Curricular Priorities Versus Budget-Driven Priorities

Resolution Number
Assigned to
Noncredit, Pre-Transfer, & Continuing Education Committee
Status Report

Update 6/25/2015: Completed, as funding has changed. Funding equalization for CDCP courses will begin in 2015/16.

Whereas, The Chancellor’s Office sent a memo, dated January 22, 2010, which stated,

For 2009-2010 it is safe to assume all courses that are outside of transfer, basic skills, or career technical are potential courses for scrutiny as community colleges limit class offerings in response to large budget cuts across the state. In addition to focusing on these three areas, community colleges also must continue to respond to local community need and workforce issues through the noncredit offerings which are already restricted to 10 areas of identified content. (California Education Code §84757(a))

and the Chancellor’s Office suggested making workload reductions of both credit and noncredit in “Recreational, avocational, and personal development courses . . . which should be offered as a community service class for a fee which covers the cost of instruction,” and thus some local administrations have not only targeted reductions in credit and noncredit apportionment courses, but have engaged noncredit faculty in discussions about moving noncredit courses, including those that fall within the ten areas eligible for apportionment, from one classification (noncredit) to another (community service) (see §55002, Standards and Criteria for Courses);

Whereas, A variety of interpretations and information exists, such as recreation courses are already disallowed for noncredit apportionment, California Education Code §76380 states that some noncredit apportionment courses cannot be offered as community service (i.e., basic skills including high school diploma programs, ESL, citizenship), and the recent information in the Student Fee Handbook 2010, Chapter 2, 2.2 Noncredit classes in part states “While the law appears to authorize fees for certain noncredit areas, districts actually have very little authority in this area”, and if a district does convert noncredit apportionment courses to community service, it can restrict access to those courses for many disadvantaged students in the community who have educational needs these courses provide;

Whereas, Noncredit faculty, largely made up of part-time faculty, with little power, few protections, and inadequate experience in interpreting legislation and guidelines, have little support or available resources for making informed recommendations about course classifications and how those classifications could affect community needs; and

Whereas, The academic integrity and quality of noncredit courses, and even the actual existence of some of these courses, are being threatened by increasing pressure on noncredit faculty to use a business model as the primary rationale for making curricular and scheduling decisions with the potential to move courses from one classification to another, and back again, depending on changes, up or down, in funding, workload, and FTES goals;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges provide noncredit faculty and local senates with the information they need to have informed discussions of local course offering priorities for both credit and noncredit and to make informed recommendations regarding classification of noncredit courses and programs that are meeting community needs; and

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges advocate to the appropriate bodies the important role of noncredit among the multiple missions and priorities of the community colleges.

MSC Disposition: Local Senates