In 1988 the Community College Reform Act (AB 1725) began a phase out of credentials in favor of a process for establishing minimum qualifications and the determination of equivalencies that are at least equal to the state-adopted minimum qualifications for a particular discipline. The recommendations of this paper provides a proposed equivalency model as well as the results of an equivalency survey and a legal opinion stating that local districts are not authorized to establish a single course equivalency.
AB1725 provides the intent language of equivalency and is explicit concerning faculty responsibility: Faculty members derive their authority from their expertise as teachers and subject matter specialists and from their status as professionals. As a result, the faculty have an inherent professional responsibility in the development and implementation of policies and procedures governing the hiring process. Equivalency considered in this light will remind us that our guide must be the published minimum qualifications. Legal Opinion L 03-28 reiterates and supports adherence to minimum qualifications for a discipline. To maintain the academic integrity of the community colleges and their faculty, equivalency to those minimum qualifications for hire must be granted with careful consideration.
- Equivalency must be determined primarily by discipline faculty.
- Equivalency processes for part-time faculty and "emergency hire" should be no different from equivalency for full-time faculty.
- Local senates must ensure that their district and college policies and processes do not allow for single-course equivalencies.
- Academic senates should assure consistency of the equivalency process.
- Equivalency decisions should be based on direct evidence of claims (e.g., transcripts, publications, and work products).
- Claims of equivalence must include how both general education and specialization are met.
- Human resources offices should NOT screen for equivalency.
- Local senates must never allow equivalency to be delegated to administration or classified staff.
- Equivalency policies should be reviewed every few years.
- Criteria for the acceptance of eminence as a means to establish equivalency must be clearly defined in hiring policy.
- Once the local equivalency process has reached a recommendation regarding an individual applicant, Education Code 87359(a) requires that the governing board include action on the equivalency as part of its subsequent hiring action.
- Additional training materials may be obtained from the Academic Senate Office and/or at its website.