Where has the Vocational Faculty Leadership Institute Gone?
Conversations at the 2013 Fall Plenary Session resulted in two referred resolutions regarding the Academic Senate’s support for professional development for vocational faculty and the misperception that the ASCCC stopped specific training for vocational educators (12.02, 12.03, 12.03.01, 12.03.02). While the Senate provides professional development for all faculty during our plenary sessions, institutes, and regional meetings, the Senate has also held the Vocational Faculty Leadership Institute since 2000. This institute was unique in that Perkins 1b leadership funding provided registration and travel reimbursement for career technical education (CTE) faculty. However, this past year, the Chancellor’s Office restructured several funding streams and their activities, which required the Senate to realign its efforts in supporting vocational education faculty development. The purpose of this article is to inform the body about what the Senate is doing particularly related to vocational educators.
Because of recent reductions in and modifications to funding, a number of changes have occurred in the coordination of economic and workforce development (EWD) and career technical education. In response, the Chancellor’s Office developed the “Doing What Matters” initiative, which focuses on regional and sector collaboration to meet industry specific education and training goals. As the Chancellor’s Office presented this initiative across the state, the Academic Senate became keenly aware of the important role of faculty in the Initiative’s success.
The “Doing What Matters” Initiative focuses on increasing job preparedness and improving the economy through restructuring the EWD Program into a network of sector navigators who work closely with the State’s Regional Consortia and community colleges to support industry specific training and education activities throughout the state. As the Chancellor’s Office websites provides, “The sector navigators coordinate across regions to develop relationships, assets, and resources, including collaborative communities, hubs, and industry advisory bodies to advance career pathways and workforce solutions to close the skills gap in a specified industry sector.” While these individuals are often the first line of communication to industry, the Senate would argue that faculty are as well, and their involvement at every level is critical to the success of supporting industry and student academic needs.
No coordinated regional or statewide effort specifically related to program or curriculum development currently exists to facilitate the communication between CTE faculty and sector navigators. While regional consortia do exist to prevent inappropriate competition among regional colleges, faculty and sector participation has been negligible in some regions. Regional coordination and alignment of curriculum has been spotty and problematic both within community colleges and across segments. Also troubling, the long standing focus of the State’s CTE and EWD efforts has had limited success in coordinating mainstream CTE education and Economic Workforce Development (EWD) driven contract education within regions and across the state. Establishing linkages between programs that serve both ongoing and emerging needs is necessary to ensure the appropriate coordination of these efforts; it is critical that they not exist in silos, a practice fostered by prior funding structures.
As discussions to address these issues began across the state under the “Doing what Matters” Initiative, Senate representatives recognized the need for regional events to bring together faculty in specific industries and related sectors in coordination with the regional consortia in the CTE areas. Current practices on many campuses require faculty to develop their own relationships with industry by developing program related advisory groups. Integrating the current regional consortia with faculty expertise and advisory input would provide the sector navigators with coordinated resources to inform their work as well as provide a venue for assessing and sharing regional industry needs with faculty. Any responses to industry require communication and collaboration among faculty and administrators on the ground level, and among regional and system participants on broader levels. Faculty must be active participants in this communication network.
While advisory input has always been a good idea and is thus required, CTE faculty must assume an even greater leadership role in guiding themselves and others to become effective partners with each of the aforementioned participants and with industry. In the enlightened age of accountability and dwindling resources, internal and external partnerships are mandatory. To accomplish this, the Senate developed and the Chancellor’s Office funded a plan to provide training and the opportunity to interconnect CTE faculty, regional consortia, sector, and deputy sector navigators. This plan creates a network of faculty leaders to work hand-in-hand with sector navigators and consortia leaders in developing relationships between and among faculty and industry. These faculty are instrumental in assisting sector navigators with curriculum development processes, connecting to statewide articulation processes (C-ID and Statewide Career Pathways), providing professional development, developing local industry partners regionally, and helping all faculty use research and data tools such as the Wage Tracker and Launch Board currently under development.
The Senate leadership is in the process of identifying faculty to develop more regional coordination by collaborating with the regional consortia and sector navigators in fostering the state’s leadership development priorities. Specifically, this collaboration will take the form of several one-day events (north and south) for the purpose of recruiting and developing CTE faculty leaders and to create opportunities for CTE Faculty, EWD Sector Navigators, Deputy Sector Navigators, CTE Regional Consortia Leaders and CCCCO Staff to network and become informed about the roles each group plays in the state and how they can all support each other.
How can you help?
- You can volunteer to participate on the faculty leadership group by submitting an application for statewide service accessible on our website at http://www.asccc.org/get-involved.
- Watch for information about and encourage your vocational faculty to regularly attend the Regional Consortia meetings and other regional events.
- CTE Faculty who teach in the following, or related sectors should consider participating in the faculty leadership group so we can better support sector activities:
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Advanced Transportation & Renewables
- Energy (Efficiency) & Utility
- Life Sciences/Biotech
- Information & Communication Technologies (ICT)/Digital Media
- Global Trade & Logistics
- Agriculture, Water, & Environmental Technologies
- Retail/Hospitality/Tourism 'Learn and Earn'
- Small Business
- Get involved in the C-ID project, which is working to develop Model Curricula in a number of CTE disciplines by submitting an application to serve at the statewide level through the ASCCC (http://asccc.org/get-involved), by signing up for C-ID listservs (http://www.c-id.net/listserv.html), or by participating in the review of Model Curriculum as developed by visiting this page: http://www.c-id.net/degreereview.html.
But What About the Vocational Leadership Institute?
At the January 3, 2014, Executive Committee meeting, members discussed the institute and directed staff to negotiate with the Chancellor’s Office to use some of the current Perkins 1b funds to cover the registration costs for vocational faculty to attend the upcoming Academic Academy, Spring Plenary Session, and Faculty Leadership Institute. In addition, the ASCCC Curriculum Committee is developing a CTE focused strand for the Curriculum Institute, at which costs for vocational faculty will also be covered. While the Vocational Education Institute will not be held this year, the Senate has expanded the professional development activities for CTE faculty far beyond a two-day event. Watch for announcements via the Senate President’s Listserv. If you are not on the listserv, please sign up here http://www.asccc.org/signup-newsletters.
We hope that this article helps to explain many of the activities we continue to provide for vocational education faculty and apologize for any confusion that occurred during the Fall Plenary Session. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Wheeler North at wnorth [at] sdccd.edu or Julie Adams at julie [at] asccc.org.
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.