By Janet Curiel & Arturo Brooks |Staff Writers|
Q. What were your initial thoughts/feeling/reactions upon receiving the vote of no confidence?
A. I respect the faculties vote, certainly I am disappointed, but I am committed to moving forward, I am committed to bringing the campus together, the faculty, the staff, the students most importantly, to bring us together to make this institution a better institution.
Q. I was reviewing the resolution itself, the wording for “shared governance” is thrown out a lot, What do you perceive to be ” shared governance”?
A. Institutions of higher education is only as strong as their shared governance systems…You will be hard pressed to find I think, an initiative, a committee, that does not have a representation of faculty staff and students, that provide input, that provides suggestions…Our auxiliary enterprise corporation, our philanthropic foundation, all have faculty representatives, and in most cases, faculty senatorial representation, not appointed by the president, but appointed by the chair of the Faculty Senate.
Q. You had mentioned one of the committees for enrollment services, during the faculty senate meeting, that was one of the issues that they talked about.
A. That was erroneous. I know the chair of the Faculty Senate suggested that that committee had not met in two years, we have minutes of those meetings, in fact, there were members of the Senate at those meetings. Like the suggestion that the I had not responded to the climate survey, well there is a 9-page detailed response that was submitted in February.
Q. What are future endeavors for ensuring campus community, like for example the collegiality forum, is that part of your plan to make sure this is addressed?
A. Since 2015, I have set out on this journey to meet with every single faculty and staff member at this institution. I’ve met with over 500 staff in small groups…The result of those conversations have brought some very concrete plans. For example, this coming Fall we will be opening up a new center for staff development, and a new center for faculty excellence…I know the Provost is talking to faculty and getting a better understanding on how do we address the needs of our faculty who are very very important members of our University Community.
Q. Have you met with faculty to discuss the vote, and what has been the feedback?
A. We had a joint meeting of the president’s cabinet and the executive committee of the Senate…and we talked and I listened to suggestions. So in lieu of these meetings that I’ve had over the last two years, this past year I did not have faculty or staff open forums, I am going to reinstitute those in the Fall, and I am going to continue to meet with the faculty executive committee on a more regular basis with the Provost next year. The whole thing for me is to listen and be responsive to the needs of our faculty, our staff, and most importantly the needs of our students.
Q- The Resolution states a variety of topics which include some which include student enrollment, limited tenure-track faculty, your thoughts?
A. I would really encourage you to visit the website as much of this I responded to in great detail, but let me just recap for you, we have hired more full-time tenure-tenure-track faculty in the past last 5 years than the five years prior. Enrollment… we have a lot of pressure…it’s fast growing region… We have students that are landlocked, they really don’t have the ability to go to another institution, so yeah we have been over enrolled because we are really trying to provide access to the residence of this community, I am deeply committed to San Bernardino and Riverside communities.
Q- There were two concerns on the faculty senate letter that we received from Karen Kolenheiman, one was referencing 1 million dollars being transferred to Coyote First Step, summer sessions.
A. Morales- Well I don’t know what she is referring to, but let me speak to that. Coyote First Step is an opportunity to provide a residential experience for students who are not ready to do college-level work. Our statistics are clear, students who start their first quarter without having to take developmental courses… graduate at higher rates. So yes we’ve made very significant investments because our students need it. Our version of early start, it’s a residential program, the money that we use, is primarily one-time dollars. It’s unfortunate that some faculty does not see the importance of it, that’s their position, I respect that position; but as the President, I have to make decisions that are in the best interest of our students, faculty, and staff.