There are some serious constraints on colleges today (which is not news) and everyone on campus feels the effects, especially from the budget reductions. From a state perspective, the potential effects on our system from an array of pressures and recommendations are pretty staggering. New laws will place new demands and restrictions on colleges. Serious reductions in offerings have caused a de facto shift of our mission and whom we serve.
At the 2003 Fall Plenary Session, the body passed a resolution calling for the Academic Senate to "develop definitions for commonly used terms for designating course level, such as `basic skills'." On the surface, defining the term "basic skills" seems to be quite straightforward. Most people would agree that "basic skills" is the designation we give to math and English courses that prepare our students for college-level work. However, the usefulness of this definition depends on our agreement of the definition of "college-level work, " and we soon find that such agreement is elusive.
The February 2007 Teaching Institute and the March 2007 Vocational leadership Institute both provided faculty the opportunity to learn about progress in one of the most significant efforts the Senate has been involved in for the past several years: the Basic Skills Initiative. Most faculty are aware of the long debate on graduation requirements that led to the vote by the Academic Senate at the Spring 2005 Plenary Session.
This year's Faculty Leadership Institute will be held from June 14-16, 2007, at Hayes Mansion Hotel in San Jose. This year's Institute will be infused with a medical theme, just to make things interesting. Whether you are a medical student, an intern, or a resident, you are sure to gain something to help you to improve the health of your local senate. This Institute is designed for your current or developing local senate leaders, providing them with the knowledge they need to be effective leaders.
At the Academic Senate's first ever Teaching Institute, I had the privilege of facilitating a lively conversation regarding online teaching. I refer to it as a "conversation" because interaction was encouraged and the discussion was as much a part of the presentation as the guiding PowerPoint (available at www.asccc.org). With the able assistance of Elizabeth Fremgen from Glendale College, we covered a wide variety of issues related to online teaching.
"To teach or not to teach." That was the original question. And for the Academic Senate Executive Committee the question was, "Do we have a Teaching Institute or do we leave that to the other fine efforts around the state such as the Great Teachers Seminars and the many fine Teacher Graduate Programs which abound?"
Well, given the 200 odd years of combined teaching experience possessed by your Executive team it was a no-brainer to give it a try. In pulling all this together, however, a number of semi-colliding elements began bouncing into each other.
The Vocational Leadership Institute was held March 8-11, 2007, in Palm Springs and the participants took over the "Village!" It opened with our theme song "YMCA" only with the initials of vocational groups instead, and some great costumes including our own Julie as a motorcycle mama! The formal start to our event began with our fearless Scottish leader, Ian Walton, sharing what was happening at the state level and how we could participate on so many levels. In the afternoon the attendees got to "find their true colors" and leadership styles.
During the recent Vocational Leadership Institute, attendees heard about a new project.
What is happening with your campus and Accreditation?
The Curriculum Institute will be held July 12-14, 2007, at Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego. Registration for the event is already open, and rooms at the institute hotel are filling quickly. The theme of this year's Curriculum Institute is "Curriculum Toolkit: Building Better Instruction" and reflects the strong emphasis in this year's program on hands-on experience with working with the curricular challenges that confront curriculum committee chairs, curriculum committee staff, CIOs, and faculty in general.