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Colorado Mountain College’s Gap Analysis proposes reorganization

John Colson
jcolson@postindependent.com

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories about the Gap Analysis Report conducted for Colorado Mountain College. The first story ran on Oct. 1.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Among the recommendations in a recently released Gap Analysis Report about Colorado Mountain College, is a proposal that the school undergo significant reorganization, such as conducting “a thorough and objective salary and benefit study” guided by “a skillful employment law attorney” who can assist in a “review and rewrite [of] current due-process procedures as well as review and revise as necessary all personnel policies and procedures.”



Other recommendations in the report include adoption of a new “organizational chart” that would “allow the college to make better-informed decisions more quickly and inclusively,” according to the report.

“If I have a conversation with a board member, I’m not going to turn on a clock or something.”
Debra Pain
Consultant

Among the evaluations that could result from the reorganization, according to the report, is the “appropriateness of the number of [staffers reporting directly] to the [college] president,” along with the ”appropriateness of titles” for different positions, and the “scope of responsibility” for school vice presidents, with an eye specifically toward “possible overloading in scope which would diminish the effectiveness of the vice presidents.”



The report also recommends the creation of a “chief of staff” position to “allow the president to invest most of his or her time at the strategic level, managing board relations, and becoming the face of the college locally, regionally and nationally.”

In addition, the report’s author recommended creation or realignment of other administrative positions, in some instances turning a localized function into one with a more regional or campus-wide orientation.

The 145-page study, which cost $165,000, was completed earlier this year and released to the college faculty and staff in August, but has yet to be fully discussed by the college board of trustees. A copy was supplied to the Post Independent by an employee who asked to not be identified.

The report was written by consultant Debra Pain of Breckenridge, a one-time college administrator at the online educational institution, the University of Phoenix, according to her resume, which was provided to the Post Independent by interim CMC President Charles Dassance.

The resume listed Pain as senior executive vice president emeritus for the Apollo Group Inc., but Pain told the Post Independent on Wednesday that she is no longer associated with the Apollo Group, or with the University of Phoenix.

The University of Phoenix is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Apollo Group, according to a business summary in the New York Times. In addition, a story in the online news source, Inside Higher Ed, reported last February that the University of Phoenix was facing probationary discipline over “concerns about a lack of autonomy from its holding company, the Apollo Group” and other issues. The recommendation for probation came from the Higher Leaning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, an accreditor of educational institutions.

Pain received a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix, and did doctoral course work at North Central University, according to the resume.

Dassance told the Post Independent during a recent interview that he did not “necessarily agree with all her findings and recommendations, but added that he planned to submit the report to the CMC Board of Trustees at an upcoming meeting.

Pain, in discussing her report, noted that it was based on more than 300 interviews with faculty, staff and students. She acknowledged that her recommendations were fairly sweeping, but felt that it was not a recommendation that CMC undergo wholesale, deep, systematic modifications.

“I think most educational institutions review and rewrite policies and procedures annually,” she said, explaining that her recommendations were meant to reinforce that general tendency with specific ideas.

Her recommendation to create “a system-wide marketing, communications and enrollment council,” she said, is meant to foster “a long-term plan” that can be “re-evaluated at least once a semester,” in order to check on the accomplishments from the prior semester and plan for new initiatives in the next one.

“It’s a constant process of re-evaluation,” she added.

The organizational chart, Pain explained, is meant to encourage the trustees to ask themselves, “Are we organized to serve our constituents to the best of our ability? They have to look at that, and they have to decide that.”

Pain said she currently is working as a consultant on her own, without a business or even a name of her consulting firm, and is not longer contractually connected to CMC.

But, she said, if the trustees want to bring her back to further discuss her report, she would be open to the idea, which would not necessarily mean drawing up a new contract for her services.

“If I have a conversation with a board member, I’m not going to turn on a clock or something,” she said.

There has been no indication from Dassance or the board of trustees that they plan to call Pain back to talk about the report.


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