Pima still facing hiring troubles

By SHAQ DAVIS

Quincy L. Moore, who was recently hired to a vice president position at Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus, was let go Feb. 18, just six weeks after his appointment.

Moore was paid $5,000 by the college to relocate from Ohio, and his contract ran until June of this year.

He beat out 10 other applicants for the job after being recommended to the position by the current interim campus president, Gwendolyn Joseph.

On Feb. 26, Mark McCabe was assigned to take over the duties of vice president for student development at Downtown Campus.

McCabe was first hired on Dec. 17, 2013 to help with the process to meet the standards of the Higher Learning Commission and to help remove sanctions.

“I love this college, and I want to do whatever I can to help it,” McCabe said.

He also said that his job is to help Pima develop students.

“Students come here to learn something,” he said. “My job is to create an environment where learning occurs inside and outside the classroom.”

McCabe served as a counselor and interim administrator for 27 years at PCC, Chancellor Lee Lambert said in an email.

“Mark has a strong background in student success strategies, assessment and learning outcomes,” Lambert said.

“We are fortunate to have him. Mark is looking forward to helping Pima further our mission and vision.”

The situation with Moore highlights the challenges Pima is facing regarding hiring permanent administrative positions while the college is on probation.

The Higher Learning Commission, Pima’s accrediting body, placed the college on probation after a fact-finding team found numerous operation deficiencies during a January 2013 visit.

As part of their report, the HLC recommended that PCC find stability in hiring more permanent positions to take the vision of the college forward.

“The college’s use of interim and acting administrative leaders and constant turnover in administrative positions led to reports from senior administrators during the fact-finding visit of discontinuity in meeting institutional goals,” the HLC said in their report.

A comprehensive self-study must be completed by July.

PCC must prove it has met all the requirements that the HLC has set for the college.

The HLC will then send another fact-finding team within six weeks of the self-study to confirm the changes have been made and operational standards have been restored.

The final decision regarding Pima’s probationary status will be made by the HLC in February 2015.

McCabe said he believes that dealing with probation should not just be meeting the standards but exceeding them.

“Accreditation is not one and done, you start a process for improvement that will continue long after the Higher Learning Commission has left,” he said.

College administrators are taking their time in filling positions with the help of a firm to make sure the hiring process is as smooth as possible.

In a meeting on Feb. 5, 2013, the governing board voted to hire the Association of Community College Trustees as search consultant.

The board terminated its previous contract with R.H. Perry & Associates following issues with candidates selected by the firm.

“I just want to express the fact that I think it’s pretty outrageous that we hired a firm with the perceived qualifications that R.H. Perry & Associates presented, and they have failed pretty much in every way to live up to their end of the agreement,” board member David Longoria said at the meeting.

Faculty members, students and members of the community have expressed dismay with both search firms’ troubles finding qualified candidates.

There are a total of nine positions that need to be filled in the coming months. Provost, executive vice chancellor and three campus presidents are among positions to be filled on a permanent basis.

The college will not hire someone to “sink or swim” in a leadership position that may be a detriment in leading the institution forward, Lambert said.

He said the whole country is facing drop-offs in hiring as more people are retiring and leaving spots to be filled.

Once someone at a high-level position retires or resigns, that opens the position to be filled by another employee or outside applicant.

Promotions can give employees opportunities to move up, creating a type of domino effect for that institution, he said.

Lambert also said there would be a preference to hire top-level positions from people already employed at PCC.

Although there are similar position struggles around the nation, some problems have been exacerbated because of the situation at Pima, he said.

 Pg05-Chancellor Lee Lambert

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