While most faculty and administrators within the California Community College System may have heard of noncredit instruction, most colleges offer very little. At many colleges, a lack of noncredit instruction is largely due to two factors: concern over lower funding levels in comparison to credit and unfamiliarity with the regulations and practices for noncredit instruction.
The majority of noncredit instruction has been done by a small number of colleges. In the 2015 Chancellor’s Office report on noncredit career development and college preparation (CDCP) courses, Preparing Students for Careers and College through Noncredit Enhanced Funding: Fiscal Year 2014-2015, 80% of all noncredit instruction was generated by ten districts. The report further explains that enhanced CDCP funding, legislated by the community college funding bill SB 361 (Scott, 2006), increased CDCP offerings system-wide, but not by a significant amount.
In 2014, AB 860 (Education Omnibus Trailer Bill, 2014-2015) amended California Education Code §84750.5 to increase the funding of CDCP FTES to the same rate as credit beginning in the 2015-2016 year. The equalization of funding for CDCP created an opportunity for colleges to consider maintenance and development of courses in select categories of noncredit without the disincentive of lower funding. Because of this change, combined with an increased emphasis on equity, student access, and initiatives like the Adult Education Block Grant and Strong Workforce Program, more colleges are considering noncredit than ever before.
The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has recognized the increased interest in noncredit instruction over the past few years and has responded through Rostrum articles, campus visits, and breakouts or presentations at nearly every ASCCC event. Another way ASCCC has responded is by connecting with the organization representing noncredit instruction in California, the Association of Community and Continuing Education (ACCE, acceonline.org). This connection led to discussions last year and into Fall 2016 about the need for noncredit-related professional development, both for those interested in noncredit as well as for those currently offering noncredit instruction.
In order to serve both prospective and current providers of noncredit instruction, representatives of the Academic Senate, ACCE, and the Chancellor’s Office agree that two things are needed: a noncredit-related event and an on-going noncredit community of practice. While ASCCC and ACCE are both well-positioned to coordinate a multi-day event similar to ASCCC institutes and plenary sessions or the ACCE annual conference, the networking strengths of the Career Ladders Project and the California Community College Success Network, or 3CSN, were considered and representatives invited to join the conversation about a potential noncredit-related event.
Representatives from all five organizations began meeting in October 2016 and, at this point, are excited to formally announce an inaugural two-day noncredit summit, titled Building Bridges: Developing and Sustaining a Culture of Noncredit, to be held May 4-5, 2017, at the Sacramento Marriott Rancho Cordova.
Participants will learn both the basics and challenges of implementing or expanding a college’s noncredit curriculum. General sessions will highlight the history of noncredit and its future direction in light of current legislation. Breakout sessions will address the following themes:
- Noncredit Basics
- Program Development
- Noncredit Challenges
- Instructional and Student Support Services
- Developing and Sustaining a Noncredit Culture
With assistance from the partnership of the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative, registration is only $75, and colleges are encouraged to send teams consisting of those who might be involved in the offering or implementing noncredit and representatives from instruction, student services, and administration. Suggested team members might include credit and noncredit basic skills and CTE faculty, counselors, curriculum chairs, representatives from admissions and records, and coordinators for basic skills, student equity, student success and support, Adult Education and Strong Workforce programs.
If your college currently offers noncredit or is considering offering noncredit, the ASCCC urges you to consider attending or share the information with others at your college who might be able to attend. Student equity, basic skills, strong work force, or adult education funds could be used to cover the cost of travel.
Representatives from ASCCC, ACCE, the Career Ladders Project, 3CSN, and the Chancellor’s Office are excited about this event, and we hope everyone across the system will be as well. More information is available on the ASCCC website (asccc.org) or the IEPI website (iepi.cccco.edu) or by contacting info [at] asccc.org (info[at]asccc[dot]org) or svalverde [at] cccco.edu (svalverde[at]cccco[dot]edu).