A Voc/Occ/CTE Perspective at Session

Chair, Occupational Education Committee

A lot of things happened in November of this year-the elections, state budget crisis.and the ACADEMIC SENATE PLENARY SESSION! OK, maybe my priorities are a little skewed, but I do know the priority of this article-to let you know what Session issues might have been of particular interest to faculty in the occupational, vocational and career technical fields (I find myself using all three descriptors-sometimes in the same sentence).

But first, yes, the national elections are important to all of us-we will have new leadership at the head of the Executive Branch of government-and I am sure that this will reflect new thoughts and directions in areas that affect all of us, including Perkins funding, accreditation standards, transfer credits and dual enrollment. We have people in the Chancellor's Office, Academic Senate and other advocacy groups paying close attention to all of this and it will be given to you in various communications modes. We are all aware of the daily changes with the state budget (counting the number of zeroes after the deficit figure is getting frightening). And the funding decisions reached by the Governor and Legislature will affect us all. We all will be keeping close watch and we all need to be involved at the college and district level in discussions on funding reductions that we face.

But on to Session. I believe that a good, informative (and fun) time was had by all. I was the participant in two breakout presentations-concurrent enrollment and graduation requirements-that I think were of interest to Occupational/Vocational/Career Technical Education (CTE) faculty. Other breakouts of note included discussions of the minimum qualifications for faculty hiring (what works and doesn't work with our current system and how we can make it the best possible process to get the best faculty possible), SACC (System Advisory Committee on Curriculum) and Title 5 overview (recent changes and implementation and their impact on what we do), the C-ID and the Statewide Career Pathways programs (intersegmental articulation efforts with our partners both in the secondary and four-year postsecondary institutions) and reading competency (how is the lack of reading skills affecting our students in their classes? And what can be done). Many of the handouts and PowerPoint presentations for the breakouts are available on the ASCCC website at www.asccc.org.

The issue of concurrent enrollment/dual enrollment is being discussed at both the state and federal levels.

Many studies have shown the positive effects of high school students taking college courses (either on their home campus or the college campus, but always with an instructor who meets the minimum qualifications for service in the California community colleges).

These students might receive college credit or high school credit or both college and high school credit for successful completion of these courses. Such concurrent courses are occurring in both the academic and CTE fields. Several pieces of California legislation in regards to concurrent enrollment have been approved over the past few years-SB 338 (2003), SB 1303 (2006) and SB 1437 (2008)-and a System Office Legal Advisory (05-01) is available to answer questions on implementing the rules and guidelines from the legislation (text of the laws are available at www.leginfo.ca.gov and the advisory is accessible at www.cccco.edu, clicking on Divisions/Legal Affairs). The Academic Senate and local academic senates have a strong role in any discussion and implementation of concurrent enrollment, as evidenced by several resolutions (including 4.01, F07; 4.02, F07: 4.01, S08) calling for expanding opportunities for concurrent enrollment, the importance of including faculty in local and statewide discussions, and the implementation of recommendations from the Academic Senate paper Minors on Campus in regards to concurrent enrollment. The breakout also included an interesting discussion of various early college and middle college programs throughout the state (hmmm, I can see a breakout topic for another plenary session).

The new graduation requirements (Freshman Composition and intermediate algebra) are right around the corner, coming into effect for students that start in Fall 2009. Our presentation included discussions on what has been happening in different colleges-Are new courses being created? Have new support programs been implemented or strengthened? What's up? We heard from a faculty member who has created a new English course with the rigor of English 1A (this course and other examples are available at www.cccbsi.org/resources) and another faculty member who is coordinating tutoring programs to improve student success in courses up to and including those that satisfy the new requirements. The perspective from our CIO colleague reminded us to examine where the efforts need to be concentrated. The concept of contextualized learning as a tool for success in the courses for the graduation requirement was briefly mentioned at the breakout and will be more fully discussed at the Spring 2009 Session and the 2009 Vocational Education Leadership Institute.

Wow, what a wonderful segue to my conclusion. The Academic Senate Occupational Education Committee is planning the Vocational Leadership Institute, which will be held March 12-14, 2009, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. The Institute is designed to develop and promote leadership among occupational faculty at local, regional and state levels. One of the goals of the Institute is to encourage more active participation of occupational faculty in the Academic Senate, as well as the local academic senate. We also hope to develop close relationships with statewide leaders and other occupational faculty members while informing occupational educators about the resources available to them. (I took this description from the Academic Senate website. More information is available at www.asccc.org, click on Events). The Committee members for this year are Carol Beck (Counseling, Mission College), Dianna Chiabotti (Child and Family Studies, Napa Valley College), Lisa Legohn (Welding Technology, Los Angeles Trade Technical College), Sal Veas (Business, Santa Monica College) and Peter Westbrook (Cosmetology, Riverside City College) and me. I want to all of them for the great work that we have done so far (and I know we have lots more to do before March!).