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San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees Moves Towards Sweeping Transformation to its Governance Model

Board to revamp policies to strengthen transparency and accountability to District constituents

SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Once faced with serious financial challenges and the prospect of losing accreditation, the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District has committed to transforming itself into a model of accountability and sound financial planning for community college districts across the state. In its most recent initiative, the Board of Trustees has for months been exploring a radical rethought of its governing policies in order to strengthen transparency in its authority and decision-making, as well as to realign policies with its core mission to serve the entirety of the 840,000 residents in the District's service area.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140128/MN54068)

"This is really a courageous step for the Board – to rethink completely how we govern this critical community asset," said Dr. Jeffrey Lease, Chair of the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees. "Whereas there exists a natural inclination on the part of most publicly elected Boards to primarily react to internal district constituents, the San Jose-Evergreen Board has set out on a sweeping, proactive mission to rethink its policy framework to ensure we are being responsive to external constituents, including the various communities and industries dependent upon the preparation of an educated workforce, while continuing to be receptive of input from faculty and staff.  If adopted, we anticipate this bold vision will not only improve our District's accountability to taxpayers, but also result in a better overall delivery of services to our students."

In 2011, facing several recommendations by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges regarding board governance concerns, the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees embarked on a multi-year governance reform process, which has included a 360 degree self-evaluation, the design of a comprehensive workplan to strengthen its own policies, and several hours of Board trainings on subjects ranging from Board management and delegation to effective means of monitoring progress on various District initiatives over time.

That three and half year process has now culminated in the formulation of a new model of governance and leadership, which the Board of Trustees is set to approve in coming weeks. The policy governance model, created by Dr. John Carver, is comprised of three central tenants that seek to define and enhance organizational accountability:

  1. The board is accountable to the Owners, defined as 840,000 residents in the District's service area. The board must connect with shareholders to effectively speak on their behalf, define success and failure for the CEO, and evaluate and assure CEO performance;
  2. The chair is accountable to the board for chairing the process so that trustees fulfill their responsibilities to define success and failure for the CEO, and evaluate and assure CEO performance; and
  3. The CEO is accountable to the board for fulfilling the board's definition of achievement and avoiding the board's prohibitions. The CEO is not accountable for board performance, nor is the CEO accountable to the board chair or any individual trustee.

Over the coming months, the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees will work collaboratively under this new paradigm to formulate policies for the District's governance process, Board management, Board delegation and executive limitations.

"This Board is to be commended for the bold steps it has taken to stabilize the community college district and evaluate the ways in which it can best serve its large, diverse base of constituents," said Jose-Evergreen Community College District Chancellor Rita Cepeda. "It has been a unique and rewarding experience working hand in hand with a group of dedicated community leaders committed towards speaking with one voice and constantly searching for ways to improve service to our community and our local economy."

About San Jose-Evergreen Community College District: Located in the Santa Clara Valley, the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District encompasses more than 300 square miles, including a large portion of the city of San Jose and all of the city of Milpitas. The District includes the areas served by Milpitas and San Jose Unified School Districts, together with the Eastside Union High School District. The District is comprised of two colleges, Evergreen Valley College, established in 1975, and San Jose City College, the oldest community college in Santa Clara County, established in 1921. For more information, visit: www.sjeccd.edu.

Media Contact: Rolando Bonilla, Ford & Bonilla, (415) 987-8025, [email protected]

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SOURCE San Jose-Evergreen Community College District

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