After a year-long process, the Student Success Task Force (SSTF; formed in response to Senate Bill 1143, Liu, 2010) completed its work in December. Shortly thereafter, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors accepted the recommendations and then adopted a legislative agenda based on them. While some of the recommendations require neither legislation nor regulation for implementation, others would require changes in statute, and new bills must be introduced no later than February 24, 2011.
The following article is concerned with responses to questions put forth by faculty to the chairs of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Within the two sets of responses exist two distinct philosophies for dealing with faculty concerns. First, a little background information is in order.
What Is this Alpha Numeric Jumble?
This is probably not news to anyone, but very often curricular decisions are not driven by faculty and are not based on what's best for our students. More and more often it seems that other entities believe that they know better than faculty do when it comes to our curriculum. And more and more often it seems that other entities believe that our curriculum processes should be designed to meet their needs-as opposed to serving to maintain the integrity of our curriculum.
Imagine 2.5 million people. They were suffering taxation without representation, at least not elected representation. They had leaders, but no elected government to represent them all.
This scenario describes the thirteen american colonies before the revolutionary war. The american revolutionaries won their war. They won it with strong leaders and strong-often-unsung-followers. Yet still, they had no government worthy of the name.
Lt. Cdr. Quinton McHale
December 7th, 1965
I was sitting in another committee today thinking about the discussion at hand, strategic planning, a metaphor formed about such planning, and some of the pitfalls that follow.
Those of you whose lifespan included watching mindless television through the sixties might remember a show about the bumbling crew of Pt-73 skippered by Lt. Cdr. Quinton Mchale, the chief duck in charge of Mchale's Navy.
By now it is widely known that high school students in the state of California who wish to earn a high school diploma will need to take and pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) in order to earn the diploma. It has also been widely reported that as many as fiftythousand high school students state-wide have taken and not passed the CAHSEE, a figure that has rightfully startled the public consciousness of the state.
Recent media coverage of the programs that some community colleges have established that provide a means of earning a high school diploma have suggested that such programs are merely a "loophole" for those students who are not able to pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). Such articles ignore the fact that these pathways to achieving this academic milestone have long been in place and certainly were not developed as a devious means of circumventing new or existing practices that ensure some level of competency prior to being granted a high school diploma.
As education continues its trend towards mimicking the world of big business, the reliance on part-time employees as a means of cost-cutting increases. This calls for organizations that are concerned with academic and professional matters, such as the ASCCC, to take a position on such trends and to consider the value of full-time faculty members in a truly academic way.
Professional development for faculty met its "fork in the road" in 2002 when funding was cut from the state budget. For some colleges faculty development has been at the fork in the road waiting for the light to change or directions and nothing has been given to them. Well, it's time to move on and find a new way. This does NOT mean we give up on funding, but rather focus on what we can do now to maintain our professionalism and integrity despite no funding.