Standard 2

Standard Two:

Institutional Integrity

The institution subscribes to, advocates, and demonstrates honesty and truthfulness in representations to its constituencies and the public; in pursuit of truth and the dissemination of knowledge; in its treatment of and respect for administration, faculty, staff, and students; in the management of its affairs and in relationships with its accreditation association and other external agencies.

2.1 The institution represents itself clearly, accurately, and consistently to its constituencies, the public, and prospective students through its catalogues, publications, and statements, including those presented in electronic formats. Precise, accurate, and current information is provided in the catalog concerning a) educational purposes; b) degrees, curricular offerings, educational resources, and course offerings, c) student fees and other financial obligations, student financial aid, and fee refund policies; d) requirements for admissions and for achievement of degrees, including the academic calendar and information regarding program length; and e) the names of administrators, faculty, and governing board.

 

Descriptive Summary

Victor Valley College strives to clearly, accurately, and consistently represent itself to its constituencies, the public, and prospective students through its catalogs, publications, and statements, including electronic formats.

Victor Valley College publishes its catalog annually in the fall semester. The catalog provides precise, accurate, and current information concerning a) educational purposes; b) degrees, curricular offerings, course offerings, educational resources; c) student fees and other financial obligations, student financial aid, and fee refund policies; d) requirements for admission and for achievement of degrees, including the academic calendar and information regarding program length; and e) the names of administrators, faculty, and governing board.

Class schedules for both credit and non-credit classes are published each semester. Our schedules provide admission and registration information. Schedules and brochures for other programs are published on a regular basis. A student handbook is available as additional information. Many other internal and external campus publications are provided through newsletters. Other individual departments generate pamphlets and programs related to their specific areas.3

Regarding electronic formats, the College has a web site and an automated phone-in registration system.

 

Self Evaluation

The catalog, schedule, handbook, and other publications present information clearly, accurately, and consistently. Precise, accurate, and current information concerning educational purposes is provided in the catalog, in the schedule, and in the student handbook. Information on degree/certificate programs is provided in the catalog, in the schedule, and in the student handbook. Curricular offerings are printed in the catalog, in the schedule, and in the student handbook. Course offerings are in the catalog, in the schedule, and in the student handbook. Information on student fees and other financial obligations along with student financial aid and fee refund policies are in the catalog and in the schedule. The catalog also contains requirements for admission as well as the schedule, and the student handbook.

Requirements for achievement of degrees from Victor Valley College can be found in the catalog, as well as in the class schedule.

The academic calendar is published on the inside cover of both the catalog and the schedule. Program length is in the catalog. The names of administrators are published in the catalog and in the schedule. Names of faculty are in the catalog. The names of the governing board are in the catalog and in the schedule.

The Bookstore at Victor Valley College currently has a student search program to assist students in finding books for their classes. Information is programmed in the computer under the class section number. By entering the class section number in the computer, students can access a listing of books needed for a particular class�both required and optional�and the prices of those books. The listing also includes any other recommended supplies needed for the class. This information is accurate and convenient for students. A hard copy of this information can be printed for student reference.

 

Planning Agenda

1. The schedule of classes will be revised to explain more precisely the step-by-step procedures of automated phone-in registration. In addition, the phone number will be listed in more areas of the schedule.

2. Communication between the institution and students will be increased through additional or more frequent newsletters and bulletins. Attention to this need will benefit the students by providing them with more timely and complete information. Overall campus communication would also be improved.

 

2.2 The institution has a readily available governing board-adopted policy protecting academic freedom and responsibility which states the institutional commitment to the free pursuit and dissemination of knowledge and fosters the integrity of the teaching-learning process.

 

Descriptive Summary

The policies of the Victor Valley Community College District regarding academic freedom are published in the district policy manual. Board Policy 4116.21 allows for teachers to freely think and express ideas, freedom to select and employ materials and instruction methods, freedom from undue pressures, and freedom to act within their professional group. Board Policy 6135 expands on the above description. Instructors are encouraged to initiate free discussion, inquiry, and expression in the classroom. Non-academic opinions or conduct on the part of students are not used by the instructor in evaluating student performance. Responsibility is emphasized for both instructors and students.

 

Self Evaluation

Academic freedom is very briefly mentioned in the Student Handbook4 in a section at the very back of the book.

Academic freedom for instructors is mentioned in the College catalog.1 There is no mention of the academic freedom enjoyed by students.

The Statement of Professional Ethics10 states that faculty members protect academic freedom of students and promotes further public understanding of academic freedom.

 

Planning Agenda

1. The College will expand the paragraph in the Student Handbook dealing with academic freedom and place it in the front of the publication for better visibility.

2. Since it has been twelve years since the board policies dealing with academic freedom were drafted; the College will review and refine if necessary.

 

2.3 Faculty and other college staff distinguish between personal conviction and proven conclusions and present relevant data fairly and objectively to students and others.

 

Descriptive Summary

The Statement on Professional Ethics10 for faculty was adopted by the college�s Faculty Senate on August 11, 1991. The statement asserts as a "primary responsibility to their subject fields" faculty are "to seek and state the truth as they see it." Furthermore, faculty should "practice intellectual honesty�and exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge" (I). The faculty are also charged to "respect and defend the free inquiry of associates" (II), and "promote conditions of free inquiry" (V). When speaking or acting as a private person, faculty are exhorted to "avoid acting" as an agent of the college (V). The Statement of Professional Ethics is not listed in the 1997-98 Faculty Handbook.

Faculty Responsibilities listed in the Faculty Handbook11 obligate faculty to "Avoid slanderous, libelous, fallacious or defamatory remarks about any student, staff member, or administrator" (I). Additionally, faculty are charged to "Present material to students without distortion" and within limits, "Give all relevant points of view a fair hearing" (J,2).

Board Policy 6135.112 on Controversial Issues asserts "any controversial issues shall be presented without bias or attempt to indoctrinate." This policy further fosters an atmosphere of critical thinking and open inquiry within the college community.

Finally, with reference to faculty expression, Board Policy 4116.218 asserts "Academic freedom is not an absolute. It must be exercised within the basic ethical responsibilities of the teaching profession."

During the spring semester 1998, a student survey13 was distributed to a variety of students in both day and evening courses. Half the surveys were distributed to students in day classes; the other half in evening classes. The surveys addressed various subjects including grading policies, college policies, attitudes, and opinions on instructors.

 

Self Evaluation

According to 83 percent of the students surveyed, "instructors draw clear distinctions between their personal convictions and conclusions which are generally accepted within the instructor�s field of study that is generally supported by data."

One question of the survey that expressed a stronger dissatisfaction was in the area of adjunct faculty. Of the ten classes which returned surveys, 25 percent of the students disagreed that adjunct faculty office hours and availability were adequate for their needs. This is a complicated issue, since it involves finding office space for adjunct faculty, as well as the faculty finding additional hours for student meetings, since many of the adjunct faculty work full time elsewhere. The Statement on Professional Ethics will be considered in future publications of the Faculty Handbook.

 

2.4 Institutions which strive to instill specific beliefs or world views or to require codes of conduct of faculty, administrative and support staff, or students give clear prior notice of such policies.

 

Descriptive Summary

This college does not strive to instill any specific belief or world view, nor does it require adherence to a unique code of conduct. The Board of Trustees, the Superintendent/President, and the faculty have policies defining acceptable conduct. The district Code of Ethics Policy 905014 for the Board of Trustees adopted December 14, 1993, sets ten standards the board is charged to uphold. The district Code of Ethics Policy 030015 for the Superintendent/President was adopted November 19, 1991. The three-page policy has numerous responsibilities and values delineated to guide the Superintendent/President in adhering "to the highest ethical standards." The faculty is governed by a series of policies, regulations, and procedures contained in the Faculty Handbook16 and the Faculty Senate�s Statement of Professional Ethics.10 Additionally, district policies on Academic Freedom,8 Academic Freedom and the Materials of Instruction,9 and Controversial Issues12 further guide the faculty in their behavior.

The Student Handbook4 which is referenced in each semester�s schedule2 and the college catalog1 delineate the boundaries of acceptable conduct, the procedures and penalties for infringement, and the procedures for student grievances to ensure student recourse.

All constituent groups are governed by district policies for Staff Diversity/Affirmative Action, Family Care & Medical Leave, Drug/Alcohol-Free Workplace, AIDS, Gender Equity, Code of Student Academic Integrity, Conduct, Code of Conduct, Exercise of Free Expression, Facilities/Restrictions, and Health Services.17

 

Self Evaluation

A survey13 was distributed to 16 classes. To ensure a random sampling, we selected a broad spectrum of subjects, selected day and evening classes, and selected different days.

According to students surveyed, 84 percent felt that their instructors were able to draw clear distinctions between their personal convictions and conclusions which are generally accepted within the instructor�s field of study and generally supported by data.

As students are the ones who can best weigh this balance, the committee felt this was an accurate representation of faculty�s ability to draw these distinctions.

 

Planning Agenda

1. Student surveys will be given on an annual basis to ensure the balance between personal convictions and proven conclusions in the classroom.

 

2.5 The institution provides faculty and students with clear expectations concerning the principles of academic honesty and the sanctions for violation.

 

Descriptive Summary

The Victor Valley College Student Handbook4 provides Victor Valley College officials, faculty members and students with clear expectations concerning the principles of academic honesty. The handbook contains an outline of individual offenses and definitions of cheating, plagiarism, and other acts of dishonesty. The handbook further outlines the judicial authority and prescribed conduct to include detailed rules and regulations of conduct. The sanctions for violations, the hearing procedure, and the appeal process are all clearly stated in the handbook under Article IV. The 1999 Spring Schedule refers students to the Student Handbook and informs them that this handbook is readily available at convenient locations on campus.

The Faculty Handbook outlines several faculty responsibilities including fairness and issues of academic integrity. The definition of academic dishonesty including cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarism is also addressed on pages 46-47 of the Faculty Handbook.16

The Victor Valley College Strategic Plan (The Driving Force) contains parameters which define expectations of those on campus among which is: "We will never . . . violate the rules of honesty, integrity, and the worth of the individual."18

Sanctions for faculty regarding dishonesty and other dismissal issues are defined in California Education Code 87732.

Finally, the 1987 Statement on Professional Ethics from the American Association of University Professors was adopted by the Faculty Senate area representatives in 1991.10

 

Self Evaluation

The district has provided faculty and students with clear expectations concerning the principles of academic honesty and the sanctions for violations. The Student Handbook4 defines terms such as cheating and plagiarism so students have a clear understanding of what constitutes such actions. While the terms are defined, there is no mention of plagiarism using technology such as the Internet.

 

Planning Agenda

1. This committee recommends that the district promote and support the reactivation of the academic Professional Ethics Committee through Faculty Senate to provide faculty-driven sanctions for unacceptable ethical conduct.

2. In future college publications, sections which discuss plagiarism will include use of materials obtained over the Internet.

 

2.6 The institution demonstrates through policies and practices an appropriate understanding of and concern for issues of equity and diversity.

 

Descriptive Summary

Victor Valley Community College continues to maintain, through policies and practices, an appropriate understanding of and concern for issues of equity and diversity. The Board Policies #4111.1, 4211.1, and 511019 provide for faculty and staff diversity and affirmative action in employment. The college catalog includes a statement about diversity and affirmative action in admission, access, and treatment in college programs as well as employment.1 In addition, a standing Faculty and Staff Diversity Advisory Committee is composed of staff, faculty, students and community members. The committee meets regularly to review and update campus policies, procedures, forms and advertising materials regarding employment. Human Resources provides special training for individuals wishing to serve on selection committees as Affirmative Action representatives.

Gender Equity is a goal pursued at Victor Valley College. In 1997, administration supported program efforts by adding coordinators: a female counselor and a male faculty member. The learning environment is changing positively in many departments; for example, automotive, construction technology, and welding are pursuing gender balance. A gender/ethnicity statistical report dated September 1997, and compiled on January 15, 1998,20 is available in the Human Resources office.

Sexual harassment is addressed as a serious issue. A committee of faculty, staff, and the Director of Human Resources was established to develop policy and ensure the rights of the entire Victor Valley College population. The Director of Human Resources has been trained in investigative procedures to promote fairness and protect confidentiality.

 

Self Evaluation

The College has made numerous efforts to foster an environment in which diversity and gender equity are embraced and all individuals are valued for their abilities and contributions. The Office of Human Resources continues to provide special ongoing training for selection committee members and affirmative action representatives. The Faculty and Staff Diversity Affirmative Action Plan was revised in 1994 and is linked with Title V. Due to the passage of Proposition 209, this plan is being revised. However, at the present time, the College is in accordance with the Affirmative Action Plan of the community college system.

The Affirmative Action Plan provides workshops and resources to support the campus commitment to equal opportunity, affirmative action, diversity, and gender equity. The Board of Trustees is supportive of the need for diversity and respect for individuals in the establishment of policies and concepts. The Associated Student Body has sponsored special events such as Cinco de Mayo and activities during Black History Month to increase sensitivity to cultural diversity on campus and in the community. The College offers courses in Black History and Chicano Studies. Each semester, the College also offers a class under a grant, entitled "New Horizons"21 for students who are single parents, re-entry students, and displaced homemakers for the students to develop leadership and self-esteem skills.

In 1998, the College published a Student Handbook4 which has replaced the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. This handbook contains information on college services, student activities on campus, matriculation, programs of study, attendance and grading questions, and rights and responsibilities.

 

Planning Agenda

1. The College will implement activities to promote affirmative action, staff diversity, student and gender equity, and utilize all available resources.

 

2.7 The institution demonstrates honesty and integrity in its athletic programs.

 

Descriptive Summary

The Athletic Department of Victor Valley College abides by the rules and regulations of the State Athletic Code. The College is a member of the Foothill Athletic Conference and competes with other community colleges, as well as university junior varsity teams, and private colleges. The College offers basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, baseball, golf, softball, and tennis.

The athletic directors have overall responsibility for the programs. They and their clerical staff are responsible for the verification of athletic eligibility.

Victor Valley College recruits student athletes from local schools, utilizing an active outreach program at the local high school level. Because of Victor Valley College�s relatively small population base, the College also actively recruits out of state. This is done each year in accordance with Article 10.1.4.2 and 10.1.4.2.1 of the California Community Colleges Commission on Athletics, COA, Constitution.22

To maintain eligibility, students are required to carry 12 units, with a GPA of 2.0. Enrollment status is checked every Wednesday in an effort to forestall potential problems. Student progress is further monitored mid-semester. Athletic coaches are required to be certified, with a Master�s degree or a credential in their given field. They are also required to attend seminars and clinics on an ongoing basis.

 

Self Evaluation

The department has workable monitoring and tracking systems in place that ensure integrity in athletic eligibility. Responsibility for implementation of these systems lie with the Athletic Directors, department secretary, coaches, and athletic trainers. The Dean of Academic Programs has the responsibility of overseeing the department.

Since the last self-study, the College has added a female athletic director who administers the women�s programs. The (men�s) Athletic Director/Director of Outreach was assigned effective July 1, 1998, to be full-time Director of Outreach. An interim men�s Athletic Director has been appointed until the position is filled. Cross country has also been added to comply with the Title 9 gender equity policies.

In the last self-study, it was recommended that: a) the College should devise methods to strengthen matriculation of student athletes, particularly in academic advising and monitoring of satisfactory progress, and b) the College should give consideration to hiring full-time coaching staff as the budget and need for instructors permit. The College has assigned one of its counselors to work closely with the athletes to ensure athletes� academic success.

The College has responded as follows. a) The athletic department has implemented early warning letters to student athletes in all sports in an effort to strengthen matriculation. b) There has been no hiring of full-time coaching staff due to past financial problems; this could change in the future.

 

Planning Agenda

1. The College will reconsider the hiring of full-time coaching staff. It is difficult to maintain stability and consistency with the turnover involved with part-time staff. The College seems to have rebounded from its past financial difficulties, and is now hiring again. It is felt that serious consideration should be given to strengthening the various athletic programs by hiring more full-time coaching staff.

 

2.8 The institution demonstrates honesty and integrity in its relationships with the commission and agrees to comply with commission standards, policies, guidelines, public disclosure, and self study requirements.

 

Descriptive Summary

Victor Valley College welcomes the opportunity to engage in the process of self evaluation and external validation that the accreditation process offers. The College demonstrates honesty and integrity in its relationships with the commission and strives to comply with commissions standards, policies, guidelines, and public disclosure with self study standards and requirements. The College cites as evidence of compliance its previous self-studies, progress reports and annual reports. A large group of faculty and staff attended a one-day workshop at Victor Valley College in September 1997. This workshop provided the Steering Team and staff with information and guidelines about the accreditation process. To strengthen communication between the Steering Team and standard teams, members of the standard teams served as facilitators on the Steering Team.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, accepted the College�s progress report at its meeting on June 10-11, 1996 as cited in letter of June 20, 1996.23 In the same letter, John C. Petersen, former executive director, indicated that the progress report clearly demonstrated the ability of Victor Valley College to address issues of collegial communication and participation, the need for strong programs to support ethnic and cultural diversity, and the requirements of effective planning.

 

Self Evaluation

To help ensure honesty and integrity in its relationships with the Accreditation Commission, Victor Valley College has designated an accreditation liaison officer, the Director of Accreditation and Grants Development, who has administrative responsibility for all aspects of the accreditation self-study process. In addition, the director served as co-chair with two other co-chairs of the Accreditation Steering Team: the president of Academic Senate, and management representative. In collaboration with the president, administrators, faculty, staff, management, students, and the board of trustees, the Accreditation Office created a process designed to produce a honest, reliable, and complete Accreditation Self-Study. The Steering Team and members of the standard teams are committed to studying and describing the institution in the manner outlined in the Handbook of Accreditation and Policy Manual and Guide to Institutional Self Study and Reports To The Commission.

 

Plan

1. The College will continue to demonstrate institutional honesty and integrity with the commission and agrees to comply with commission standards, policies, guidelines, public disclosure, and self study requirements.

 

2.9 The institution regularly evaluates and revises institutional policies, practices, and publications to ensure integrity in all representations about its mission, programs, and services.

 

Descriptive Summary

Victor Valley College reviews and revises most of its institutional policies, practices and publications on an "as needed basis." The president�s office is responsible for revising and maintaining the Board Policy Manual. Under the direction of the Superintendent/President, compliance with state and federal regulations, regulation changes, and new regulations is ensured.

 

Self Evaluation

The shared governance process initially disseminates this information to the vice presidents and College Assembly. The finished product is then forwarded to the Board of Trustees for approval. Board policy information and changes will be available through the campus wide computer network system (GroupWise). This allows easy access to the most current policies and procedures. Internal college development and reformulation also dictate policy revisions which are also integrated into the system in the same fashion.

There are several Victor Valley College publications which discuss its mission, programs, and services. They are The Driving Force, Priorities for the 90s and Beyond, the catalog,1 class schedule,2 and the student handbook.4 The Driving Force18 guides all other official college publications for their structure and rationale. The Driving Force was last revised in 1995-96, during the strategic planning process. The class schedule is evaluated each semester to ensure information is accurate; the college catalog is reviewed annually for student and community dissemination.

Other publications which discuss the college mission, programs, and services, including the student handbook, are revised as changes are needed. The "as needed" basis for revisions of such publications is due to current staffing and financial resources at Victor Valley College.

 

Standard Two Documents Cited:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Victor Valley College Catalog, 1998-99
  2. Victor Valley College Schedule, Spring 1999
  3. Samples of brochures: EOPS, Student Health Center, Student and Athlete Insurance Network Information Bulletin, America Reads Challenge Tutoring Program, Master Artist Series
  4. Victor Valley College Student Handbook
  5. Campus newsletter
  6. Victor Valley College web site print-out
  7. RamTalk registration, spring 1999 schedule, VVC website
  8. Board Policy 4116.21, Academic Freedom
  9. Board Policy 6135, Academic Freedom and the Materials of Instruction
  10. Statement on Professional Ethics
  11. Faculty Responsibilities listed in the Faculty Handbook
  12. Board Policy 6135.1, Controversial Issues
  13. Spring semester 1998 student survey
  14. Board Policy 9050, Code of Ethics
  15. Board Policy 0300, Code of Ethics
  16. Faculty Handbook
  17. Board Policy 4111.1; 4211.1, Staff Diversity/Affirmative Action; Board Policy 4152, Family Care & Medical Leave; Drug/Alcohol-Free Workplace; Board Policy 4114.2, AIDS; Board Policy 4114.4, Gender Equity; Board Policy 5215, Code of Student Academic Integrity; Board Policy 5410, Conduct; Board Policy 5411, Code of Conduct; Board Policy 5411.2, Exercise of Free Expression; Board Policy 3713, Facilities/Restrictions; Board Policy 5114, Health Services
  18. The Driving Force, pages 12, 14
  19. Board Policies 4111.1, Staff Diversity/Affirmative Action; 4211.1, Staff Diversity/Affirmative Action; and 5110, Student Affirmative Action
  20. Gender/ethnicity statistical report dated September 1997
  21. New Horizons Grant
  22. Commission on Athletics Article 10.1.4.2 and 10.1.4.2.1
  23. June 20, 1996, letter accepting the college�s progress report at its meeting on June 10-11, 1996