Archive for Employment issues



Dr. Selena Bliss, Yavapai Community College Faculty Senate president, stated at the March 7, 2017 Governing Board meeting that the administration had failed to properly consult the faculty regarding adding a week to a semester.  Under the administration proposal, semesters would go from fifteen  to sixteen weeks in length.

Bliss provided a long list of meetings where the faculty had asked for “clear and compelling evidence” (data) to support adding the week. However, the administration had failed to respond to the repeated requests.

A similar proposal has been rejected by the faculty in the past. On October 21, 2016 the faculty Senate said it was “vehemently opposed to being forced” to accept the additional week.

Bliss stated that the faculty was disappointed with the process and “lack of reasons” coming from the administration that would support an additional week. Out of frustration, the faculty had consulted the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which advised taking the matter directly to the President and the Board.

 Bliss also stated that the “shared governance” model adopted by Yavapai College requires communication, collaboration, and respect.“ Based on her report, the administration had failed to follow “the spirit” of that model.

Bliss said that “reasons” for adding the week “are alluding us.”  She detailed the history of communication between the faculty and the administration from November to March without resolution of the request for data from the administration to support the extension.

It appears that the administration has reset an announcement regarding the semester schedule until April 1, which will give it time to provide “reasons” to the faculty for the change.  Meanwhile, the faculty will survey full-time and adjunct faculty and possibly students to obtain an overall reaction to the proposal.

The complete report as delivered to the Governing Board by Dr. Bliss may be viewed below.


Verde Valley Campus loses Associate Dean after Six Months

Dr. Kelly Trainor heading for North Carolina

Kelly Trainor 2

Dr. Kelly Trainor

Dr. Kelly Trainor has resigned  the newly-created position of Verde Valley Campus Associate Dean.  In an announcement made by Executive Dean James Perey on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 he said that Trainor is leaving for the following reason: “Due to significant personal circumstances, he will be relocating to North Carolina and has accepted a position as Campus Dean at Central Piedmont Community College, the community college that serves the Charlotte, NC area.”

Trainor was hired in December, 2015 after a nation-wide search.  He had taught at Yavapai College for ten years on the Prescott Campus. He has a background in agriculture, biology and science, and online education.  When hired, Perey said that “Kelly’s role is to oversee instruction at the campus, working with faculty to help create a culture that is student centered,” Perey also said. “He will have a role in program development and oversight to see what we need to do in areas and modalities, such as, ‘Does it make sense to launch hybrid or online?'”



Final VP candidates for the position of Vice President of Instruction and Student Development revealed

Verde Campus Executive Dean Perey one of the three; Governing Board to play no role in selection

Yavapai College has announced the three finalists for the  of Vice President of Instruction and Student Development.  The College Governing Board will play no role in making the final selection.

Although the College has not posted who will make the final decision (although it is clear the Governing Board will not do so), it apparently rests with President Penelope Wills.  This is in keeping with the corporate model that the administration now operates under, which seeks to remove input from County residents and the Governing Board.  It vests almost total power and control in the unelected president of the College.

The finalists are: Dr. Christopher C. Ezell, who has served as the Vice President of Academic and Student Services (and chief academic officer) for the past ten years at Danville Community College (DCC) in Danville, Virginia.   Before that, Dr. Ezell worked for twenty-five years with Vincennes University (VU) in Indiana.

Dr. Ron Liss is the second candidate and was the Western Campus President for Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) from July 2013 to July 2015. He was Vice President for Academic Affairs at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) in N.M., where he served from 2007 to 2013.  Liss held numerous positions at Montgomery College in Maryland, including Dean of Business, Management, Chemistry, and Information Sciences; Director of Distance Learning and Academic Innovation; and Director of Academic and Student Affairs. He spent 15 years at the Community College of Baltimore County as faculty, department chair, division chair and director of instructional technology.

Dr. James Perey, the third candidate, has been the Executive Dean of the Verde Valley Campus and Sedona Center since 2012.  He is generally viewed as the “fall-guy” for Wills’ in the Verde Valley. Dr. Perey has served as an Associate Dean for Career and Technical Education overseeing the Chino Valley Agribusiness Center and programs throughout the district. Before his administrative assignments, Dr. Perey served as a full-time faculty member in the Agribusiness department teaching a variety of classes in agriculture and agribusiness. In addition, he has served in numerous other leadership roles at Yavapai College, including outcomes assessment coordinator and faculty senator. 

Prior to coming to Yavapai College in 2002, Dr. Perey served as a lecturer and professional development coordinator at the University of Arizona, Department of Agricultural Education, where he assisted in preparing new teachers by both teaching classes and providing professional development. His academic career began in the classroom as a high school instructor where he spent four years teaching in a small, rural farming community in Arizona.

For much more background on the candidates, please click here.



Sparks fly over use of words “etchical” and “illegal”

Wills’ irked at comments in monitoring report 

Comments in a monitoring report regarding treatment of employees drew fire from an obviously irked President Wills and the Chair of the District Governing Board at the April 14 Board meeting.  Wills demanded that “either the data needs to be presented or it needs to be retracted unless that’s not appropriate for that.” The comments, written by Board member Deb McCasland, were contained in a monitoring report and became public at the April 14 Board meeting. They are in part reproduced here.

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Governing Board member Deb McCasland.

Ms. McCasland wrote in the monitoring report:  “In my opinion there is a disconnect in what is reported and what actually happens. The number of employees leaving the college is a high number compared to previous years and administrations.  I think the CEO has failed on numerous occasions to provide leadership in Questionable situations blaming the messenger and not the actual situation. I have discussed situations that in my opinion are unethical and possibly illegal with Dr. Wills. Her responses were she was not aware of the situation or it was because of `disgruntled employees.’ All of the information I shared was from personal observations or former employees.”

The Board Chair, Pat McCarver, obviously angered by the written comments, repeatedly warned McCasland. McCarver said:  “I . . . personally found your comments, Deb, to be offensive, inappropriate, and unprofessional.  . . . I do think you need to be very careful about what you say * * * when you are making accusations.”   

The Board went on to approve the monitoring report without change.  You may view the exchanges, which were caught on video, by clicking here.