On February 8, PCC administration announced plans to close the Computer Applications and Web Technologies (CAWT) program. This decision leads to the potential lay off up to 14 full time (FT) faculty and 61 part time (PT) faculty, not to mention causing stress and uncertainty for many other programs that include CAWT courses as part of their degree and certificate requirements.
This decision was made at the highest levels of the college, behind closed doors, without the knowledge of or input from faculty, students, or union leadership.
In an email to the PCC community, Vice President of Academic Affairs Katy Ho said the decision was based on “thoughtful recommendation” from college leaders, that it comes with a “strong recognition” that the college needs to continue teaching computer literacy and software applications, and that next steps “are being determined.” Incredibly, she even cited the college’s commitment to YESS.
In notifying PCC Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals (FFAP) representatives just prior to the announcement, administration stated they would hold a meeting with the department’s FT faculty but admitted they had no plan to communicate the decision to the affected PT faculty, with one administrator saying “I’m sure they’ll hear about it,” presumably from the FT faculty. When asked if there would be an opportunity to transfer current, qualified instructors to the new program, administration refused to commit to any accommodations, saying “The only decision that has been made is program closure.”
The decision-making process and the lack of care taken in the roll-out makes a mockery of the institution’s mission professing a “collaboration culture,” not to mention the value statement that cites “collaboration predicated upon a foundation of mutual trust and support.”
The upshot for administration is that they can now potentially redesign the CAWT program free from consideration of the people and the livelihoods who will be affected by the changes, free from the decades of expertise and on-the-ground teaching experience of existing faculty. They can pick and choose which (if any) of them gets jobs in the reimagined program, without factoring in seniority, assignment rights, or Multi-Year Contract-holder status.
An injury to one is an injury to all.
If the PCC administration can eliminate a successful program, and then resurrect it with entirely new faculty of their choosing, it sets an alarming precedent. For that reason, I hope you will stand in solidarity with our CAWT colleagues to tell the PCC administration and the Board of Directors that this is unacceptable.
Please come to the PCC Board Meeting on Thursday April 18, 6:30pm, at Sylvania. I will be there along with several faculty and Federation leaders. Let’s tell the college to live up to its mission and values of collaboration, reverse the decision to close the program, and engage with current faculty to redesign the program to better meet the needs of students.