ASCCC Efforts to Support and Advocate for Noncredit Instruction — A Review

February
2018
Cheryl Aschenbach, ASCCC North Representative and 2016-2017 Noncredit Committee Chair
John Freitas, ASCCC Treasurer and 2017-2018 Noncredit Committee Chair

Noncredit courses and certificates have been a hot topic of conversation for the last two years, as colleges explore using noncredit for their Adult Education Block Grants (AEBG) and to take advantage of equalized Career Development College Preparation (CDCP) course funding. With nearly 90% of noncredit FTES being generated by less than 10% of our California community colleges in past years, considerations of noncredit implementation and/or expansion is new to a large majority of our colleges. While much of the state is only now talking about noncredit, the ASCCC has advocated for noncredit curriculum and the support of noncredit faculty for many years. Now, with the increased interest in the development of noncredit, it is important to consider whether local senates are adequately supporting and including noncredit faculty. Past and current efforts by the ASCCC to advocate for and educate local faculty leaders about noncredit instructional programs and their support are reviewed in this article.

NONCREDIT ISSUES ADVOCACY

Since 1990, more than 70 noncredit-related resolutions have been passed by delegates at ASCCC fall and spring plenary sessions. All noncredit resolutions can be found by searching noncredit from the Resolutions link on the ASCCC website.[1] The topics of the resolutions are probably not a surprise to long-time noncredit faculty or administrators. For those less familiar with the long-standing challenges faced in noncredit, a review of common topics and individual resolutions can help to provide historical perspective and a greater understanding of issues related to the implementation of noncredit, many of which continue to be relevant: funding; accountability measures/progress indicators; the hiring of full-time non-credit faculty; curricular standards; minimum qualifications; student services; and support for professional development.

  • Funding— Since Fall 1997, when the earliest noncredit funding-related resolution was passed, the ASCCC has been calling for an increase in noncredit funding. Additional funding-related resolutions followed over the years, and the ASCCC used the resolutions to first advocate for SB 361 (Scott, 2006), which initiated enhanced funding for courses designated as career development and college preparation (CDCP, or “Enhanced Noncredit”), and later CDCP funding equal to credit, which took effect July 1, 2015.
  • Accountability measures/progress indicators—Resolution 13.04 (Spring 2010) advocated for the establishment of regular progress indicator designations for noncredit courses to measure both student progress and program accountability. Resolution 19.01 (Spring 2012) also advocated for training in the use of noncredit progress indicators, an effort that is being considered again with the addition of the Satisfactory Progress (SP) indicator in 2016.
  • Full-time faculty—Because full-time noncredit faculty are not counted in the Faculty Obligation Number (FON), there has been no incentive for districts to hire noncredit faculty. ASCCC resolutions have advocated for the hiring of full-time noncredit faculty, for the inclusion of noncredit faculty in the FON, and for the inclusion of noncredit faculty in senate and campus governance. Additional resolutions recognized the disparity in pay and load between noncredit and credit faculty, including 19.01 (Fall 2006) which urged ASCCC “to work with bargaining colleagues, CFT/CCC, CCA/CTA, and CCCI, to seek support for paid office hours for faculty in noncredit instruction and to encourage faculty to negotiate full-time loads for noncredit faculty that permit involvement in curriculum development, classroom preparation, outreach, and collaboration with other departments and college areas and in college governance.”
  • Curricular standards—Early resolutions focused on ensuring that noncredit curriculum development is consistent with and utilizes the same processes as credit, while later resolutions focused on guidance for accountability measures, noncredit curriculum, the use of noncredit as prerequisites and corequisites to credit courses, and recognition of the rigor and standards of noncredit offerings.
  • Minimum Qualifications— One of the first two noncredit-resolutions available on the website (Spring 1990) urged ASCCC to help establish and define faculty minimum qualifications for noncredit disciplines, while later resolutions urged ASCCC to support the inclusion of the noncredit minimum qualifications into the Disciplines List for consistency with all other disciplines.
  • Student Services—The ASCCC has advocated for a wide variety of noncredit student servicerelated topics, including the alignment of funding standards for noncredit student services to credit standards, the collection of student services data for noncredit students, and the modification of CCCApply for noncredit students.
  • Professional Development—Resolution 12.01 (Spring 2017) urged the creation of a noncredit module for the ASCCC Professional Development College. That module is now under development and should be available in spring 2018.

While this may be a historical overview of common themes for noncredit resolutions over the last twenty years and progress has been made for noncredit students, faculty, and programs, the reality is that many of the same concerns continue to be relevant. Because noncredit can increase access to many students, especially students in the underserved populations identified in equity plans, and can be utilized to support and increase student success efforts while also potentially playing a role in Strong Workforce, Adult Education Block Grants (AEBG), and basic skills efforts at individual campuses, there are few colleges that have yet to contemplate starting or expanding noncredit offerings. Local academic senates should be engaged in all curricular and program development discussions, including those involving noncredit. Therefore, it is important that local academic senates are aware of continued ASCCC noncredit professional development efforts.

NONCREDIT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

As colleges seek to develop or expand noncredit, local academic senates should be aware of professional development efforts and opportunities on noncredit provided by the ASCCC. Resolution 1.03 (Spring 2010) called for the ASCCC to establish a Noncredit Standing Committee, one now charged to “serve as a resource to the President and Executive Committee on issues related to instruction, counseling, student services, and program development in noncredit and the role of faculty in noncredit instruction as related to governance and local participation in academic and professional activities.”[2] The Noncredit Standing Committee regularly presents to and engages the field through Rostrum articles, as well as breakout presentations at ASCCC events, including plenaries and Curriculum Institute. The committee also works to promote dialogue on the subject of noncredit across the state, including at annual noncredit regional meetings at which experienced noncredit practitioners mix with curious others to discuss general information and challenges specific to noncredit. Noncredit Committee members also attended the 2017 IEPI New World of Noncredit Conference where they presented on the noncredit efforts of the ASCCC.

Continued ASCCC leadership through regional meetings resulted in a much larger noncredit-related convening in Spring 2017, “Building Bridges”, a first-ever Noncredit Summit. The “Building Bridges” Noncredit Summit was a collaborative effort made possible by the collaboration of partners — Academic Senate, Association of Community and Continuing Education (ACCE), Career Ladders Project, CCC Success Network (3CSN), and multiple divisions of the Chancellor’s Office. Funding was provided by the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI). As a result of the success of the inaugural Noncredit Summit, ASCCC continues to collaboration with its partners to hold an even more robust second summit, including an expanded focus on the role of noncredit in CTE, counseling, and adult education.

One intention of the Noncredit Summit was to launch a Noncredit Community of Practice. As a result, First Friday Noncredit Webinars were initiated during summer 2017. Each webinar includes a sixty-minute presentation on topics in demand by practitioners followed by thirty minutes of question and answer time to foster inclusive dialog between attendees and noncredit experts. Each webinar is archived. Future efforts to sustain the Noncredit Community of Practice include a forthcoming website dedicated to noncredit resources. In the meantime, information and links to archived webinars are available at the ASCCC Noncredit Committee webpage, the Chancellor’s Office noncredit webpage, and the ACCE website [3].

To address local needs, the ASCCC offers technical visits for diverse topics, including those topics related to noncredit. To assist the ASCCC in technical visits related to noncredit, the Noncredit Committee has noncredit practitioners available. The Academic Senate may also draw on the expertise of the Association of Community and Continuing Education (ACCE), the professional organization that represents noncredit and community service. To request a technical visit, please submit a request at http://www.asccc.org/contact/request-services.

NONCREDIT REPRESENTATION ON LOCAL SENATES

Resolution 17.05 (Fall 2015) encouraged local senates to appoint noncredit liaisons to establish a single point of contact for the distribution of noncredit information from ASCCC to local colleges. Possible responsibilities of the liaison are included in the resolution but should be locally determined. Having a noncredit liaison either serving on, or reporting to, a local senate also gives representation to faculty members who teach within noncredit programs, a population that is often overlooked in governance. Local senates that do not yet have a noncredit liaison are urged to consider appointing one as soon as possible.

If a college offers noncredit courses, local senates should give serious consideration to the inclusion of noncredit representation on its body. Given the increased focus on noncredit and the potential impact of noncredit on college efforts in basic skills and strong workforce, the presence of noncredit voices on local academic senates and college committees is more important than ever. There is room for local senates to improve in this area, and at many colleges, noncredit faculty are eager to be included in senate dialog and representation.

NONCREDIT REPRESENTATION ON STATE COMMITTEES — WE NEED YOU!

In recognition of the growing integration of noncredit curriculum into existing credit programs to meet the goals of Strong Workforce, AEBG, and basic skills efforts, the ASCCC is also placing more emphasis on ensuring noncredit faculty are participating on ASCCC standing committees beyond basic skills and noncredit. Additionally, it is more important than ever that the ASCCC make appointments that include noncredit faculty to Chancellor’s Office Advisory Committees and other external committees like IEPI Peer Resource Teams and Advisory Committees. Commitments vary depending on the committee. Faculty interested in statewide service, including ASCCC and external committees, should complete the application for statewide service at https://asccc.org/content/faculty-application-statewide-service. Be sure to indicate noncredit experience and/or related expertise to inform your consideration for service.

Since the very first noncredit resolutions in 1990, the ASCCC has worked to represent all California community college faculty on academic and professional matters—credit and noncredit. The ASCCC is committed to continuing its advocacy and support for noncredit efforts, both locally and statewide.


[1] All ASCCC resolutions are available at http://www.asccc.org/resources/resolutions
[2] The ASCCC Noncredit Committee website can be accessed at http://www.asccc.org/directory/noncredit-committee.
[3] The webinar schedule and past presentations are currently available at http://extranet.cccco.edu/Divisions/AcademicAffairs/CurriculumandInstruc....

 

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