MOOC Magic

In January 2012, Stanford University professor Sebastian Thrun founded Udacity, the first MOOC provider, in Palo Alto, and so began the MOOC hype.  Suddenly, policy makers, politicians and the popular press hailed MOOCs as the solution to all of the perceived ills in public higher education: unacceptably low student achievement, severely reduced access to public institutions due to budget cuts, concerns about increased costs of public higher education, and so on.  Some even mused that MOOCs would make the traditional academy obsolete.  From the faculty perspective, MOOCs have been met a

The Future ASCCC Mission

While California debates the mission of its community colleges, now is a good time to review the mission for the Academic Senate, as it might be changing as well.  The change of the community college mission raises questions about which communities we serve, how to expand and still keep the quality of all programs and services at the highest possible level, and how to do more with less funding.  All those issues apply to the Senate mission as well. Given recent developments, there are two striking issues that warrant consideration of changes to our mission.

Practical Leadership: Connecting Local Senates with Plenaries and Institutes

It can be daunting for academic senate presidents to explain to faculty colleagues at their local college what it’s like to attend a plenary or institute of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC). Plenaries and institutes provide a tremendous amount of information, and the issues and debates can be extremely challenging to convey to non-attendees. And yet, the very purpose of plenary sessions and institutes is to provide important and timely information to local senates so that they can make better decisions on behalf of students and fellow faculty members.

Academic Senate Foundation: Fall Session Fundraising Update

The Academic Senate Foundation ended 2013 on a high note at our fall Plenary Session by raising over $5000.  Donations came from the purchase of Area Competition raffle tickets as well as t-shirts and lanyards, often at contributions well above the suggested amounts. The Area Competition is in its second year and is quickly establishing itself as the most successful fundraising event for the Foundation to date.

AB 806 and the 50% Law: Could We Do Better?

Since 1961, California state law has required each community college district to allocate no less than 50% of its general fund expenditures to “salaries of classroom instructors,” under a formula based upon the current expense of education.   This requirement, commonly referred to as “the 50% Law,” is the subject of Assembly Bill (AB) 806 as proposed by Assembly Member Scott Wilk in early 2013.  AB 806 would allow colleges to change the ways they determine their compliance with the 50% Law by counting as classroom instructors faculty who are not currently considered to fall under that headi

Student Success, Novel Idea?

Student success has hit the press and airwaves as though it is a new idea, an innovative concept. It is bandied about as if no one had ever thought of such a novel idea. Well, California community college faculty have always thought about and planned for student success. Faculty are dedicated to supporting and facilitating student success. In fact, student success is the core guiding principle of our work.

Articulation for Non-experts: Understanding the Processes and the Jargon

We have articulation experts among us. They speak in a code that leaves us bewildered but certain that all is well because they come across as so knowing and so confident. “I don't have time to figure out what was just said,” we may think. “I have papers to grade and office hours to hold. I am an expert in my field and our articulation officer is an expert in his.”

United we Succeed: Responding to Criticisms of the California Community Colleges

Higher education in the United States is under attack; references to support this statement are really not necessary to those of us in higher education. We see advances from various fronts relating to all aspects of the way we perform the service that we perform. And, for a variety of reasons, community colleges are the bull’s eye of the higher education target.

Julie’s Inbox

Dear Julie,

Our college continues to have flex days despite the lack of funding from the state. We are pleased to have professional development opportunities but also worry about compliance. Faculty want to count almost any activity for flex credit, and we need some guidance on how to make the flex activities work for faculty and the regulations. What do we need to do?

In fits over flex

Dean IFOF,


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