What Happened in the CSU with American Institutions?

A little background: Title 5 §40404 requires that California State University graduates demonstrate competency in specified areas of U.S. history and government. This requirement, commonly known as American Institutions (AI), is typically met by taking two 3-unit courses, one in U.S. history and one in American government. Transfer students typically take these courses prior to transfer, and most “double count” them with two of their GE courses. The UC has a similar requirement but considers the students’ high school experience as meeting this “competency.”

Transfer Model Curricula: Preserving the Integrity of Transfer Associate Degrees

Senate Bill 1440 (Padilla 2010) was created to serve two purposes: to streamline transfer from community colleges to the California State University system and to encourage and help more students to complete associate degrees before transferring. In the first year after SB 1440’s passage, much attention has been focused on aspects of the bill that facilitate or, in the view of some, complicate transfer.

A Degree with a Guarantee?

Senate Bill 1440 has the potential to streamline the transfer process through the statewide adoption of portable associate degrees. We have developed these degrees through the Transfer Model Curriculum (TMC) process. Ideally, the TMCs contain coursework that provides students with a foundational understanding of their major as well as what they need to be prepared to study at the upper-division level after transfer to a CSU campus. Students who complete a TMC-aligned degree in their chosen major are awarded an AA-T or AS-T degree.

A Student’s Perspective

LDTP, AB 540, SB 1440. Counseling faculty have met each of these transfer reform efforts with a healthy dose of skepticism, and for very good reason. For starters, legislators, not practitioners, hatched these reform ideas. The notion that folks with strong political motivations, who are so far removed from the everyday work of California community college educators, have been responsible for setting the transfer agenda is unsettling at best.

Separating Learning Assistance and Tutoring

The draft recommendations of the SB 1143 Student Success Task Force (September 30, 2011) cover a wide range of issues, several of them touching on ways to improve the delivery of basic skills instruction. However, the task force recommendations do not address one important aspect of this issue that could have a profound influence on student success: the revision of minimum qualifications for learning assistance coordinators and instructors.

Faster is Not Better; Better is Better

During one of the meetings of the SB 1143 Student Success Task Force, as the task force was engaged in a debate regarding one of the proposed recommendations, one of the members stated directly, “What we are doing here is trying to find ways to get students through faster.” While I do not believe that most of the task force members explicitly shared this view, the remark highlighted a general premise that not only appeared at other points during the task force deliberations but has also become a common assumption in many discussions of education both statewide and throughout the country: Sp


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