Disciplines List Review Preparation


Maintaining a high degree of professionalism is critical to the health of the California Community College system. By insisting on high standards for new faculty hires, we assure that our students will have educators well prepared to teach and render other students services necessary for our students' academic success. Fundamental to the various processes that we use to select highly qualified faculty is the Disciplines List for minimum qualifications that defines the academic and experiential preparation for faculty in all of the recognized disciplines. Responsibility for reviewing and recommending revisions to the Disciplines List falls to the Academic Senate; these revisions reflect current understanding of the discipline training and/or related experience one needs to teach classes in each of the disciplines. Since 1992 the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has reviewed and revised the state's disciplines list of minimum qualifications once every three years as stipulated in the Education Code.

The Spring 2004 Plenary Session will mark the beginning of the fifth regular review process with two breakout session, one providing an overview of the process and a second explaining in greater detail the criteria used to determine which proposals for changes will go forward to session to be voted on by the plenary body.

The first will include a brief history of the current minimum qualifications requirements, which, in 1990, replaced the old credential system. This change, authorized by AB 1725, the Community College Reform Bill, was intended to end a credential system similar to the one for K-12 and replace it with a system more appropriate for a post-secondary system. Attendees at this breakout session will learn how the authors of this landmark legislation believed that the faculty themselves, working through the state Academic Senate, were best suited to make recommendations to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, that determine qualifications for new faculty members. Attendees will also learn how this legislation set forth the authority of faculty through their local academic senates; how to place all credit courses offered by their respective institutions under the disciplines delineated by the Disciplines List; and how to assess the qualifications of faculty who teach those course. Understanding of this authority and how it is exercised is essential for faculty to properly fulfill their obligations in this area of maintaining a strong profession.

The second breakout session on the Disciplines List review will include the details of the review that participants in the process need to know. Presenters will provide such information as the timeline for the review, criteria used to determine which proposals succeed, levels of scrutiny a proposal undergoes, examples of successful and unsuccessful proposals, and an explanation of how proposals that are not recommended by the Executive Committee may still be introduced for consideration by the body.

Because the responsibilities for reviewing the Disciplines List on the state level and using it on the local level are so important, we expect a large turnout for these two breakout sessions.