Desert Community College District
Board of Trustees Meeting
Mister Chair, Madam Superintendent/President, Members of the Board and College Community,
As the Spring Semester began at the same time as the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Tiger, CODAA is heartened by a recent column in The Desert Sun supporting COD’s pause to review construction expenditures. The column points out,
“Other community colleges in California have found themselves with excess capacity and enormous maintenance expenses to care for buildings and overhead… It’s sensible to look at enrollment and use of already built facilities before creating some white elephants that will cost taxpayers additional money …” (The Desert Sun, February 6, 2022)
The dust has settled from last-minute drops and adds, and CODAA wishes to reaffirm the need for sensible planning informed by the latest data, particularly in course scheduling. As we have seen over the past two weeks, our deans have the flexibility to respond to student needs by modifying course times, modalities, locations, and class sizes, before and even during registration. But the deans can’t do their job without accurate, ongoing data collection. The more data we have about how students want to learn, and the timelier that data is, the better our scheduling can match real-time student needs. We applaud the deans who have added late start classes, which not only may hopefully increase enrollment, but also provide employment to adjuncts who lost their teaching assignments.
Last month, Trustee Jandt called the Board’s attention to a forward-thinking approach to combining teaching modalities, known as HyFlex, that gives students the freedom to attend any individual class meeting either in person or online. We applaud the efforts of the Academic Senate and President Kim Dozier to introduce this option at the College of the Desert. Adjuncts are teaching many, if not the majority of the HyFlex sections. There have been reports of equipment problems and staffing support issues, but we need to remember this is a pilot project, and the point of a pilot is to let difficulties surface, and solve them. Dr. Garcia has pointed out that the fill rate for HyFlex sections, at 86.2%, is the highest of all the modalities. This bodes well for future enrollment, and CODAA encourages the college to expand these HyFlex offerings that give our students the flexibility they tell us they want.
In her comments during the Flex Town Hall, Dr. Garcia also mentioned a wish to include CODAA, CODFA, and CSEA in finding ways to reverse declining enrollment. The District’s Enrollment Management Committee plays a key role in addressing enrollment issues, but currently, the unions are not represented on this committee. CODAA urges the college to revise the Enrollment Management Committee charter to include one representative from each union. It’s essential to get the perspective of boots on the ground.
Finally, CODAA has been selected to receive a grant to create an Adjunct Equity Committee, and work is underway to establish it. We are reminded that equity means treating everyone equally, and fairly, and that includes ironing out the differences in the ways full-time and part-time employees are regarded. In short, real equity means parity.
Dr. Catherine Levitt, President of CODAA