Marsee: 'We Must Reverse the Painful Course' at CR




UPDATED, with link to survey results.

Though he's currently touring colleges in western Siberia, College of the Redwoods President/Superintendent Jeff Marsee appears to be taking the CR revolt seriously.

Last week, at a heated Board of Trustees meeting, union employees delivered a vote of no confidence in the Board, citing the removal from the CR Web site of hundreds of employee comments gathered during a survey by consulting firm Noel-Levitz. In a letter from Russia, Marsee begrudgingly reversed that action by announcing that the comments will be put back online. (Links to the survey results here .)

The embattled head of CR struck a conciliatory -- if not quite apologetic -- note in the letter, saying, "As I observe from afar, and reflect from within, I recognize that I have been unsuccessful in helping each of us resolve our differences through normal discussion and debate."

Read the rest of his letter below.

I further recognize that each of us, including myself, must assume some responsibility for this failing. We all must learn how to work together to resolve issues collegially and leave behind any process that in any way resembles a conflict-oriented approach. We need to do this for our students, for our community, and for each other. I, like you, have committed myself to the College of the Redwoods, to do all that I can, in concert with you, to weather these hard times and move us forward to serve our students and community. I pledge this commitment to you. Please allow me to present my perspective on the matter of the survey posting.

The raw CESS responses were not removed from the web site to hide results from the study. I always intended to share with the college community all the results of the study as part of the process for creating action plans for improvement. The reason the initial data and comments were removed from the web site was simply because the data had not been analyzed by Noel-Levitz and the summary comments had not been sorted by theme or topic. Further, we were advised by Noel-Levitz that posting raw results without analysis or context was counter-productive to the intended goals of the survey project. However, and despite the advice received from Noel-Levitz, I have asked Dr. Marjorie Carson to post the raw data survey results on the College web site in the accreditation section. I continue to believe that it would have been preferable to have released the results of the survey after the Noel-Levitz analysis was completed. Nonetheless, I now believe that it is more important for the health and well being of our college community to not wait for the analysis.

I truly regret that this unfortunate chain of events has created so much angst for so many of you. We must reverse the painful course we now seem to be on and return to a path of open communication and mutual collaboration. I sincerely look forward to restarting our positive efforts to resolve our differences through active listening and collegial discourse when I return from my Fulbright travel. I have learned much while participating in this extraordinary opportunity in Russia. I look forward to sharing what I've learned with you when I return.


Jeff Marsee



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