Throughout the California community colleges, from the Chancellor’s Office and Board of Governors to local colleges, determination has been renewed to dismantle institutional racism in recent months. At virtual town halls in the new online world, student voices have called for the community college system to identify and eliminate the bureaucratic inertia that perpetuates barriers disproportionately for students of color. Now more than ever, colleges must accept the reality that systemic racism, among other things, prevents student success.
Times of crisis often bring out the best in people. The California Community Colleges system clearly demonstrated this fact with the responses from its colleges to the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic; the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others; and the increasing uncertainty around the world in the current moment. No one can doubt that when the crises began to impact students, faculty, staff, and communities, the California community colleges rose to the occasion.
Attending your first Academic Senate for California Community Colleges plenary session with hundreds of colleagues from the 113 colleges in the system may seem overwhelming. To a new attendee, plenary can feel like a foreign land where one must decode the language, purpose, and procedures without a guidebook. However, a little understanding of history and some preparation for the event can enrich the plenary experience.
What is Plenary?
On September 27, 2012, Governor Brown signed two bills into law that were indicative of the legislature’s acknowledgement of high textbook costs and an effort to reduce those costs. The two bills, SB 1052 and SB 1053, authored by Senator Steinberg, called for the establishment of an open educational resources council and a digital open source library. The two pieces of legislation were generated during a year which saw multiple bills aimed at increasing access and success in California community colleges, including SB 1456, the Student Success Act of 2012.
Program review is a required and potentially beneficial element of college planning, yet it is largely undefined both in terms of the activities involved and in the objectives and outcomes it should produce. Consequently, these processes are extremely varied at different colleges, which ultimately may also be a factor in the results of accreditation self-study and review processes.
Transfer students comprise a significant portion of the students in the University of California system, with nearly one-third coming from California community colleges. The transfer pipeline from the CCCs to the UC is a vital pathway to socioeconomic mobility for low-income students and for students who are the first in their families to attend college. Although UC transfer has been a viable option for some community college students, the UC recognized that its transfer admission practices were not providing an equitable opportunity for students to transfer from across the entire CCC sys
In September, the California State University Academic Senate passed Resolution AS-3230-15, Establishing a Task Force on the Requirements of CSU General Education Mathematics/ Quantitative Reasoning (B4) Credit, calling for a task force comprised of many CSU faculty, including discipline experts, and representatives from the community colleges including the California Acceleration Project and the Academic Senate. The charge of the task force is to review and evaluate aspects of the CSU general education requirement for quantitative reasoning. The current standard is written in CS
Most faculty who have heard of the Academic Senate’s Professional Development College (PDC) probably believe that the PDC is all about faculty participating in a year of leadership training. However, the broader plan for the PDC moving forward is to create a centralized professional development resource for faculty. The goal of the PDC is to provide faculty with venue for professional development that they can access from home on topics such as local academic senate effective practices, curriculum development, the “10+1,” and pedagogical training.
The Chancellor’s Office 2015 Task Force on Accreditation released its final report to the public in late August. As the report itself notes, this task force built on the work of two previous Chancellor’s Office task forces from 2009 and 2013 as well as on previous studies and resolutions from the Research and Planning Group, the Community College League of California, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, the California State Auditor, and others. However, the 2015 Task Force Report takes a new direction from those of previous statements and looks toward the future of accr