Going Beyond Development: Faculty Professional Learning—An Academic Senate Obligation to Promote Equity-Minded Practices that Improve Instruction and Student Success

Faculty Development
Educational Policies Committee

A focus on faculty professional learning, given the challenges that California community colleges and students face, must remain a high priority and continue to evolve. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) has long been an advocate for the development of robust professional development policies as part of senate purview under Title 5 §53200, colloquially referred to as the 10+1. Indeed, as student populations within the California community colleges become more diverse, colleges seek to improve student success and close the opportunity gap for marginalized communities. The ASCCC has passed numerous resolutions in support of intentional learning opportunities to address diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism throughout the curriculum and college cultures. Such intentional learning must be a significant component of faculty professional learning and development.

The goal and purpose of this paper is to examine the importance of faculty professional learning that is necessary to improve student success as well as the role local academic senates can play in such efforts. The paper will examine the issues from both a philosophical and practical point of view.


Recommendations to Individual Faculty

  • Reflect on interactions with students and seek professional learning opportunities that can help improve teaching, student learning, and student support as appropriate

Recommendations to Professional Learning Coordinators

  • Reevaluate professional learning programs to prioritize activities that focus on improving student learning

Recommendations to Local Academic Senates

  • Adopt a racial equity focus in professional learning
  • Examine professional learning activities to increase equity-minded professional learning
  • Examine and further develop professional growth programming focused on ways to improve student learning

Recommendations to Colleges and Districts

  • Identify and examine the hours of professional learning that focus on equity and equity mindedness
  • Use faculty evaluations as a tool for determining professional learning activities

Recommendations to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors

  • Prioritize faculty professional learning as a critical tool for improving student success and retention
  • Integrate faculty professional learning into ongoing diversity equity and inclusion work
  • Establish a dedicated funding stream so that districts can provide consistent and reliable professional learning opportunities