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2022 April Rostrum


A Rostrum Article Without a Title

ASCCC President

When I first started thinking about this article, I tried to determine what it should be titled. “What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been” immediately came to mind. Perhaps “The Long and Winding Road” or “The Never-Ending Story” would make sense as well, but nothing really stuck. It is difficult for me to believe that this is the last regular Rostrum article I will author as a member of the Executive Committee. For the last twelve years, I have served as a member of the board, going from North representative to Area B representative, and then secretary, vice president, and now president. I hope the readers will forgive a bit of presidential privilege as I reflect on the ASCCC, my service to it, and what has happened over the past dozen years.

The year I was first elected to the board, 2010, was a watershed year for the ASCCC and for the California Community Colleges system. Concerns about accreditation and the actions of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges were an important issue, as the resolutions from both spring and fall demonstrate. The ASCCC bylaws were changed to allow for the creation of caucuses, and multiple resolutions were passed about matters that remain at the forefront for the ASCCC, including the use of noncredit, involvement of part time faculty in senates, and use of technology for ASCCC voting. The most significant resolutions were those around the creation of the associate degrees for transfer (ADTs) and their impact for the colleges through SB 1440 (Padilla, 2010). At the time, great concern existed about the ADTs and the effects they would have on students, degrees, and local colleges, and I remember listening to the debates about the legislation and the potential impacts. The legislature clearly heard these concerns, as the ASCCC was notified that the bill was being amended on the Thursday of the spring plenary session, which led to a rapidly crafted resolution through which the ASCCC withdrew its formal opposition to the bill. Clearly, conversations with the legislature were something the ASCCC had to engage in as the legislative attempts to govern how the colleges operate increased.

Those conversations continue today, as colleges see the ADTs’ successes but also their failures, especially in impacted disciplines and in transfer to colleges that are at or beyond capacity. The recent legislative efforts to address this situation, including AB 928 (Berman, 2021), may help with some of the issues, although the problem of capacity is something that requires efforts from the UC and CSU systems rather than just those of the community colleges. Given the numbers of students that have been able to use these degrees to transfer to the CSU, transfer is clearly not broken, as some groups have claimed, but work remains to be done to make transfer more efficient and more effective. Hopefully, the work of the AB 928 Intersegmental Implementation Committee, which will begin meeting this spring, will help with those matters. Nevertheless, difficult conversations with the legislature, no matter how occasionally frustrating, must continue.

Many of the resolutions passed in the 2009-2010 academic year continue to have an impact on the community college system, so much so that an appropriate title for this section of this article might be “Groundhog Day.” From concerns about the usurpation of academic freedom to changes to the mission of the California Community Colleges, the themes captured in the resolutions from 2010 mirror many of the themes of today, but with some notable changes. While concerns about the ACCJC dominated much of the conversation for multiple plenaries, the ASCCC and the ACCJC have successfully partnered for accreditation institutes over the last several years and continue to work closely together. Webinars on academic freedom are being held in conjunction with the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC). The ASCCC has created a part time committee, an online committee, and a legislative and advocacy committee in the years since 2010, all of which have focused on the academic and professional matters that are of importance in those areas. We have begun using electronic voting for both our resolutions processes and our elections, and we have significantly increased our federal and state advocacy around legislation, all resolutions that were passed in 2010. Our work around diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism has rightfully taken on an urgency in the past two years, and the system has made strong strides in the areas of EEO regulations, hiring guidelines, and evaluation processes that will bring about positive impacts for years to come.

While areas of concern around the mission of the community colleges still exist, we are continuing to work with faculty across the state to address these matters and with the Chancellor’s Office to mitigate some of the most problematic areas.

While many of the matters that the ASCCC has been dealing with have been ongoing, a few new ones have become prevalent in the past few years. The introduction of baccalaureate degrees is one of these. The ASCCC opposed the baccalaureate degrees initially, fearing mission creep, but once they became law, the ASCCC became involved in the creation of these degrees and took a position of support for the expansion of these degrees in fall 2019. Another more recent issue is the creation of an ethnic studies graduation requirement, which was created through regulation rather than legislation, marking an important change for the California Community Colleges system and one that has been long overdue.

The relationship between the Chancellor’s Office and the ASCCC is another area that has seen significant changes. Like so many college administrative structures, the Chancellor’s Office has seen personnel shifts, reorganizations, and a myriad of other changes, including the lack of in-person meetings for nearly two years. I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to participate with Deputy Chancellor Daisy Gonzales and Student Senate President Gerardo Chavez on the Student Centered Listening Tour visits, on which we were able to hear directly from students about their concerns. The ASCCC has been fortunate to maintain a strong relationship with the CO throughout these times, and I am grateful to the entire chancellor’s office team for their partnership, especially in these past two difficult years.

At a recent meeting, I mentioned that people have taken to calling me “The Pandemic President,” and that statement is not far from the truth. From my election in April 2020 to the present, the pandemic has shaped colleges, relationships with students and among faculty, and the work that the ASCCC does. This period has been a challenging and in many cases frustrating time to be in leadership, but rising to the challenge has been invigorating though, honestly, often exhausting. I have taken my cues from all of the local senate presidents and campus leaders who have been persevering through these times, and I am in awe of their strength, their courage, and their determination to do what is best for their campuses and their students even in the face of almost insurmountable challenges. I thank them for all they have done over the past two years; it will not soon be forgotten.

While on the message of thank yous, one in particular has to be made as publicly as possible. Being a local senate president is a tremendous amount of work, and being the ASCCC president is no different, but as local senate presidents know, that work is lightened when one has a strong team. I have had the great fortune to work with wonderful people over the past twelve years, including great officers, terrific boards, and a spectacular office team. During my presidency, I have also had the great fortune to work with the most amazing executive director that anyone could ask for. We simply could not have accomplished the work that we have done in the past two years without the professionalism, dedication, and kindness of Krystinne Mica. The ASCCC as an organization is incredibly fortunate to have her on our board as the ED, and I personally am more grateful for her than one can possibly express with words. So, simply, thank you Krystinne for enabling me to do this job to the best of my abilities and for keeping me on the right path while making sure that I retain my sanity.

I have reached the end of this article and am nearing the end of my term, and as I prepare to chair my last plenary and step off of the Executive Committee, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from A. A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” It has been my honor and privilege to serve as the President of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges for the past two years. Thank you to all of you who have made this trip one to remember.

The Current Level of Accountability in the ASCCC

Area D Representative and ASCCC Standards and Practices Chair

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges’ mission statement, as published on the organization’s website, states that As the official voice of California community college faculty in academic and professional matters, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is committed to equity, student learning, and student success. The ASCCC acts to

  • Empower faculty to engage in local and statewide dialogue and take action for continued improvement of teaching, learning, and faculty participation in governance;
  • Lead and advocate proactively for the development of policies, processes, and practices;
  • Include diverse faculty, perspectives, and experiences that represent our student populations;
  • Develop faculty as local and statewide leaders through personal and professional development;
  • Engage faculty and system partners through collegial consultation.

The ASCCC is an integral part of the social and economic development of the California Community College system. The organization is committed to exceeding the expectations of students, community, faculty, and staff by providing and expanding opportunities for professional learning, personal enrichment, and community development. Strategic processes are community-minded approaches that embrace open communication, cooperation, transparency, and participatory governance. Professional learning progress and assessment are maintained through strategic planning efforts of the fourteen executive board members and the executive director.

The ASCCC’s coordinated efforts and decision making take place within executive board meetings. Unlike common local academic senate structures of representation by discipline or division, the executive board members represent all faculty throughout the community college system. Directions from the delegates to the ASCCC’s bi-annual plenary sessions are forwarded to the ASCCC leadership through resolutions. This process, along with community-developed team norms, helps to minimize disagreements or friction about actions regarding academic and professional matters so that implementation is not delayed. As a result of this process, the organization’s performance is positively impacted.


In spring 2013, the delegates to the ASCCC plenary session directed the Executive Committee, through Resolution 1.02 S13, to develop a process of periodic institutional review for assessing operations, policies, processes, and programs in order to ensure the public good and accountability. [1] The purpose of the periodic review is to provide internal and external stakeholders with assurance as to the ASCCC’s quality and commitment to the standards it sets for itself, to assist in improving the effectiveness of its services and operations in order to meet its stated goals, and to improve its policies and procedures. This resolution was followed by Resolution 01.01 in Fall 2021, which adopted an updated periodic review process for the ASCCC. [2]

The ASCCC Executive Committee initiates the periodic review every six academic years. The periodic review cycle begins on the first day of the incoming Executive Committee, with the most recent cycle having begun on June 5, 2021, and it is conducted by the Periodic Review Committee. The Periodic Review Committee is composed of six members: one each from areas A, B, C, and D plus an additional representative from the north and one from the south, all of whom are randomly selected from a list of attendees at ASCCC events over the previous 24 months.

During the 2020-2021 process, the Periodic Review Committee commended the ASCCC on the development of a strategically designed, comprehensive internal evaluation process. However, based on findings to date, growth areas still remain in terms of process, communication, and strategic planning. The committee recommended that the ASCCC consider establishing a transparent process and timeline for regular review and revision of the mission, vision, and values statements. Furthermore, the committee recommended that the mission, vision, and values statements be featured more prominently on the website, in other locations, and in publications such as The Rostrum and that the ASCCC should seek input or opportunities for dialogue from local academic senates specific to the mission, vision, and values statements through surveys and other regularly scheduled evaluations. Lastly, the committee recommended that the connection between the ASCCC Strategic Plan and the mission, vision, and values statements be clarified. [3]

The development of the mission statement and strategic plan implementation are supported by the ASCCC office personnel led by the executive director’s goals to improve the utilization of technological resources and enhancement of the infrastructure necessary to advance technology innovations that will support academic and professional matters systemwide.

The executive director provides highlights of activities in an Executive Committee monthly report, usually arranged in four categories: board governance, financial performance and viability, organization mission and strategy, and organization operations. Additionally, the executive director produces a two-year ASCCC report. The 2019 -2021 report assessed the following: [4]

  • Professional Development.
  • Publications.
  • Leadership, Empowerment, and Voice.
  • 2019-2020 Areas of Focus:
    • Faculty Role in Governance.
    • Guided Pathways Implementation.
    • Faculty Diversification.
  • COVID Response.
  • Call to Action Response.
  • 2020-2021 Areas of Focus:
    • Culturally Responsive Student Services and Support.
    • Equity Driven Systems.
    • Guided Pathways Implementation and Integration to Transfer and Careers.

Morrison (2003) states, “American higher education is undergoing substantial change in terms of the way colleges and universities are organized and function. This change is being driven by the combined forces of demographics, globalization, economic restructuring, and information technology” (p.6). In the year 2022, one can add to this list the external forces of COVID-19 and the disruption in teaching, learning, student services, and governance in the community college system since 2020. Therefore, social, technical, economic, environmental and political (STEEP) factors have continually been assessed. “This STEEP analysis is a logical and effective way to begin exploration” (Chermack, 2011).

These external factors are affecting all of higher education, thus impacting the ASCCC’s implementation and evaluation findings. Additionally, the Executive Committee’s strategic planning implementation process is driven by the combined forces of demographics, legislative requirements, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office imperatives, cultural imperatives, mindset imperatives, and information technology.

As part of the ASCCC’s higher education transformational change, the Executive Committee seeks to implement intentional real world evaluation (RWE) strategies aimed to align subcommittee work to the overall strategic plan. RWE includes both qualitative and quantitative methodologies used to examine ASCCC’s resources and educational and professional development strategies. The RWE of process, policies, procedures, organization culture, and trends is vital in understanding the implementation of a strategic plan and analysis of findings.

RWE minimizes resistance and helps gain support in the evaluation process due to inclusion of and input from stakeholders in the solicitation of needed data (Bamberger, Rugh, & Mabry, 2012). For example, an intentional strategy to guide the ASCCC’s transformational organizational change has included input from discipline faculty, internal staff, and student services faculty members who have proven valuable in achieving more useful, relevant, and credible evaluation findings. One of the major contextual factors in relation to the transformational organizational change strategy has been an organizational culture shift. The ASCCC has undergone major changes to embed new systems, processes, norms, and commitment to continuous dialogue and improvement. These changes have included a new logo, team norm development, website redesign, a new data and research position hire, and the formulation of a Data and Research Task Force.

The ASCCC’s ongoing real world evaluation of processes, policies, procedures, organization culture, and trends is vital to understanding the implementation of a robust communication plan and the analysis of findings response strategies. The ASCCC’s evaluation of data does not only include the impact of external factors on the interpretation of findings but levels of support allocated for continual and innovative strategic plan implementation strategies and the ASCCC’s commitment to continual improvement as an organization and in its service to local academic senates and faculty statewide.


Bamberger, M., Rugh, R., & Mabry, L. (2012). Real world evaluation: Working under budget, time, data, and political constraints (2nd Ed.) Sage Publications. http://horizon.unc.edu/courses/papers/InTransition.asp
Chermack, T. (2011). Scenario Planning in organizations. Berrett-Koehler.
Morrison, J. L. (2003), U.S. higher education in transition. On the Horizon, 11(1), 6.

1. The full text of Resolution 1.02 S13 can be found at https://www.asccc.org/resolutions/periodic-evaluation-academic-senate-c….

2. The full text of Resolution 1.01 F21 can be found at https://www.asccc.org/resolutions/adopt-updated-periodic-review-academi….

3. The 2020-2021 Periodic Review results can be found on the ASCCC website at https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/2020-21%20PRC%20Final%20Report-%2….

4. The full 2019-2021 report can be found at https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/asccc_annual-report_2019-21_22011….

Ensuring Your Faculty Voice Is Loud, Clear, and Heard

ASCCC Vice President and Legislative and Advocacy Committee Chair

Legislation impacting curriculum, teaching, and learning has become increasingly more common over the last decade. Legislators, elected by the people, are responding to calls for improvements to the California educational system. In response, legislators do what they were elected to do: write laws. Legislators propose bills, many of which are sponsored by special interest groups or advocacy agencies with resources to lobby for bill passage through public events, reports, and media coverage. However, these same legislators also need to be well-informed with all of the facts. When it comes to legislation regarding curriculum, faculty voice is critical. Voices from populations such as historically underrepresented ethnic or racial groups, part-time faculty, discipline specific associations, and student support programs like EOPS, Umoja, Puente, and MESA are needed.

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is recognized in both Education Code §70901 and Title 5 regulation §53206 as the official voice of the 58,000 faculty in the California Community Colleges system in regard to curriculum and academic standards or, as stated in Title 5 §53200, academic and professional matters. In particular, the ASCCC represents faculty positions to the governor, the legislature, and other government agencies on potential, proposed, or chaptered legislation. The ASCCC accomplishes this function through methods such as legislative visits, written communication, and collaboration with system partners. [1]

However, the faculty voice from local academic senates and discipline or program representative groups is also very important. Some of the major obstacles to providing faculty voice include knowing what to say and where and how to say it. Ultimately, the voices of all faculty advocates are needed and wanted in providing support and education regarding curricular matters, academic freedom, and student support. The following are some actions faculty can take to help maintain a voice that is loud, clear, and heard.


The easiest places to read about current issues are the following:

  1. The ASCCC tracks legislation impacting faculty, students, and local academic senates, providing a monthly report during Executive Committee meetings under agenda item IV.A. Legislative Report. An initial report is published with the agenda, and then an updated report is added to the meeting agenda items before the meeting day. Agendas are available at https://www.asccc.org/executive_committee/meetings.
  2. The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) lists current legislation that FACCC is tracking on the organization’s website at www.faccc.org. FACCC is a faculty-driven organization with a professional staff. As is stated on the FACCC website, the staff and the governing board work with “local unions and academic senates to ensure that faculty voices are heard in the halls of government and across the state.”
  3. The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office tracks legislation impacting higher education at www.cccco.edu/About-Us/Chancellors-Office/Divisions/Governmental-Relati….
  4. Information regarding all California legislation is available at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/.


The ASCCC encourages local academic senates to advocate for faculty and students. Beginning in fall 2015, the ASCCC created a legislative liaison role for local academic senates to consider in order to strengthen communication between the ASCCC and local senates and to more effectively respond to the continual increase in legislation impacting curriculum. A legislative liaison facilitates two-way information sharing between the ASCCC and the local academic senate, and for some local senates this work may be too much for a single individual. Local senates are encouraged to examine their own structures to determine whether legislative work would be done best by a single person, several people, or a local committee. More detailed information on the roles and responsibilities of the local legislative liaison can be found on the ASCCC website at https://www.asccc.org/legislative-liaison.


Local academic senates fall under the Brown Act, and as such all meetings are open to the public. Faculty should check with their local union or collective bargaining representative to learn about opportunities to become informed regarding issues they find important and which meetings are open to attend. In addition, faculty can encourage colleagues to invite the student voice, as it is a valuable component for formulating recommendations in regard to curricular matters.


Faculty can find their local assembly members and senators, for both their place of residence and their college, at findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov. In collaboration with the local academic senate or discipline organization, faculty can arrange a visit, either in-person or virtual, to meet their representatives. Faculty might also consider inviting student representatives to join them in this introductory meeting. In the meeting, faculty should thank the representatives for the work they do, share with the representatives who the faculty are and the work that faculty do, and stress that the faculty are available to assist the representatives with any questions or information in regard to curricular matters. Often a representative’s staff will be at the meeting, and sometimes only the staff will be at the meeting. Such a situation is not a problem. The staff often does the detailed work about the bills and keeps track of crucial information for the representatives. Faculty should be sure to thank the representative and staff and follow up by the next day, or sooner, with a thank you note and any additional information that may have been requested. Following this visit, faculty will be in a better position to meet with their representatives regarding particular legislative issues.


Currently, many meetings have virtual options for attendance, so attending is fairly easy. Observing meetings should help faculty to learn how such meetings work so that when they would like to make public comment, doing so will be easier and hopefully less intimidating. When one does decide to make public comment, a good strategy is to a share a personal or student story that supports one’s points. Meeting details are available at the following websites:


In an effort to empower all faculty, including local legislative liaisons, to have a voice that is heard, the ASCCC has partnered with FACCC to provide legislative and advocacy training webinars monthly from January through May of 2022. Information about the webinars as well as recordings can be found at https://www.asccc.org/calendar/202204.

If individual faculty or local academic senates have interest in more information on current issues or professional development for being a faculty advocate in regard to academic and professional matters, they can work with the local academic senate president and legislative liaison to request services from the ASCCC for a local academic senate visit by contacting the ASCCC at www.asccc.org/content/request-services. The faculty voice is important, whether one is a representative of the local academic senate, an EOPS program coordinator, a discipline organization representative, or a department member; it needs to be loud, it needs to be clear, and it needs to be heard.

1. For more information on ASCCC advocacy, see https://www.asccc.org/legislative-updates.

DEIA Competencies and Criteria: Defining Equity-Focused Practitioners in the California Community Colleges

ASCCC Secretary

The April 2021 Rostrum article “Integrating Expectations for Cultural Competence into Faculty Evaluations” (Aschenbach, 2021) highlighted reasons that elements of diversity, equity, and inclusion are encouraged in personnel evaluations, including faculty tenure review. At the state level, this work has been an effort of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Implementation Workgroup and largely guided by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) Vision for Success and Recommendations from the Vision for Success Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force (California Community Colleges Board of Governors, 2019). To further implementation of diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and accessibility (DEIA) into personnel evaluations, the workgroup developed a set of DEIA competencies and criteria.

The DEIA competencies and criteria are intended to assist college districts in identifying what the practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion looks like across all employee classifications by defining the “skills, knowledge, and behaviors that all California Community College employees must demonstrate to work, teach, and lead in a diverse environment that celebrates and is inclusive of diversity” (CCCCO, 2021). Considered collectively, they define the meaning of being an equity-based employee in the California Community Colleges system and are meant to guide ongoing employee learning and development rather than being used as punitive measures in the evaluation process.

The recommended DEIA competencies and criteria (CCCCO, 2021) were developed by a subgroup of members of the CCCCO DEIA Implementation Workgroup. Both the workgroup and the subgroup include broad representation from multiple stakeholder groups: The California Community Colleges Board of Governors, California Community College Trustees, Chief Executive Officers of California Community Colleges, Association of Chief Business Officers, California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers, Association of Chief Human Resource Officers, Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, Student Senate for California Community Colleges, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, and the Foundation for California Community Colleges (CCCCO, n.d.).

Subgroup members met for nearly six months from late spring through early fall of 2021. Guided by facilitators from the Success Center of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, subgroup members engaged in activities to first learn about how DEI—later revised to DEIA with the addition of accessibility—was incorporated into faculty evaluations at a sampling of small and large colleges and universities across the nation and then shifting to brainstorming about expected attributes of an equity practitioner and exploration of potential challenges to the inclusion of DEIA in personnel evaluations. From these activities grew an initial framework of competencies and criteria that was refined through further dialogue and feedback within the subgroup and the full workgroup. The entire process was collaborative, and members were able to engage authentically because all participants agreed to creating and supporting a space safe for honest and sincere dialogue.

The DEIA competencies and criteria are intended to be a recommended list; while they were developed for the California Community Colleges system by representative employees of the California community colleges, local districts are encouraged to use them as a starting point for local dialogue and development of a local list. In addition, the version of the DEIA competencies and criteria shared with the Board of Governors in November 2021 (CCCCO, 2021) is intended to be a living rather than static list of expected DEIA-related actions and behaviors. They are already being further developed with efforts underway to include competencies and criteria for accessibility: Draft Title 5 regulations presented to the Board of Governors in March 2022 contain an on-going expectation for further development through representative and collaborative efforts.

The November 2021 version of the DEIA competencies and criteria is a two-tiered framework organized into themes, with a total of six competency themes and seven criteria themes. Competency themes that apply to all employee groups—faculty and staff, including administrators—are cultural competency, self-reflection, self-improvement, data, and DEIA and mission. The one competency theme that applies only to faculty is diversity, equity, and inclusion pedagogy and curriculum, which is intended to be applicable in all faculty roles whether in the classroom, library, learning center, or counseling office.

Competencies are high level behaviors and actions, while criteria are more discrete, observable skills. Criteria themes that apply to all employee groups are service, self-assessment, DEI environment, professional development, connection to mission, and employee interactions. The one faculty-specific criterion is pedagogy and curriculum. Specific descriptions of behaviors within each competency and criteria theme can be found in the DEIA Competencies and Criteria document presented to the Board of Governors (CCCCO, 2021).

While intended for use in employee evaluations, the DEIA competencies and criteria may also be helpful in designing job descriptions that clearly communicate expectations for DEIA-focused faculty and in the employee screening and hiring processes. Additionally, they may be useful during planning for flex and faculty professional learning. The inclusion of DEIA competencies and criteria into personnel evaluations will be a matter of negotiation between local bargaining units and college districts. Academic senates and local unions should begin dialogue now about how DEIA competencies and criteria can be leveraged for faculty evaluation and tenure review processes.


Aschenbach, C. (2021, April). Integrating Expectations for Cultural Competence into Faculty Evaluations. ASCCC Rostrum. https://asccc.org/content/integrating-expectations-cultural-competence-….
California Community Colleges Board of Governors. (2019, September 16-17). Recommendations from the Vision for Success Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. Agenda Item.
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (2021). DEIA Competencies and Criteria. https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/cccchan/Board.nsf/files/C8FVAS7FD746/$file/….
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (n.d.) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Implementation Workgroup Members. https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/Files/dei/deia-implementati…

Updates on Administrator Retreat Rights

ASCCC Educational Policies Committee
ASCCC Educational Policies Committee
ASCCC Educational Policies Committee

The passage of AB 1725 (Vasconcellos) in 1988 was a significant milestone in the evolution of the California Community Colleges system. Among the many provisions of the bill that were enshrined in Education Code, AB 1725 defined the specific rights of academic administrators to become first-year probationary faculty under certain conditions or to return to a previously held tenured faculty position after satisfactory service. The parameters and conditions for this process are specified in California Education Code §§ 87454 and 87458. In 1990, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges published a white paper titled Administrator Retreat Rights: An Introduction and a Model Policy (ASCCC, 1990) to guide the development of policies and processes that would enact these provisions of Education Code. The model policy paper outlined effective practices for appropriate involvement of local academic senates in the development and implementation of administrator retreat rights and was the initial guidance used by most local senates.

Education Code offers two paths by which academic administrators can retreat into a faculty position. Ed Code §87454 provides that tenured faculty who move into administrative positions retain their tenured status and can move back to their previous faculty positions when their administrative assignment concludes if the administrative position and the tenured faculty position are within the same district. The second path governing administrator retreat rights is found in Ed Code §87458. This section provides that a person employed in an administrative position “who has not previously acquired tenured status as a faculty member in the same district, shall have the right to become a first-year probationary faculty member” if that person meets a series of requirements. The requirements in this section include a stipulation that local academic senates and governing boards must jointly develop and agree upon the specific local process, that a local academic senate must be allowed to present its views to the governing board before the board makes a decision on a request for retreat, that the administrator who retreats under this provision has completed at least two years of satisfactory service in the district, and that the administrator was terminated for any reason other than dismissal for cause.

In 2006, an appellate court ruling in the case of Wong v. Ohlone College provided additional clarification to the second type of administrator retreat, finding that the right of administrators to retreat to a faculty position “is not absolute” and that colleges may deny the administrator’s request for appointment when no position is available (Wong v. Ohlone College, 2006). In this case, an administrator requested appointment to a probationary faculty position at the termination of his administrative assignment. The administrator was not a previously tenured faculty member at Ohlone college and thus was subject to the second type of retreat under Ed Code §87458. The board rejected the request, as no faculty positions in the discipline for which the administrator was qualified were open. The administrator filed a petition for a writ of mandate to the courts to compel his appointment as a probationary faculty member. The trial court denied the writ, supporting the position of the district that no available faculty positions in the discipline were available, among other rationale. Wong appealed the decision, and the appellate court upheld the original finding.

Until this ruling, the language in Education Code had been frequently interpreted to mean that the right of an administrator to retreat to a faculty position was guaranteed providing that the administrator met all stated criteria and retreated through a process developed in accordance with Education Code §87458, even if the college did not have an open faculty position for which the administrator met the minimum qualifications. The appellate court found that Ohlone College appropriately denied the request because no vacant faculty position existed and that the district was not obligated to create a vacancy to accommodate the administrator. In particular, the appellate court focused on the language in the statute that states that the administrator “shall have the right to become,” noting that in this instance “shall” governs the rights of the administrator but does not mandate the outcome of placement by the district. The appellate decision further states that if the legislature had intended for districts to have no discretion based on other factors, the language would have read “shall become,” thus requiring placement without other considerations (Wong v. Ohlone College, 2006).

While this appellate court case was decided in 2006, not all districts have updated their local policies and processes to reflect the substance of this ruling, and the model policy outlined in the 1990 ASCCC paper on retreat rights likewise does not reflect this clarification. The model policy template published by the Community College League of California (CCLC), numbered BP 7250, was updated in 2017 to reflect the finding of the appellate court by citing the case in the reference section and including the following condition as legally required language: “The district has a vacancy for which the administrator meets minimum qualification.” In 2021, the CCLC model policy template for BP 7250 was revised again to further clarify what constitutes a vacancy. The final recommended language in the template states, “The District has a vacancy for which the administrator meets minimum qualifications. A vacancy means that a position is available within the District, and the District has appropriately allocated, budgeted, and prioritized in accordance with District practice.” While not every district subscribes to or uses the CCLC model policy, this addition is a good starting point for incorporating this limit on administrator retreat rights.

Academic senates should check their local board policies and procedures to ensure that this clarification of the law is explicitly included and review more generally the currency of the procedures to ensure that they are consistent with current district practices. Under Education Code §87458, the process for administrator retreat “shall be developed and agreed upon jointly by representatives of the governing board and academic senate.” This substantive update to the application of this statute requires revision of local practices. Education Code is clear that this matter is subject to consultation between the board and the academic senate. Local senates should work through their established governance processes with their governing boards to ensure that this important clarification is reflected in local policies and procedures.


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (1990). Administrator Retreat Rights: An Introduction and a Model Policy. https://www.asccc.org/sites/default/files/publications/Retreat_0.pdf.
Wong v. Ohlone College. No. A109823, Court of Appeal, First District, Division 3, California. (2006, March 28). https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-court-of-appeal/1419242.html.

Professional Learning: A Framework

San Diego Mesa College

Note: The following article is not an official statement of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. The article is intended to engender discussion and consideration by local colleges but should not be seen as the endorsement of any position or practice by the ASCCC.

According to leadership coach Eric Klein, change within an organization requires four conditions that connect the individual and collective aspects for cultivating change. Klein says that change efforts “seamlessly blend system, culture, and individual development into one commitment” (Klein, n.d., p. 3). For instance, much research reveals equity gaps in student success, so a key question for eliminating these gaps is how educational professionals are provided the tools and effective practices to foster change to support students. Alignment between professional learning (PL) and institutional outcomes, assessment of PL programs, and best practices can support change initiatives that lead to successful student outcomes.

Finding a connection within the five areas of institution, program, culture, individuals, and data fosters the conditions for campus learning, growth, and supporting students. Each campus is unique with different challenges, and thus a framework is needed to serve as a lens to identify ways to catalyze change through PL within the campus community.


Professional learning, by contrast with professional development, is focused on a “collaborative venture in which teachers (education professionals) are recognized as learners, leaders, and knowledgeable professionals” (Scherff, 2022). Research reveals that quality PL experiences consist of collaboration, coaching, relevance, and active learning. PL framed by the institution’s goals, standards and assessments, and other PL activities improves student outcomes and helps to retain instructors (Scherff, 2022).

Rostrum Professional Learning Graphic


Building a robust professional learning program can start with assessing or reviewing the institutional goals, strategic goals, mission, or the institution’s ten year plan. Intentionally designed PL activities can provide learning opportunities that are relevant to daily work, are tied to the institution, and improve the teaching and learning environment. For example, at San Diego Mesa College, an institutional goal is to expand the use of innovative and high-quality teaching, learning, and support practices that achieve equitable outcomes and increase student success. The planning committee wanted to design a PL institute that aligned with the institutional goals, engaged faculty in a learning experience that shared culturally responsive pedagogical practices to enhance teaching and learning, and taught practitioners how to perform inquiry into their classroom data. The institutional goals were mapped to the PL activity goals as follows:

Professional Learning Activity:
Course Redesign Institute Goals
Institutional Goals
• Examine and revise the course outline of record (juxtaposed to curriculum) with an equity lens (anti-racist learning objectives, inclusive texts, CRT practices, etc.)
• Analyze and review course success data and
identify equity gaps.
• Construct course materials, active learning
activities, clear learning objectives, and engagement strategies that are connected to culturally relevant pedagogy practices.
Expand the use of innovative and high-quality teaching, learning, and support practices that achieve equitable outcomes and increase student success


Each year, institutions require programs to complete a review of the status, progress, needs, and direction of an academic program. According to the 2009 paper Program Review: Setting a Standard, a review template consists of various components that include student demographics, student achievement data, and student learning outcomes, among other data. The paper describes the process for developing programmatic outcomes: “Some colleges have started with the institutional outcomes and worked down through programs to courses. The top-down approach is organized and forces alignment through the institution” (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, 2009). The process provides faculty with an opportunity to see a connection and identify the relationship between learning outcomes and assessment. Therefore, the program review process articulates a clear vision for student success for classroom and non-classroom areas by aligning courses and student services to the program and institutional outcomes. Annual review of programs can provide insight about the learning experiences of students by embedding PL as a support mechanism for ensuring successful learning.


Another key area to consider in planning is the campus culture. A strong connection exists between organizational culture and performance. Campus culture is the “institution-wide patterns of perceiving, thinking and feeling; shared understandings; collective assumptions; and common interpretive frameworks [that] are the ingredients of institutional culture” (Eckel, et.al., 1999). In higher education, key stakeholders—such as students, boards, senates, administration, faculty, and classified professionals—represent the community that PL will serve. Colleges should engage with the major stakeholders within their campus networks and leverage their knowledge about the inner workings of the campus, leadership on how to sustain a program, and insight about the collective culture. Cultivating that network of key stakeholders will create the conditions for a PL program to flourish.


Data is critical to documenting progress within a program as it relates to student success. Quantitative data can show access, enrollment, course completion, persistence, and transfer as well as other information. PL is a vehicle to provide learning experiences for education professionals to implement practices, strategies, and methods to strengthen program areas that are going well and learn ways to build areas that need improvement. The Chancellor’s Office Vision for Success outlines the outcomes for the community college system. One of the goals is to “reduce equity gaps across all of the above measures through faster improvements among traditionally underrepresented student groups” (Vision for Success, 2022).

An example of designing PL to address equity gaps within instruction involves the Course Redesign Institute (CRI) at San Diego Mesa College. An analysis of the institute conducted between 2016 and 2018 revealed the following:

  • Sixty-three percent of the faculty who attended CRI improved success rates for their redesigned courses during Year 1.
  • The courses with the largest gains after CRI attendance were ARTF108, BIOL205, FREN102, GEOG101, and CISC 181, with 28, 17, 15, 15, and 13 percentage point gains respectively.
  • The ethnic groups with the largest gains were Pacific Islander, African American, Filipino, and Latinx, with sixteen, eight, seven, and four percentage points respectively.

Other variables can of course also impact student success; however, the goal in this case was to provide support to faculty, ways to sustain this PL support, and what evidence the college could gather to determine whether diversity, equity, and inclusion learning experiences narrowed equity gaps.


As one reviews a PL program and assesses its alignment with institutional goals, the annual program review process, and campus culture, one can identify areas that the campus community will need to examine for addressing questions in the annual program review. College campuses can use quantitative and qualitative data to learn about the specialized needs and overall interest of the campus as they relate to PL. For example, some ways to assess campus needs are as follows:

  • Annual surveys with quantitative and qualitative questions.
  • Short surveys about PL sessions attended given at the end of sessions.
  • Pre and post assessment of PL impacts on successful course completion.
  • Informal requests, such as providing participants with a form or document to share ideas or topics of interest.
  • Focus groups.

PL programs should collaborate with their local offices of research or institutional effectiveness to assist with the structure of survey questions and analysis in order to interpret the information and use it to inform PL programming.


Equity is a journey involving self-actualization, well-being, and student empowerment. In the book From Equity Talk to Equity Walk, the authors define equity as “understanding students’ needs and addressing those needs by providing necessary academic and social support services to help level the playing field” (McNair, et.al., 2020, p. 2). Equity can be demonstrated in linking awareness to practice by affirming, validating, and investing in students’ success. A pillar of equity-mindedness is to critically reflect upon one’s role and responsibilities (McNair, et.al., 2020).
Professional learning is a bridge to facilitate change. Colleges can collectively support their communities by contributing, collaborating, and taking action to invest in learning that will lead to reducing equity gaps, affirming students, and seeing tangible student success through course completion.


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (2009). Program Review: Setting a Standard. https://www.asccc.org/sites/default/files/publications/Program-review-s….

Eckel, P., Green, M., Hill, B., & Mallon, W. (1999). On Change III: Taking Charge of Change: A Primer for Colleges and Universities. American Council on Education, https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED450621.

Klein, E. (n.d.). Is Real Change Possible? Retrieved from https://www.careinnovations.org/wp-content/uploads/Is-Real-Change-Possi….

McNair, T., Bensimon, E., & Malcom-Piqueux, L. (2020). From equity talk to equity walk.Jossey-Bass.

Scherff, L. (2022). Distinguishing Professional Learning from Professional Development. Regional Education Laboratory Program. https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/pacific/blogs/blog2_Distinguishi… sp.

Vision for Success. (2022). Foundation for California Community Colleges. https://vision.foundationccc.org/looking-ahead.

What Is 5C and What Does It Do?

ASCCC Treasurer
ASCCC Curriculum Chair

The California Community Colleges Curriculum Committee, frequently referred to as 5C, plays an essential role in dialoguing about and supporting curricular change in the California Community Colleges system.

The California Community Colleges Curriculum Committee is the statewide group that makes recommendations and provides guidance to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) regarding local and statewide implementation of curricular policy and regulations for both credit and noncredit courses and programs as well as not-for-credit. To this purpose, 5C has the following charge (CCCCO, 2022):

  • Be responsible for the development and revision of all Title 5 regulations related to curriculum and instruction.
  • Produce revisions of the Program and Course Approval Handbook and the Baccalaureate Degrees Handbook.
  • Advise the Chancellor’s Office on state-level curriculum certification processes to ensure quality, integrity, compliance, collaboration, flexibility, timeliness, and transparency while putting the needs of students first.
  • Work with the Chancellor’s Office to ensure that all levels of local and regional curricular design and approval are faculty-led and driven by student need.
  • Advise the Chancellor’s Office on training programs for colleges and districts regarding submission of curriculum to the Chancellor’s Office.

The work of 5C is done by a collaborative group chaired by an Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) representative and a California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers (CCCCIO) representative. In addition to multiple representatives from the ASCCC and the CCCCIO, the committee includes representatives from the CCCCO, the California Community Colleges Chief Student Services Officers, the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, and the California Community College Classified Senate. Additional members from the Association of Community and Continuing Education, the Community College Association for Occupational Education, and the CCCCO legal team contribute as resource members.


The members of 5C—administrators, faculty, students, and classified professionals—work together to review and update regulatory changes to Title 5 dealing with curriculum. Through a collaborative process, the committee identifies and discusses the potential implications of proposed changes, potential impact on students, and any potential unintended consequences. Once regulatory changes have been approved by 5C, they move through the consultative process, are presented to the public for comment, and then are approved by the Board of Governors. For example, in Fall 2021,the ASCCC passed Resolution 9.01 F21 to work with the CCCCO in adding culturally responsive curriculum, equity mindedness, and anti-racism to course outline of record requirements in Title 5. This recommendation was sent to 5C, where a team is currently updating and making recommendations regarding Title 5 §55002 and related sections.


In 2020, 5C created a set of recommended priorities that focus on championing equity-minded curriculum and practices for credit and noncredit instruction:

  • Priority 1: Champion curricular diversity of representation and culturally relevant and responsive content with an anti-racism focus and in support of disproportionately impacted students.
  • Priority 2: Recommend policy changes and additions that remove systemic barriers to student success and equity.
  • Priority 3: Provide guidance and support for instructional continuity and system resiliency.

The 2021-2022 5C committee has been a dynamic and busy group that has embraced these priorities and is working on three specific regulatory areas:

  • Work Experience (Title 5 §§55002.5, 55040, 55252-55254, 58003, 58009, 58161): Proposed changes include the addition of non-credit options for work experience, clarification of the credit hour calculations, and elimination of the requirement for in-person workforce supervision.
  • Associate Degree (Title 5 §§55060-55064): Proposed changes include clarification of wording on competencies to align with the Education Code sections that resulted from AB 705 (Irwin, 2017) and reorganization of sections to separate regulations for designing degrees and awarding degrees.
  • Standards and Criteria for Courses (Title 5 §55002): Proposed changes include the addition of inclusiveness, diversity, equity, and antiracism (IDEA) as a standard for course approval and the requirement of IDEA to be integrated into existing areas of the course outline of record, which is locally determined.

In addition to these regulatory changes, 5C has produced a “DEI in Curriculum: Model Principles and Practices” tool for local colleges to use in framing discussions and implementing IDEA into curricular processes. This document provides promising practices that can be used by faculty, deans, curriculum chairs and committees, chief instructional officers or vice presidents of instruction, and local academic senates to begin conversations on how to redesign practices from working within a traditional Eurocentric model to working within an equity-minded framework. This new tool will be presented at the 2022 ASCCC Spring Plenary, the 2022 CCCCIO Spring Conference, and the 2022 ASCCC Curriculum Institute in July. The rollout of this tool will be supported with professional development from all 5C constituencies.

Individuals who want to learn more about 5C and its current membership or read the minutes of meetings can visit the 5C section of the Chancellor’s Office website at www.cccco.edu.


California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (2022). California Community College Curriculum Committee Purpose and Responsibility. https://www.cccco.edu/About-Us/Chancellors-Office/Divisions/Educational….

Cluster Hiring for Faculty Diversification

ASCCC Treasurer and Equity and Diversity Action Committee Chair
Equity and Diversity Action Committee

Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, and Pacific Islander faculty account for 36% of California community colleges’ academic tenured and tenure-track faculty, while white faculty account for over 56% of the overall group statewide as of spring 2022 (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, n.d.). The California Community Colleges system has been striving for diversity, equity, and inclusion for decades, and yet the diversity of the student population is still not represented in the professoriate. Research shows that a diverse faculty enhances the overall educational quality and outcomes for every student and not just minoritized groups (Piercy, et.al., 2005). Furthermore, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has stated a vision focused on faculty diversification: “By building a faculty and staff that look like the students and communities we serve and committing fully to putting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) and anti-racism at the heart of our work, we can — and will — take a giant leap toward being a system that truly works for all our students” (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2022.)

Diversity among community colleges and higher education institutions has not caught up to the reality of the diversity of the students they educate, nurture, mentor, and support. Too often students from underrepresented communities embark on and complete their entire collegiate experience without ever meeting or seeing a Black, Latinx, Native American, or Asian Pacific Islander instructor at the front of the classroom. Another significant and glaring structural inequity that cannot help but affect the performance of the diverse students of the California Community Colleges system is the lack of diversity in the STEM fields. This problem becomes even more pronounced as STEM graduates go on to interview for STEM graduate degree programs, where they are often the only Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC) in the applicant cohort, an issue which is then often actualized and mirrored in the make-up of the college and university STEM faculty.

College students represent some of the most diverse communities, with over 66% being from Hispanic, African American, Asian, Native American, Filipino, and Pacific Islander ethnicities (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, n.d.). Given that the community college system has not yet reached its goal of a truly diverse faculty, the time has come to try something different. If community colleges across California truly intend to diversify their academic faculty, they should also be institutions aware of and invested in the importance of recruiting and retaining diverse faculty members; in this way, they would ensure commitment to dismantling systems of racial inequities in higher education. Public higher educational institutions should look like and represent the diverse communities they serve, and cluster hiring is one promising and effective way to do that.


Cluster hiring is an approach that aims to aggressively onboard diverse candidates by intentionally using strategies to promote success in the hiring of historically underrepresented faculty instructors: Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian Pacific Islander. Cluster hiring with an explicit intention of increasing diverse faculty is an approach that institutions should consider, as it has shown to be effective in hiring underrepresented, minoritized groups (Smith, et.al., 2004). This hiring strategy could also significantly impact the overall retention of employees of color by contributing to a systemic cultural implementation of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility that creates a welcoming and safe environment for BIPOC faculty.

Cluster hiring empowers diverse faculty members and creates a sense of community. University professors Cynthia Flores and Selenne Bañuelos describe their experience with cluster hiring, stating, “Since there are two of us, we can validate each other’s perspectives as Latinas, allowing for a stronger influence within the university” (Bañuelos & Flores, 2019). The sense of community promoted by cluster hiring helps create a cohort experience that is highly impactful for retaining diverse faculty members. Research shows that educational institutions that make diversity goals explicit and prioritized, that gain support from deans and department heads, and that establish an infrastructure to support interdisciplinary collaborations see an increase in diversity in their faculty (Urban University for Health, 2015). For example, San Diego State University successfully increased its number of Black faculty members by committing to a cluster hire focused on serving Black populations (Wood, 2021), and Emory University added cluster hiring to its processes to successfully increase its hiring of underrepresented groups from 15 percent to 51 percent (Freeman, 2019).


Faculty members from underrepresented communities often feel taxed and burnt out from being the only voice of DEIA in their departments or colleges. When racially marginalized and stigmatized faculty members feel these effects of tokenism, taxation, and marginalization, the result is known as racial battle fatigue (Smith, 2008); thus, colleges need to not only attract, hire, and onboard diverse faculty but also to empower and retain them. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) has developed a set of modules in an open Canvas course titled Model Hiring Principles and Procedures. [1] The course contains a plethora of resources and tools to frame hiring processes through an equity-minded lens; it also contains a post-hiring section that provides a model for new faculty orientations and mentor programs that could be tailored for any campus. Additional information and detailed practices to support mentorship programs, both informal and formal, can be found in the ASCCC Mentorship Handbook (ASCCC, 2021). Colleges need to be intentional about providing and investing resources into supporting faculty of color after they are hired and as they progress through the tenure and review process.

Furthermore, to address the lack of diversity in STEM faculty members, a commitment to intentionally recruiting faculty of color should be a goal. This goal can be achieved with focused recruitments, pipelines, and reaching out to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and organizations aimed at promoting DEIA, such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Black Healthcare & Medical Association, the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Physicists, and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.
Another challenge is the importance of pre-hiring processes that include creating the job description and announcement. When writing job descriptions and announcements for the recruitment process, an appropriate and good practice is to name the student population of the college and the demographics that the college is seeking to serve. Faculty should consult with their college human resource office representatives to discuss how to write a fair and equitable announcement that is focused on the goal of serving students; human resource office personnel and legal counsel should know how to avoid any legal barriers.


The ASCCC Equity and Diversity Action Committee offers the following suggestions regarding cluster hiring:

  • Explicitly state cluster hiring as a primary goal with a focus on looking for scholars who are experienced, invested, and specialized in diversity as their primary focus or expertise.
  • Engage faculty and employee resource and affinity groups early; employee resource and affinity groups can help market and announce the job postings.
  • Provide robust diversity training to search committee members and ensure diverse committee representation.
  • Ensure student engagement in the hiring process and inclusion on screening committees.
  • Ask for support from administrators with a plan for weathering leadership changes.
  • Ensure recruitment efforts are aligned with retention efforts.
    • Support new faculty hires with orientation, mentorship, and regular year-long supportive check-ins focused on the needs expressed by faculty of color.
    • Be certain that the support of BIPOC campus communities does not become a burden falling solely on the most impacted and underserved groups. Instead, ensure an equitable distribution of supporting efforts and a commitment to racial equity from every campus employee.
  • Ensure applicant pools include diverse candidates for STEM cluster hiring.
  • Audit and assess the cluster hire results.

Colleges need to evaluate and reconsider existing hiring practices and policies and to promote new practices that evolve the community college system and move colleges toward becoming the antiracist, inclusive institutions they aim to be.


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (2021). Mentorship Handbook. https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/publications/asccc_mentorship_han….
Bañuelos, S., & Flores, C. (2019). Cluster Hiring Is Working for Us: Two Early Career Latinas in Math. Notices of the American Mathematical Society 66.8, 1272-1278. Retrieved from https://www.ams.org/journals/notices/201908/rnoti-p1272.pdf.
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (2022). Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). https://www.cccco.edu/About-Us/Vision-for-Success/diversity-equity-incl….
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (n.d.) Management Information Systems Datamart. https://datamart.cccco.edu/datamart.aspx.
Freeman, C. (2019). The Case for Cluster Hiring to Diversify Your Faculty. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-case-for-cluster-hiring-to-divers….

Piercy, F., Giddings, V., Allen, K., Dixon, B., Meszaros, P., & Joest, K. (2005). Improving Campus Climate to Support Faculty Diversity and Retention: A Pilot Program for New Faculty. Innovative Higher Education. 30. 53-66. DOI: 10.1007/s10755-005-3297-z.
Smith, D., Turner, C., Osei-Kofi, N., & Richards, S. (2004). Interrupting the Usual: Successful Strategies for Hiring Diverse Faculty. The Journal of Higher Education. 75. 133-160. 10.1353/jhe.2004.0006.
Smith, W. (2008). Higher Education: Racial Battle Fatigue. Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society. Ed. R.T. Schaefer. Sage. 615-618.
Urban Universities for Health. (2015). Faculty Cluster Hiring for Diversity and Institutional Climate. https://www.aplu.org/library/faculty-cluster-hiring-for-diversity-and-i….
Wood, Luke. (2021, September 7). 5 Ways to Make a Real Improvement in Hiring Black Professors. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/5-ways-to-make-a-real-improvement-in-….

1. Access to this course can be found on the ASCCC website at asccc.org and at https://ccconlineed.instructure.com/courses/5733.

Mothers of Color on the Pandemic Tenure Track

Palomar College
Riverside City College
Palomar College

Note: The following article is not an official statement of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. The article is intended to engender discussion and consideration by local colleges but should not be seen as the endorsement of any position or practice by the ASCCC.

The experience of motherhood should be the congruence of subjectivity and intersectionality in their most transformative sense: a self-identity free of structural inequities and oppression. Motherhood in academia and on the tenure track is a polar opposite of this description, as it is fraught with hegemony, hierarchy, patriarchy, racialization, eurocentrism, privilege, structural inequities, and an overall lack of empathy. Mothers of color at community colleges endure a political negotiation process (Majdi Clark, 2014) in reconciling these two realities of motherhood in the wake of the global pandemic. We use the terms “motherhood” and “sisterhood” in community in this writing, embracing the solidarity of people who identify as women and who are charged with delivering care on a regular basis.

Critical race theory scholar and law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw devised the theoretical framework of intersectionality that examines how race, class, and gender intersect. Intersectionality “is when social justice scholars examine the marginalization of race, but also the ongoing oppression of women” (Sadat, 2019, p. 35). Professor mothers of color embody a form of intersectionality that is inflected by the pressure to keep iterations of motherhood private and professorship public. Rejecting their private selves, as in hiding children from view on zoom, almost feels like a rejection of their public professorial selves as well, an experience unique to professor mothers of color seeking to do more than survive as they follow Bettina Love’s framework of survival (2019).

To witness a white cis-male colleague degradingly say “ugh, she’s having another baby?” is not an uncommon experience in this line of work. This problematic statement about a professor mother generates a sense of injury that encapsulates the negotiation that mothers of color in academia experience regularly. They not only negotiate their academic and professional selves as transgressive educators, but they also have to sift through the aftermath of blind corner-lurking macro and microaggressions, all while being among only a handful of professor mothers of color in these spaces. They simultaneously navigate the professional structures of teaching and college service that beckon them on the tenure track as they give care to their own children in navigating an unsafe, racist society.

This process has been exacerbated recently as the world continues to endure a global pandemic. Parents have experienced greater responsibilities of homeschooling their children while also adapting their teaching and meetings remotely. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, parents have been able to attend more meetings than before, since everything has been made accessible in a virtual platform. Equity for mothers who are educators needs to be considered as colleges transmute their praxis due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Mothers who are faculty and take maternity leave experience many complexities, especially if they are not tenured. While others assume being on maternity leave is time off from work, most faculty mothers continue to work to meet tenure hours and remain financially stable. While California Education Code §44695 allows faculty to use their sick leave for up to twelve weeks for parental leave, Education Code §87605 states, “a faculty member shall be deemed to have completed his or her first contract year if he or she provides service for 75 percent of the first academic year.” Effectively, non-tenured professor mothers who wish to keep on course with the tenure process are afforded only eight weeks of parental leave, which is not enough time for mothers to adjust postpartum physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Many professor mothers of color also share the role of being first-generation students and educators. Just as they navigated their college campuses for the first time as students, they see themselves repeating these same experiences as educators. The notion of community building becomes incredibly important for first-generation faculty of color. Finding a Jegna, or brave protector, who supports and advocates for faculty of color is pivotal when one is navigating higher education. Hence, having a supportive tenure committee is imperative to foster growth as educators.

Additionally, women of color represent a minority of full-time tenured faculty. Of all full-time faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, three percent are Asian/Pacific Islander females, two percent are black females, and less than one percent are Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native females (U.S. Department of Education, 2020). Women of color are more concentrated in part-time faculty roles, which results in full-time, tenured positions being inherently competitive. Women of color faculty face a tremendous burden securing and succeeding in these roles, as they are often confined to race-specific positions and expectations (Walkington, 2017) such as advising affinity groups or an expectation to lead antiracism work. Furthermore, they are often assigned high numbers of advisees, diversity-related committee work on top of other required service obligations, and teaching loads higher than those of their white peers (Pittman, 2012). Additionally, on teaching evaluations, students rated African-American faculty unfavorably compared to white faculty, seeing them as less intelligent (Pittman, 2012). These factors contribute to unsuccessful tenure and promotion and send the message that women of color faculty are not welcome in academic institutions.

Sisterhood: Embracing Solidarity to Move Through Spaces

Brittany Cooper’s Eloquent Rage (2018) is a black feminist manifesto that explains these challenges yet offers poignant hope for solidarity and change rooted in bell hooks’ notion of love. Cooper—herself an accomplished, tenured professor of color—claims that Beyonce’s famous response to the question “are you a feminist?” should be every feminist’s creed: “I love being a woman and being a friend to all women.” Cooper and Beyonce are themselves at the precipice of an intellectually rigorous black feminist framework notably developed by scholars such as Christina Sharpe (2016) and Jennifer Nash (2018), where the goal of such theory is to present black and brown feminisms as “lights that help us imagine new ways of being and relating” and projects of “freedom dreams” (Reese and Cooper, 2021).

Adding to the challenges faced by tenure-track mothers of color at the community college level is the obstacle of isolation and solitary experiences, often being the only mother of color in a department. This experience has caused the development of survivalist strategies such as tokenism and intense vilification of others who may enter the institutional space. Following Fanon’s (1967) hierarchies of the “colonized mind,” these behaviors are also constant barriers to the experience of feminist love and solidarity at the community college level. Cooper’s (2018) inclusive love and ethics-based feminism directly rejects these assimilationist, model minority-style tropes of tokenism that add another dimension of struggle to the lives of academic mothers of color. These obstacles, unlike the legacies of hegemony and white supremacy embedded in academic institutions and academia itself, present themselves vulnerably with a profound capacity for rejection and change in pursuit of freedom dreams.

Womanism theory did include the understanding and lived experiences of women of color, while white women have been greatly represented in feminist theory and in academia. Although the womanism perspective was first established to share lived experiences of black women in the United States, over time this social theory provided belonging for all women of color as seen in the epistemic pattern work of Cooper (2018) and other scholars.

From this location of injury and vulnerability, one can act with agency and feminist solidarity, following Judith Butler’s (2006) argument of dialectic injury toward liberation. Thus, restoring vulnerability and enlisting one another in a relationship of trust, along with the critical component of institutional support, is how mothers of color in the professoriate will thrive and ascend to create change in oppressive environments.

Institutional Actions and Support

The combination of sisterhood and institutional support is critical to the success and retention of professor mothers of color. Colleges can take various steps to begin the conversations coming out of the pandemic regarding how to work most efficiently and equitably as a holistic learning community. Such actions are a starting point to address the needs of many faculty mothers of color who are continuously minoritized and marginalized at community college campuses:

  • Provide the option to attend meetings, councils, committees, and subcommittees virtually regardless of remote work.
  • Provide the option for working mothers to teach remotely in the semester that their parental leave is completed.
  • Provide affordable on-campus childcare, with consideration given to faculty and staff.
  • Adopt a no apologies culture where parents are not pressured to apologize for the care they need to give nor are they judged on archaic and meritocratic good or hard work measures.
  • Respect privacy and time for women with intersectional identities and commitments.
  • Promote affinity organizations, such as Palomar College’s Empowered Women and San Diego Chapter, American Association for Women in Community Colleges, that provide community, support, resources, and activism on behalf of women and working mothers.
  • Give consideration to tenure evaluation on a semester basis, especially for faculty who begin their employment in the spring semester.


Butler, J. (2006). Precarious life: the powers of mourning and violence. Verso.
Cooper, B. (2018). Eloquent rage: a black feminist discovers her superpower. St. Martin’s.
Fanon, F. (1967). Black skin, white masks. C.L. Markmann, Trans. Grove.
Love, B. (2019). We want to do more than survive: abolitionist teaching and the pursuit of educational freedom. Beacon.
Majdi Clark, P. (2014). From el nuevo despertar to nonprofit: changes in Puerto Rican community organizations from 1980 to the present. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). UCLA.
Nash, J.C. (2018). Black feminism reimagined: after intersectionality. Duke UP.
Pittman, C. T. (2012). Racial microaggressions: the narratives of African American faculty at a predominantly white university. The Journal of Negro Education 81(1), 82–92.
Reese, A., & Cooper, D. (2021). Making spaces something like freedom. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 20(4), 450-459.
Sadat, H. (2019). Unveiling the phenomenology of Afghan women in community college. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). San Diego State University.
Sharpe, C. (2016). In the wake: on blackness and being. Duke UP.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). The condition of education 2020. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/csc.
Walkington, L. (2017). How far have we really come? Black women faculty and graduate students’ experiences in higher education. Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 39 (39), 51-65.

Effective Practices that Support the Transfer of Students Who Repeat Courses to Alleviate Substandard Grades

Area C Representtive and ASCCC Educational Policies Committee Chair
ASCCC Educational Policies Committee
ASCCC Educational Policies Committee

Students rely on the California community college they attend for assistance in realizing their plans and goals to transfer and continue their education. More emphasis has recently been placed on the transfer of students through legislation such as AB 705 (Irwin, 2017) and AB 928 (Berman, 2021), and therefore one of the current foci of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is transfer in the higher education systems. Thus, with transfer being such an important topic, local academic senates must work with their governing boards to put into place the most effective policies and practices that will better help students to successfully navigate transfer into higher education institutions of their choice.

In the Fall of 2017, the delegates to the ASCCC Plenary Session voted to adopt Resolution 14.01, Effective Practices for Allowing Students to Repeat Courses to Alleviate Substandard Grades. This resolution indicated that colleges can create barriers to successful transfer when student transcripts are not transparent in showing that a substandard grade has been repeated. Additionally, the resolution pointed out that some policies can be too restrictive in allowing the repetition of substandard grades only at the college or district in which the student earned the substandard grade. Therefore, Resolution 14.01 resolved that “the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges investigate and disseminate by Spring 2019 effective practices and policies surrounding the repetition of courses where students earned substandard grades.” [1]


The ASCCC Educational Policies Committee considered the administrative policies of the 73 California community college districts regarding the repetition of courses in which a substandard grade—D, F, or NP/NC—is assigned. For most districts using the Community College League of California’s numeration system for board policies and administrative procedures or regulations, this information would be contained in AP or AR 4225. For most districts, AP or AR 4225 includes language from the California Code of Regulations Title 5 §55042, which speaks to policies and procedures related to course repetition to alleviate substandard academic work. This section of Title 5 allows colleges and districts to “permit repetition of any course which was taken in an accredited college or university and for which substandard academic work is recorded.” Further, the same Title 5 section directs that colleges and districts shall, “in determining transfer of a student’s credits, honor similar, prior course repetition actions by other accredited colleges and universities.” Most California community colleges’ AP or AR 4225 contain some variation of the following language:

  1. A student may repeat a non repeatable course in which they earned a substandard grade (D, F, NP/NC) at the student’s college or any other accredited college or university; and
  2. In determining transfer of a student’s credits, the student’s college will honor similar, prior course repetition actions by other accredited colleges and universities

This language is an important first step in providing effective practices that support the transfer of students who may have to repeat a substandard grade and who may need to clear barriers such as those mentioned in the resolution.


The interpretation of Title 5 §55042 varies from district to district in written policy. To complicate matters further, what actually takes place in practice also varies from district to district. Input gathered from members of the California community colleges transfer counselor listserve helps to demonstrate more fully the range of the practitioners’ experience with policy implementation. Nine transfer counseling faculty from the listserv provided their insight after being presented with the context of the resolution, along with Title 5 language around course repetition. The following scenario and questions were posed:

A student has taken a course at X college and received a substandard grade. The student then takes the same or equivalent course at Y college and receives a passing grade.

If you are College X,

  • Do you annotate the student transcript to indicate that the course was repeated elsewhere?
  • Is it automatic or does a student need to initiate? What is the process?

If you are Y College,

  • Do you annotate the student transcript to indicate the course is a repetition of a course taken elsewhere?
  • Is it automatic or does a student need to initiate? What is the process?

Most respondents shared that if they were College X and the student repeated the equivalent course at College Y, then an appropriate annotation would be placed on the student transcript at their college. However, most colleges will only take this action after the student initiates a grade adjustment process in the Admissions and Records Office. Santa Monica College provides an example of this situation. Santa Monica College’s AR 4225 section 4.c states the following:

4. Student Permanent Academic Record and Grade Point Average (GPA) c. In cases where a student has received a substandard grade in a course at SMC and repeated the equivalent course at another accredited college or university with a passing grade, the student may petition to have the SMC course annotated as a repeat on their transcript. The student must request that an official transcript be sent directly to Admissions and Records from the institution where the course was repeated successfully with a passing grade and is responsible for verifying that it is on file with Admissions and Records. The student must then submit a petition.

For instance, the transcript annotation under the course may indicate, “repeated at another college” or, more specifically, “Repeated at Y College.”

Only one of the nine respondents indicated they annotate student transcripts in the case where they are College Y. In this scenario, the student has taken a course at College X with a substandard grade and subsequently completes the equivalent course at College Y. The responses indicate that such annotation not be a common practice. The particular college that did take such action codes a course repetition on the transcript with an “E” to indicate the following message: “Repeated indicates that the course was completed at another institution.”

Most of the counselor respondents shared that they refer students back to the college where the student received the substandard grade to request a grade adjustment, annotation, or academic renewal. While this practice is valid, each district’s academic renewal policies may vary widely and further complicate the situation for the student.

In the end, a student who has multiple transcripts with substandard grades and repeated courses is left with navigating each college’s policy and process on course repetition. The ideal situation would be that each community college would annotate its transcripts similarly to indicate the course repetition and grading implication. Then, when the student presents both transcripts, similarly annotated, it would be clear to a transfer institution that the courses were deemed equivalent.


Based on all of these factors, the following recommendations may be considered for policy and practice by local academic senates:

  • Review Title 5 §55042 and your college’s AP or AR 4225, or whatever similar policy on course repetition exists locally, to ensure that the language is aligned and explicit about the situations in which transcripts are annotated. Regarding the example scenario presented to the transfer counselor listserv, review and discuss the situation where your college is College Y and examine how the repetition could be annotated to benefit student transfer.
  • Involve transfer-focused counseling faculty, directors, evaluators, and admissions and records staff in discussions around AP or AR 4225, or whatever similar policy on course repetition exists locally, to understand the reality of implementation and local context for transfer. These practitioners have a better understanding of what transfer institution policies are impacting your local college students.
  • Engage in conversation with student government to bring greater awareness to students about these issues in order to better support students in the transfer process.

1. The full text of Resolution 14.01 F17 is available at https://www.asccc.org/resolutions/effective-practices-allowing-students….

Someone in Your Classroom Needs You: Supporting College Sexual Violence Prevention Programs

Equity and Diversity Action Committee
ASCCC Treasurer and Equity and Diversity Action Committee Chair

One in seven women and one in sixteen men will be sexually assaulted while in college (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2015). Statistics also show that domestic violence is most common among women between the ages of 18 and 24 (WEAVE, 2022a). More than ever, colleges need to take seriously normalizing conversations on sexual violence, and they need to commit to action for education, support, and prevention. Sexual violence prevention programs should be established on every California community college campus.

In spring of 2015, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) passed Resolution 13.01, stating that the ASCCC should “work with the Chancellor’s Office and other system partners to develop and distribute guidelines to assist with developing and implementing effective anti-sexual assault and violence prevention programs at their colleges.” [1]  In the years since, several colleges have put programs into place, but all colleges should have done so. Faculty can help move to action on their campuses by becoming aware of the insidious prevalence of sexual assault, domestic abuse both physical and otherwise, and relationship violence that students may experience, or may have experienced in their lives, on their campuses, at home, or elsewhere.

Sexual assault, sexual violence, relationship violence, sexual harassment, and stalking are topics that many faculty may want to turn away from, and they may even think these things are not happening to anyone they know, especially not to their students. However, sexual violence can affect anyone. Perhaps the student who was completely engaged one semester and then completely disengaged the next might be that person. Consider these statistics (WEAVE, 2022a and WEAVE, 2022b):

  • One in two women have experienced sexual violence victimization at some point in their lives.
  • One in five men have experienced sexual violence victimization at some point in their lives.
  • Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted. [2]
  • 17.7 million American women have been victims of an attempted or completed rape.
  • Only 36% of all rape victims ever report the crime to the police.
  • 57% of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive in a dating relationship.
  • 43% of dating college women reported experiencing abusive behaviors from their partners.


Data from the Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct administered at the University of Southern California in 2019 shows that the types of consequences resulting from sexual violence for students may range from difficulty concentrating to decreased attendance and actual withdrawal (University of Southern California, n.d.). General consequences may include avoidance of the attacker, feelings of helplessness, fearfulness of safety, and withdrawal from social interactions. If faculty notice a change in their students, they should reach out to them, support them, and withhold judgment. Students need someone to listen and to provide resources. They need their colleges to have programs ready for them.


All colleges should have a sexual violence prevention program to support students. Sharing model programs, collaborations, and information to know what is happening on other campuses across the state is important. The following are brief program descriptions from East Los Angeles College and the Los Rios Community College District, both of whom are investing in campus sexual violence prevention and intervention programs. As these examples show, community colleges and districts that are doing great things to support students with prevention and intervention programs often collaborate with community organizations:

  • WEAVE at Los Rios [3]
    The Los Rios Community College District partners with WEAVE to strengthen resources for its students on the four campuses in the Sacramento area and to offer choices for help. WEAVE provides an employee who acts as a confidential advocate for students and does the following:
    • Spends one day each week on each campus.
    • Provides resources, options in reporting, and support in making a report.
    • Provides classroom education focusing on healthy versus unhealthy relationships, consent, and sexual assault.

Ideally, the advocate would also collaborate with faculty and academic senates and with student senates and associations.

  • East LA Community College SAAVE
    • East Los Angeles Community College established the Sexual Assault and Violence Education (SAAVE) team and program, which provides education, workshops, and resources to students.
    • SAAVE is tasked with raising awareness, educating, and supporting students about the different forms abuse and violence can take to help give hope and to help students not live in fear, gain confidence to speak up, not accept excuses, and make informed decisions.
    • East Los Angeles College partners with the community-based East Los Angeles Women’s Center [4] to provide a variety of classroom visits, outreach, counseling, and workshops for students.


  • Openly discuss and publicize sexual violence issues and support. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This event is an opportunity to normalize the conversation about sexual violence in classrooms, whether online or in person.
  • Find out what is in place on campus to advocate for and protect students and faculty from sexual assault and abuse.
  • Reassure students that they have protection from violence and harm and point them to resources and programs at the college or in the community.
  • Attend local academic senate meetings and ask to have information presented about sexual violence prevention programs.

What faculty should not do is let this important issue rest. Students and colleagues need support when confronted with sexual violence. Faculty and colleges need to work to ensure that the necessary resources are in place on all campuses.


National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2015). Statistics About Sexual Violence.

United States Department of Justice. (n.d.). Sexual Assault. Office on Violence Against Women. https://www.justice.gov/ovw/sexual-assault.

University of Southern California. (n.d.) Highlights from the 2019 AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. https://about.usc.edu/files/2019/10/USC_Data-Spotlight_2019AAU.pdf.

WEAVE. (2022a). Domestic Violence. When Everyone Acts Violence Ends, https://www.weaveinc.org/get-informed-domestic-violence.

WEAVE. (2022b). Sexual Assault. When Everyone Acts Violence Ends, https://www.weaveinc.org/get-informed-sexual-assault

1. The full text of Resolution 13.01 S15 is available at https://asccc.org/resolutions/system-wide-collaboration-violence-preven…

2. The definition of sexual assault according to the U.S. Department of Justice is “any nonconsensual sexual act as proscribed by federal, tribal, or state law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent” (United States Department of Justice, n.d.).

3. WEAVE began as Women Escaping a Violent Environment but has shifted the acronym meaning to When Everyone Acts Violence Ends. To reach out to a confidential WEAVE advocate at any LRCCC, call (916) 568-3011 or email WEAVE [at] losrios.edu.

4. East Los Angeles Women’s Center’s mission is to ensure that all women, girls, and their families live in a place of safety, health, and personal well-being, free from violence and abuse, with equal access to necessary health services and social support, with an emphasis on Latino communities. More information can be found at https://www.elawc.org/. Their crisis hotline is (800) 585-6231.

An Open Letter to Academic Senates

Crafton Hills College, ASCCC Asian Pacific Islander Caucus
San Bernardino Valley College, ASCCC Asian Pacific Islander Caucus
San Bernardino Valley College, ASCCC Asian Pacific Islander Caucus

Dear colleagues,

The ongoing harassment and violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders that began at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak can be attributed to racist language directed at and the scapegoating of members of the API community. Although racism towards the API community is not new, anti-Asian sentiments and attacks have increased by up to 150% during the height of the pandemic and are pervasive to this day, and they are punctuated with the most recent high-profile deaths of Christina Yuna Lee and Michelle Goh. Sadly, many more acts of violence towards the API community go unreported.

Because API communities are faced with invisibility and persistent misconceptions such as the model minority myth that perpetuates the stigma that APIs are okay and do not face racism or prejudice, racism and discrimination directed at API communities are often overlooked, yet they remain damaging and marginalizing. Many API individuals are struggling and need support, especially during this time of increasing racial tension and social unrest.

The purpose of this letter is to address the safety, mental health, and the general well-being of Asians and Pacific Islanders working in the California Community Colleges system. A growing number of API faculty feel apprehensive on community college campuses. Some are asking to teach online instead of in person for fear of being targeted, others are choosing not to wear jewelry so that they do not attract additional unwelcome attention, and many more are concerned for their safety or the safety of their loved ones while in public. These reports are not isolated incidents, and many more in the API community share the same fears and anxieties. In fact, these accounts coincide with a recent report that found Asians and Pacific Islanders are more fearful of hate and racism than the pandemic itself (Fitzgerald Rodriguez & McDede, 2021). API communities are experiencing a compounding of trauma, especially as reported incidents against Asian and Pacific Islanders continue (Stop AAPI Hate, 2021). [1]

At the Spring 2021 Plenary Session of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, the delegates passed Resolution 3.03 denouncing Anti-Asian American Pacific Islander racism. [2] To continue these efforts, faculty, particularly those in leadership positions, need to take on a more proactive role in the safety and well-being of API individuals within the California Community Colleges system, especially during these times. The following actions would all be positive steps in such efforts:

Ask API Individuals how they are doing, whether or not they feel safe on campus, and if they are experiencing any forms of discrimination, including microaggressions.

Urge college leadership to create safe avenues for API individuals to report issues as they arise, take reports seriously, and investigate and take action accordingly.

Remind API individuals of the gateways and resources to support their mental health.

Work with college leadership to provide allies with intervention training and education on the current struggles of their API colleagues.

The ASCCC and all community college colleagues should continue to support the efforts of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus in “advocat[ing] for issues central to API individuals in the California Community Colleges system.” One can do so by becoming a member of the caucus or sharing information about the caucus to colleagues, supporting caucus initiatives such as the disaggregation of API data, considering the caucus’ recommendations on Asian/ethnic studies courses and programs, and aiding efforts in building coalitions with allies, communities, and other existing ASCCC associations. These actions are just a few examples of what the ASCCC and community college colleagues can do to support API individuals and strive towards diversity, inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism within the California Community Colleges system.

The heart of this letter is a call to openly stand with the API community during these difficult times. Hopefully this message will serve as a starting point to providing ongoing support to API individuals within the California community colleges. This work can and should also serve as a foundation for working with other communities within the community college system as well.


Fitzgerald Rodriguez, J., & McDede, H. (2021, June 1). Report: Asian Americans
More Stressed by Anti-Asian Hate Than COVID-19. KQED, https://www.kqed.org/news/11876061/report-asian-americas-more-stressed-….

Stop AAPI Hate. (2021, November 18). National Report (Through September 2021).

1. For further information, see the California State University San Bernardino Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at https://www.csusb.edu/hate-and-extremism-center and the website Virulent Hate at https://virulenthate.org/.

2 .The full text of ASCCC Resolution 3.03 SP21 is available at https://asccc.org/resolutions/denounce-anti-asian-american-pacific-isla….

Leveraging System-level Professional Development to Promote High-quality, Inclusive Online Teaching and Learning

Online Teaching & Learning, CVC/@ONE

Note: The following article is not an official statement of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. The article is intended to engender discussion and consideration by local colleges but should not be seen as the endorsement of any position or practice by the ASCCC.

The Online Network of Educators, or @ONE, has been a partner for professional development in the California Community Colleges system since the 1990s. Since that time, funding from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has enabled @ONE to provide free and low-cost research-based professional development to tens of thousands of faculty and staff. For the past several years, @ONE has served as the professional development segment of the California Virtual Campus (CVC) and, as such, is the premier system-level resource that supports high quality, inclusive online teaching and learning.

Prior to COVID-19, colleges offered online courses to remove barriers for students who are underserved by in-person courses. In 2016-2017, 28% of unduplicated California community college students enrolled in an online course, up from 11% in 2005-2006 (CCCCO, 2017). The flexibility that online courses provide increases access for students who do not have the privilege to be on campus during traditional hours. While online courses effectively expand college access to more students, like all courses, they must be intentionally designed and taught to promote effective, equitable learning. A 2017 study showed that students who enrolled in online courses that were aligned to the CVC Online Course Design Rubric succeeded at a rate 4.9 percentage points higher than those in nonaligned courses (The RP Group, 2018).

CVC/@ONE supports the growth and development of faculty into equity-minded online educators by offering free and low-cost facilitated online courses, self-paced courses, an online teaching and course design certificate, webinars and workshops, articles, PD bundles, guides, and an online course design rubric that has been widely adopted by academic senates across the system to support quality efforts. In addition to CVC/@ONE’s free, just-in-time professional development resources, faculty and staff may register for courses offered each season to experience an effectively designed and taught online course through the lens of a learner in a community of peers, which is the most enriching professional growth experience a new online instructor can have. Upon completing a course, participants receive a digital badge that can be presented locally for verification of completion or fulfillment of Title 5 requirements. Additionally, participants have the option to earn continuing education units for an additional fee.

Each year, CVC/@ONE’s courses connect more than one thousand faculty and staff in a supportive peer-to-peer professional learning environment. Using funds for professional development or other related funds, colleges may also purchase course registration in bundles and distribute coupon codes directly to faculty and staff.


  1. Meeting Local Online Teaching Preparation Requirements at Scale:
    In March 2020, when courses abruptly shifted online at the start of the pandemic, distance education coordinators and support staff across the system scrambled to support an unprecedented number of faculty to fulfill local distance education training requirements. To bolster local resources, many colleges leveraged CVC/@ONE’s online courses in various ways to meet their online teaching preparation requirements:
    • Cuyamaca College’s leadership required all faculty who would be teaching an online class to be certified even if they would only be teaching online during the pandemic. Cuyamaca designed a local certification course and adopted content from several @ONE courses including Introduction to Online Teaching, Introduction to Course Design, Assessment in Digital Learning, and Equity and Culturally Responsive Online Teaching. By the end of summer 2020, 240 Cuyamaca faculty were certified.
    • Laney College imported the adoptable versions of CVC/@ONE’s Introduction to Teaching with Canvas and Humanizing Online Teaching and Learning courses into their Canvas instance, adapted the courses to fit their needs, and facilitated them for their own faculty to learn to teach online and meet district preparation requirements. By the end of July 2020, Laney College had over 110 faculty prepared to teach online, and to date that number has scaled to 232.
    • When the COVID pandemic began, Palomar College encouraged faculty to take courses directly through @ONE to prepare for online teaching. Palomar officials purchased a bundle of course registrations in advance, allowing faculty to simply fill out a form to receive a coupon code for a course. Each month, Palomar received the bill from CVC/@ONE while faculty learned about everything from accessibility to humanizing. One year later, faculty are still using these codes regularly because they enjoy taking @ONE’s courses.
  2. Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement:
    Colleges are integrating the full spectrum of CVC/@ONE professional development into their systemic efforts to support ongoing improvements in online teaching and learning.
    • At College of the Canyons, @ONE’s professional development offerings have been essential to the instructor training and certification programs. The COC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and online education department look to @ONE as the leaders in online teaching and learning to inform the training and support they offer. @ONE’s shared research, presentations, videos, Pocket-PD, and adoptable courses have served as the cornerstone of College of the Canyon’s faculty certification programs. These courses include a five-week online/hybrid instructor certification course, a self-paced online/hybrid instructor re-certification course, a self-paced Canvas certification course, and, most recently, an online live (synchronous with Zoom) instructor certification course. COC also includes @ONE’s offerings on their Flex calendar, which provides faculty with more options and access to a wide variety of professional development opportunities.
    • CVC/@ONE’s Peer Online Course Review (POCR) training has been essential to preparing Contra Costa College’s POCR mentors to support their colleagues in aligning their courses to the CVC Course Design Rubric. Contra Costa faculty regularly participate in Creating Accessible Course Content, Introduction to Teaching with Canvas, Humanizing Online Teaching and Learning, and Equity and Culturally Responsive Online Teaching. Contra Costa’s distance education coordinator promotes faculty participation in the array of Pocket PD offered by @ONE. These PD opportunities often inspire the training workshops offered locally by Contra Costa’s instructional designers.
    • Mesa College leverages @ONE resources across several of its own local offerings. Mesa’s Online Success Team uses the CVC Course Design Rubric as a framework for collecting and sharing effective practices at Mesa. The 2021 @ONE Fall into Humanized Online Teaching and 2022 Equitable Online Teaching series sessions have all been added to Mesa’s local schedule of webinars that provide Flex credit. Faculty inquiry groups at Mesa are incentivized to complete equity-infused course redesign collaboratively using the rubric and other Pocket PD from @ONE. The Mesa Learning Opportunities for Transformation provides coupon codes to faculty interested in taking @ONE facilitated courses.
  3. Prioritizing Anti-racist Teaching:
    In response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and countless other lives that have been lost to racial violence, local senates have encouraged faculty to educate themselves about race and structural racism, acknowledge biases, examine privilege, and engage in vulnerable, uncomfortable discussions (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, 2020). As such, Cosumnes River College adopted the @ONE course Equity & Culturally Responsive Online Teaching as part of the college’s Better Prepared Online Teacher program. Two of the faculty who had previously taken or facilitated the course through @ONE recruited other faculty to take the course and become local facilitators.
  4. Supporting Salary Advancement:
    Many faculty, particularly those who are part-time, may be unaware of how or if professional development can be used to increase their salary. Sierra College, driven by a systemic effort to improve equity, helps faculty navigate this process by providing a list of pre-approved CVC/@ONE courses that can be completed to earn credit to advance on the salary scale (FERC Committee, n.d.). Since the courses are pre-approved by Sierra’s Faculty Employees Reclassification Committee, faculty do not need to pay the additional continuing education credit fee.


With a commitment to professional development and institutional support, online courses are poised to continue to serve the needs of students as well as provide a reliable instructional backbone for college infrastructure through times of emergency and uncertainty. As colleges negotiate this trying and exhausting time, faculty are encouraged to recognize the impact that teaching, regardless of course modality, has on students’ academic experiences and futures. To help guide the inclusion of online instruction in campus planning efforts that support the Chancellor’s Office Vision for Success and guided pathways, CVC/ @ONE is supporting the development of a framework for quality, inclusive online course design and teaching. The framework, which is intended to augment the existing use of local POCR and the CVC Course Design Rubric, is being developed during the 2021-22 academic year in collaboration with system stakeholders from instruction, administration, and student support services. A pilot will commence in Fall 2022.


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (2020). Anti-Racism Education in California Community Colleges. https://www.asccc.org/sites/default/files/Anti-Racism_Education_F20.pdf.

California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (2017). Distance Education Report. https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/About-Us/Reports/Files/2017….

FERC Committee. (n.d.). Pre-Approved Course List & On/Off Campus Workshops. Sierra College. https://onlinenetworkofeducators.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/FERC-Pr….

The RP Group. (2018, April). OEI Enrollment, Demographics, and Outcomes Summary Fall 2016 to Spring 2017. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ud2oeKV0CUI4ehdljVEObhAOtp7Y9uEW/view?….

Defining Critical Race Theory in the California Community College System

Madera Community College
Bakersfield College

This section of the Rostrum is dedicated to publishing the personal stories and perspectives of individual faculty members from community colleges around the state. The statements and stories included in this section come directly from the writers and may not reflect the positions or views of the ASCCC. Although these selections must meet the ASCCC’s publication standards, they will be edited less than other Rostrum articles in order to more fully preserve the writers’ voices.

A version of this article was also published with the National Association of Scholars. 

In Fall 2021, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) voted to approve Resolution 03.01 F21 “Resources for Racial Justice and Critical Race Theory.” [1] The resolution preamble effectively defined critical race theory (CRT) as a focus on systemic racism stemming from 1970s legal scholars and expanding into a broad theoretical framework that challenges Eurocentricity and encourages activism to address inequalities. Though accurate, this definition omits key elements of CRT. A recent Rostrum article, “Getting to the Truth of It All: The Role and Impact of Critical Race Theory on Community Colleges” (Bean, Rocha, & Velez, 2021), explored additional arguments in support of CRT, but it too offered an insufficient description.

Incomplete characterizations conceal more troubling aspects of CRT and its recent corollary, anti-racism. CRT is not simply a theoretical framework that provides a racial justice and equity-minded lens. Rather, according to the specialists in the field, CRT is an exclusionary belief system about Eurocentric power structures, whiteness, and white people, who it claims systematically oppress all non-whites. Concomitant with the conceptual bifurcation of society into oppressor and oppressed roles, a CRT framework also invokes mandatory work that metes out presumed justice accordingly and vilifies alternative conceptualizations and solutions for engaging racial issues. Moreover, adherents reinterpret apathetic or skeptical responses as evidence of their fundamental claim of pervasive racism, and therefore the framework is functionally intolerant of alternative interpretations, open inquiry, and basic reasoning.

The ASCCC should publicly reject efforts to center CRT as the defining explanation for disparities and inequities in the California Community Colleges system. Instead, the ASCCC should promote broader inquiry and academic freedom to explore all aspects of race, inequality, and potential correctives.


A more complete definition of CRT for California community colleges, grounded in academic literature [2], might read as follows:

Critical Race Theory originates from critical theory, and critical legal theory specifically, and is a belief system based on the unproven assumption that racial disparities are chiefly products of pervasive structural inequalities caused by a political, cultural, and economic whiteness. A CRT framework uses equity and anti-racism as the mechanisms for the institutionalization of its assumptions, which demand policy changes to ensure equal group outcomes. Put another way, CRT is a belief system that views society as fundamentally racist, views institutions as perpetuating structural racism, views faculty as either allies or antagonists, views students as either oppressor or oppressed, and aims to equalize outcomes through the instrument of equity.

CRT is highly divisive and effectively forces everyone—adherent or not—into a totalizing framework as either oppressor or oppressed, thus stifling any alternative explorations of race and inequality. Bean, Rocha, and Velez (2021) observed that CRT is openly hostile to concepts such as “neutrality, meritocracy, and color blindness,” characterizing these historic virtues as mere vehicles to “perpetuate and maintain racism.” Indeed, Ibram X. Kendi (2019, p.9) asserted, “There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.’ The claim of ‘not racist’ neutrality is a mask for racism.” To be clear, any alternative viewpoint or academic lens that does not subscribe to this new orthodoxy is labeled a “mask for racism.”

Once sufficiently compliant to this belief system—and plenty of scholars have characterized CRT and anti-racism as a religion [3] —practitioners are then obligated to execute acts of institutional violence upon those deemed oppressors. Kendi has boldly claimed, “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination” (Kendi, 2019, p.19). The beneficiaries and victims of these new policies are determined by broad racial stereotypes. No leeway is granted to the socio-economically deprived white person who is swiftly labeled a recipient of unearned privilege and an oppressor; no question may be asked of new entitlements provided to the middle-class person of color. Ostensibly, skin tone alone determines treatment in the new system of power.

Under a CRT and anti-racism framework, equity’s etymological roots of justice take on a very pointed and one-sided notion of that concept. Philosopher Peter Boghossian (2021) criticized this dogmatic redefinition of equity and suggested the term now simply means “making up for past discrimination with current discrimination.” The centering of CRT and anti-racism is no innocuous plea to support fairness and justice; it is a coercive demand to support a new era of discrimination under threat of moral if not professional coercion.

This relatively new and exclusionary orthodoxy is now colonizing educational systems and routing out viewpoint diversity. In 2020, the California Community College Curriculum Committee (5C) “created a set of recommended priorities that focuses on championing equity-minded curriculum and practices” to “begin conversations on how to redesign practices from working within a traditional Eurocentric model to working within an equity-minded framework” (5C, 2022). In spring 2022, the ASCCC approved Resolution 3.02 SP22 to formally adopt the 5C model, which would direct faculty to “intentionally design ethnic studies courses with discipline experts where critical race theory is a foundation.” [4] The model also demands faculty infuse CRT and anti-racism into all courses, even over the opposition of discipline experts. Additionally, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors is now entertaining changes to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, n.d.) that would call on colleges and districts to evaluate faculty based on their allegiance to CRT and anti-racism, adding a looming threat for those who dare question the belief system. Such postures leave little space for intellectual skepticism or debate.

In the context of a more holistic understanding of CRT, ASCCC Resolution 3.01 F21 on racial justice and critical race theory prompts one to ask why the ASCCC would obligate the unquestioning institutionalization of any belief system, particularly one that maligns a racial group. The ASCCC has not historically endorsed a particular philosophical and political viewpoint and demanded faculty infuse it into courses and the tenure evaluation process.


Individual instructors must enjoy the academic freedom to teach about CRT, but the ASCCC—as the official voice of California community college faculty—should not endorse any belief system that presupposes unquestionable tenants and quite possibly perpetuates the very problems it claims to remedy.
Open discourse and the unhindered search for truth stands as the cornerstone of higher education. This foundation ought not to be undermined. To that end, the following three recommendations are proposed for the ASCCC:

  1. The ASCCC should be supportive of faculty that openly question and critique CRT and anti-racism, as should be expected when faculty address any trending theory.
    Any theory that requires a new and permanent way to view the world—in this case, through racial lenses that see power differentials as absolute objective reality—should be critiqued and submitted to robust discussion to allow free inquiry, critical analysis, and open dialogue. No theory is above question, and no faculty member should be marginalized for critiquing academic or social theories.
  2. The ASCCC should define CRT in a way that reflects the whole truth from the entire range of academic literature and clearly outlines the theory’s assumptions about racial characterizations and disparate treatment by race.
    To date, neither the ASCCC nor any organization within the California Community Colleges system describes CRT in the same way as the CRT theorists do in their own writing. When the ASCCC and local colleges traffic in vague or under-defined euphemisms that carry loaded meanings, they create confusion and allow space for perceived directives that are inconsistent with our mission and Title VI obligations.
  3. Faculty from diverse perspectives and disciplines should be invited to join the ASCCC writing group that will develop the resources called for in Resolution 3.01 F21.
    If the ASCCC is to support the right of California community college faculty to utilize CRT as a theoretical framework, as the resolution instructs, then the ASCCC also ought to support the inclusion of faculty with various perspectives on the writing team.

CRT proposes a philosophical framework that hinges upon racial power structures and racial stereotypes. The theory precludes any other explanations for disparity and demands discrimination to resolve perceived injustice, without ever seeking a complete understanding of the complex issues at play. It is an intolerant and all-encompassing dogma that demands allegiance under threat of professional consequences. If California community colleges are to serve a diverse population of critical thinkers, then every academic theory—even those that enjoy political support—ought to be open to debate.


Bean, M, Rocha, H., & Velez, M. (2021, November). Getting to the Truth of It All: The Role and Impact of Critical Race Theory on Community Colleges. Rostrum. https://asccc.org/content/getting-truth-it-all-role-and-impact-critical-race-theory-community-colleges.

Boghossian, P. (2021). Woke in Plain English: “Equity.” Video. https://boghossian.substack.com/p/woke-in-plain-english-equity?s=r.

California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (n.d.) Proposed Regulatory Action Amending Title 5, of the California Code of Regulations, to Include Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Standards in the Evaluation and Tenure Review of District Employees. https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/Office-of-General-Counsel/final-text-deia-eval-and-tenure-rev-reg-45-day-3-2022-a11y.pdf.

California Community Colleges Curriculum Committee. (2022, February 25). DEI in Curriculum: Model Principles and Practices. California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/2022-03/DEI in Curriculum Model Principles and Practices_Final 2.25.22.docx

Kendi, I. (2019). How to Be an AntiRacist. One World Publishing.

1. Full text of Resolution 3.01 F21 can be found at https://asccc.org/resolutions/resources-racial-justice-and-critical-race-theory/
2. For an introduction to these concepts, see Delgado, R. & Stefancic, J.(2017). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. New York University Press; Thompson, S.,ed. (2015). Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice. Rowman & Littlefield; Delgado, R. & Stefancic, J., eds. (1997). Critical White Studies: Looking Behind the Mirror. Temple University Press; DiAngelo, R. (2018) White Fragility: Why It Is so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Beacon Press; Hooks, B. (1989). Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black. South End Press; Ozlem S. & and DiAngelo, R. (2011). Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Education. Teachers College Press.
3. McWhorter, J. (2021). Woke Racism: How a New Religion has Betrayed Black America. Portfolio/Penguin; Patterson, J. (2022, Spring). Wokeness and the New Religious Establishment. National Affairs, No. 51; Polet, J. (n.d.). Campus and the Anti-racists. Modern Age. forthcoming.
4. The full text of Resolution 3.02 S22 is available at https://www.asccc.org/resolutions/adopt-dei-curriculum-model-principles-and-practices-framework

Equity, Choice, and the Community College Mission

Professor of Mathematics, Mendocino College


This section of the Rostrum is dedicated to publishing the personal stories
and perspectives of individual faculty members from community colleges around the state. The statements and stories included in this section come directly from the writers and may not reflect the positions or views of the ASCCC. Although these selections must meet the ASCCC’s publication standards, they will be edited less than other Rostrum articles in order to more fully preserve the writers’ voices.

I consider myself a community college success story. I began my journey at a small, rural community college as a returning student and 37-year-old mother of two children, not unlike many of the students I have had in my classes. I had decided to attend college to seek a degree in mathematics after having positive experiences volunteering in my children’s classrooms, where I was usually assigned to the math table. Seeing the children’s faces light up when they understood a math concept in a new way got me hooked.

I was nervous when I took the first steps to enroll at my local community college. I signed up for the placement testing and did better than I thought I might after years of primarily using math in a bookkeeping capacity. I was actually excited that I could take intermediate algebra, a class I had previously had in high school more than twenty years before. Because I wanted to teach math, I did not want to miss the opportunity to understand the concepts—not just the algorithms I remembered—and I chose to enroll in elementary algebra. From there, I worked my way to transfer level math and, eventually, a degree in mathematics.

Had the mandates created by AB705 (Irwin, 2017) been in place at the time, I would have been unlikely to pursue a math degree. Even though I had a decent background in mathematics in high school, that was many years before, and I would not have had the confidence to enroll in a precalculus course even if a support course was available. I would not likely have been successful because that automatic placement would have been enough to keep me from enrolling. Some people would claim that such students would not be successful anyway, but this outlook comes from a deficit mindset that discounts the unique interests, goals, and abilities of individual students. Had the current mandates been in place when I returned to college, there would have been one less woman in STEM, one less mentor for other women pursuing STEM degrees, and one less community college success story.

When I read the community college mission statement in Education Code §66010.4, I see myself. “The California Community Colleges shall, as a primary mission, offer academic and vocational instruction… for both younger and older students, including those persons returning to school… In addition to the primary mission of academic and vocational instruction, the community colleges shall offer instruction and courses to achieve all of the following: The provision of remedial instruction for those in need of it…” This mission statement is beautiful in its inclusivity and its vision.

The introduction of AB705 in 2017, a bill that was designed to further restrict the availability of math courses that best fit a student’s goals, interests, and needs, has me feeling discouraged. To promote equity, colleges are encouraged to give students choice and agency over their own learning. At the same time, institutions are working to restrict choice and agency for their students. This solution is not equitable. Arbitrary metrics and directives that result in community colleges no longer offering classes below transfer level have a negative impact on students and communities.

I am now a tenured faculty member at the same community college where I started my journey. It is a dream come true. I am able to teach, encourage, and mentor students from diverse backgrounds who have equally diverse goals for themselves. When I think of my students who would likely to have been negatively impact by AB705, I think of Jake, who was a returning student. He had turned his life around and wanted to create a new start for himself. He completed elementary and intermediate algebra, and his degree allowed him to find a job that supports his family and includes benefits and retirement. He also benefitted from doing something he never thought he could do: algebra. Likewise, Jonathan, a young Latino, left agricultural work to attend college. He enrolled in pre-transfer math courses for a CTE certificate in sustainable technologies, fell in love with math, and is now a graduate of UC Davis and a civil engineer turning creative ideas into physical structures. Maria enrolled in elementary algebra so she could help her children with their math homework. She would study when they were in school so that she would be ready to answer their questions in the evening. Together, they built a successful learning community. Another example is a current student, living with disabilities, who has no desire to transfer but set a personal goal to get through intermediate algebra. That student successfully passed prealgebra and is thrilled to be learning elementary algebra. Sadly, the student will not reach the student’s desired goal because the college will not be offering intermediate algebra in fall 2022. Bills like AB705 and arbitrary directives that do not take into account a student’s personal goals have put this student’s dream of passing intermediate algebra just out of reach. There is no equity in that. The college is working with the student to redefine goals, but the student is feeling defeated and may not enroll in another math course.

The gathering of data for analysis, when properly done, can help colleges to make informed decisions about best practices. The trouble with big sets of data, however, is that the individual is generally lost. When institutions impose their own definitions of student success on their students—such as the assumption that all students should take transfer-level math and would benefit from it—they take away students’ choices and their agency. They place on the students the college’s definition of success and silence students’ voices in defining their own goals and paths. Colleges essentially say that students are not qualified to make these decisions about their own lives and that they need to be told what is best for them. This attitude does not promote equity.