Disciplines List Proposals: What Do They Want to Change Now?

Chair, Standards and Practices Committee

Every two years, the Academic Senate considers proposals to add or modify disciplines in the Disciplines List, the official listing of all the minimum qualifications for faculty in California community colleges. Ten proposals were submitted to the Senate office by the September 30, 2008, deadline, and testimony was heard on the proposals at the Fall Plenary Session in Los Angeles. The current cycle is wrapping up, and the proposed new disciplines and modifications will be submitted to the plenary session delegates in the spring. Two proposals offered the exact same revision to an existing discipline, and two other proposals offered nearly the same qualifications for a new discipline.

There are three new disciplines proposed: Speech Language Pathology, Statistics, and Biotechnology (two nearly duplicate proposals). Testimony favored the Speech Language Pathology discipline and the Biotechnology proposal. For the proposal to add the discipline of Statistics, the individuals, organization (California Mathematics Council, Community Colleges - North), mathematics departments, and senates represented in the testimony were overwhelmingly opposed to the proposal. The primary reason cited for the opposition is the lack of need for the discipline since mathematics faculty are qualified to teach the one or two statistics courses offered in community colleges.

Six proposals call for the revision of existing disciplines. These include: Political Science (two proposals calling for the same revision), Agriculture (master's degree minimum qualifications), Humanities, Mathematics, and Instructional Design/Technology. Testimony on all proposals except the mathematics proposal has been favorable. In fact, the mathematics proposal, calling for the inclusion of a master's degree in statistics, once again received overwhelming opposition from the individuals, organization (California Mathematics Council, Community Colleges - North), mathematics departments, and senates represented. The key reason cited for the opposition is that entry requirements to master's degree programs in statistics are inconsistent across the state and may require only 3 semesters of Calculus as a prerequisite to admittance. Those testifying stated that they believe more undergraduate mathematics preparation is required of those desiring to teach mathematics in community colleges.

For details about each of the proposals, please access the summary at www.asccc.org.

The next steps in the process include finalizing the language of each proposal, a review by the Standards and Practices Committee of the Academic Senate, and a recommendation from the committee to the Executive Committee of the Senate. The Executive Committee reviews the testimony on each proposal and develops a position to recommend the change/addition or not. The recommendations are captured in resolutions and presented to the Delegates at the Spring Plenary Session in San Francisco in April, where a final public hearing will take place. Voting on the proposals in the form of resolutions will take place on Saturday of the Plenary Session.

All successful proposals will be submitted for review by the Consultation Council, which includes Chancellor's Office staff, chief instructional officers, union leaders, and others interested in the changes. Once the proposals have been fully vetted, they are sent to the Board of Governors for approval. The Board relies on the advice of the Academic Senate in the matter of minimum qualifications, so the expectation is that the final proposals adopted by the faculty will be accepted.

If ideas to improve or add other disciplines are beginning to emerge locally, the next window for submissions opens in the Spring of 2010. Please stay tuned to the Academic Senate website for official due dates and appropriate forms for proposing a new discipline or a modification to an existing one. If assistance is desired, please contact the chair of the Standards and Practices Committee.