American River College Governance Model

American River College Governance Model

August 20, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


Since joining the Los Rios Community College District in 1965, ARC has had a long, successful track record of providing an academically
rich, inclusive environment for students, staff, and faculty. The primary reason we have been able to maintain that level of excellence for over 50 years is our steadfast commitment to our students’ success in tandem with our willingness to adapt to change, plus our deeply held value of collaboration. This video highlights a recent example of
all of these traits in action: The creation of a new college-wide governance system. First of all, what is governance? Governance is how a college approaches its work. At its best, it’s a highly collaborative process that effectively and efficiently guides our shared efforts in achieving our vision, mission and strategic goals. So why did we need to change our governance system? The previous system was built for a time long past: An environment characterized by greater predictability and a more incremental approach to change. This environment was comprised of numerous, more decentralized committees that made it hard to integrate our shared efforts. While these various standing committees met often, several did so as a matter of routine rather than with a clear focus. Nor did they have the benefit of knowing how their work contributed to the larger vision of the college. Not surprising, this left some feeling like
their time wasn’t being adequately used or valued. Our current and future reality is much less
predictable. From this point forward, the pace of innovation and change will only accelerate. To achieve our vision of ensuring the success of all of our students, we needed to shift to a more efficient and effective means of
governance. Across all constituencies, the college leadership expressed the need for a governance system that would be more Strategic, Streamlined, Agile, Inclusive, aAnd Value and results-based. So we created a process that is grounded in our greatest strength: Our relationships with one another. With relationships as our key guiding principle, this new system encourages and invites more people to participate. It relies upon high-levels of collaboration,
which in turn, helps us make better decisions and further strengthens our shared commitment to our mission and one another. Grounded in these principles and values, the new system features three councils who report to the Executive Leadership Team, all of which include representatives of each constituent group. These three councils will sponsor project
teams to meet college-wide goals. No longer will there be a disconnected array of committees. Each project team will have a focused charter. When their work is complete, the teams will be dissolved and the college will implement their recommendations. The goal was to create a system that was simpler, but significant. When creating this new college-wide structure we were careful not to affect the processes by which our various constituency groups operate. For example: the Curriculum Committee and its processes have not changed. They still function as part of the Academic Senate. Also, the faculty will continue to work directly with college administration on all areas that fall under faculty purview. Remember, this new system of governance is not perfect. As Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach
it.” So, it’s important to expect some additional modifications as we move forward. The college will have opportunities to provide input on
improvements. As with all periods of change and growth,
we also expect some discomfort – similar to anytime we learn something new. Rest assured that we have, and will continue to approach these and other changes, in an inclusive and collaborative manner. As we navigate the days ahead, we want to thank all of those who have served and assisted in the design and implementation of this new governance system. Thank you for your help in transforming the future of ALL students and our community, through inclusive, equitable education.