Access to ASCCC Professional Learning Events

ASCCC President
ASCCC Executive Director

Developing and delivering professional learning opportunities for faculty is an on-going effort of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC). Professional development and learning is embedded in the mission of the organization (ASCCC, n.d.a):

As the official voice of California community college faculty in academic and professional matters, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is committed to advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism, accessibility, student learning, and student success. The ASCCC acts to:

  • Empower faculty to engage in local and statewide dialogue and take action for continued improvement of teaching, learning, and faculty participation in governance.
  • Lead and advocate proactively for the development of policies, processes, and practices.
  • Include diverse faculty, perspectives, and experiences that represent our student populations.
  • Develop faculty as local and statewide leaders through personal and professional development.
  • Engage faculty and system partners through collegial consultation.

This emphasis on professional development for faculty is also present in the ASCCC’s 2023-2026 Strategic Directions (ASCCC, n.d.b ), most notably in the third direction: Developing Innovative Activities to Empower Faculty and Uplift Underrepresented Voices.

The ASCCC aims to develop faculty in many ways, particularly within academic and professional matters, teaching, learning, and governance. In some instances, committees develop resources to assist in the dissemination of information relevant to local efforts. These resources include Academic Senate papers [1], which can serve to inform and to advocate for effective practices. They also include toolkits and handbooks, including the Local Senates Handbook [2], the CTE Faculty MQ Toolkit [3], the Mentoring Handbook [4], Model Hiring Principles and Practices modules [5], the ASCCC Online Handbook for Guided Pathways [6], the Cultural Humility Toolkit [7], Teaching in CDCR: Equity in Curriculum Resource Guide [8], and others.

In addition to developing resources, the ASCCC hosts professional development events, including webinars, online events, institutes, and plenaries. Webinars—which are short, focused professional development opportunities intended to share information or engage attendees on a topic of interest—are coordinated by ASCCC committees and offered throughout the academic year. Online events were used more during the COVID-19 Pandemic but are being included in the ASCCC’s format for events because they are low- to no-cost for attendees and can provide broad access to faculty and other stakeholders throughout the California community colleges without the time and expense of travel. For example, in August 2023, the ASCCC Open Education Resources Initiative, in collaboration with CSU Affordable Learning Solutions, LibreTexts, and the Michelson 20MM Foundation, held Cal OER, a three-day online event focused on open education resources and textbook affordability. In September 2023, the ASCCC Accreditation Institute was held as an online event, and in October 2023, area meetings meant to prepare attendees for Fall Plenary Session were held as online events.

ASCCC institutes and plenaries are its most well-known professional development events. The ASCCC coordinates and hosts four core annual conference-type events: the Curriculum Institute, the Faculty Leadership Institute, and the Fall and Spring Plenary Sessions. Across these four conferences, more than 1,200 attendees engage together and with the ASCCC to learn about statewide and Academic Senate initiatives and to share effective practices in leadership, governance, curriculum, and teaching and learning.

Thinking Creatively: ASCCC Professional Learning During COVID and Beyond

In response to the challenges posed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ASCCC completely altered the way in which professional learning events were delivered, based on thoughtful considerations made by the executive committee. Recognizing the continuing need for professional development and dissemination of information during the pandemic, the ASCCC shifted delivery of its four core events to be fully online from the Faculty Leadership Institute in June 2020 through the Curriculum Institute in July 2021. For these events, registration fees were reduced given that costs incurred were less than traditional in-person events. The result was a substantial increase in attendance for each event compared to traditional in-person formats.

As in-person meetings once again became possible in Fall 2021, the ASCCC shifted its four core events to a hybrid/hyflex format, giving the option of in-person attendance to interested attendees while retaining a full program online. Consistent with this approach and with awareness that the total number of registrations increased when a remote option was available, Resolution 1.05 in Fall 2021 directed “That the ASCCC should make remote attendance an option at all ASCCC-organized events, including plenary sessions.” [9] During the 2021-2022 academic year, the four core ASCCC events were held in this dual format, with all conference content available online and in person.

However, the dual format came with challenges, notably a nearly doubled conference cost, as highlighted in the graphic below regarding the Spring 2022 Plenary Session.

SS Fee Structure

To address concerns from attendees and presenters and in response to feedback received, the executive committee explored alternatives to the costly dual format, considering both fiscal responsibility and the effectiveness of sessions. This discussion was also in response to concerns from attendees and presenters, also reflected in post-event surveys, that presenting and engaging attendees in dual formats simultaneously was challenging—as faculty who teach in a hyflex-type modality are well aware—at times impacting the effectiveness of sessions.

In line with the identified priorities of access, engagement, and impact established at the December 2021 Executive Committee Meeting, the ASCCC board continued discussions on event formats, aiming to strike a balance between maintaining accessibility and managing costs. For the Curriculum Institute of 2022, a dual format was recommended and deployed, providing full online and in-person access to general sessions and offering a split between in-person and fully online breakout session options. This approach significantly reduced audio-visual and internet expenses. By managing costs with this approach and being strategic with the sessions offered online, the ASCCC could continue offering some form of remote attendance.

Other adjustments have been made to support online attendee access and engagement and, ultimately, the impact of ASCCC remote events while also managing costs and attendee registration fees. These considerations included utilizing Zoom Events as the online platform instead of Pathable, which costs roughly $12,000 to $15,000 per event as compared to a one-time annual fee of roughly $8,000 for Zoom. The ASCCC has also considered one-way streaming rather than two-way interactivity but has not pursued the transition due to online engagement being significantly reduced with one-way streaming. To that end, the purpose of each of the four core events is being considered to ensure that the purpose of the event can be optimized with the dual deliveries. The executive committee is currently reassessing the Faculty Leadership Institute to determine whether its emphasis on peer networking and sharing effective leadership practices necessitates in-person attendance, potentially leading to the discontinuation of virtual attendance options.

As the need for fully remote events fades further into the background and other stakeholder organizations return to fully in-person conferences, the ASCCC continues with its intention to maintain online attendance options for its four core events. This intention is not just due to the position of Resolution 1.05 F21 but also to the goal of the executive committee to utilize online formats to increase access, engagement, and impact for faculty throughout the state. For other events, like regional meetings and one-day institutes, the ASCCC will weigh the purpose of each event, the feasibility of offering remote attendance—to include potential costs as well as feasibility of campus event spaces—and overall accessibility of the event and information to faculty attendees.

To assist the executive committee in these continued conversations and decisions, faculty leaders are asked to complete event modality surveys when requested, as in Fall 2023, and to disseminate the surveys broadly to their faculty members. The information generated through the surveys helps the ASCCC to better understand the professional development and event attendance interests of the faculty it serves.


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (n.d.a). Mission and Vision.

Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (n.d.b). Strategic Plan Directions.

1. All ASCCC papers.
2. The ASCCC Local Senates Handbook.
3. The Career Technical Education Faculty Minimum Qualifications Toolkit.
4. The ASCCC Mentoring Handbook.
5. Model Hiring Principles and Practices.
6. The ASCCC Online Handbook for Guided Pathways.
7. The Cultural Humility Toolkit.
8 .Teaching in CDCR: Equity in Curriculum Resource Guide.
9. ASCCC Adopted Resolutions.