Many of us can remember Robert Fulghum’s 1988 work All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. The book became a bestseller due to its title essay’s simple yet often overlooked premise: our lives and our interactions with others would be richer and better if we observed the simple principles of common decency that we were taught as children.
At every ASCCC Plenary Session, you see some resolutions you know are going to be “interesting” and those that you expect to be relatively non-controversial. And then some resolutions take you by surprise, where impassioned debate occurs and you sometimes struggle to understand why. This was the case with the final resolution we considered at our Fall 2012 session, one that was effectively amended so as to lose its original meaning as the following phrase was struck from the final perfected and adopted resolution:
I have friends who used to laugh at my lifelong habit of reusing ribbon and wrapping paper, but today, with increasing awareness of the need to conserve resources, I am no longer saddled with the label of “cheap” but honored with the title of “green.” “Green” is becoming a part of daily operations in the Academic Senate as well, and in the past several years, the Academic Senate has implemented a number of ways to conserve resources. As early as 2006, the Senate moved to printing on 100% recycled paper for our directory, publications, and Rostrums.
I understand you have chosen to give to the Academic Senate Foundation for California Community Colleges.
Yes. Although all of us are besieged by our alma mater and worthy causes, I am pleased to support the Foundation. As a recent retiree, I have to be all the more careful about organizations I choose to support.
So why did you decide to give to the Foundation?
Recently, some California university faculty asked to see syllabi for a course that is already articulated through the course outline of record. Should we submit syllabi to the university faculty? Shouldn't the course of outline be enough?
Community colleges fill a unique role in society, making quality higher education available to any who seek it. Keeping fees among the lowest in the nation is one way California’s community colleges accomplish this mission, but once students enroll, the cost of staying in school continues to increase. Expensive software, textbooks, and supplies create an additional barrier for many.
In Fall 2007, the Academic Senate passed a resolution asking that we “research the possible need for increasing the 30 units maximum allowed for credit remedial coursework in order to provide for more opportunities for basic skills students to be successful.”
Senate Bill 1143 calls for the Board of Governors to develop a plan for improving student success. What is interesting is that SB 1143 (Liu 2010) presumes that student success is in such a dismal state that legislation is needed to direct the Board of Governors to fix it.
Just recently, I heard a senior administrator refer to community colleges as “employment engines,” alluding to the pivotal but somewhat undervalued (or under-acknowledged) preparatory role we play in getting students ready for (or retraining them in) the world of work. This preparation refers to more than career and technical education (CTE) programs and certificates; it engages all of our most noble learning outcomes. We aspire to produce students who contribute to society in meaningful ways, who are ethical world citizens, who think critically.
In the focus of the November 2 elections, the publication of the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) paper “The Master Plan at 50: Using Distance Education to Increase College Access and Efficiency” did not receive the notice that it might have otherwise engendered. The recommendations of the LAO potentially have significant impacts on all community colleges, regardless of their current use of distance education.