1 Comment on Letter to the Editor: Universal Access at SLCC

  1. Michael Hawker // October 3, 2013 at 7:27 am //

    It was a bittersweet surprise to learn about the Universal Access Committee (UAC) for SLCC. The fact that it took the college a long time to realize this special committee to evaluate and implement these measures was surprising — why was it not put forth years ago, especially as SLCC grew to become small city-sized and a large multi-campus organization? Perhaps water under the bridge now, I remain pleased it has been established.

    Surprising also was to learn of the committee’s composition of people from far-reaching departments, a move clearly intended to embrace a more wholistic approach in its initiatives. This is something I feel SLCC at large struggles with because of inequities between departments, funding disparities, general breakdowns in communication, and sizes of interfering egos among faculty and administration. If SLCC has any thought of becoming a world-class organization, then it must learn to rise above these conflicts.

    The result of the conflicts if not addressed is often what appears after the smoke clears — the forgotten student body and their education, which, in my mind is the Number One objective in the operational equation above all else. If any action the college takes impedes this goal being met, then the college fails in performing its basic mission. This is where I am hopeful the UAC can really put any internal differences aside, and embrace them as a natural part of the process that assures each initiative “checks off” every need criteria identified.

    My own specialized training and experience in resolving such matters from an organizational development architect’s point-of-view has taught me that success in this process boils down to understanding the mission and the principles behind it, then making sure the solution is brought to balance only when all the need criteria is satisfied and without creating other problems (unless they too are resolved simultaneously). The solution in almost all cases requires creative thinking and exploring an idea perhaps unconventional at first glance. This requires true commitment, and I credit Master Architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Gunnar Birkerts, and Douglas Cardinal for teaching me those lessons.

    I challenge the UAC to find a way to make sure every student has the opportunity to learn at SLCC, and I challenge the SLCC Administration and Faculty to wholeheartedly support their efforts.

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