DuPage Co. (ECWd) -
Now that the general public and College of DuPage (COD) employees have had a couple of days to review the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) Advisory Visit Team report, the call for accountability could not be more fitting and necessary.
The forty-five page report is an articulation and yes, affirmation that, “. . . the College does not currently meet Core Component 2.A related to issues of integrity; and Core Component 5.B related to issues of effectiveness of administration and governance.”
It remains instructive to refer to those four fundamental values that were instituted by COD to guide those entrusted with its resources and the most important mission of producing, preserving, and advancing collegiate-level education to the community in which it serves. Although not rank-ordered, the fact that Integrity is listed first, galvanizes the importance of that particular tenet. Beyond a particular precept, it is the articulation of the ‘expectation’, which is most significant. That is, “We expect the highest standard of moral character and ethical behavior.”
Now that both the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) and HLC have published their findings there is no way for COD administrators to obfuscate, deflect, and defer their complicity in the quagmire of financial and academic malfeasance that has been well documented for nearly a year.
COD Mission & Values
We expect the highest standard of moral character and ethical behavior.
We expect truthfulness and trustworthiness.
We expect courtesy and dignity in all interpersonal interactions.
We expect fulfillment of obligations and accountability.
Nearly a week ago in this article, we focused on the need for Acting Interim President, Joe Collins, to publicly accept his obligation of accountability and offer more than feigned obliviousness. That call thrives today more than ever as the HLC’s report highlights further details regarding his involvement and/or incompetence in dealing with College business and faculty.
Expect fulfillment of obligations
Collins is only outdone by Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) Jean Kartje. The HLC reports that Kartje has not within the last three years of her tenure, directly provided the Board of Trustees (BOT) with a presentation of, “a strategic or operational view”. For nearly a quarter million dollars a year in salary, you would think the Board of Trustees and the taxpayers should expect that the VPAA has a strategic and operational plan, and that she would act decisively and accept responsibility for its implementation.
Expect moral character and ethical behavior
As the college’s chief academic officer, VPAA Kartje should have known from the beginning that the ‘SLEA Academy Equity Increase’ did not comport with current academic standards. Even after learning about the resignation of former SLEA Manager Maloney, who indicated that the additional hours were not equivalent to the proposed increase, she stayed the course and allowed a College employee who was unwilling to compromise his integrity to quit. Those with strong moral character and commitment to ethical behavior would have been alarmed by the willingness of an employee to forfeit their livelihood in exchange for their integrity. (See Summary of events document)
The HLC reports that during an interview, VPAA Kartje was asked why she failed to include faculty in the review of the SLEA credit increase and approved the change in credits, to which she replied, “. . .that she thought the faculty were involved since the Associate Dean for Social and Behavioral Sciences (Marianne Hunnicutt) brought it to her for approval. (See page 42 of the HLC report)
As the College’s chief academic officer, she is incontestably responsible for the approval and should have immediately identified that the increase was inappropriate and enthusiastically declined the initiative.
It appears an intentional effort to avoid accountability for the SLEA credit increase debacle is further evidenced by Kartje’s commitment to a false narrative involving prior learning credit and an ill-conceived Crosswalk/Over process. According to the HLC, Kartje referred to the converting of criminal justice credits as, “Prior Learning Program Credit”. (See -email from ICCB to Kartje) (See page 36 of the HLC report)
Why would she make such a claim, when long before the HLC site visit, May 5, 2015, she sent ICCB’s Executive Director, Karen Hunter an email indicating that, “. . .the program is being reviewed as articulated credit for prior learning. This is not quite true. . .”? (Click here for that e-mail)
It appears either Kartje intentionally mislead the ICCB, the HLC or both— regardless, still no accountability.
It is unlikely that anytime soon, trust of any form will be part of the relationship between VPAA Kartje and faculty. The HLC characterized the “overall ethos of this community seemingly lacks trust.” That can easily be explained considering the HLC also reported "the faculty complained that practices involving “bullying and corruption” continued". You will never have trust when corruption and bullying is involved. Decay is the future if Administration is not changed. (See page 43 of the HLC report)
In addition, they reported that “Senior administration (and particularly the Vice President for Academic Affairs [Kartje]) noted that the faculty ‘owned’ the College and that the faculty’s primary interest were their ‘own benefits and money’. (See page 43 of the HLC report)
Any member of the now revealed Janus-faced Senior Management Team, starting with Kartje, should immediately resign and for once, live up to those expectations enumerated in COD’s Mission & Values.
It’s time for the public and COD to expect that Kartje and other members of the administration practice what they expect of faculty, staff, and students as it is undeniably clear they have failed in each of those criteria.
I would like to offer a special thanks to the faculty members who have assisted with facts presented in this article. In addition, the voters of District 502 should know the faculty was right all along, and had they been listened to by the former Board of Trustees and the SMT, a lot of taxpayer money could have been saved and national embarrassment avoided.
Which Administrator will have the integrity to resign first?