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How other Community College Trustees make policy

Yesterday, I pointed out that the WCC Board of Trustees has abdicated its responsibility for policy-making. In Section 1030 of the Board Policy Manual, the WCC Board of Trustees has given the responsibility for making policy to the Administration.

This is an utter governance disaster. It contradicts the best interests of the community. It shows a total disregard for Washtenaw County taxpayers.

And frankly, it’s supremely lazy.

I conducted a quick survey of how other community college boards make policy. Not surprisingly, no other community college board has turned policy-making over to the College administration.

Oakland Community College

Policy Statement
Division of Responsibility
The responsibility for formulating College policies shall be divided as follows:
Board Policies:
1. The Board is responsible for adopting broad strategic, value based policies for the oversight of the operation of the College. As such, the Board will set policy in these areas: Ends, Executive Limitations, Board-Staff Relationship, and Governance Process.
2. All Board Policies shall be formally approved by the Board and available on the College public web page.

Administrative Policies:
1. The CEO is responsible for developing, implementing, and executing administrative policies, rules, guidelines, and procedures for employees to follow in implementing College policies.
2. The CEO shall collaborate, as needed, with appropriate stakeholders in the development and implementation of administrative policies, rules, guidelines, and procedures.
3. Establishing specific tactical decisions and procedures for implementing administrative policies, rules, and/or guidelines shall be the responsibility of operating units or positions designated by the CEO.
4. The CEO shall provide Administrative policies to the Board for informational purposes and make them available on the College public web page, as appropriate.

So, I will say here that the OCC Board allows the President to make ADMINISTRATIVE policies. But it somehow manages to handle oversight all by itself.

Macomb Community College

The Board of Trustees reserves to itself the institutional policy making functions of the College. Specific duties of the Board of Trustees shall be:
1.6-1 Interpret the needs of the College and community as they relate to one another.
1.6-2 Develop institutional policies in accordance with the educational needs of the people to be served by the College.
1.6-3 Furnish financial means by which the educational programs may be carried out.
1.6-4 Select and employ the Chief Executive Officer of the district.
1.6-5 Review and pass upon recommendations of the Chief Executive Officer for the regular appointment of full-time administrators and faculty and the discharge of full-time employees other than faculty and administrators.
1.6-6 Provide means for keeping the people of the county informed of the purpose, value, conditions and needs of education provided by the College.
1.6-7 Other powers and duties as set forth in State Statutes.

Wayne County Community College District

1.10.2 Formulation of Board Policies
“The Board has the sole authority for establishing policy. Formulation of new policies or amendments to existing policies for the overall operation of the District may be suggested or recommended to the Board through the Chancellor.”

Henry Ford College

Formulation of Henry Ford College Board Policies
The Board shall establish Board Policies for the operation of the College in compliance with applicable laws, College procedures and collective bargaining agreements.

HFCC also requires legal and Board reviews of its policy manual every 3-5 years, because – what do you know? – things change! (Have I mentioned that more than half of WCC’s “Board Policies” haven’t been updated in nearly 20 years?)

Jackson College

Guide to Policy Governance
The board’s decisions and directions are expressed as policy, which is the expression of the values and perspectives of the board. The second job responsibility for the board is to make policy;

Under no circumstances has the Board of any other community college simply walked away from its responsibility for making policies for the institution it governs.

That’s not how oversight works. (That’s not how any of this works!)

Photo Credit: Oliver Gouldthorpe , via Flickr