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NEASC INTEGRITY COMMITTEE
DRAFT REPORT
April 2003

 

Paul Leclerc, chair, E-mail: logos53@juno.com, paleclerc@ccri.edu
Tel.: Office: (401) 333-7294, Home: (401) 886-4107

In this report, the Integrity committee intends to describe the present state, evaluate the effectiveness, and offer projections of CCRI with respect to NEASC standard eleven: Integrity.

I) DESCRIPTION

We define institutional integrity as 1) a steadfast commitment to the moral values endorsed by CCRI and as 2) institutional coherence and cohesion.

This report addresses issues pertaining to equal opportunity, affirmative action, individual rights, grievance policies, and academic freedom. We examined integrity at CCRI, focusing on the concerns of students, administrators, faculty, and staff. Our examination is based on questionnaires, interviews, and existing policies and procedures (see supporting documents). The analysis reflects the current perception of integrity at CCRI.

II) APPRAISAL

The following lists are ordered hierarchically, i.e., according to the degree of strength or weakness identified by questionnaire and interview respondents.

A.1) Strengths According to CCRI Students

  • The CCRI College Catalog and Student Handbook are readily available and the Catalog provides sufficient information to make educational decisions.
  • CCRI exhibits respect and support for diversity and the physically disadvantaged.
  • CCRI has an adequate level of physical safety in its buildings and on its grounds and a healthy level of environmental safety inside college facilities.
  • CCRI has a high level of academic integrity, an adequate level of academic freedom, and a fair grading system.
  • CCRI’s policies and procedures are applied equally to all students, the registration process is fair and efficient, and faculty and counselors consistently treat students in a non-sexist manner.
  • CCRI respects student confidentiality and affords students the freedom to express their concerns to administrators.


A.2) Strengths According to CCRI Administrators, Faculty, and Staff:

  • CCRI exhibits respect and support for diversity and the physically disadvantaged.
  • CCRI provides appropriate academic freedom.
  • CCRI has adequate technical support and the Information Technology department publicizes and complies with pertinent copyright and confidentiality policies.
  • CCRI provides adequate policies and procedures to resolve college-related concerns.
  • The CCRI No Harassment policy effectively deters harassment of any kind (sexual, racial, religious, etc.) throughout the college.


A.3) Strengths According to Interviewed Institutional Leaders:

  • CCRI maintains basic standards of institutional integrity.
  • Many CCRI employees exhibit exemplary professional dedication in their commitment of time and energy.


B.1) Weaknesses According to CCRI Students

  • The CCRI Code of Ethics is not readily available, does not set clear standards for integrity, and is consequently not read.
  • CCRI does not provide students a secure area for personal possessions.
  • CCRI’s policies and procedures for addressing allegations of unprofessional faculty behavior are ineffective. Correlatively, students generally lack knowledge of appropriate procedures for resolving academic or personal problems.
  • CCRI admissions and transfer counselors are not always available or knowledgeable. Academic advisors are not always accurate about degree requirements.
  • Student orientation is inadequate.


B.2) Weaknesses According to CCRI Administrators, Faculty, and Staff:

  • CCRI’s budgetary process is not open to public scrutiny and budgetary allotments to and within CCRI are insufficient to fulfill its institutional mission.
  • CCRI facilities are not environmentally healthy (e.g., poor air quality).
  • CCRI’s promotions and hiring practices are not open and fair.
  • CCRI’s academic and administrative departments are inadequately staffed.
  • CCRI’s administrative policies are not fair to all stakeholders and its administrative decisions and actions lack accountability.
  • CCRI orientation policies, procedures, and process are inefficient and poorly designed.


B.3) Weaknesses According to Interviewed Institutional Leaders:

  • CCRI administrative and academic departments are inadequately staffed and budgetary allotments to and within CCRI are insufficient to support them.
  • CCRI should periodically publicize information that clearly explains the essential necessity of ethical integrity for achieving its interrelated institutional missions.
  • Some CCRI employees and departments function on the basis of narrow, sectarian self-interests that compromise institutional integrity.
  • CCRI needs more minorities in high-level positions and needs to make a more concerted effort to reach out to minorities.


III) PROJECTION

Therefore, the Integrity committee respectfully submits, on the basis of the evidence adduced above and its supporting documentation, the following institutional recommendations:

  • CCRI should reformulate the Code of Ethics and Mission Statement into concise, clear, and complementary guidelines that incorporate the college’s concept of institutional integrity, educational values and priorities, professional principles of practice, and institutional goals. CCRI should also regularly highlight the essential necessity of the Code of Ethics and Mission Statement for accomplishing its interrelated institutional missions. Hence, in recognition of this essential necessity, CCRI should also conduct periodic self-assessments of the effectiveness of its ethical policies and clearly demonstrate that procedural mechanisms exist for the effective implementation of its principles.
  • CCRI needs to constructively engage the Physical safety and health concerns of many employees. Existing problems need to be corrected and suitable policies designed and implemented. CCRI must comply with all federal and state legal requirements (OSHA, etc.) and conduct all its affairs in the spirit as well as the letter of the law.
  • CCRI needs to constructively engage the concerns of many employees regarding their longstanding perception of unfair hiring and promotion practices. The widespread perception is that this area is “politicized” and therefore unfair, preferential, and nepotistic. Accordingly, CCRI needs to develop more institutional openness and transparency regarding its hiring and promotion integrity. In particular, CCRI needs to clearly publicize and, more importantly, consistently practice fair, non-discriminatory, and open hiring and promotion practices.
  • CCRI must vigilantly impress upon state political leaders and legislators that the educational quality of our institutional mission—which impacts all RI citizens—is drastically diminished by their unrealistic regulatory restrictions (e.g., frozen number of full-time equivalents [FTE]). Consequently, CCRI should present relevant evidence to state legislators and leaders that confirms its strained institutional status.
  • Currently, both students and employees lack confidence in what is generally perceived as an understaffed and consequently inefficient and occasionally incompetent advising and counseling staff. Therefore, CCRI should critically review its advising and counseling and orientation policies, practices and process and, on this basis, design and implement appropriate corrective measures
  • CCRI would improve with more open, inclusive, and collaborative intra-institutional communication. CCRI employees, departments, and administrative levels need to constructively communicate and collaborate with each other on the basis of inclusive institutional interests and ideals. There is also a widespread perception among CCRI employees that some serious college business is being conducted clandestinely. CCRI should accordingly take concrete measures to scrupulously avoid even the appearance of a lack of professional openness.
  • CCRI should critically reevaluate its institutional relationship with adjunct faculty.
     

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