Support and Advocacy for Regulatory Mechanisms That Ensure Faculty Recommendations on Academic and Professional Matters are Given Their Fullest Consideration

Resolution Number: 
Assigned to : 
Academic Senate

Whereas, AB 1725 (Vasconcellos, 1988), the omnibus bill that created the modern framework for the California community college system, stated among its aims that

The people of California should have the opportunity to be proud of a system of community colleges which instills pride among its students and faculty, where rigor and standards are an assumed part of a shared effort to educate, where the hugely diverse needs of students are a challenge rather than a threat, where the community colleges serve as models for the new curricula and innovative teaching, where learning is what we care about most;

and recognized the importance of faculty involvement as professionals in college governance and decision-making by asserting that

It is a general purpose of this act to improve academic quality, and to that end the Legislature specifically intends to authorize more responsibility for faculty members in duties that are incidental to their primary professional duties;

Whereas, Education Code §70901 guarantees “faculty, staff, and students the right to participate effectively in district and college governance, and the opportunity to express their opinions at the campus level and to ensure that these opinions are given every reasonable consideration” and recognizes the special areas of faculty expertise by ensuring “the right of academic senates to assume primary responsibility for making recommendations in the areas of curriculum and academic standards”;

Whereas, Title 5 §53200 operationalizes the primary recommending responsibility of faculty in the area of academic standards by requiring local governing boards to determine whether to “rely primarily upon” or “mutually agree with” the recommendations of the academic senate with respect to specified academic and professional matters, while Title 5 §53203 ensures that ultimate decision-making and responsibility remain with the elected governing board regarding all faculty recommendations; and

Whereas, The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, the gold standard by which colleges and universities are compared with respect to shared governance, states that

The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process. On these matters the power of review or final decision lodged in the governing board or delegated by it to the president should be exercised adversely only in exceptional circumstances, and for reasons communicated to the faculty;

and the California community college system of participatory governance and its affirmation of faculty primacy in academic and professional matters is highly consistent with the AAUP statement;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges affirm its support for the current participatory governance structure defined by AB 1725;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges support ways to enhance shared decision-making and collective responsibility for improving student learning and success; and

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges oppose modifications or amendments to Title 5, Education Code, or other directives that impede the primary authority of academic senates to recommend with respect to curriculum and academic standards per Education Code and the AAUP definition of the faculty role in community college governance.

Adopted by Acclamation

Status Report: 

This resolution establishes a position of the Senate that will be communicated with constituent groups as necessary.