Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories about Colorado Mountain College’s Gap Analysis study.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Colorado Mountain College, the junior college district that encompasses Glenwood Springs, Rifle and the Roaring Fork River Valley, recently completed a $165,000 Gap Analysis study, which took more than a year to complete and which outlines some of the friction between the college administration and its staff of full-time and part-time, or adjunct instructors.
The report runs to 145 pages and is intended to give a snapshot of the district as it is perceived today by its students, staff and administrators, compared to where the college staff and administration believes either where it should be, or the direction in which it should be headed.
“I think it shows that we have a lot of challenges ahead of us,” noted Trustee Ken Brenner of Routt County.
The Gap Analysis Report, as it is called, was internally released as a draft in July and has since been released to the college’s entire staff, including full-time faculty and part-time adjunct instructors. The Post Independent received a copy of the report from an employee who asked not to be identified.
The report was written by consultant Debra Pain of Breckenridge, a former college administrator in Arizona listed as the senior executive vice president emeritus for the Apollo Group Inc.
According to the Apollo Group website, the group was founded in 1973 on the principle that lifelong learning and a varied career would supersede the old model of working for a single company for decades or a lifetime, which has been a significant part of CMC’s mission since it was founded a few years before the Apollo Group.
Early in the report, which was initiated by former college president Stan Jensen, Pain launches into an analysis of the college’s “decision making process.” Summarizing things she has been told by staff and others, she reported in an italicized paragraph that “under current circumstances the college is frail. Some are fearful of speaking out. There appears to be a high degree of ‘political alignment’ taking precedence over speaking to what is best for the college. Employees question the confidence of the Board of Trustees in their ability to make good decisions.”
Such friction, the report continues, “is not unusual in turbulent times,” such as the uproar caused by Jensen’s departure in December last year with a $500,000 severance check in his pocket.
Since Jensen’s departure, Pain’s report states, “The interim president [Charles Dassance] has done much to stabilize the college and to focus it on what is within its control at the moment.”
At the end of the section on marketing, Pain recommends that the school take a number of steps to better identify lines of authority and encourage open debate among the staff and the administration.
“The report contains many recommendations to be considered — and they will be — but the recommendations will require further analysis to determine which ones should be adopted,” wrote Dassance, who is scheduled to step down this fall when a new chief executive is hired by the board of trustees.
Dassance, in an interview on Sept. 30, noted that although he is not likely to be around for most of the analysis and discussion of Pain’s findings and recommendations, he has initiated a “planned response” series of reviews by half a dozen CMC executives and staff members.
And, he said, the Gap Analysis Report has been incorporated into the ongoing CMC Strategic Plan.
“This is a very comprehensive overview of just about everything at the college,” Dassance said on Monday. “This is going to take some time to get through.”
He noted that, with a new president about to take over, “This is great information for him or her to have.”
Although Dassance said he thought the Gap Analysis Report had been posted to the college website, CMC spokeswoman Debra Crawford explained that it had not been and was considered an internal document meant for distribution among the college staff.