SMC Employees Evaluate Town Hall

The May 1st Town Hall was a success, according to the 50 faculty and staff employees who surveyed the event. A total of 86 employees attended the two hour discussion in the Health Education Center (HEC). Nearly 58 percent said they welcomed the Town Hall information, finding it newsworthy, captivating and informative.

"Hearing what truly is on the mind of colleagues is refreshing, after all aren't we all adults? I would rather witness this than what is scripted," wrote one attendant, while another said, "Need them more often and regularly."

President Sharon Diaz updated employees on the projected $89 million master facilities plan that will take place by 2018. She summarized project actions and directions for SMC such as; a need to produce $112,703,738 in Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) over 10 years, to grow in existing programs and increase tuition by six percent per year. SMC also plans to raise $25,000,000 over 10 years which includes a Sutter Health Matching grant of $500,000, and to launch a PharmD program.

More than half of the participants surveyed agreed the update on the San Francisco Learning Center (SFLC) and a recap on the transition of services to Alta Bates Summit Center (ABSMC) was needed and useful. More than 60 percent said they were in favor of the College becoming a 'University.' Ideas for a new institutional name were suggested including: Samuel Merritt University of the Health Sciences, Samuel Merritt Health Sciences University and Samuel Merritt University…Health Sciences Since 1909.

To what degree did you find the Town Hall information interesting or helpful?
  Good* Fair* Response Count
Facilities Update 93.9% (46) 6.1% (3) 49
Centennial 85.1% (40) 14.9% (7) 47
San Francisco Learning
Center (SFLC) Update
83.7% (41) 16.3% (8) 49
Transition of Services
73.5% (36) 26.5% (13) 49
Samuel Merritt
"University" Update
64.6% (31) 35.4% (17) 48

Notes: The table was extracted from "Survey Monkey'' with a confidence level of 95 in 100. This means when a sample is drawn there are 95 chances in 100 that it will reflect a reasonable result within an acceptable sampling error.
*Responses of 'Excellent and Good' and 'Fair and Poor' were added together, although no responses were given a rating of 'Poor'.

Stephanie Bangert, Executive Director of the Office of the President and WASC Steering Committee Chair, Nandini Dasgupta, Director of Institutional Research and WASC CPR Co-Chair, and Irma Walker-Adame, Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs Podiatric Medicine and WASC Team Chair for Standard 1, presented themes and outcomes for the review.

From the ongiong work of WASC study teams, two important institutional issues were selected for Town Hall discussion: diversity and communications.

"Excellent job at communicating WASC update, making it make sense to everyone in the room," stated one attendant.

Town Hall participants were asked 'How do you define diversity?' The answers ranged in perspective:

"Diversity, a spectrum of talent, skills, personalities, experiences that any group/community can offer."

"Diversity at SMC is defined by a few and accurate representation of all groups of people (gender, race, culture, relations and marital status) and how SMC conveys its educational goals in a fair and nonjudicial way."

"Diversity is encouraging and allowing or an open exchange of ideas and different perspectives. It is being sensitive to varied cultural backgrounds and celebrating all types of cultural activities."

In addition to individual responses about diversity, participants were asked to complete a communication questionnaire. Here are some examples of the questions and answers given at the meeting.

Institutional level decisions, procedures and policies are communicated in a timely manner to the college community.

"Some yes, some no. For example, scrambling to generate documents for changed programs is a sign. Lots of things are changing in the programs and facilities. Policies and procedures are often heard informally, people do things differently."

Communication gaps exist between the Oakland campus and San Francisco/San Mateo/Sacramento campuses.

"Agree. Communication and inclusion gaps exist in a variety of areas for students, faculty and staff. One solution could be visits from those at the remote sites to the main campus and vice versa."

I find out about what is currently happening at SMC from informal sources. I would prefer more consistent formal sources of information.

"Agree. E-Flash worked well regarding SFLC closure, Town Hall is good to get information out, Bulletin Board does not work, SMC website is not effective, it is too hard to find forms."

According to the survey, 75 percent of people favored the group exercises and 65 percent thought the WASC handouts were helpful and informative.

"It was a perfect amount of time spent on exercises. Short, to the point."

"We were able to relay our frustration to people we normally do not see or interact on a regular bases and we found out we have the same communication understanding."

"This is one of the best Town Halls I have been to. The questions were such that they could be tackled on short notice."

"I was very pleased to see the communication issues discussed. It was put out there boldly and respectfully."

To what degree did you find the following information presented interesting or helpful?
  Good* Fair* Response Count
Capacity and
Preparatory Review
81.2% (39) 18.8% (9) 48
Defining Diversity
73.5% (36) 26.5% (13) 49
Individual Worksheet
79.1% (38) 20.8% (10) 48
Table Discussion
77.1% (37) 22.9% (11) 48
Group Reflections on
Diversity and Communications
72.4% (34) 27.7% (13) 47
Notes: *Responses of 'Excellent and Good' and 'Fair and Poor' were added together, although no responses were given a rating of 'Poor'.



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Office of the President enews is published by Samuel Merritt College, Office of the President.
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