April

Can Computers Replace Teachers?

In the Academic Senate paper, The Future of the Community College: A Faculty Perspective,1 the authors maintain that computer-based distance learning is inherently inferior to traditional classroom instruction. This position is not so much argued in the paper as it is merely asserted. "Teaching is the `business' of creating epiphanies," say the authors, "and this will always be best accomplished through the power of personal presence." (Future, p. 14)

The Other Side of CalWORKs: Issues Colleges Need to Consider

The growing attention to welfare reform and the CalWORKs program is revealing new issues for community colleges. These programs are intended to provide job-specific education and the support services that will enable welfare recipients to develop the initial skills to get a job. Once employed, individuals will return to college for the more advanced education that will permit them to pursue a better life-style. In order to make this program successful, community colleges must address new issues that are rarely, or at best peripherally, mentioned in the mandates issued by the state.

Problems at Santa Rosa J.C.

Editor's Note: The troubling events that occurred recently at Santa Rosa Junior College are complex and the faculty are still trying to understand them. Here is one faculty member's account of these events.

Faculty rights of tenure, freedom of speech, and privacy are threatened statewide by actions taken by the Santa Rosa Junior College District in response to anonymous letters critical of its President and Board of Trustees.

Program Discontinuance: A Faculty Issue

At a recent meeting of representatives from college administration, trustees, and faculty, the issue of program discontinuance came up. One of the participants suggested that program discontinuance is not an academic or professional matter. My astonished response was, "Isn't program discontinuance a matter of student success? Aren't standards or policies regarding student preparation and success one of the eleven areas of responsibility for academic senates?" Some member's eyes glazed over and I thought I was heading for a spirited discussion. But the discussion didn't materialize. Why?

Counseling and Library Faculty Counted in the 75/25 Ratio

Finally, after five years of research, meetings, resolutions, and debates, the Academic Senate was successful in getting counseling and library faculty included in the full-time/parttime faculty (75/25) ratio calculations. The Board of Governors at their November 1997 meeting approved the regulations making this change. Current counseling and library faculty will be included in the base year number for each district beginning Fall 1998.

Curriculum Committee

Based on my many faxes, emails, and phone messages, I am convinced that faculty view the curriculum process as very important yet often overly bureaucratic and cumbersome. Many faculty have expressed similar concerns to me directly during several of my recent visits to campuses around the state. Among the questions I've heard at the local, district, and state levels are: How do we avoid unnecessary rewrites of course proposals? How often should course outlines be updated? How do we deal with prerequisites and levels of scrutiny validation? How do we prepare on-line course proposals?

What is Needed to Realize the Vision of AB 1725?

Many think of AB 1725 primarily for its enactment of "shared governance" and the strengthening of the role of the academic senate, which was discussed extensively in this column in the last issue of the Rostrum. It is all too easy to forget the sweeping nature of the reforms of this landmark legislation. A brief article such as this cannot hope to touch all those points, but I have chosen a few for which I feel additional steps must be taken to realize the vision of AB 1725.

Performance Based Funding: Not A Partnership

The Governor, picking up on a budget request by the Chancellor and the Board of Governors (BOG) for the California Community Colleges, has proposed funding part of the system's budget on an incentive, or performance basis. Taking their proposal one step further, the Governor established the outcomes: degrees, certificates, course completion, transfer and transfer ready students, persistence and retention rates, specialized training, earnings after education, movement from remedial to college level work.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - April