This summer has been busy for the members of the ASCCC Executive Committee. Although the 2014-15 committee did not officially take office until July 1, we really began working immediately after our orientation meeting on June 1, or in some cases even sooner. Much has been happening in the past few months, and much more is to come this year. In order to keep those we represent informed, a review of what we have been working on and an outline what we hope to do this year is in order.
Where We Have Been: Summer 2014
The final meeting of the 2013-2014 Executive Committee was held at Asilomar, near Monterey, on May 30, with orientation for the 2014-15 Executive Committee taking place over the following two days. The orientation began with a morning of training in cultural competence, as directed by ASCCC Resolution 3.01 S14, and through that training the new Executive Committee developed the beginning of a plan for ASCCC actions that could promote diversity, equity, and cultural competence. The remainder of the two days was spent in team building and in reviewing Academic Senate procedures, policies, and other information important to serving as a member of the Executive Committee.
Our second activity together was the Leadership Institute, held in San Diego from June 12 to 14. The Executive Committee met the day before the institute with attorney Mark Alcorn to receive training and information on our roles as members of a nonprofit board, a subject that raised numerous concerns over the past year. This useful and instructive presentation was followed by a very successful institute with over 100 attendees. In order to prepare new and future senate leaders for greater participation at plenary sessions, one series of Leadership Institute activities had the attendees write potential resolutions on Thursday, submit amendments on Friday, and engage in a mock plenary voting session on Saturday. This institute also kicked off the pilot module for our Professional Development College, with thirteen local senate leaders participating in this new opportunity for training in faculty leadership.
The final group activity for the Executive Committee during the summer was the Curriculum Institute, held in San Jose from July 10 to 12. Although not all Executive Committee members are required to participate in the Curriculum Institute, this year twelve of the elected members—the other two had previous and unbreakable commitments—demonstrated their dedication and their enthusiasm for the upcoming year by attending at least a part of the event and participating in a variety of breakout presentations. Over 300 faculty, staff, and administrators attended the institute, which was praised for its effectiveness and inclusivity by Chancellor’s Office representatives in venues such as Consultation Council.
In addition, several members of the Executive Committee, as well as many other dedicated faculty members from around the state, participated in meetings throughout the summer regarding the three technology initiatives: Online Education, Common Assessment, and Educational Planning. This work is intense and often challenging, with many diverse interests and perspectives involved, but our representatives, led by the Executive Committee members, have done a terrific job of holding to Senate positions and moving the initiatives in positive directions.
Numerous other discussions and meetings, both large and small, have also taken place throughout the summer. Various members of the Executive Committee have attended meetings on the structure of C-ID, the equity funding formula, budget updates and requests for 2014-15, system budget planning for 2015-16, professional development, the Open Educational Resources Project, and others, as well as continuing to represent the Academic Senate at meetings of the Board of Governors, Consultation Council, the Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates (ICAS), the Council of Faculty Organizations (COFO), the System Advisory Committee on Curriculum (SACC), and other ongoing assignments. Again, it was a very busy summer for the Executive Committee as a whole.
Where We Are Now: The Beginning of Fall 2014
As faculty and students return to their campuses for Fall 2104, the Executive Committee has already begun its work for the upcoming year.
One of the first projects for all members of the Executive Committee is to call together the Senate committees they will be leading or sitting on and to set the agenda for the year. Last year most ASCCC committees were placed on hiatus as we experimented with a task force dominated model. This year, the committees are back. Executive Committee members worked throughout the summer to determine the most effective and representative membership for each committee, and now each group is beginning to perform its charge of addressing previous resolutions passed at plenary sessions, discussing issues of statewide concern, and planning for the Fall 2014 plenary session.
Executive Committee members are also coming back together to work as a group through the regular Executive Committee meeting schedule. This year, in order to encourage attendance at the Executive Committee meetings and to promote greater transparency, the meetings will move around the state, with the first day of each meeting to be held on a community college campus. The first Executive Committee meeting of the fall took place on August 22-23 in Long Beach, with the first day’s meeting on the Long Beach City College Campus. The September meeting will begin at San Diego City College on September 12 and the October meeting at Lake Tahoe College on October 10, with each meeting continuing off campus on the following day. Both days of each meeting are open to all who are interested in attending. Future meeting locations will be announced through the ASCCC President’s update and the Senate Presidents’ Listserv and are posted on the Senate’s website. The Executive Committee hopes that by bringing our meetings to our colleges, we will increase communication with the faculty we represent and will be able to keep local senates more connected to and informed about statewide issues.
Of course, the work begun in summer also carries on into the fall. The technology initiatives continue to move forward, as does work such as C-ID and the Open Educational Resources Project. Executive Committee members continue to attend meetings with Chancellor’s Office staff and other system partners to represent the voice and the interests of faculty.
In addition to statewide meetings, Executive Committee members are also coming to individual campuses to assist local faculty. The ASCCC has received a number of requests for Executive Committee members to make presentations to local academic senates or curriculum committees, and various members have agreed to visit colleges or districts to work directly with faculty.
Where We Are Going: Plans for 2014-2015
In the upcoming year, the Executive Committee plans to move forward with a number of projects or initiatives to serve the interests and needs of local academic senates statewide. While some of these activities will be charged to the Executive Committee as a whole, much of the work will be done by our newly re-established committees or by a few special task forces.
In 2014-15, the Executive Committee will engage in strategic planning for the ASCCC in order to better determine what the organization should become and how it should conduct its work as it moves forward. The first strategic planning meeting is scheduled for September 6 in Sacramento, and thus the planning will be underway by the time this Rostrum is published. Future special meetings regarding strategic planning are already scheduled for October and December. Any plan developed by the Executive Committee will of course be brought to the ASCCC body for approval at plenary sessions.
As an indication of our ongoing commitment to improvement and consistency, a major review of ASCCC policies and practices will be undertaken by the Standards and Practices Committee (S&P). This review will not be primarily focused on changing the way we operate, but rather on ensuring coherence between ASCCC practices, legal requirements, and our published documents. The first step in this review is an examination of ASCCC bylaws in order to ensure that the bylaws are up to date, clear, and complete. A review of other policies and documents will follow, as throughout the year the S&P committee will work to ensure the consistency and sufficiency of the ASCCC’s official documents. As with the strategic plan, the work produced by this committee will be presented to the body for approval at the plenary sessions.
Another body with a new focus is the Legislative Committee, which is returning after a significant hiatus. This committee will track and analyze legislation and other activities in Sacramento that involve educational issues in order to better inform local senates and to represent the positions of faculty to the legislature, the governor, and other interest groups in a more timely and effective manner. The committee expects to work closely with both the Governmental Relations Division in the Chancellor’s Office and with other system partners, including the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC), to address the increasing pressure of legislative activity on our system in a more proactive way. Our goal is to increase the ASCCC presence in policy discussions at state level and provide tools or information for advocacy at local level.
Professional development is an important charge of the ASCCC and an increasingly strong focus within the community college system. This year the ASCCC will look to provide leadership in this area in a variety of ways. The Executive Committee will continue to advocate for ongoing, substantial funding for professional development projects at the local level. We will also work to provide valuable professional development activities at the state level, including the continued development of our Professional Development College and activities such as institutes and regional meetings focused on CTE leadership, student services, curriculum, and other topics that are important to faculty.
One Rostrum article cannot present an exhaustive list of the Executive Committee’s activities, plans, and goals. We hope and expect to undertake numerous activities that will increase the transparency of our organization, provide more conscious and clear planning and direction for the future, promote the state-level profile and influence of the ASCCC, and establish greater two-way communication with local senates and faculty statewide.
We will pursue that final goal, better communication with faculty, in a variety of ways. Moving our Executive Committee meetings to local campuses is only the first step. But in order to achieve this goal, we need to hear from you. Please feel welcome to contact members of the Executive Committee, whether by attending our meetings, through email, or by whatever other method you choose. Tell us about your local issues, your concerns, and your successes. Our primary charge is to represent you, and we have a great many projects and activities planned to fulfill that charge, but we are always more effective in representing your voice when that voice comes to us clearly and directly from you.