ASCCC Structural Basics: Board of Directors

ASCCC Area C Representative

“Embracing organizational change” is one of the four 2023-26 Strategic Plan Directions [1] unanimously adopted by the delegates to the Spring 2023 Plenary Session of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) via resolution 01.02 S23. [2] The action in the strategic plan under “embracing organizational change” is to “reimagine ASCCC structures to support the mission,” reflecting a commitment by the ASCCC Executive Committee to critically examine its own structures to better support faculty and ultimately better serve students. In addition, Resolution 01.01 S23 directs the inclusion of a designated at-large part-time faculty member as an addition to the executive committee. Information regarding the ASCCC mission, by-laws, and rules, as well as the Executive Committee policies, is accessible through the ASCCC website  

The ASCCC’s Structure and Nonprofit Status

The ASCCC is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization established in 1970. The articles of incorporation indicate the purposes for the organization:

  1. The specific and primary purposes are the promotion and advancement of public community college education in California;
  2. The general purposes and powers are
    1. To strengthen local academic senates and councils of community colleges;
    2. To serve as the voice of the faculty of the community colleges in matters of statewide concern;
    3. To develop policies and promote the implementation of policies on matters of statewide issues;
    4. To make recommendations on statewide matters affecting the community colleges.

Nonprofits have specific requirements beyond the articles of incorporation that include appointing a board of directors and drafting bylaws and a conflict-of-interest policy.

The ASCCC consists of the executive committee, the professional office team, and other components such as ASCCC committees, the Course Identification Numbering System (C-ID), and the Open Educational Resource Initiative. The executive director oversees the day-to-day operations of the ASCCC, managing the office team. As a nonprofit organization, the ASCCC is not subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act for state bodies or the Ralph M. Brown Act for local legislative bodies. However, ASCCC board meetings operate in adherence to open meeting acts as summarized in Executive Committee Policy 10.01 Open Meetings.[3]

ASCCC Executive Committee

As a nonprofit organization, the ASCCC has a board of directors, more often referred to as the Executive Committee. Board members have fiduciary duties of care, inquiry, and loyalty to the ASCCC.

The ASCCC Executive Committee currently consists of fourteen elected members and the executive director, who is appointed by the board of directors and serves as a non-voting member. The organization breaks California up into four geographic areas, A, B, C, and D, constructed with roughly the same number of member senates. As broader divisions, North consists of areas A and B and South of areas C and D. Board members are elected primarily by geographic region. The area to which each member senate is assigned may be found in the college directory on the ASCCC website. In addition, the website includes a list of member senates by area and a map.

The elected members and corresponding areas that elect them are as follows:

  1. President—all areas vote for a one-year term;
  2. Vice President—all areas vote for a one-year term;
  3. Secretary—all areas vote for a one year-term;
  4. Treasurer—all areas vote for a one year-term;
  5. Two At-large Representatives—all areas vote for staggered two-year terms;
  6. Two North Representatives—areas A and B vote for staggered two-year terms;
  7. Two South Representatives—areas C and D vote for staggered two-year terms;
  8. Area A Representative—area A votes for a two-year term;
  9. Area B Representative—area B votes for a two-year term;
  10. Area C Representative—area C votes for a two-year term;
  11. Area D Representative—area D votes for a two-year term.

The officers of the board of directors are the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and the executive director. Board members are elected to any open seats during spring plenary sessions, with plenary sessions being the biannual—fall and spring—events where the ASCCC conducts business and involves representatives from the member senates. In addition to elections, plenary sessions include debating and voting on resolutions, which is the formal process through which the delegates from local senates guide and direct the work of the ASCCC.

Although board members are elected based on geographic areas, they do not, once elected, serve the specific interests of those areas, nor do they represent their colleges or their disciplines. Instead, all members represent all of the more than 50,000 faculty and advocate for the more than 1.9 million students in the California Community Colleges system. Board members vote and make decisions with fiduciary duties to the ASCCC as a whole, representing the entire state. For example, the Area C Representative does not vote on behalf of the Area C member senates but for the broader interests of faculty and students statewide. Thus, the respective position titles refer to how a member is elected, not whom each member represents.

Responsibilities of board members include attending monthly executive committee meetings, chairing and serving on ASCCC committees, serving on system bodies such as California Community College Chancellor’s Office advisory committees, serving as liaisons to system partners, organizing and presenting at ASCCC events, and other duties as assigned by the president and executive director.

ASCCC Committees and System Partner Committees

Board members typically chair ASCCC committees and participate on system partner committees. ASCCC committees perform much of the work of the organization and involve faculty volunteers from across the state. One of main tasks of these committees is to address resolutions adopted by the plenary delegates that fall into each committee’s purview. Original ideas and directions also develop organically within each committee. The dual nature of being a board member and chair of a committee is often nuanced and sometimes challenging. Chairs often serve as advocates for their committees, including at board meetings where action is taken to approve events, development of resources, and other ideas from committees. As board members, chairs have fiduciary duties of care, inquiry, and loyalty to the ASCCC as a whole, which may sometimes be in conflict with the will of the committees they chair.

Board members may also serve on committees of system partners, many of which work through the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO). For example, the California Community Colleges Curriculum Committee (5C) is facilitated by the CCCCO and co-chaired by a faculty member appointed by the ASCCC and a chief instructional officer appointed by the California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers. Curriculum is certainly in the purview of the ASCCC, and thus 5C includes significant faculty representation. Board members may also serve on external committees comprised of representatives from many constituent groups. Ultimately, the loyalty of ASCCC board members is to the organization, its mission, and its purpose.

Embracing Organizational Change

The Strategic Direction of “embracing organizational change” encourages the board of directors to “reimagine ASCCC structures to support the mission.” Critically examining foundational elements of the ASCCC, including the executive committee, and questioning structures, procedures, and practices are steps to reimagining the organization. The recent request to consider the addition of a designated part-time faculty member to the executive committee, as well as the ongoing efforts to examine and question existing structures demonstrate the organization's dedication to continuous improvement.

This work is just the beginning. The call to "reimagine ASCCC structures" extends beyond the ASCCC, and is in fact an invitation for the entire California community college system to examine current practices and find inclusive approaches to change, seeking collaboration and diverse perspectives to better serve faculty and students. By encouraging thoughts and ideas from the broader community to strengthen and change the ASCCC, the organization is fostering a collective effort to advance inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism, and accessibility. Local academic senates and individual faculty statewide are invited to send thoughts and ideas to info [at] (info[at]asccc[dot]org) to suggest ways that the executive committee can better serve and uplift both faculty and students and support all aspects of the ASCCC mission in order to fulfill the ASCCC vision statement of “Faculty leading change, serving students, and advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism, and accessibility.” [4]

1. The ASCCC Strategic Plan Directions

2. ASCCC Adopted Resolutions

3. All ASCCC Executive Committee policies

4. The ASCCC Mission and Vision Statements