Issues for Counseling and Library Faculty


The Senate's Counseling and Library Faculty Issues Committee coordinated two breakouts at the Fall 2003 Plenary Session that were of particular interest to counseling and library faculty-one on web advising and one interestingly title of "Library and Counseling Programs-First to be Cut?"

The dialogue on web advising is a result of Resolution 8.01 F99 that directed the Senate "to develop for counseling faculty clear definitions and guidelines for web advising." In response to the resolution, the Committee presented a breakout on the topic of web advising and invited Jennifer Fernandez, a counselor from Rio Hondo College (which has been at the forefront of web advising), to provide information about what is currently being offered through their web advising. On this same topic, the Committee has begun research on web advising. The first survey was conducted in 2002. While the response rate was good (81 returns) only 36 colleges said that they had online counseling or advising. Committee members feel that there are now more colleges that are offering web advising. Thus, the survey will be resent to the 72 colleges that either did not respond to the 2002 survey or indicated that they did not offer such a service. In the meantime, the Committee has also been working on questions for a third survey to go to colleges that have indicated they offer online/web advising or counseling. The results from these three surveys will help the Committee to develop a Senate advisory document about guidelines and usage of web advising. The Committee is fortunate to have the expertise of Nicole Ratliff, a counselor from Southwestern College, on our committee. Nicole's sabbatical research and report was on the development and implementation of an online counseling/advising service in the community colleges.

Sometimes, it seems as if library and counseling programs are the first to be downsized because we don't appear to have direct contact with students. Could this occur because administrators and other faculty colleagues might not be aware of the services to students that are provided by the library and counseling programs? To them, it appears we have little or no direct contact with students. In dialogue at the college level, decision makers proclaim that they "don't want to cut programs that directly affect students." The second breakout of particular interest to library and counseling faculty was a discussion of these concerns.

Among the conclusions of these discussions were: the need for counseling and library faculty to show colleagues that the services they provide are "direct instruction, " just as those provided in the classroom.

Participants in this breakout also discussed the Real Cost of Education project developed by a Consultation Council Task Force and subsequently adopted by the Board of Governors. This project recognizes the role of counseling and library programs in California community colleges and lists funding levels for these programs in the projected cost of $9,200 per student (for more detail on the Real Cost of Education project, please refer to the Senate's website at (

Faculty at this breakout also discussed the 50% Law, which does not consider either counseling or library programs as being part of the "direct cost of instruction." The Senate has several resolutions (including 6.07 F00, 8.03 S01 and 8.04 S01) regarding the significance of counseling and library faculty to student success and urges that such faculty be included in a recalculation of the 50% Law.

As the facilitator of this breakout, I would say that the most important point made at the breakout was that counseling and library faculty do not need to demonstrate how they are similar to our instructional classroom-based faculty but rather that our services do have a direct impact on the students that is just as important to student success.