April

Political Mobilization

If you're a local senate president you should already be well aware of the student/voter mobilization project initiated by the Academic Senate President in the fall semester. You should have received a package of material in the mail, or perhaps electronically, that talked about the need for this project and that provided sample letters to distribute to faculty and students. You may also have received a follow-up phone call or email from one of the Local Senates Committee to ask if you had used any of the material.

Power and Paranoia: Effective Senates are Victors, not Victims

At the first Summer Leadership Institute I ever attended, Jim Higgs from Modesto Junior College told me that the local academic senate president was the most powerful person on campus. I wonder why more of them don't feel that way.

Jim, who is now deceased, was a big, blustery man, who wore a fedora and loved the blues. He is on my mind today, as I've recently returned from Mississippi, where I toured delta blues shrines and attended seminars and concerts and catfish dinners. Jim once spent a summer in Mississippi engaged in similar pursuits.

Counseling and Library Faculty Issues Committee

One of the newer standing committees of the Academic Senate is the Counseling and Library Faculty Issues Committee. It was formed as a result of a resolution from the Spring 1995 Plenary Session to strengthen various ad hoc committees and subcommittees on library and counseling issues that had been around since the late 1980s. In approving the formation of the committee, faculty recognized that there are unique professional and academic issues in the counseling and library fields that need to be addressed in such a committee.

Are Vegetables Normal??

The new California Master Plan for Education 2002 contains an interesting assertion in the middle of the flowery vision statements of the Executive Summary. In the section on accountability it states:

"We envision an education system which will categorically reject the notion that student achievement must be distributed along a bell curve."

How should we interpret this?

An immediate flippant response from anyone just slightly familiar with the bell curve (or Normal Distribution) might be "are they suggesting that California students are not normal?"

Another Way to Look at Learning Outcomes

At our Fall 2002 Plenary Session the Academic Senate once again expressed through its resolutions strong objection to the new standards adopted by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Resolution 2.01 F02, asserting that the Commission has cited no evidence demonstrating that current measures of student learning are inadequate, urges community college faculty to refrain from developing outcome measures simply to satisfy the Commission's dictates.

Leadership Today and Tomorrow

The Academic Senate offers a summer Faculty Leadership Institute to aid new faculty senate leaders by providing them with the information they need to be more effective leaders. Participants in this valuable institute are provided with a review of the senate concerns, principles and parameters of governance (the 10 + 1), budget workshops, and strategies for working with other governance groups.

Ideals and Politics

The Academic Senate's resolution process has seemed to me, from my first exposure to it, to be an absolutely remarkable example of democratic governance. Resolutions are drafted, discussed at local senates, area meetings and plenary sessions; they are clarified and "perfected" and, finally, they are subjected to debate and vote on the final day of each plenary session. There is no doubt when the voting is through that the 57,000 faculty of our 109 (and counting) campuses have spoken.

Disciplines List Review Begins

As you may be aware, the Academic Senate establishes the minimum qualifications for the faculty of California Community Colleges and maintains the Disciplines List setting out the required qualifications. Every three years the list is reviewed to permit faculty and discipline organizations to propose changes. It is now time to begin drafting those changes to the Disciplines List that you may have been considering. Yes, we did that just a year and a half ago, but we are now using a new process, whereby those in the field can recommend changes any time.

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