Sitting on our local equivalency committee over the last several years, I was often frustrated with the need to explain repeatedly the rules of equivalency to each department representative who came to a meeting. We tried to ensure that subject matter representatives attended equivalency meetings to assist the committee in determining equivalency, but in truth, representatives did not always come. We tried to provide clear and consistent reasons why one person was granted equivalency and why another was not. It become evident that what we were lacking was a training program, to help all faculty understand what equivalency is and how it is determined in our district. (Our college is a two-college district with one district equivalency committee.)
This year, the equivalency committee experienced a major change of membership, both in faculty members and administrators. The new members suggested that, as past president, I should stay on the committee-to provide continuity and to help in the training of all the new members. We also agreed that I should develop a training program for all department and division chairs at both colleges. So I embarked on creating a three-page handout and PowerPointr slides to use as training materials for our faculty leaders. The process of creating the handouts was in itself educational for the committee, and it helped us to clarify what was important for us and for the process of equivalency.
In November of this year, I began to pilot the training, first with my division (as the division chair, I knew I had a captive audience!) then with the division chair council. The 20-minute training session for division chairs included a slide show and several handouts:
A paper version of the slides;
The new three-page handout with Q & As about equivalency,
The ASCCC's 1999 paper Equivalence to the Minimum Qualifications (available on our website at http://www.academicsenate.cc.ca.us/Publications/Papers/Eqivalence_minimu...) and
The Chancellor's Office 2003 edition of Minimum Qualifications for Faculty and Administrators in California Community Colleges (available on the Chancellor's website at http://www.cccco.edu/divisions/hr/f_sdev/min_qual/min_quals.pdf)
In the training sessions, we identified the topics most confusing to faculty and compiled suggestions for streamlining the processes in the equivalency committee and Human Resources offices.
At our sister college, the division chairs later received the same training with the slides and handouts. We have asked each division chair at both colleges to provide the same workshop to their department chairs. Our ultimate goal is that all faculty members will understand the principles of equivalency and how the district's equivalency committee works to uphold those principles.
We are now convinced that besides determining equivalency, another important function of our district equivalency committee is ensuring that faculty and administrators across the district understand the processes and guidelines from the ASCCC and Chancellor's Office. I imagine there will still be questions about equivalency, but our hope is that the new resources and training we have provided will at least lessen the confusion.
You can find the handouts and PowerPointr slides on the Senate website at http://www.academicsenate.cc.ca.us/LocalSenates/LocalSenates.htm. Feel free to use them as a starting point for discussions at your college.
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