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Welcome to Howard CC FYI

This site is for those who have been abused and silenced by the current administration at Howard Community College. Anonymous comments have been submitted here and also gathered from various sites on the internet and placed here for public review.

This is a forum for everyone who has attended, interacted with, is currently working at, or has been terminated from Howard Community College during the current administration and would like to talk back.

Note: This site is not sponsored by or associated with the recently created HCC faculty union.

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Click here to submit a comment about your experience at Howard Community College. All comments are anonymous.

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What people are saying about HCC:
From: Employee June 8, 2024
Shameful Leadership
While our dear leader is showing off her new clothes on Twitter and playing with Legos on LinkedIn, the needs of the faculty and students are being ignored. Questioning the edicts from the "Leadership Team" will get you fired and escorted off campus. Full-time faculty issues are ignored. Adjunct faculty are perceived as dispensable and paid so little that they often have to work at multiple jobs just to be able to put food on the table. Yet, favorites of Dr. Willis are hired at obscene salaries for the purpose of saying "yes" to every whim of our leader. While much attention is given to African American students, Students who are Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, and other minorities are ignored. Most of all, the relationship between HCC and the Howard County residents has been severely damaged. Treating faculty with condescension and catering to only one group of students is shameful.
Advice to the Administration:
Most of the leadership team and the queen need to resign. The Board of Trustees needs to look past the glitter, the fake smiles, the new shoes, and the obscene spending of financial resources on people who have no idea what serving students really means.

From: Other June 7, 2024
HCC should not divorce itself from Columbia's vision
As was already stated, HCC has always been more than just a community college. It was a place for the community to gather for theater and the arts, but no longer.

The current administration has failed to understand that by bringing the community into the college campus they create connections with retirees who are going to enjoy the campus and what it offers and recommend it to their children's children. And connections with working adults who will be more likely to take courses that enhance their careers. By excluding everyone except for those seeking degrees they have isolated the college and reduced it's value to the community at large.

Many people in Columbia looked forward to attending theatrical events, art exhibits and other cultural offerings. But all of that has been destroyed by the current narrow minded administration. It feels like HCC has divorced itself from the town of Columbia that created it.
Advice to the Administration:
Re-establish the theater and art offerings that drew the community into HCC and be humble enough to accept that HCC has always been part of a community vision that served the college much better than the current ill-conceived and narrow vision that the current administration is pushing.

From: Employee June 5, 2024
Failure to acknowledge a changing world
The administration's stubborn refusal to make the most of online classes and their refusal to accept anything less than than the old paradigm of 'asses in seats' is leading to financial losses for the college. Like it or not, online classes are a necessary and well liked part of today's educational system.
Advice to the Administration:
Embrace the fact that many community college students have heavy work loads and family commitments outside of their college life and provide a way for these students to gain the education they seek rather than stifling them and driving them to other educational institutions.

From: Employee June 5, 2024
What happened to the days when HCC actually led other community colleges?
The college seems to be determined to continue with this slow slide into mediocrity, following other colleges' leads rather than leading.
Advice to the Administration:
James Rouse's vision for Columbia is slowly being forgotten and with it the vision for HCC. The administration needs to think of the college as a part of Columbia and not as an insulated, generic community college like all the others.

From: Employee June 5, 2024
So many have been 'disappeared'
So many resignations and an air of resignation in what is now a culture of fear. So many long-term employees suddenly "disappeared" without warning. Very disheartening to hear -- yet again -- that a colleague you worked with for decades was just terminated and hustled out of the building.

From: Employee June 5, 2024
Dr. Willis has missed the entire point!
The current administration doesn't seem to realize it's a COMMUNITY college. Decrying older community members taking classes without earning credits as if that's the only charter for the school is short sighted and insulting.
Advice to the Administration:
Return to the founding principles that established Howard Community College as a central and integrated part of the vision for Columbia. HCC was always more than just a community college. It was a cultural center to be enjoyed by the entire community of Columbia not just degree seekers.

From: Employee June 5, 2024
There is no more shared governance
Opportunities to lead by serving as Chair or Dean have been restricted to lackeys approved from on high, and deans have no power to advocate for faculty.
Advice to the Administration:
Elevate those who are experienced to Chair and Dean positions.

From: Employee June 5, 2024
maleficence embodied
Dr. Willis denied Professor Emeritus status to a highly respected and admired colleague who'd served 40+ years at the college before she retired, simply out of spite. Dr. Willis does not know this former professor and should not have the ability to steal a well deserved honor this way. I can only hope that this happens to Dr. Willis at the end of her career.

Advice to the Administration:
The granting of Emeritus status should be decided by the nominee's life-long colleagues.

From: Employee June 5, 2024
Too much emphasis on personal 'brand' building
New president seems more concerned with attending conferences and building her brand -- for some other future that does not include Howard Community College.
Advice to the Administration:
Install a new president that is concerned more with the success of the college, not her personal success.

From: Employee June 5, 2024
All PhDs are equal, but some PhDs are more equal than others
Everyone is required to address senior leadership with PhDs as "Dr." but faculty with PhDs are referred to by their first names by senior leadership. We were also informed at a meeting to think of senior leadership as the "white collar workers" while faculty should see themselves as the "blue collar workers." No respect.
Advice to the Administration:
Leadership needs to get over themselves. Seriously.

From: Employee June 5, 2024
Blatant conflict of interest
Dr. Willis has installed her self-described "bestie" to run the HR department and installed herself as the college's EEO rep. This compromises both the HR department and EEO's ability to function fairly. How is this even ethical?
Advice to the Administration:
Dr. Willis should not be the EEO rep and the HR department head should not be beholden to the president.

From: Employee June 5, 2024
Bloated VP roster
HCC now has eight VPs making $250k apiece, but since the exit of the last VP of Academic Affairs (before even a year had passed at HCC), they never replaced anyone in that position, and faculty no longer have representation at the executive level. Management's solution is to fire the adjuncts to adjust to the shortfall of $$
Advice to the Administration:
Reduce the middle management that serves only to insulate the president from the realities of the colleges overall health

From: Employee June 5, 2024
non-anonymous surveys are dangerous to employees
Employees are required to complete surveys online about their opinions of management at the college, but they can't be anonymous
Advice to the Administration:
we need truly anonymous surveys if the administration wants honest feedback

From: Employee May 2, 2024
The administration is running this school into the ground
It seems clear that the administration is running this school into the ground, for reasons unknown, and the Board of Trustees is just standing by and watching it happen. The college president and the vice presidents have done everything possible to alienate, anger, disenfranchise, and otherwise upset the faculty. They've launched "improvements" that make no sense, given faculty little if any time to adjust to changes, and when we raise concerns we're told we're "complaining" or "standing in the way of progress." Rather than take any criticism or accept any responsibility, the administration - in particular Daria Willis - passes the buck, and when people voice legitimate complaints their either fired or forced to resign in order to be replaced with Willis' cronies. This used to be a great college, and it can be again, but something has to happen at the top or the ship will go down with all of us in it.
Advice to the Administration:
Quit your jobs, get out of education, and hide your faces in shame.

From: Employee April 25, 2024
Awful Place to Work
The problem ultimately stems from the top. The president never once addressed me by my correct name after meeting me several times. Was very difficult getting any time to even introduce myself to her in the first place, and that absenteeism was present all down the chain of command. So many good people have left under questionable circumstances, and then are replaced by folks who simple cannot perform. If even half of the stories being told about this place are true, folks should stay far away. Perhaps the worst is that strong internal candidates are not promoted in favor of external know-nothings whose failures cost the college both money and reputation. Employees don't feel that management has their backs anymore, and anyone talented has left or is counting the days until retirement.
Advice to the Administration:
The board needs to look at a report of turnover in the past few years and soberly assess whether the college is moving in the right direction.

From: Employee April 15, 2024
The people running this college are incompetent. They do not know what they are doing. Not sure how long this place can last. Is sad.
Advice to the Administration:
Take leadership classes. Have respect
For employees.

From: Employee March 23, 2024
A Great Place to Work If...
It is a great place to work if you can keep your head down and have a stomach for toxicity. The students are great. Academic leadership is great. Most students are eager to grow and be a part of a safe community where they can learn and be guided. The academic leadership Provost and team are very dedicated and have great ideas on the academic growth of the school.

Honestly it’s really just the President and her cronies who make it an uncomfortable environment. It is difficult to speak truth to power in a way that is helpful and puts the mission of the school first. It’s clear that the President is all about what she wants and the BOT is in her pocket. She has no people skills and leadership does not come natural to her. It’s truly is her way or the highway, she and HR take the term “at will” literally and have been known to ambush people and have campus police escort them out without giving them a reason or justification for their termination. They sit in cabinet meetings and don’t discuss strategy but rather talk about the people who work there and who they don’t like. It’s all very juvenile and if you come there with real experience and ideas as a leader you will feel like your talents are being wasted. Leaving was a gift from God!
Advice to the Administration:
No advice for leadership they won’t take it🙃. Advice for county and state leadership… get a new president and new BOT asap. You can find a pool of talented and experienced leaders in the industry to build buildings but it takes leadership skills, love for mission and experience to lead an institution. I’m sorry to say but current President is just not qualified and truly is bringing the reputation of the school down into an abyss of continuously low completion rates, disgruntled staff and frustrated faculty. Her immaturity professionally and personally is single-handedly causing the school to crumble. Well not single-handedly she gets lots of help from HR, Legal and Comms. It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors so you can’t do it without those departments. They’re either advising her poorly or not speaking up.

From: Employee March 22, 2024
And the gaslighting continues...
Knowlegeable people are being driven away as if they have no value. I don't know what the plan is, but it looks like doom and destruction. No wonder we need information on bullying from our EAP!
Advice to the Administration:
Start being the spiritual person you pretended to be at "your coronation". You don't have to like us. Just respect us, and give us a chance to support the organization for which we once cared.

From: Employee March 20, 2024
Sinking Ship
Was a great place to work years ago but the new President Willis, came in like a wrecking ball!!!!!
Advice to the Administration:
She is above all else she is the queen as she puts it

From: Employee February 24, 2024
help. please.
Oh my. endless issues, starting at the top. there's no direction, eight zillion initiatives that constantly change, gaslighting, requests for feedback that are clearly only requested so admin can say they asked. this place is the so dysfunctional it's funny. wish i didn't care. anyone below vp level is treated like trash by the higher ups.
college paid to take 22 admin people to a single conference and then a pic with alcohol in it was posted on social media. huh? did prez go to disney with her kid on a work day? where is the board of trustees and oversight of this admin? the good ones among our "leaders"? we know who you are. someone stand up for what is right...
Advice to the Administration:
quit. resign. take a class in humanity. maybe rebrand yourself and not a 50 year old established and once respected HoCo institution

From: Employee February 6, 2024
Low morale
Lack of concern for the support staff. The new President doesn't care for the little people. It's a poisonous environment, I work there for over 20 year and was not able to grow due to politics. There are various departments that do as they please and the President is fully aware.. Long time employees are dropping like flies. It's very disappointing because I thought she would make a difference.
Advice to the Administration:
Get rid of those bad apples that are still creating a bad environment for the ones that are still there.

From: Employee January 25, 2024
Concerned about huge exodus of experienced faculty and staff. It feels like the well earned reputation of the college is vanishing right before us. The leadership is so out of touch with reality. Very egocentric. And self-promoting.
Advice to the Administration:
Board of Trustees needs to recognize that they do not work for Dr Willis. They are to provide oversight and guidance.

From: Employee January 24, 2024
The senior administration is horrible. Hard working dedicated employees have been fired, forced out or left on their own because of the toxic environment the senior administration created. The president is a total narcissist. Childish and vengeful. The Board of Trustees has ignored what’s going on. Why is the big question?
Advice to the Administration:
Remove the president and all her sycophants.

From: Employee January 23, 2024
Good college, toxic leadership
Toxic work environment, poor leadership, and terrible president (Daria Willis)

From: Employee December 28, 2023
One giant mess
What once was an award-winning institution that fostered altruism, thoughtful collaboration, and intellectual freedom is now a sinking ship. Since the arrival of the new president, the condition of the institution and the morale have deteriorated significantly. There has been a ‘mass exodus’ of employees who have either been forced out or outright fired for simply disagreeing with the president or not tolerating or adhering to her unethical policies and practices. The president has cultivated an environment of fear and distrust, where it is unsafe to express opinions that don’t align with hers or any type of dissent. She is narcissistic, vindictive, and immature. All the while, she and her inner circle smile and act like everything is copacetic. It’s all a façade. I could go on with many examples of how the college has deteriorated, but I don’t think there is enough space to do so. I encourage you to read all the other reviews that express the same sentiment…

The board of trustees have been wildly complicit through all of this chaos. They have dismissed and gaslit anyone who have expressed urgency and distress regarding the condition of the college and the president’s behavior. They are so enchanted by her that it has blinded them to the reality of what is happening. They have refused to acknowledge, or, at the very least, investigate the claims that have been brought to their attention. They have forgotten that in addition to the importance of supporting the president, they also have an obligation to hold the president accountable when it comes to the condition of the institution and the well-being of its employees and students. This has not happened. It is evident that there is a political agenda and that HCC’s “image” is more of a priority than addressing what is really happening and intervening. It’s shameful and deplorable.

From: Employee December 25, 2023
Racist "Prez" and Posse, abysmal new management
Paranoid (as hell) New president who is - news flash - profoundly racist and PROFOUNDLY bad at management, leadership, wise decisions, and long term planning.
Advice to the Administration:
Continue doing what you're doing. That is- crashing and burning. Sending an accredited institution into the ground at record speed. Yahoo.

From: Employee December 21, 2023
It is shocking how quickly this once great institution has fallen
The new administration is destroying the longstanding virtuous reputation HCC represented since the beginning. Employees are being fired and humiliated based on false accusations. The environment is terrible, toxic, and a shame.

The environment is toxic and has become racist.

Employee morale is lowest I have ever seen it in my 20+ years of working at HCC. It is shocking what the day to day is now like. It literally feels like a dictatorship regime.

From: Employee December 21, 2023
Toxic Work Environment Where Big Brother is Watching
The president is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and has tried to make so many changes all at once that no one could ever keep up. Campus cameras are monitored regularly as are emails because we are not trusted. Anyone who disagrees is suddenly led out by security. Toxic!
Advice to the Administration:
The Board of Trustees should really be more attentive to what is happening inside our institution.

From: Employee December 13, 2023
Not Recommended
Freedom of speech is severely limited.
Advice to the Administration:
Management should study the successes of past HCC leadership. HCCs former reputation of greatness has faltered for the first time in its history.

From: Employee November 13, 2023
The new president has dismantled and destroyed this once wonderful institution
The college’s president is over her head and a very bad leader. The culture is one of mistrust, lack of communication, intimidation, and fear. No vision for how to execute strategic goals or what it takes to implement changes. Leadership excuses all negative feedback by saying that employees can’t handle changes—this is not true.

From: Employee October 9, 2023
New President ruined everything
How much time do you have? The politics of the new administration, including wild agenda regarding racist hiring, has driven this once nationally ranked community college into the ground. Disagreeing with managing means immediate firing! Many have been escorted out by security, retirement benefits withheld, pay withheld, little to no notice to find a new job, and the list goes on. The BoT and Governor of the state are aligned with the new President and her self-appointed team, so there is little to no hope of change coming soon.
Advice to the Administration:
Resign. All upper management should resign and find a new career field. Stay away from higher education.

From: Employee September 21, 2023
Dysfunction abounds
A culture of fear and confusion has permeated the institution. One hand does not know what the other is doing. Turnover is very high and morale very low.

From: Employee September 11, 2023
Dear Prez Willis: Week 3 of Semester. Would you work without a contract?
New cabal of middle upper management brought in by "Prez" Willis. Her henchman HR "guru" Whalen has made HR an anti-employee hostile experience. An entire class of Adjunct Faculty do not have contracts for their work. We are in Week 3 of the semester. Only excuses from HR, still no solution. Enough is enough.
Advice to the Administration:
Social media is just an outward image. Without the actual institutional substance and leadership a college cannot function. Approaching 2 years and counting down until the next round.

From: Employee August 17, 2023
Unqualified Leadership
When your Leader PhD in an Eductional background, comes in with little People and Business leadership skills, one of two things can happen. The first is that they surround themself with really good, capable people, who are not afraid to voice an opinion, and whom you place trust in to get the job done. Or, you can take the "I'm in charge and the Smartest Person in the Room" approach, surround yourself with "Yes" people who won't tell you what you need to hear, and become paranoid, delusional and artifically inflate your status and importance. Sadly, as most of the reviews can attest, she chose the latter. We knew we were in trouble in the first month she insisted on personally interviewing every new hire candidate throughout the organization, no matter the level of the role. No other decision exemplifies the intent to micromanage than that.
Advice to the Administration:
There is still time to right the ship, but it will be hard because it will take a personal change at the top that admits what her strengths and weaknesses are, and a willingness to demonstrate vulnerability by admitting faults and committing to open, honest communications and a willingness to hear and really listen to feedback, even if the message is unwelcome. We'll see if that kind of introspection is possible.

From: Employee July 20, 2023
The people who are still there, that have been there a while, care immensely about the institution and student success. I have no idea how the college is still functioning under current leadership. The people mentioned above that have been there for a while and care deeply are leaving or being forced out by the terrible and unethical HR team that was brought in by the current president. Faculty and staff are being bullied and it is creating a culture of fear and intimidation that is making the institution a downward spiral with no end in sight. Imagine going to work everyday being afraid that your job will be taken from under you at any moment for no logical reason and also hearing that someone new has been escorted off campus again, for no logical reason. That is what working at HCC is like. Do yourself a favor and stay very far away. You deserve better.
Advice to the Administration:
Care more about the people doing the work, the people who have dedicated their heart and soul to the success of the students that walk through those doors. They are the people that keep the institution running and they don’t deserve the way they are being treated and the students don’t deserve the ripple effect that is occurring due to poor management. The fact that the board of trustees is not turning heads over the mass exodus that is occurring is astounding and speaks volumes to the immediate future of the institution. For HCC to get better, there are a few key players that either need to leave or open their eyes to what they are doing to what used to be an amazing institution that I now would recommend to no one.

From: Employee July 13, 2023
Changes for the worse
The culture has changed for the worse, and the direction the organization is headed is not good. Upper management has turned over multiple times in the past couple of years. The sense of stability is gone. Huge unnecessary changes and reorganizations have mostly not made any sense and caused morale to tank. The new leadership has not been employee focused which is hurting the institution as a whole.
Advice to the Administration:
Start trusting your workforce, be honest and be humble. Provide employees with a stable environment that puts them at the forefront. The institution is what it is because of the faculty and staff. Create a place where employees can thrive and the college will thrive with them.

From: Employee July 1, 2023
This place has become a nightmare
Under new president Daria Willis, HCC has become a nightmare where employees are bullied, trust is nonexistent, and the "leaders" are so unbelievably immature and narcissistic they can't even see the harm they are causing the institution. President Willis doesn't allow anyone to question her, even if they are sincerely trying to provide necessary information for a better outcome. She seems to blame all dissent or alternate ideas on her steadfast opinion that "people just don't want to change" but she doesn't want to actually consider that she may not have all the answers, as she so clearly believes she does. Why has the board of trustees allowed this to continue? With every additional hire (or appointment) by this leadership, more long-term damage is being done. There is a reason people have been fleeing HCC in droves.
Advice to the Administration:
Grow up. Move on.

From: Employee May 16, 2023
I am in great pain
The joy of working here has been completely absorbed by the autocratic reign of one Daria Willis
Advice to the Administration:
show ANY form of appreciation for your staff before they all peace out

From: Employee July 9, 2022
Where are the Board of Trustees?
The college is in a death spiral. Change is welcome but there is no rhyme or reason to current changes; no metrics to measure results and no recognition from the President of the skills and potential contributions of talented college staff/faculty. While employees are leaving in droves, the president is posing on Twitter. Embarrassing for an “award winning” college.
Advice to the Administration:
Where is the Board of Trustees and are they asking the tough questions?

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