The ASCCC-FACCC Connection: A History of Cooperation and Support
(In 2013, the Academic Senate Executive Committee approved a project to record and preserve the history of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. The April 2017 Rostrum contains an article that explains the intent and structure of this project. The following article was written as an aspect of the history project.)
The connection between the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) and the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) reaches back to the origins of the ASCCC. FACCC was largely responsible for the founding of the State Academic Senate, and strong ties between the two organizations have remained in place for fifty years and into the present day.
The initial movement to create a state-level academic senate began in 1968 with the Local Senates Committee of the California Junior College Faculty Association, which was later renamed in 1969 as FACCC. Norbert Bischof and Ted Staniford, two members of the CJCFA Board of Governors, called a meeting of local senate leaders from around the state to discuss the creation of a new statewide organization to represent academic senates. While this meeting “was done independent of [CJCFA], because we felt we should immediately appeal to all faculty, even if they belonged to CTA or CFT, who were in some competition with [CJCFA],” Bischof “persuaded [CJCFA] to give [him] some seed money” (Bischof, 2001). The meeting led to the writing of a constitution for and the founding of the ASCCC, and thus the Academic Senate owes its creation to the efforts of, and funding from, the organization that would shortly thereafter become FACCC. 
From the time of the ASCCC’s founding, it was intended to serve as a collaborative organization with and close ally of FACCC. Jonathan Lightman, Executive Director of FACCC from 1999 to 2018, recalls Bischof explaining on numerous occasions that “the name ASCCC was chosen as the symmetrical counterpart to FACCC, which was anticipated to be the legislative voice for the Senate. The state Academic Senate founders fondly used the acronyms to state, ‘ASCCC FACCC [phonetically, “ask FACCC”] about legislation’” (Lightman, 2019). FACCC’s positions on academic issues were to be informed by the ASCCC, while any ASCCC legislative activity was to be done with the assistance and guidance of FACCC.
Much of the authority of the ASCCC, as well as many of the organization’s successes, have come with the strong support of FACCC. Perhaps most significantly, FACCC played an important role in the development and passage of Assembly Bill 1725 (Vasconcellos) in 1988, the Community College Reform Act that, among other matters, defined the participatory governance system of the California community colleges. AB 1725 was preceded by two special task forces, both created in large part due to the recommendations of FACCC and co-chaired by FACCC representatives. FACCC’s Larry Toy led a group that developed a new financial structure, program-based funding, that included incentives for hiring full-time faculty. FACCC President Cy Gulassa led the other task force, which designed the reforms regarding shared governance, faculty empowerment, faculty development, and other areas. “Working closely with a legislative joint committee led by Assemblyman John Vasconcellos, these task forces . . . packaged dozens of complex reforms into an omnibus bill that became known as Assembly Bill 1725” (Gulassa, 2000).
In addition to the contributions of FACCC’s faculty leaders, Karen Grosz, ASCCC president from 1987 to 1989, recalls the important role played Patrick McCallum, FACCC Executive Director from 1981 to 1998, in AB 1725’s development: “When the Academic Senate announced its interest in pursuing legislation to provide for ‘shared governance’ within the CA Community Colleges, Patrick McCallum stepped up and offered to help. He knew the legislature and the legislative process better than anyone except the legislators themselves, and I bet he knew the process better than many of them. . . The Academic Senate could not have accomplished [the passage of AB 1725 and the pursuant Title 5 language] without the extensive help Patrick McCallum provided” (Grosz, 2019). Thus, FACCC’s leadership, both from faculty and its executive director, was instrumental in creating and implementing the legislation that granted academic senates their important role in governance in California’s community colleges.
In the wake of the passage of AB 1725, FACCC and the ASCCC developed a joint agreement, adopted by both organizations in 1992, that formalized a mutually cooperative relationship. In its introduction, the agreement stated, “In responding to the needs of faculty, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges and the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges must maintain communication between the two organizations in order to address common policies surrounding legislation regarding academic and professional issues” (“Academic Senate/FACCC Relationship”). The agreement provided for FACCC and the ASCCC to appoint formal liaisons to each other’s executive boards and to jointly sponsor professional workshops as well as for FACCC to maintain a variety of legislative services for the ASCCC.
Another important milestone for the ASCCC came in 1984, when Jonnah Laroche became the first faculty member appointed to serve on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. Laroche was nominated for this position by the ASCCC, which had been granted nominating authority for the faculty positions on the Board of Governors with the passage of SB 1204 in 1983, a FACCC-
sponsored bill that passed in spite of opposition from numerous system constituencies. SB 1204 was “supported vigorously with letters and phone calls by community college faculty in a campaign spearheaded by FACCC Executive Director Patrick McCallum” (Conn, 1986).
Throughout the years, the ASCCC and FACCC have retained a close connection in numerous ways. FACCC has continued to consult regularly and directly with the ASCCC regarding its legislative activities. McCallum (2017) notes that as FACCC Executive Director, “For 16 years I addressed the senate conference [plenary sessions] twice a year.” McCallum’s successor, Jonathan Lightman, continued this tradition, attending ASCCC plenary sessions and presenting on a wide variety of topics. Lightman also provided trainings on advocacy techniques at ASCCC conferences and to the Academic Senate Executive Committee. ASCCC leadership has reciprocated by attending and sometimes presenting at FACCC’s annual Advocacy and Policy Conference and at other events. The two organizations also continue to send liaisons to each other’s executive board meetings. In 2016, FACCC was instrumental in mustering support from other California community college organizations for a $300,000 augmentation for the ASCCC in the state budget. In addition, several ASCCC presidents, including Edith Conn, Leon Baradat, Bill Scroggins, Ian Walton, Jane Patton, and Julie Bruno, have been recognized by FACCC with awards for their service to faculty in the community college system. Walton comments that “I was delighted to receive the FACCC John Vasconcellos award in 2007, which I felt nicely symbolized the effective political cooperation between the two organizations at that time.”
Walton, the ASCCC President from 2005 to 2007, recalls the strong cooperation between the organizations. “In my own time as VP and president, relations between FACCC and ASCCC were very cooperative, first with FACCC President Carolyn Russell and then with Rich Hansen–and by that time of course with Jonathan Lightman,” he notes. “I’ve always looked at FACCC as a good partner with other faculty organizations and supportive of wider faculty goals in general” (Walton, 2019).
Current FACCC President Debbie Klein, who is also a former member of the ASCCC Executive Committee, likewise recognizes the importance of the relationship between the organizations. “FACCC plays the important role of advocating ‘solely on behalf of community college faculty.’ Thus, the Senate and FACCC have a symbiotic relationship of mutual support. FACCC often sends leaders and/or staff to ASCCC events to discuss advocacy work and train faculty to become advocates. I think this relationship is very important. And when it works, it’s powerful” (Klein, 2019).
FACCC and the ASCCC have continued a significant connection since the creation of the ASCCC fifty years ago. The two organizations are each independent, with their own goals and missions, but history has shown that both are stronger when they communicate and work together. Preservation of the FACCC and ASCCC connection can benefit the leaders and membership of both bodies, and recalling the productive history of their association can provide a foundation for continued collaboration.
“Academic Senate/FACCC Relationship.” (1992). MOU adopted at the FACCC Conference, February 29, 1992.
Bischof, N. (2001). Recorded interview with Julia Cheney. 16 January, 2001.
Conn, E. (1986). “60 Milestones in the History of Senates and the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.” Retrieved from Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. https://www.asccc.org/papers/sixty-milestones-history-senates-and-academ....
Grosz, K. (2019). Email communication to the author, June 28, 2019.
Gulassa, C. (2000). “A Brief Overview of the History of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges.” FACCTS, December 2000. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED454888.pdf.
Klein, D. (2019). Email communication to the author, September 6, 2019.
Lightman, J. (2019). Telephone interview with the author, May 17, 2019.
McCallum. P. (2017). Written responses to interview questions by the author.
Walton, I. (2019). Email communication to the author, August 30, 2019.
1. For a more detailed account of the creation of the ASCCC, see “The History of the ASCCC Project: The Founding of the ASCCC” in the February 2019 issue of The Rostrum, available at https://www.asccc.org/content/history-asccc-project-founding-asccc.
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