Ensuring the Recognition of Outstanding Work

Standards and Practices Committee Chair

A few years ago, I volunteered to read applications for the Hayward Award. I had no idea what to expect, but I was told that it would be a great experience. While reading the applications, I got a glimpse into some of the amazing work that other faculty were doing at their colleges. Reading those applications provided me with an opportunity to see the work being done by other amazing faculty and it provided me with an incentive to do even more at my college.

As Standards and Practices Chair this year, I have the privilege to read applications for all of the Senate’s Awards. Each year the Academic Senate reads applications for the Exemplary Program Award, Hayward Award, and Regina Stanback Stroud Diversity Award. Based upon my previous experience, I was very much looking forward to reading all of the applications and seeing the incredible work being done by dedicated faculty across the state. Unfortunately, two of our awards (Hayward for Areas A and D and the Stanback Stroud) could not be awarded this year because the ASCCC did not receive at least three applications per award.  Unfortunately, the work of the fantastic faculty who were nominated will not even be considered because not enough applications were submitted.

One can guess how such a lack of nominations for these awards could occur:  senate presidents have been asked to do far too much, and submitting award applications was likely not the first or most pressing thing on their minds.  This year local faculty leaders have had to deal with student equity and Student Success and Support Program plans, keeping up to date on the statewide technology initiatives, and in many cases considering the possibility of developing a bachelor’s degree program on top of everything else that they deal with every year. When one is being pulled in so many different directions, less immediate concerns will slip through the cracks. With all of the deadlines that local senate presidents have been trying to meet, missing the application deadline for an award is not the most damaging thing that could happen.

However, all of us agree that recognizing exemplary work improves morale and inspires others to do more for students, and recognizing this work at the state level gives us the opportunity to showcase our colleges to a larger audience. To ensure that the opportunity for recognition is not lost due to a missed deadline in the future, local senate presidents may wish to delegate tasks like statewide awards to another responsible local senate member. At the Spring 2015 Plenary Session, the ASCCC adopted Resolution 12.01 S15, which included the following recommendations:

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges recommend that local senates form awards committees, or otherwise appoint responsible individuals, to be charged with the primary task of ensuring that faculty from their colleges have the opportunity to be recognized statewide for their outstanding work; and

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges recommend that local senates establish local processes for nominating faculty and submitting their nominations for statewide awards in a timely manner that aligns with the timelines and deadlines for each award.

Every college will have a slightly different approach when dealing with awards, but that approach should not be another task that the senate president has to deal with. Every faculty leader must learn to delegate tasks, and applying for awards is a great place to start. Whether a college chooses to designate a senator or form a committee, offloading this responsibility from the senate president will ensure that every award has enough applications and that the senate president will have one less thing to worry about. By working together, we can ensure that outstanding work is recognized and that senate presidents will have fewer deadlines to worry about.