Minimum qualifications provide the common, unifying core for all faculty within a discipline. They provide the buffet of knowledge and skills that fill the plates of every course approved by the curriculum committee. Each decision to assign a course to a certain discipline(s) is critical to student success as well as affecting overall program success, hiring decisions, and more. For all these reasons and others, several papers on minimum qualifications and equivalencies have been adopted by the Academic Senate. Reading the papers will help faculty and administrators understand the positions of the Senate, laws and regulations, and other details, but sometimes it's advantageous and fun to have another format to convey the information.
Below you will find a short exercise to share with curriculum committee members, hiring committees, senates, administrators and others involved with making sure that the most qualified person is delivering the intended curriculum. Each set of three questions includes two truths and one untruth. See if you can determine which is which! Correct answers follow at the end of all four sets of statements.
B1 - The Academic Senate has concluded that credit basic skills courses in mathematics and English may be taught by a faculty member without a master's degree in the respective discipline.
B2 - Teaching experience is included in "professional experience" when discipline faculty consider the minimum qualifications.
B3 - Curriculum committees may place a course into more than one discipline, meaning that anyone with qualifications in any of the identified disciplines may teach the course.
S1 - Interdisciplinary Studies is a discipline which requires that a qualified faculty member have MORE educational experience than other disciplines on the master's list.
S2 - A faculty member who has a lifetime community college credential for a particular subject area has met the qualifications to teach in the disciplines correlated to that subject area.
S3 - Noncredit minimum qualifications are the same as credit minimum qualifications for all disciplines.
G1 - Emergency hires are hired under a different set of minimum qualifications than other faculty.
G2 - Single-course equivalency is no longer acceptable in California community colleges.
G3 - Eminence is a means of demonstrating equivalence.
P1 - When a nonmaster's degree qualified instructor teaches a class, CSU and UC do not accept the units for the course when the student transfers.
P2 - Title 5 requires that full-time faculty job announcements be advertised on the California Community College Equal Employment Opportunity Registry (better known as the "Job Registry").
P3 - If the statewide minimum qualifications change after a faculty member is hired to teach at a college, the local board of trustees may decide to continue the employment of the faculty member.
Correct Identification of Truths and Untruths
The answers to "Challenge Your MQ Knowledge" challenge
B1 is the untruth: "The Academic Senate has concluded that credit basic skills courses in mathematics and English may be taught by a faculty member without a master's degree in the respective discipline" is incorrect. The Senate has taken the opposite position: "The Academic Senate has consistently maintained that applicants with minimum qualifications to teach only lower-level or introductory courses in a discipline may very well have the depth of knowledge to teach that limited area; however, with such limited expertise these people will not be as likely as someone with minimum qualifications in that discipline to have an understanding of how each course fits into the sequence of courses in their respective disciplines" (Qualifications for Faculty Service in the California Community Colleges: Minimum Qualifications, Placing Courses Within Disciplines, and Faculty Service Areas, 2004, p. 7). Furthermore, Resolution 10.1 S99 stated, "Resolved that the Academic Senate refuse to consider any proposed changes to the Disciplines List in its present review of the Disciplines List and subsequent reviews that would lower minimum qualifications for faculty who teach basic skills courses."
Statement B2 is true: "Teaching experience is included in "professional experience" when discipline faculty consider the minimum qualifications." The exact language may be found in Title 5 53404. Statement B3 is true: Academic senates have the authority to place courses in disciplines in Title 5 53200.
S3 is untrue: The third statement in the set, S3, "Noncredit minimum qualifications are the same as credit minimum qualifications for all disciplines," is incorrect. Some minimum qualifications are the same and some are not. There are notable differences in the basic skills disciplines, and for the entire list of noncredit minimum qualifications see Title 5 53412.
S1 is true: Interdisciplinary Studies is the single discipline on the list that requires not only a master's degree but additional upper division or graduate level coursework in an additional discipline. Curriculum committees ought to carefully consider if it is appropriate to place a course in Interdisciplinary Studies since the pool of qualified applicants will be significantly reduced.
S2 is true: Yes, community college lifetime credentials are still valid throughout the system. However, meeting minimum qualifications doesn't guarantee a person would be hired or a regular employee would be assigned to teach in that program.
G1 is untrue: Emergency hires are faculty, and faculty must meet minimum qualifications, or the equivalent, in order to be hired.
G2 is true. This statement should be well known around the state as the Academic Senate has vigorously reminded all faculty of the fact that there are NO single-course equivalencies.
G3 is true: Eminence, as stated in G3, is one of three ways of meeting equivalency. The other two include course work or other work experience. Title 5 no longer refers to eminence as a stand alone measure for meeting minimum qualifications.
P1 is untrue: "When a nonmaster's Degree qualified instructor teaches a class, CSU and UC do not accept the units for the course when the student transfers." Courses are articulated based upon the content of the course and other features of the Course Outline of Record, not based upon who teaches the course. There are many wonderful vocational and career technical courses students take for programs of study as well as electives. The key for students is the articulation agreements between colleges and universities.
(Note: If there is evidence to the contrary, that some universities are refusing transfer based upon qualifications of the instructor, please send the information to the Senate Office immediately.)
P2 is true: Section 53021(a) of Title 5 does require that full-time faculty job announcements be posted on the Job Registry.
P3 is true: The board is not required to continue employment of a faculty member who may not meet newly adopted statewide minimum qualifications. Local senates are urged to work with local bargaining units to protect faculty interests in this case. Please reference Title 5 53403 for more information.