-wide,” Dr. Chelsea A.H. Stow, Westminster Campus Faculty Senate President, told The Front Page. “We mindfully selected team members with extensive research backgrounds, as well as others who have been intimately involved in the One College conversations, to add depth and diverse perspectives to the development of this instrument. We are proud of this survey and know it produced valid data.”

After this survey- although they have told The Front Page it was not necessarily in response to it, the administration has begun its own survey of all staff members, not just instructional staff. The Front Page asked the administration whether or not they would change course if they got similar results in their own survey.

“What I would do is, I would find out from all of these stakeholders, ‘what is it that we can do?’” Dr. Simpson said. “Because we have to move forward. And in moving forward, there has to be some middle ground that we have to find so that this work can be done. So, what resources do I have to give you in order for you to do your job as a college-wide chair. What support do I need to give you? What do I need to give you so that you can do your job? Because that’s the approach I’m going to be taking. How can I make sure a chair can be successful?”

Dr. Stow says she and the rest of the faculty welcome this conversation.

“We welcome the opportunity to sit down with our administration to discuss the results of both surveys, so that we can take all of this information into consideration as we frame the next steps for our college. We look forward to developing collaborative, evidence-based solutions together.”

The ultimate result of that conversation will have a significant, if indirect, impact on students for years to come. Whether that impact takes the form of greater cross-campus collaboration, resulting in fewer barriers for students and easier communication and propagation of good ideas- or the form of additional barriers put up between disciplines at one campus, resulting in difficulty communicating and sharing ideas between those disciplines- remains to be seen.

Note: Due to the contentious nature of this topic, many sources chose not to be named. As a result, they were identified only as “faculty,” and any information that could be used to identify them- such as their position (chair, lead, faculty, ect.), or things they said referring to their specific department, have been changed whenever possible.

One thought on “One College: Divided

  1. All I can say that as a student at the FRCC Westminster campus, is that the administration has been failing for a long time and it shows! There’s no services, stretched and overworked faculty, lots of good faculty leaving and no vision or can do attitudes on the administration’s part to work with and listen to faculty or students. I, as a student, have complained to administrators and have been brushed off and dismissed. Who do they think they are? It seems like they’re more into the fiction of their prestigious titles than actually running the place, listening to students and faculty concerns and course correcting as needed. They are supposed to be public servants to the communities, the people, these campuses are supposed to serve!

    I don’t like the tone of the new President Simpson in this article. Is she the right fit for this position if she can’t build faculty consensus? I’m not seeing much evidence for the efficacy of her One College plan and I think the faculty have a valid point here that’s not being heard. If Simpson’s One College plan is good, where’s the evidence for it at other community colleges in the US?

    This is a HOT MESS and the students, the ones paying for this, are hurt by this unproductive bickering and discord. Get it together, people! I’d give this failure what it deserves, an F, but I’ll give you an incomplete for now, if you all can make up the work!


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