New local academic senate presidents or president-elects may sometimes feel lost in endless acronyms and often feel overwhelmed by the scope and demands of their positions. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is here to help by providing local academic senate leaders with an incredible array of valuable resources.
START HERE: THE LOCAL SENATES HANDBOOK
The ASCCC’s Local Senates Handbook, available at https://asccc.org/papers/local-senates-handbook, is the place to start for new academic senate leaders. This handbook is organized into five parts:
- The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges: A Brief History.
- Roles and Responsibilities of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, including a legal framework from California Education Code and Title 5 that relates to collegial consultation.
- Duties as a Local Senate President.
- Ensuring the Effectiveness of the Local Academic Senate, including effective practices for participatory governance.
- Linking Local Senates to the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.
Each section provides basics and links to more information. The handbook is an essential resource for all local academic senate leaders.
ASCCC WEBSITE: RESOURCE HUB
The ASCCC website at asccc.org is a treasure trove of information and resources, complete with a search tool. As with most web pages, the more time one spends with it, the more familiar and easy to navigate it becomes. A few of the resources found on the website are as follows:
- The RESOURCES tab has several options, including the local senates handbook, IDEAA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-racism, Accessibility) tools and resources, the Disciplines List related to minimum qualifications for hiring information, Rostrum articles, and President’s Updates as well as others. This tab also includes an archive of very useful ASCCC papers that cover an incredibly broad range of topics, providing background, guidance, and good practices. Example paper topics include curriculum issues and practices, accreditation processes, equivalency, developing equity-driven systems, anti-racism education, and protecting academic freedom.
- The ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS tab provides searchable access to resolutions adopted by the ASCCC at plenary sessions. The resolutions process is how local academic senates provide direction for the activities of the ASCCC, facilitated by the ASCCC Executive Committee. Details for writing and submitting resolutions as well as the process for debating and voting on resolutions may be found in the ASCCC Resolutions Handbook.
- The EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE and ABOUT US tabs provide information about the current ASCCC Executive Committee and the ASCCC Office Team. ASCCC Executive Committee meeting information and agendas, foundational documents such as the constitution and bylaws, current executive committee members, executive committee election information, and more are listed under those tabs.
The ASCCC offers a number of listservs that provide information on various topics of interest. Starting points are the academic senate presidents listserv and area listservs. The information that is sent to academic senate leaders via the listservs should be shared widely with local faculty so that all stay informed with what is going on statewide. One does not need any specific qualifications to join any ASCCC listserv; for example, membership on the academic senate presidents listserv is not restricted to local academic senate presidents or even academic senate leaders. Listservs can be joined at www.asccc.org/sign-our-newsletters.
Specific questions may be submitted to info [at] asccc.org (info[at]asccc[dot]org). Faculty may also to reach out to individual ASCCC Executive Committee members, who will forward the query to info [at] asccc.org (info[at]asccc[dot]org) for an official response.
A number of possibilities exist for college visits, which are listed under the SERVICES tab on the ASCCC website.
- Local senate visits entail members of the Executive Committee and Relations with Local Senates Committee visiting local academic senates to provide support tailored to the request made. Such visits are included in the membership dues paid by all local academic senates, with no additional costs to the member senates.
- Another popular option is a Collegiality in Action (CIA) visit to provide assistance in assuring the effective participation of local academic senates in district and college governance. The CIA visit is a joint program of the ASCCC and Community College League of California, with a $1000 fee to help offset travel costs. These visits normally entail a joint presentation by the leadership of the ASCCC and the Community College League, and therefore they require a joint request from the local academic senate president and the college president.
- Other types of visits and supports are offered by the ASCCC as well.
The ASCCC offers several events and institutes each year. Two of the most popular are as follows:
- Faculty Leadership Institute: Largely geared toward new academic senate leaders, this institute provides professional development on academic and professional matters in both theory and practice. The Faculty Leadership Institute also provides the opportunity to interface with academic senate leaders from across the state.
- Plenary Sessions: Member academic senates gather twice each year, in November and April, for professional development and to perform the business of the ASCCC through the resolutions process. Each member academic senate has a delegate representing that academic senate who votes on resolutions and in elections of ASCCC Executive Committee members, with elections occurring during spring. Plenary sessions are also incredible opportunities to meet and network with faculty leaders throughout the community college system.
Information on other ASCCC events, as well as an events calendar, is included under the EVENTS tab on the ASCCC website.
OTHER ACADEMIC SENATES AND DISTRICTS
Academic senates and local boards of trustees fall under the Brown Act, which includes providing agendas and documents to the public. These publicly available documents are a resource of various ways to approach and actualize academic and professional matters. Academic senate constitutions, by-laws, participatory governance handbooks, and more are available on local academic senate or college and district websites. Examples of district board policies, administrative procedures, participatory governance handbooks, and more are also accessible on district websites.
An incredible number of resources and opportunities are available to support academic senate leaders. The ASCCC offers its support and assistance whenever local academic senate leaders are in need. Faculty can contact the ASCCC by emailing info [at] asccc.org (info[at]asccc[dot]org) or through any member of the ASCCC Executive Committee.