It’s Time to Integrate All Faculty Minimum Qualifications into the Disciplines List

Standards, Equity, Access and Practices Committee

As part of the Community College Reform Act (AB 1725) in 1988, the Disciplines List was established to replace the system of credentials that was in effect in Education Code. With this change, faculty, through the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, became responsible for recommending to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges the minimum qualifications for hiring faculty. However, the minimum qualifications for certain faculty positions are delineated not in the alphabetical listing of disciplines in the Minimum Qualifications for Faculty and Administrators in California Community Colleges—more informally simply called the Disciplines List— but rather in Title 5 regulations, with the exact Title 5 language included in the Disciplines List only as an appendix. This situation can lead to difficulties in locating information on the qualifications for these positions and can complicate attempts to make changes to these qualifications when such changes are necessary or desired.

In Fall 2010, Resolution 10.01 Noncredit Minimum Qualifications noted, “Currently, noncredit disciplines, areas of instruction, and minimum qualifications for noncredit faculty are not contained in the Disciplines List because they were instead directly included into Title 5, reflecting outdated K-12 regulations, and are consequently more difficult to maintain in a manner that best meets community needs and legislated expectations” and requested that noncredit minimum qualifications be removed from Title 5 and placed in the disciplines list.

As with noncredit instructors, various other faculty positions are outlined in Title 5 but missing from the Disciplines List. Disabled Students Programs and Services Employees (§53414), Learning Assistance or Learning Skills Coordinators or Instructors, and Tutoring Coordinators (§53415), Work Experience Instructors or Coordinators (§53416), and EOP&S Counselors (§56264) are also absent from the Disciplines List. The Disciplines List includes Learning Assistance Instructors, but only with a reference to qualifications specified in Title 5, which currently only apply to tutoring or learning assistance programs not claiming apportionment.

While Fall 2010 Resolution 10.01 specifically addressed integrating noncredit qualifications into the Disciplines List, Resolution 10.03 Removing Faculty Qualifications from Title 5 (Spring 2010) had previously recommended “that the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges recommend to the Board of Governors that faculty minimum qualifications for specific disciplines be removed from Title 5 and placed on the Disciplines List.” The implication of this resolution is clear: minimum qualifications for all faculty positions should be included in the Disciplines List rather than in Title 5 regulations.

Although the ASCCC communicated this recommendation to Vice-Chancellors Steve Bruckman and Barry Russell, the item was assigned no priority at the Chancellor’s Office due to budget cuts and staffing shortages. However, by summer 2012 the Chancellor’s Office had expressed a willingness to reconsider the recommendation if the ASCCC provided clear direction and examples. In Fall 2012, the Standards, Equity, Access, and Practices committee experimented with a format for integrating minimum qualifications for disciplines currently outlined in Title 5 into the Disciplines List, produced sample documents showing how the additional disciplines could be integrated into the Disciplines List, and presented a breakout titled “Evolution and the Minimum Qualifications Disciplines List: Integrating Outliers” at 2012 Fall Plenary, where input was solicited from faculty. Responses were positive and attendees were pleased that action was being taken on previous Disciplines List resolutions and recommendations.

As the 2012-2014 Disciplines List Process comes to a close, the Academic Senate is enthusiastic about the potential for inclusion of qualifications for disciplines currently delineated only in Title 5 into the Disciplines List with the qualifications for credit instructors, counselors, and librarians. Once all faculty positions are included in the Disciplines List, some of the specific references may be removed from Title 5, and recommending potential future changes for these disciplines will become a simpler process consistent with that applied to other disciplines. Additionally, past resolutions recommending changes to minimum qualifications for learning assistance and learning support instructors and coordinators will be easier to implement through the Disciplines List process rather than by proposing changes to Title 5.

The Chancellor’s Office and the ASCCC will continue to work toward a solution for integrating all faculty minimum qualifications into the Disciplines List. Such a change will make it easier information regarding the qualifications for positions such as EOP&S counselors, noncredit instructors, work experience instructors or coordinators, learning assistance or learning support coordinators or instructors, or tutoring coordinators and will simplify future efforts to make changes to the qualifications for those positions when necessary.