2008 Fall Plenary Session

Welcome

Welcome to Fall Session 2008! It's hard to believe that Assembly Bill 1725, which effected changes in community college governance that moved us out of the K-12 model and into one more befitting an institution of higher education, was signed into law twenty years ago. Given the sweeping changes of AB1725 and the state of the economy these days, it's hard to envision such a bill today even making its way out of the appropriations committee. However, AB1725 made it through, providing for California community college faculty statutory rights and responsibilities in participation in governance that are unique to community colleges in this nation.

Not surprisingly, upholding the principles of AB1725, now largely incorporated into the Education Code, is a constant challenge. These principles are largely founded on consultation and collegiality, and all of us know how much work it takes to consult and discuss and remain open to more discussion. It takes a lot of work to involve everyone who will be affected by a decision, and it's often hard to deal with how slow things sometimes work in the collegial consultation process. These principles are also often poorly understood by administrators who come to California from other states and other community college systems, as evinced by accreditation reports over the last twenty years. As a result, twenty years on, providing leadership training in the statutes and regulations brought about thanks to AB1725 is still a priority of the Academic Senate.

At the Fall Plenary Session, we plan to celebrate participatory governance with general sessions that look at how AB1725 came out, what AB1725 means to leadership today, and where the California community colleges should be headed in the future. We couple these sessions with a range of breakouts, beginning with basics such as running an effective senate, taking advantage of Senate resources, and getting involved on a state level. We will also have breakouts to discuss significant issues that are under our purview thanks to AB1725 defining associate degrees, proposing changes to the disciplines list, and discussing a timeline for remediation of students with basic skills needs, to name a few.

AB1725 brought about a new era in California community colleges, and today, community college faculty in California have garnered a level of respect and demonstrate a level of quality and commitment equal to our colleagues in four-year institutions. In spite of the on-going challenges to achieving well-functioning participatory governance at all of our 110 community colleges, we cannot but help celebrating the fact that terms such as participatory governance, academic and professional matters, and collegial consultation are part of our everyday vocabulary.

I look forward to seeing you in downtown Los Angeles to Celebrate Participatory Governance: Twenty Years after AB1725. Program.