Philosophy of Collegial Consultation

Collegial consultation is a method of college management in which decision-makers, whether with primary or delegated authority, are committed to involving affected constituencies in decisions as much as possible. Collegial consultation is based upon individuals having a voice in decisions that affect them.

Collegial consultation is carefully planned, instituted, and evaluated. It is designed to lead to effective participation in decision-making that unites constituencies, produces an improved college environment, and draws upon the strength of diversity. Collegial consultation includes the structures and processes for decision-making that engage students, staff, faculty, and administrators in reaching and implementing decisions that further the primary mission of the college—to educate students and place learning at the core of our existence. The groups formed to address college matters are properly charged and empowered, the members carefully selected, and processes clearly structured. The structures and processes for collegial consultation vary according to task.

In order for collegial consultation to work, there must exist a covenant of mutual trust, honesty, open agendas, equity, and respect for differing views. Essential to maintaining this covenant are open communications and feedback from all constituencies. All parties must commit to and take responsibility for fostering and maintaining an environment in which collegial consultation can occur, as well as being well informed regarding issues. The underlying structure is building community. By living, learning, and teaching the principles of community, we serve as a catalyst for individuals and groups to:

  • Communicate with authenticity

  • Deal with difficult issues

  • Welcome and affirm diversity

  • Bridge differences with integrity

  • Relate with respect

In our decision-making processes, members of the constituent groups must commit to participating in the implementation of decisions made through collegial consultation processes and to working within legal and pragmatic parameters of their positions. The partners in collegial consultation acknowledge that traditional and legally mandated roles continue within the context of collegial consultation, e.g., the publicly elected members of the Board of Trustees have the ultimate legal and ethical responsibility for setting policy to guide the district’s operations.

One of the ways collegial consultation is implemented is through College Planning Council. The purpose and operations of CPC are carefully defined in this charter and bylaws. Membership for CPC is broad-based and is representative of the college community. CPC actively participates in decision-making regarding major college issues. CPC is the primary decision-making group for the college, thereby establishing the criteria and processes to be used by other units and committees in accomplishing specific tasks. Although the purpose of CPC is broad-based, it is not intended that CPC deal with all issues nor micro-manage individual units. The meetings of CPC are open and public.

College Planning Council shall provide a forum where representatives from all segments of the college will bring issues of college-wide interest. The accompanying diagram (See Appendix C), which is part of this document, delineates the members of College Planning Council, and outlines the way in which the governance process works.

Another way collegial consultation is implemented is through the Academic Senate in areas of “academic and professional” matters. There are ten areas defined as academic and professional matters:

  1. Degree and certificate requirements

  2. Curriculum, including establishing prerequisites and placing courses within disciplines

  3. Grading policies

  4. Educational program development

  5. Standards or policies regarding student preparation and success

  6. District and college governance structures as related to faculty roles

  7. Faculty roles and involvement in accreditation processes, including self-study and annual reports

  8. Policies for faculty professional development activities

  9. Processes for program review

  10. Processes for institutional planning and budget development

The Board of Trustees and the Academic Senate have agreed that academic and professional matters 1 through 9 are to be processed as “rely primarily upon” and academic and professional matter 10 as “mutually agreed.” See attached procedures for handling these 10 academic and professional matters. (See Appendix F: AB 1725 Implementation at College of the Desert)

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