While student success has always been a concern for educators, the spotlight on this topic began to burn brighter than ever last year. ASCCC responded with conversations focused on how best to define student success—and in-depth discussions about problematic means of incentivizing student success. As a consequence of the passage of Senate Bill 1143 (Liu, 2010), the California community college system (under the auspices of our Board of Governors) convened a task force with finding ways to increase student success as its goal.
We sometimes forget that the classroom, whether virtual or face-to-face, is a mysterious place: lots of different things are always going on, and good teachers have to hustle to stay aware of even a small portion of them. It helps, for example, to have a sense of whether or not the students are understanding or engaging with the subject matter and the extent to which they’re exhibiting thoughtfulness in responding to it.
In 1999 Los Medanos College used Title III funds to reorganize their English program based primarily on the pedagogical principles taught by the San Francisco State University composition program. Their reorganization incorporated all the components of their English program from transfer to basic skills, involved all of their faculty both full-time and part-time and was strongly supported by the LMC administration. They knew they had to act to improve their program, and the whole college pitched in.
The Academic Senate receives many requests from the field, and most of them come through the Senate Office into the inbox of our own Executive Director Julie Adams (hence the name of this column). As you might imagine these requests vary by topic, and the responses represent yet another resource to local senates. This column will share the questions and solutions offered by the President and the Executive Committee. Please send your thoughts or questions to Julie [at] asccc.org.
One of the major charges of the Relations with Local Senates Committee is to “augment the work of the Executive Committee in its efforts to provide an opportunity to share information on issues of concern at the local and state levels.” Last year, we sent out a survey to local senate presidents asking for examples of how they communicated Academic Senate activities and actions with others at their college. We are sharing some of these responses in the hope that they might help you at your college (and hey, maybe we can use some of these suggestions to be more effective at the state level).
When faculty are assigned to teach a course (for which student enrollment earns state apportionment and/or credit), they must meet discipline minimum qualifications as defined in Minimum Qualifications for Faculty and Administrators in California Community Colleges (AKA the Disciplines List). But what can a district do in those cases where skills are required beyond a discipline’s specific minimum qualifications? What if there are specific instructional reasons for some class instances of the course to be bilingual as allowed in Legal Opinion O 06-10?
We all have our areas of expertise and interest—and budget is not mine—I am not a budget person. But, when things are as bad as they are now—aren’t we all budget people? I suspect Californians are more aware of the state of the state than they have ever been—I know I found myself rooting for the state’s May revenues to be some unprecedented amount that helps us climb out of our budget hole—although “hole” probably does not adequately express the depth of the problem. Bottomless pit perhaps?
Most faculty will agree that a student’s education involves more than just classroom instruction. Students also benefit from active participation in and awareness of their own communities, beginning at the college level and expanding outward to encompass citywide, statewide, and even national issues.
Diversity, what a concept! In the effort to seek cultural competence and equity in faculty ranks, the Academic Senate’s Equity and Diversity Action Committee (EDAC) has compiled various screening questions concerning diversity for your consideration. The questions might be used as a mainstay on hiring committees statewide for the purpose of increasing and recognizing diversity within the California Community College system. EDAC hopes to alleviate the anxiety of creating usable questions and understanding good answers to such questions by providing these examples.
English is one of a few languages where grammar dictates that the adjective come before the noun: big house, pretty girl, green truck, etc. In other languages, the noun comes first, allowing the listener or reader to focus first on the object and secondarily on a description or characteristic of it. Has this simple element of our language affected our ability to adequately address the needs of our students?