The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges will hold its annual spring plenary session on April 20-22 in San Mateo, at which delegates will vote on resolutions that have been developed by the ASCCC Executive Committee, ASCCC Standing Committees, and faculty from colleges throughout the state. Whether you are new to the Academic Senate or a seasoned veteran, preparing for the plenary session is crucial to making the most of your time and your voice as a representative of your faculty.
For the last six years, since the passage of AB 743 (Block, 2011), the California community colleges have been discussing the need for a common assessment test for students taking courses in mathematics, English, English as a Second Language (ESL), and reading. After many years of work by dedicated individuals, this common assessment was scheduled to become available in the Fall 2016.
While most faculty and administrators within the California Community College System may have heard of noncredit instruction, most colleges offer very little. At many colleges, a lack of noncredit instruction is largely due to two factors: concern over lower funding levels in comparison to credit and unfamiliarity with the regulations and practices for noncredit instruction.
Among the numerous responsibilities of the ASCCC Executive Committee is its fiduciary duty to set the annual budget and monitor the budget performance. The question about how the ASCCC annual budget is developed, adopted, and monitored is both a common and important one. This article will provide an overview of the Academic Senate funding sources, the fiscal duties of the Executive Committee, the operational responsibilities of the executive director and ASCCC staff, and how the annual funding priorities are set and implemented.
A few weeks ago, I was searching for resources on the ASCCC website to send to a local senate president who had recently requested information to help with a situation that was developing at his college. Faculty were considering how to address what they perceived as a disregard for and circumvention of the academic senate purview by the college president and other administrators.
The concept of accelerated courses in English, math, and more recently in ESL has variously caused enthusiasm, apprehension, and confusion throughout the California community colleges. The term “acceleration” can be applied to a wide variety of different curricular approaches, yet it has often been connected to very specific instructional models or associated by faculty with pressure to conform to pre-determined revisions of their curriculum.
The definition of career readiness has long been one element of the larger conversation about defining student success. This conversation is underway nationally, and it both directly and indirectly affects all our students and the work we must do to ensure their success.
Community college faculty are concerned about the significant numbers of students arriving at the college door unprepared to succeed in college-level work. The Academic Senate has several resolutions seeking better communication of what it means to be ready for college and better alignment of preparation, particularly in English and mathematics.
When the Student Success Task Force (SSTF) presented its final report to the Board of Governors in February of 2012, two of the seemingly less controversial recommendations were 6.1 and 6.2, which read as follows:
Community colleges will create a continuum of strategic professional development opportunities, for all faculty, staff, and administrators to be better prepared to respond to the evolving student needs and measures of student success.
When one thinks about effective leadership, meeting preparation is probably one of the least likely characteristics to come to mind. This topic is not very exciting or flashy, and it is certainly not sexy, but it may be one of the most important tools at a faculty leader’s disposal. Most people would strongly agree that a major responsibility of a senate president, committee chair, or other faculty leader is to provide sufficient information to the group in order for the group to make sound and timely decisions.