“Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head . . .” (Lennon/McCartney, A Day in the Life)
Many folks wonder what administrators do all day – there is a perception amongst some that we are superfluous. While that’s a different conversation (!), I thought I would offer up a sample of the work that I am doing with this August Edition of A Day in the Life of an AVP. This is a sample of a typical day for me in the month of August.
Across the normal nine to ten hour work day, my work touched on the following issues and projects:
- First Day Access.
- Ad Astra and the proposed strategic scheduling vision, principles, and operational guidelines.
- SACSCOC 5th year compliance report.
- Equity in Faculty Hiring Steering Committee.
- Off-cycle pay requests. (Always – like clockwork, the day or two following a payroll deadline I receive emails and off-cycle pay request forms from folks who missed the deadline to approve time sheets.)
- Personnel complaint.
- Student complaint.
- New(ish) Department Chair boot camp.
- New full-time faculty orientation.
- Emails, drop-in visits, and phone calls seeking help, information, advice, problem-solving, or a listening ear.
Below is a little more information about a few of the issues in the list above.
First Day Access
What were the issues with FDA, you ask? Myriad. And we’re still working through the process, practices, timelines, and communication issues that this new project has presented.
Faculty who sign up for First Day Access to help their students lower their costs of textbooks and have electronic access to the textbook on the first day of class must ensure that their course Blackboard page is set up properly. And it must be set up when rosters are loaded into Bb, which is typically two weeks before the start of a semester.
FDA allows students to “opt out” if they want to go a different route in obtaining their textbook. Opting out occurs via Bb so that BN College can track the total bill for FDA each semester and so that we can refund students who opt out. I spent some time crafting and sending email reminders to FDA faculty – which also meant I spent some time responding to email inquiries from faculty about process and technology. (And no, I’m really not the Help Desk for FDA, but you have to start somewhere in asking questions, don’t you? So why not start with the AVP who sent the email?)
Department Chair Boot Camp
What? We have a Department Chair boot camp for new and newish department chairs? Yes we do – as of August. We do a lot of things well here at ACC, but we can always improve on what we do. In recent years we’ve offered periodic sessions for new department chairs on various aspects of the college and their job, but we are trying to be more intentional about helping new DCs learn the ropes this year. We had an introductory all-day session with approximately 20 new(ish) DCs (those in their very first year, or those who started in the role last year), and we’ll have more sessions as we move through the academic year. In addition to prepping for my slots on the agenda, I was also trying to recruit a few current department chairs to come to lunch and offer some of their wisdom to their new colleagues.
SACSCOC 5th Year Compliance Report
We go through a decennial reaffirmation of accreditation with our accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges – otherwise known as SACSCOC. And their new practice is to require a 5th year compliance report mid-way through the ten-year cycle. In the last few months I spent a good deal of time drafting certain portions of that 5th year report. In August it was decided that we would put together a packet that helps the visiting team (coming in mid-September) know what our institutional goals are, how we’re measuring those goals, and how we’re responding to our measurements.
A number of us were asked to write one-page overviews of each of our “college success snapshot” goals. So, for instance, I was tasked with writing one-page overviews of our work in developmental education (one for INRW, one for DEVM), our Adult Education work, our co-requisite work, FTIC required remediation, FTIC college-level Math course completions, and FTIC college-level English course completions.
New Full-Time Faculty Orientation
Each year new full-time faculty spend the Monday before the start of the Fall semester in a day-long orientation. They hear from various folks, they learn about the College’s organization and strategic goals, they move from table to table in a “meet the administrators” hour, they get acquainted with each other, and they spend some time on the paperwork required for their benefits. My task – in addition to preparing to speak for a few minutes – was to work with department chairs to get a list of the mentors for our new full-time faculty so that I could invite the mentors to join us for lunch to visit with their respective mentees.
Equity in Faculty Hiring Steering Committee
Earlier this summer I was asked to be a “tri-chair” of this Steering Committee along with Gerry Tucker (VP Human Resources) and Suzanne Summers (Professor of History). As you know, the college has been working more intentionally in the last few years to put issues of equity front and center. For instance, we try to always disaggregate our student success data to see where the inequities are across race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status. We want to be more intentional about this equity focus in our hiring processes so a steering committee has been formed to look at every aspect of our full-time hiring (postings, advertising, hiring committee manual, hiring committee training, sample interview questions, evaluation rubrics, etc.) Periodically I am asked to report to the President’s Cabinet on this work, and August was one of those months where I had to prepare an update for the Cabinet.
“Found my way downstairs and drank a cup . . .”
As always, thanks to John Lennon and Paul McCartney for the inspiration.
I’ll be back sometime in September with another chapter of A Day in the Life of an AVP.