Committee regroups after board says no to separate admin college in Verde

Board Member Deb McCasland: “In the last few years, the Verde campus has been systematically reduced in staffing, resulting in a lack of counselors that provided outreach and guidance for YCC students.”<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->(VVN/Bill Helm)

Board Member Deb McCasland: “In the last few years, the Verde campus has been systematically reduced in staffing, resulting in a lack of counselors that provided outreach and guidance for YCC students.”<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->(VVN/Bill Helm)

VERDE VALLEY - The Yavapai College District Governing Board's recent decision to not solicit outside advice on the possibility of a separate administrative college in the Verde Valley has provided more "disappointment than displeasure," said Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee member Randy Garrison.

At VVBAC's next meeting, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. April 20, Garrison said he will be working "to bring a segment forward as part of our agenda that will allow questions from the floor, which at this point has not been allowed because of our time constraints and lack of a complete understanding about the college and how it does business, at least the way the college views their role in providing education."

To what degree Yavapai College provides education for the Verde Valley is the debate between the VVBAC and the District Governing Board, which voted 3-2 against studying the structure, benefits and cost of a separate community college that would remain part of the Yavapai College district.

McCasland, who voted in support of the study, said she remains "open to exploring the option of a separate administrative college" in the Verde Valley.

McCasland emphasized that her comments "represent my thoughts only and I do not speak for the board."

"In the last few years, the Verde campus has been systematically reduced in staffing, resulting in a lack of counselors that provided outreach and guidance for YCC students," McCasland said. "Decision making shifted to the Prescott Administrators.  Barbie Duncan's comments at the last board meeting showed how this was done."

Duncan, former Yavapai College Verde Valley Assistant Dean of Student Services, asked the college board at the March 1 YCDGB meeting that the Verde Valley be involved "in the decision-making process."

"Return faculty and staff to Verde Valley supervision," Duncan told the board. "Continue the Verde Valley Board Advisory Committee as a permanent line of communication to the District Governing Board."

More than a year ago, the governing board discussed the idea of a separate administrative college. "At that time the board decided it wasn't interested in pursuing it," said Dr. Pat McCarver, board chair.  

In November 2015, the board unanimously approved "to task the committee with gathering ownership feedback from Verde Valley residents in their respective communities," McCarver also said. The local committee would solicit information that would help both the committee and the board better understand:

- What do Verde Valley residents value about Yavapai College?

- How does Yavapai College meet the educational, economic, and cultural needs of Verde Valley's communities?

- What do residents believe will be the most significant challenges facing Yavapai College/higher education in the next five years?

- Are there particular needs/issues Verde Valley residents would like the college to address?

According to McCarver, the board is still waiting for a progress report from the committee.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42 and on Facebook at @CampVerdeBugle

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