Who Gets to Play: Elections and the Executive Committee

Elections Committee Chair
Executive Committee Member

The Academic Senate has a strong commitment to diversity, and the Executive Committee is committed to fostering diversity among faculty leaders. We're always on the lookout for new college leaders and strive to improve access and equity. Each year, the Academic Senate holds elections for the Executive Committee and for officers at the Spring Plenary Session. These elections are held in conjunction with the voting on resolutions, on the last day of the session, and normally the main focus of delegate attention is on the (frequently intense) discussion surrounding resolutions rather than the (relatively smooth) process of elections.

This year proved somewhat different. An unusually large number of candidates were nominated to run for open positions and due to the Senate's election process, which allows nominees not winning a position to "trickle" downward as nominees for lower positions, there was much more excitement than usual. After several ballots in various races, four new faculty were elected to sit on the Executive Committee, John Drinnon of Merritt College as Area B representative, Stephanie Dumont of Golden West College and David Morse of Long Beach City College as South Representatives, and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein of Santa Monica College as At-Large Representative.

During Session, however, in conversations with delegates and attendees, it became apparent that there is some confusion over eligibility for the executive committee positions. Some people believe that only full-time faculty are eligible to run. Others seemed to think that only a voting delegate at Session could be a nominee. And still others thought a candidate must have served as a local senate president.

All of those are incorrect.

Then who is eligible for nomination? Eligibility is determined by the Constitution and Bylaws of the Academic Senate (available online at http://www.asccc.org/ExecCom/Bylaws.htm). Article IV, section 2, states: All candidates for election to the Executive Committee shall meet at least one of these criteria:

1) is a Delegate or a local senate president

2) has within the last three years immediately preceding the election been a local senate president or an Executive Committee member or officer or

3) has been nominated by a resolution of a Member Senate. The minutes of the meeting at which that resolution was adopted must be submitted to the Elections Committee chair with the nomination of the individual.

"Delegates" are further defined in Article II, Section 2:

Each Member Senate is entitled to designate any of its faculty members, in whatever manner it wishes, to be its one Delegate, who shall have full voting rights at each plenary session.

While a senate usually appoints the local senate president as its delegate, in many cases another faculty member is appointed instead, and that delegate may be nominated "from the floor" during open nominations on the first day of Session. Note that any faculty member of a member senate may be designated as that senate's delegate-including both part-time and non-tenured faculty.

Furthermore, candidacy for the Executive Committee is also open to any faculty member who is nominated by a resolution of a local senate. Again, this includes both part-time and non-tenured faculty. There is no requirement that a nominee must be a local senate president, or indeed have ever served on a local senate in any capacity whatsoever. (However, this does require more advance planning on the part of the potential candidate, as they must be able to provide minutes showing the adoption of the resolution, thus precluding their last-minute nomination from the floor during Session.)

When is someone ready to make a move to the next level? Moving into any leadership role requires the ability to take advantage of opportunities and respond strategically to challenges as they arise. Local senate experience is undeniably good experience for a seat on the Executive Committee. So is experience with statewide issues and committees, since a member of the Executive Committee must be able to consider these matters as they apply to colleges, faculty, and students throughout the state. But there are many ways in which a faculty member can obtain this experience. If you are interested in playing a more active role in the Academic Senate, whether you are part-time, a newly hired faculty member at your college, or a long-time faculty member who is looking for new challenges, you might consider volunteering to serve on one of the Academic Senate committees as a first step.

Applications to serve on a statewide committee are distributed to attendees at Session as part of the packets received at registration, and are also available on the Academic Senate web site at http://www.asccc.org/ExecCom/Nomin.htm.