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Pima Community College

Pima interim chancellor stepping down

School facing probation vote by Higher Learning Commission

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With her school under fire from an accrediting body over management issues and a "culture of fear," the interim chancellor of Pima Community College announced Tuesday that she's stepping down. Suzanne Miles said she will remain in her post as president of the Community Campus.

Miles, in office since the resignation last year of Chancellor Roy Flores, had planned to step down as head of PCC in June. Instead, she will leave the post on April 12, she said in an email to college employees.

PCC has been searching for a new permanent leader since Flores resigned himself — a process mired in missteps. A consultant vetting candidates missed a California over-billing scandal that implicated one of two finalists announced in January.

Last week, the college was told that the Higher Learning Commission, the body that accredits PCC's courses, will vote next month whether to place the school on probation.

A investigation by the Higher Learning Commission found PCC may have inappropriately changed the college's admission policy without review by the accrediting body, failed to follow bidding policies in awarding high-dollar contracts, and "noted a culture of fear and retribution that pervaded the administration" of the school.

Miles announced last March that she would not seek the chancellor's post on a permanent basis. Formerly the college provost, she moved over to become the president of the Community Campus while filling the chancellor's seat. Before that appointment, she had said that she would return to serve as provost after a permanent head of the college was hired.

While Flores announced that he was resigning for health reasons, at least eight allegations of sexual harassment were filed against him.

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2 comments on this story

2
1460 comments
Mar 19, 2013, 9:16 pm
-0 +1

I’m trying to reserve any sort of emotional reaction until I see who the next interim is. My money is on Char Fugett. Her ability to stick her head in the sand and sweep things under the rug, as well as her ability to occupy a position she didn’t earn and can’t perform adequately…she fits right in to the PCC culture, so much so that her appointment as interim is painfully predictable.

1
1460 comments
Mar 19, 2013, 9:14 pm
-0 +1

Wow. But, ultimately not a big deal. If she were really concerned for saving PCC, she would have quit outright.

I was just commenting to my wife how stupid Miles handled this whole thing. Since she was going to lie anyway, she should have lied and blamed everything on Flores, and said something to the effect of “Yes, we’ve had problems, but now with new leadership moving forward we’ll fix it blah blah blah.” Instead, she was quoted in the paper as saying she’ll challenge the HLC’s findings? Yeah, that’s a BAD move. There’s no one to appeal to, and her defiance would have only served to antagonize the same body she should have been working to smooth things over with.

Make no mistake about it…Miles WAS part of the problem at PCC. When you’re #2 for that long, either you know what’s going on…or you’re an idiot, so much of one that you should have never been in the spot to begin with.

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Click image to enlarge

Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.com

Miles in March 2012.

Miles' resignation letter

From: Miles, Suzanne
Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 3:40 PM
To: #Pima-All
Subject: Important Announcement from the Interim Chancellor

Dear colleagues:

After much thought and prayer I have decided to leave the Interim Chancellor’s position earlier than originally anticipated, which was June 30, 2013.  My final day as Interim Chancellor will be Friday, April 12, 2013.  I have selected this date to allow the Board of Governors the necessary time to identify a new Interim Chancellor.

It has been an honor serving in this position. Pima Community College is a wonderful, vibrant institution that will surely overcome our present difficulties.  However, it has now become clear that my continued service as Interim Chancellor could be viewed as an obstacle to moving forward.

Many, many thanks for your gracious support over the past 18 months. Although it has been a challenging time, I have never lost sight of the reason we are all here: our students.  I want to wish you, our talented and dedicated faculty and staff, as well as the Board of Governors, all the best.  I look forward to returning to work with my Community Campus colleagues, students, and the community as their President.

Warm regards,  Dr. Miles

PCC by the numbers

  • $288 million annual budget
  • 1,500 employees
  • 6 campuses
  • $75 million procurement
  • 30,000 students enrolled every semester
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