Counselors and Librarians-What's Up!


Well, it is never a dull time for library and counseling faculty. But of course, all we do is read books and tell students what classes to take in college. Right!! At present, the Telecommunications and Technology Infrastructure Program (TTIP), possible changes in matriculation, legislative proposals in support of textbook rentals, and the budget are all the issues that keep us busy at the moment-in addition to reading books and counseling our students.

Our Committee is planning two obviously relevant breakouts-one on online advising and another on advising our student athletes-to be offered at the Academic Senate's Spring Plenary Session in San Francisco April 15-17, 2004.

A number of colleges are using the Internet to providing counseling and/or advising services to students. An adopted Academic Senate resolution directed our Committee to develop guidelines and definitions on web advising for counseling faculty. To those ends, we have sent out surveys to colleges (thank you, counselors, for your responses) asking about web practices. We are in the process of compiling the results of the surveys and anticipate that they will help us in providing procedures and best practices so that our services can be the most effective possible for students while preserving our professionalism.

The other breakout will focus on student athletes. Other Academic Senate resolutions directed our Committee to conduct research on programs that are beneficial to student athletes. The Senate supports local and statewide programs that address the needs of student athletes and provide specific instructional and counseling interventions to increase student access in retention, degree completion, transfer, basic skills development, and career advancement. We are proud to highlight one such program-the Student Athlete Retention Program (SARP) at Reedley College. SARP provides a comprehensive approach to assisting student athletes in achieving their educational goals by providing the supportive services to ensure that they comply with the academic standards set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Commission on Athletics. SARP was recognized with an honorable mention at the Board of Governors Exemplary Program Awards ceremony in 2003.

The state budget raises special concerns for library and counseling faculty. The Governor's Budget Plan proposes to move most categorical programs into the General Apportionment Fund for community colleges. This comes to the attention of the librarians and counselors because of two categorical programs-TTIP and matriculation. One component of TTIP is funding for library electronic resources, especially the magazine and newspaper databases that are provided to ALL our students, whether they are on- or off-campus. The Budget plan also proposes to allocate TTIP funds on an FTES basis. While this allocation mechanism is good for many budget areas, it doesn't work for TTIP and would result in inequitable use of technology funds and decrease the negotiating power for libraries and other technology users.

Matriculation provides counseling and advisement, orientation and academic follow-up services to our students. Proposed placement of matriculation funding into the General Fund raises concerns on whether these valuable services will continue to be funded at the current level.

The new accreditation standards and student learning outcomes are also of concern for the counseling and library communities. The Academic Senate still has concerns with the new accreditation standards in general, but we also discuss how to work with them at the local level in support of students and programs. Certain sections of the new standards are of particular interest to counselors and librarians-"the institution systematically assesses student support services using student learning outcomes, faculty and staff input, and other appropriate measures in order to improve the effectiveness of these services" (section II.B). Elsewhere, the standards call for libraries and other learning support services at a level "sufficient to support the institution's instructional programs" as well as requiring an assessment of "the student learning outcomes, faculty input, and other appropriate measures" (section II.C). The Senate's Research Committee will share at the Spring Plenary a draft of a paper on the new accreditation standards, and our Committee will use it to inform library and counseling faculty of the important contributions they must make as part of the selfstudy using these new standards.

As you might have heard, the Chancellor's Office has gone through a large reduction in staffing. This has especially hit the library and learning resources community, as one of the positions eliminated was that of Coordinator for Library and Learning Resources. The Senate has a resolution recognizing the value of this position and will work with other library groups to restore this position in the future. In the meantime, the Senate and our professional library organizations, including the Chancellor's Office Advisory Committee on Library and Learning Resources Programs, the Council of Chief Librarians, and the Learning Resources Association of California Community Colleges, will work with the Chancellor's Office to determine ways to continue some of the services provided by the Coordinator.

Mea culpa.One of the things that I mentioned in the last issue of the Rostrum was the concern that administrators and our faculty colleagues might not understand that our programs directly affect students as much as what happens in the classrooms. I received an email from a faculty member who had read my article (wow, so people actually do read my stuff!) thanking me for my article. But the writer also wanted to remind me of the valuable direct impact on students provided by other faculty also. So let me end this article by acknowledging the wonderful services provided by our college nurses, EOPS, DSP&S and Learning Disabilities (LD) faculty. Thanks to all for a great job!