Brief History of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges

  1. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has its roots in Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 48 introduced by Assemblyman Charles Garrigus. ACR 48 adopted in 1963 asked that the State Board of Education (which at that time had a junior college bureau) provide for the establishment of academic senates “. . for the purposes of representing [faculty] in the formation of policy on academic and professional matters ...”. At that time there were already local academic senates, but this resolution gave senates legal recognition and a specific jurisdiction: academic and professional matters. In the early 1960’s there were several statewide faculty organizations: the unions, CTA and CFT and what is now FACCC (then called CJCFA- the California Junior College Faculty Association). There was also CJCA, the California Junior College Association, now CCLC, the Community College League of California, which had a faculty component. Many of these organizations supported the formation of local senates, according to Chet Case in a 1971 research paper. In 1967 legislation was enacted to create the Board of Governors and the Chancellor’s Office for the California Community Colleges.
  2. In the spring of 1968 Norbert Bischof, who was president-elect of FACCC and is a philosophy and mathematics teacher at Merritt College, called the first statewide meeting of local academic senate presidents to explore ways to create a state senate that would represent local senates at the Chancellor’s Office and before the Board of Governors. We all owe Norbert our greatest appreciation and gratitude for his vision. Working with seed money from FACCC, Norbert and Ted Staniford organized a meeting in Oakland attended by about 40 people. (Ted Staniford was then a FACCC Board member and teacher of history at Chabot; Ted, now deceased, was named, posthumously, Senator Emeritus of the Academic Senate in 1981.)
  3. After the spring 1968 meeting, Bischof and Staniford wrote a constitution for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges; this constitution was adopted at a meeting in Los Angeles in May 1968 and was then sent to local senates for ratification. In March 1969 a majority of local senates (45 of the then 71 known senates) had approved the constitution, as stated in a letter from Bischof to senates.
  4. In April 1969, the first meeting of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges was held. Sheridan Hegland, a teacher at Palomar College and a former member of the California State Assembly, was elected president. Bischof was elected by acclamation to the position of past president, since he would assume the FACCC presidency for 1969-70. He later served as Senate president 1979-80.
  5. In October, 1969 the Board of Governors approved the Academic Senate as an organization that could be supported by public funds. According to the Education Code at that time, the Board of Governors had to approve an organization before a local board could legally use public funds to pay the dues of an organization.
  6. On November 24, 1970 papers were filed with the California Secretary of State incorporating the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges as a nonprofit corporation. Dean Close, Senate president 1970-71, an attorney and teacher of business law at Bakersfield College, donated the legal work necessary to incorporate the Senate.
  7. In resolutions from its sessions from 1970-72, the Senate adopted the first of many resolutions supporting the significant role of ethnic minorities and women in community college education. For example, at the fall 1971 session, a resolution was adopted urging local senates “to support the increased membership of ethnic minorities on faculties at large and increased participation by ethnic minorities in local senates and in the Academic Senate and on accreditation teams.” In 1971, the Senate urged in-service training for faculty to learn about ethnic studies and urged multi-ethnic, multi-cultural learnings and experiences as part of general education. In the spring of 1972, the Senate adopted a series of resolutions relating to women, including asking for changes in maternity leave policies and the elimination from applications for employment questions about marital status and number of dependents.
  8. When collective bargaining become law, in 1975-76, many people predicted the end of academic senates. We are grateful that Senator Allan Rodda included in his bill, SB 160, section 3450, that “nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to restrict, limit, or prohibit the full exercise of the functions of any academic senate or faculty council.”
  9. In 1978, under the leadership of President Jean Vincenzi, the Board of Governors adopted Section 53206 of Title 5 which stated that the Board of Governors recognizes the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges “as the representative of Community College academic senates or faculty councils before the Board of Governors and the Chancellor’s Office.”
  10. In the 1970’s, the Academic Senate formed several significant committees and also was represented on statewide committees. A committee on academic standards, later educational policies, became the first standing committee of the Senate, approved Fall 1976. In 1983-84, the vocational education committee was established. In 1977, the Senate appointed the first faculty to the Fund for Instructional Improvement (grant approval) committee; Maryamber Villa (LA Valley) chaired a Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Grading in 1979 and the some year Lloyd DeGarmo, Compton, chaired a Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on General Education.
  11. Among the “milestones” in intersegmental cooperation was the establishment in March 1980 of the Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates, which met for the first time under the leadership of then president Norbert Bischof. The Committee includes five representatives each from CSU, UC, and the Academic Senate.
  12. The Great Teachers Seminar, under the joint sponsorship of the Academic Senate and then CACC (now CCLC), was first held in the summer of 1979. The success of the Great Teachers seminar approach to faculty development led to many “sons and daughters” including the Educational Leadership Colloquia and the Senate’s leadership conferences, including the summer leadership institute to be held for the seventh time June 1996.
  13. Academic Senate publications are an important part of Senate history. In 1970-71, Sheridan Hegland, first Senate president, edited “The ASCCC Legislative Newsletter.” Later editors of the Senate newsletter (called the Rostrum beginning in 1984), include Mark Edelstein, Jonnah Laroche, Susan Petit, and Lynda Corbin. The distinctive ‘book and sun’ logo of the Senate was developed under Jonnah Laroche’s supervision by graphics staff at Allan Hancock and first used on Senate stationery in 1983. The Senate’s first annual report was presented to the Board of Governors in the Spring of 1977, at the suggestion of then acting Chancellor, Gus Guichard. The first issue of the Senate journal, the Forum, was published in 1981. The Senate publications have increased from 10 listed in the 1980 annual report to nearly 100 in the 1992 annual report.
  14. From 1978-1980, the Senate worked diligently to receive some State funding to enable the community college State Senate to work as effectively as the Senates of CSU and UC, which have had considerable State support. In 1980, the legislature approved a budget proposal from the Chancellor’s Office that included some funding for the Academic Senate. At that time, it was expressly the view of the Governor’s Office that local districts continue to pay State Senate assessments in order to maintain the Senate as the representative of local senates. Tyra Duncan-Hall, 1980-81, was the first Senate president to have full reassigned time, after approval, of State funds for the Senate.
  15. In August, 1984, the Senate was given an office, one small room on the second floor, in the Chancellor’s Office at 1107 9th Street, Sacramento. The following year, the first senate full-time secretary was hired. After two re-locations, the Senate moved to its expanded office on the 9th floor where there is one full-time employee.
  16. Other milestones in the history of the Senate in the 1980’s:
    1. 1981 - Representatives of the Academic Senate and the Chief Instructional Officers meet for the first time. The group, called the AS-CIO’s, has continued to meet.
    2. 1983 - After many years (the first resolution on the Accrediting Commission was in 1970), the Accreditation Commission adopted changes in its constitution, increasing faculty on the Commission to five and involving the Academic Senate in the appointment of Commissioners. Not only have faculty members served on more accreditation visiting teams, but several have served as visiting team chairs, including former senate presidents Karen Sue Grosz, Jean Vincenzi and Carmen Decker. The Accreditation Handbook recognized senates in Standard 8.
    3. 1983-85 - The Senate worked for many years to change what was then the Articulation faculty-centered organization. The Council had been part of the then CACC, which also made faculty appointments. Beginning in 1985, the Senate appointed faculty; eventually the Articulation Council became an independent State agency, the Intersegmental Coordinating Council.
    4. 1984 - Jonnah Laroche was appointed the first faculty member to serve on the Board of Governors, as a result of the passage of SB 1204 which was signed by the Governor in the fall of 1983. FACCC Executive Director Patrick McCallum spearheaded the campaign that resulted in adoption of this legislation. Other faculty who have served on the Board of Governors are Karen Sue Grosz, Larry Toy, and Yvonne Gallegos Bodle. The Academic Senate, by law, sends at least three nominees to the Governor who makes the appointment.
    5. 1986 - The final report of the Commission for the Review of the Master Plan for Higher Education supported the strengthening of the role of academic senates in governance. This proposal led the way for the great reform legislation AB 1725, passed by the legislature in 1988, giving many new responsibilities to both local senates and the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. Local senates, for example, are given significant roles in hiring and in the granting of tenure; the Academic Senate was directed to compile the minimum qualifications disciplines list, adopted by the Board of Governors and put into effect July 1, 1990.
  1. As the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges and local senates enter the 1990’s, a key guideline for both is the Board of Governors’ adoption in July, 1990 of Title 5 regulations “Strengthening Local Senates” as required by AB 1725. These regulations have been interpreted in a Memorandum of Understanding worked out by the Senate and the trustees’ organization and were adopted at the 1992 spring session.
  2. “Student Equity: Proposals for Action” was adopted at the 1991 Fall Session. This policy paper become the basis for consultation and discussion throughout the Community College system, and although modified, it was largely the Senate’s proposal that the Board of Governors adopted as regulation at its September, 1992 meeting. The Senate adopted “Student Equity, Guidelines for Developing a Plan” at the 1993 Spring Session.
  3. Among the position papers adopted by the Academic Senate are the following, reflecting a variety of concerns: “Guidelines for the Implementation of the Flexible Calendar Program” spring 1993; “Distance Learning in California’s Community Colleges: An Academic Senate Review of the Social, Fiscal, and Educational Issues” adopted fall, 1993; “Student Mentoring: Responding to the Laroche Challenge” adopted fall, 1993; “The Role of Counseling Faculty in the California Community Colleges” fall, 1994; “A Perspective on Faculty Responsibilities” spring, 1995. A complete list of Senate publications can be found in the Annual Report.
  4. Some “firsts” of the 1990’s for the Academic Senate include: two faculty chairs of the Accrediting Commission, former Senate presidents Barbara (Hinkley) Schnelker and Carmen Maldonado Decker; first vocational education leadership conferences; first technical assistance visits by the Senate as requested by colleges regarding shared governance; and the implementation (1992-93) of the geocluster system to better serve local senate needs.
  5. The early 1990’s has seen the Senate involved in a variety of awards and grants including: the Hayward Award for Educational Excellence, whose recipients are chosen by the Academic Senate; the Exemplary Program Awards, whose recipients are chosen by a committee chaired by the Senate; the Jonnah Laroche Memorial Scholarship, awarded for the first time in spring 1995 to three students, awards made by a Senate ad hoc committee. The Senate was a recipient of an intersegmental faculty project grant to implement SB 121 by working intersegmentally on business programs.
  6. Several new standing committees approved since 1990 have shown new areas of Senate interest. One, the curriculum committee, reflects greater involvement of faculty at both the state and local level in curriculum issues. The Senate was involved with the Chancellor’s Office in the developing of a curriculum handbook and in training curriculum chairs so that there is more local college involvement in curriculum approval. Another new committee is the Technology Committee, recognizing the Senate’s commitment to electronic communication and its promotion of InfoNet through training and information.
  7. Following a resolution of “No Confidence" the Chancellor adopted in Spring of 1994, a new consultation process, after much discussion and debate, was inaugurated by the Board of Governors and Chancellor Office in 1995.
  8. The Senate Office moved to 910 K Street in February 1997.
  9. Seven resolutions at the 1997 Spring Session on technology represent a growing interest and a new vocabulary: Web Pages, Internet, Web Master, Virtural University, and more. The 1997 Spring Session voted to hold a 1998 Summer Technology Workshop of several days.”