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Process, Operations and Governance Task Force

Determines how we can improve the underlying operations and structure of our colleges to ensure that we don’t endanger our academic missions.  Incorporates the Operational Excellence and Optimization task force.   Includes some Faculty and Staff Development initiatives.

In fall 2011, the nine members of the Process, Operations and Governance (POG) task force dove deep into murky waters of process, policy, governance, management and communications, exploring opportunities for improving CCC’s overall health – whether in the facilities we use, the hiring process by which we bring in and maintain our talent or even in how we set our rules and regulations as an institution and to what extent we can democratize the creation, revision, retirement and accessibility of the policies that formalize our practices. A brief summary of our work is provided below, and we strongly encourage you to explore the data behind these recommendations.

Adult Education Off-sites

Kathy Taylor - an Adult Education Manager from Olive-Harvey College – led a project on how CCC collaborates with community-based organizations in the selection and governance of our off-sites: off-campus sites at which CCC offers GED and ESL classes. With Steven Seidman, an adjunct faculty member from Harold Washington College, Kathy devised recommendations for 
  • criteria for selecting off-sites
  • a new zone-based proposal for associating off-sites with the nearest college campuses
  • standard governance via a revised off-site agreement that will apply to all off-sites affiliated with any of the City Colleges of Chicago
  • drafting components for a standard recruitment strategy, including identifying which neighborhoods are highest need, using Census data on educational attainment and language as proxies for GED and ESL need, respectively.

Kathy and Steven were aided in this massive endeavor by Elinore Moore, HR Administrator from Daley College, Truman student Nina de Guzman and Lauren Belcher, student advisor at Wright College.

Human Resources

When the POG team decided what initiatives to undertake, we considered feedback from the colleges regarding which projects would have the highest impact on organizational health – and, in turn, student success. At the top of the list were issues around how CCC manages its talent, so we turned to answering questions regarding how we can improve CCC’s hiring process, recruitment strategy for talent acquisition and professional development and performance management for talent growth.

Lynnel Kiely, a faculty member from Harold Washington, tackled professional development and was the strategic lead this semester in hammering out the processes and training required for the new professional development and performance management software solution that CCC will procure this Spring. Among other items, Lynnel’s recommendations encompass standards and methods for performance appraisal, for training performance appraisers and appraises, for rewards and recognition programming and for tying performance reviews to professional development outcomes so CCC can ceaselessly, systematically strive to improve its talent.

Valerie Pell, a faculty member from Malcolm X College, and Lauren Belcher, a student advisor from Wright, undertook examination of our hiring workflow alongside a best practice examination of how other community colleges hire there faculty and staff, and, afterward, they conducted a gap analysis. Highlights from their findings led to the following recommendations:

  • Numerous forms and operations from the present hiring process for staff, full-time faculty and adjunct faculty can be streamlined or removed.
  • Faculty credentialing process should be a decision between the President and the Department Chair for which DO Academic Affairs should have input and guidance, but not veto power.
  • City Colleges of Chicago most procure an HR applicant tracking system and bring its faculty recruitment practices in line with industry standards if it is to remain competitive in bringing-in talent.
  • City Colleges must use a standard sourcebook for advertising jobs and working with professional associations to identify the best candidates for staff and faculty openings.

Valerie and Lauren worked closely with Academic Affairs on this recommendation and ran it by Faculty Council, HR and other stakeholders as well. Look for implementation on many of these recommendations this semester.


Without clear and clean policies governing CCC practices, all process improvements are jeopardized. Elinore Moore from Daley College and Nina de Guzman from Truman, in collaboration with Academic Affairs, uncovered numerous instances of lack of policy knowledge impacting student ability to graduate on time or for Student Services staff to know how to properly advise students.  Elinore and Nina also learned that many community colleges (e.g., Alamo Community Colleges and Valencia Community Colleges), state universities (e.g., University of North Carolina and University of Minnesota) and Ivy League institutions (e.g., Cornell University) have full policy governance functions governing the process of creating, revising and retiring policies.

In light of their research, at the end of the semester the POG task force advocated the creation of a single policy database, accessible over the Web, that would bring together all CCC policies in an easy-to-search format. Additionally, Elinore and Nina took the lead on developing a workflow for policy governance by which anyone in the CCC community can submit a policy change or creation request and recommended examination of which student policies ought to be emphasized to students at orientation. Their work was greatly aided by Shawn Burnett-Whittaker, a Senior Staff Attorney with the Office of the General Counsel, who collaborated with Elinore and Nina through numerous meetings to hash out feasible recommendations in the policies arena.

Although implementation of this project will take time and follow a phased approach, we hope that in coming semesters CCC policy governance will be even more transparent, speedy and accessible.

Student Conduct

Adriana Martinez, a student from Daley College, spearheaded work on how to mitigate disruptive behavior on the part of students. Conducting a focus group of faculty members, Adriana learned that nearly all faculty and adult educators do not receive training on crisis prevention, de-escalation and safety. She also learned many feel unaware and unsupported by present student services and security policies through which faculty, adult educators and student services staff could escalate classroom issues.  Also, a survey of registration personnel from Fall 2011 uncovered that nearly a fifth of them at one point encountered a student using alcohol or drugs and an even larger number had to log an incident with Security. These incidents slowed the registration process, represented disservice to non-disruptive students and indicated a need for standard process around incident escalation throughout registration and any areas of student service.

In the Spring semester, Reinvention hopes to work with Academic Affairs, the Wellness Centers and Security to put these recommendations into action – what sort of workshops will we offer faculty and staff in Fall 2012 on dealing with troubled, unruly and uncontrollable students? How can we better prevent incidents from occurring and, when they do, what specific resources should be in place for the student, the faculty member and the supporting staff?

Facilities Management

The Chief Engineers and the facilities management team labor tirelessly to make City Colleges not just functional but beautiful. Linda Huertas, Registrar at Wright College, explored areas of concern for them, which include undue financial loss from prior vendor management experiences, over-reliance on cost-plus contracting on electrical repair and outdated procurement rules that cause unnecessary resource constrictions. Linda is finalizing recommendations around cost control in the area of preventative maintenance for electricity, and she provided a data-driven case changing procurement rules in the areas of facilities. Linda’s work, assisted by Steven Seidman from Harold Washington College, not only uncovers areas of potential cost savings but also potentially aids the work of engineering staff at all the colleges. 

Process, Operations & Governance Work Product for Fall 2011

All of the above recommendations required a great deal of data research and vetting. Some are still works in progress. As we start Spring 2012, we look forward to a new year of new recommendations from the POG team and also implementation of ideas from Spring and Fall 2011.

Coming up with recommendations is a studied and highly collaborative endeavor. We want to thank the Chief Engineers who worked with us on the facilities recommendation, the faculty members and Academic Affairs, Office of General Counsel and HR staff who provided invaluable data and feedback on the HR and policies recommendations, the Adult Education Deans for their input throughout the adult education off-sites governance research, Budget Director Ray Sanders for ensuring the feasibility of many of the above recommendations and the Office of Information Technology – particularly the PeopleSoft team and Robin Jackson and Maureen Barrett – for helping with all the technology automation, refinement and procurement involved with these and other Reinvention recommendations.

We look forward to working more at the colleges this Spring as we look to make ideas reality. As always, please do not hesitate to e-mail Project Team Leader Charles Ansell – – with any questions, concerns or ideas.