Educational Policies Committee

Ian Walton, Chair

The charge of the Educational Policies Committee includes analysis of issues that have wide educational implications for our colleges and students. The committee then develops recommendations to the President, the Executive Committee and the field. Our findings and recommendations may also be included in published position papers. Committee members this year include Greg Gilbert (Copper Mountain), Paul Setziol (De Anza), Angela Caballero de Cordero (Allan Hancock), Gary Morgan (Oxnard), Glenn Yoshida (Los Angeles Southwest) and Alisa Messer (San Francisco).

This year's committee inherited a long list of goals from the 2002 - 03 Educational Policies Committee. Many tasks that originated in specific areas, for example, technology, have been returned to other Academic Senate standing committees in order for initial work to occur. Following is a description of some of the goals that the committee expects will occupy them actively this year.

Budgetary Matters
The committee will monitor the complex area that includes the system budget, student fees, access and quality, and will provide advice to the President on how best to promote Academic Senate positions in arenas such as Consultation Council and the Board of Governors. The Academic Senate participated in a special Board of Governors study session on access in September 2003. Our fall plenary session will feature a breakout that mirrors that discussion with participation from President Kate Clark, Chancellor Tom Nussbaum and student Board of Governors member Kristin Jackson Franklin. Included in this wide-ranging topic are fundamental questions about Proposition 98, financial aid, funding equalization and the Board of Governor's "Real Cost of Education" project. There is periodic debate on whether we are best served by remaining within the Proposition 98 umbrella and seeking the larger share of those funds that was promised in the original legislation. Some feel that we would be more successful outside Proposition 98 in a funding arena that would interact directly with the CSU and UC systems.

Equalization is a problem that we have failed to solve since Proposition 13 created different per student funding levels at different colleges. A solution is difficult to achieve, perhaps especially in tight budget times, and requires agreement on what would constitute fair and equitable funding. Unfortunately, changing the measure changes the ranking of what colleges most deserve equalization (for example, dollars per FTES or percentage of program based standard to take account of high cost program mix.)

The Real Cost of Education project seeks to solve many of the "smaller" budget problems by radically changing the level of community college funding in California. It starts with assumptions about what it would take to fund high quality education at a model college and it reaches a figure that is approximately double the current funding level. The Board of Governors has agreed that the project's analysis and conclusions should form the basis of the system's long-term budget strategy and funding requests. Success will require considerable political effort. The Academic Senate has historically opposed increases in student fees because of the well-documented effect on access for our most vulnerable students. This year, part of that conversation must focus on the effect fee increases have on instructional quality. It is not an acceptable solution to maintain access to an education of declining quality.

Faculty Chairs
The appropriate role of faculty division chairs within each college culture and its governance structure continues to be an area of considerable interest. The Ed Policies Committee will present a Fall Session breakout on this topic. Questions include collective bargaining issues such as faculty supervision and delineation of duties, and senate issues such as academic governance. Are there good models that we can share? What is appropriate training for faculty division chairs if we eschew the administrator and University of Texas models? How can we best ensure that faculty division chairs reflect and promote the same faculty leadership values as academic senate leaders?

Areas of Shared Inquiry
Many of the committee's interests overlap with other standing committees. The long-running issue of the new accreditation standards will involve both the Educational Policies Committee and the Research Committee. "The New Accreditation Standards: Guidelines for the Field" was sent to local senate presidents last year and is available on the Academic Senate website. There continue to be issues around how faculty should respond to accreditation visits. Is there a meaningful way to incorporate appropriate performance outcome measures and assessment in a manner that contributes to the educational experience of our students?

Another cluster of issues surrounds questions about the associate degree, a possible transfer degree as suggested during Joint Master Plan discussions, a uniform AS degree, and our own current debate regarding Math and English requirements for graduation. Educational Policies Committee will coordinate with Curriculum Committee in this area. Wider issues here include guarding against inadvertent creation of an inferior associate degree, for example, in occupational areas, and the fine balance of standardization that could promote transfer versus the ability of a college to respond quickly to local conditions.

The committee will work with the President on issues concerning minors in the classroom. The Senate originally raised this issue because of faculty concerns such as curriculum content, academic freedom and supervision. A Chancellor's Office task force was created to examine the situation but this work was largely diverted during last year's concurrent enrollment publicity and the subsequent legislative response in the shape of SB 338 (Scott). We need to ensure that the original academic issues are addressed. Educational Policies Committee will also consult with Curriculum Committee regarding broader funding implications of the "lab/hours by arrangement" discussion.

It promises to be another busy and exciting year. The members of the Educational Policies Committee welcome your thoughts and comments on these issues.

The articles published in the Rostrum do not necessarily represent the adopted positions of the academic senate. For adopted positions and recommendations, please browse this website.