This paper is the fourth revision of the ASCCC paper on equivalency adopted by the delegates to the plenary session in Fall 1989. Previous revisions were adopted in 1999, 2006, and 2016. The original paper was intended to help local academic senates develop policies and procedures in response to Education Code §87359, which requires that each district’s governing board and academic senate jointly develop an equivalency policy. The 2016 version was called for by resolution in Fall 2014 and added new considerations and content called for by faculty subsequent to the 2006 version. The Fall 2014 Resolution 10.01 states, Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges survey the field to identify local practices for establishing equivalence to minimum qualifications, including the use of eminence; and Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges revise the paper Equivalence to the Minimum Qualifications and bring it to the body for adoption at the Spring 2016 Plenary Session.
Similar to the 2006 revision, the 2016 version provided a more thorough discussion of equivalency than the original paper and the 1999 revision. It also included the legal opinion from the general counsel of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office distributed on December 23, 2003, which upheld the prohibition on single-course equivalencies. In addition, it included results of the Academic Senate’s 2015 survey on equivalency practices in California community colleges.
In 2019, the CTE Minimum Qualifications Workgroup released the Career Technical Education Faculty Minimum Qualifications Toolkit, which furnishes specific tools for determining and documenting equivalency, particularly to specific general education areas. The toolkit reports that a survey, primarily of California community colleges CTE faculty, revealed that “the equivalency process is underused and varies greatly in application across districts and local campuses.” At a 2020 Faculty Diversification Strategies Partners meeting hosted by the ASCCC and including representation from the Association of Chief Human Resources Officers, the California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers, the Chief Student Services Officers Association, and the Chief Executive Officers of the California Community Colleges, several participants reported that at their districts requests for equivalency were always denied.
This current update to the paper clarifies and reiterates not only that granting equivalency is legally permissible, but that all districts are required to have an equivalency process. This version of the paper has been updated to reflect the Career Technical Education Faculty Minimum Qualifications Toolkit and to promote the use of equivalency procedures as a means of broadening faculty applicant pools in order to support system-wide faculty diversification efforts. The new version casts the equivalency process as a critical component of hiring processes as they relate to equity, inclusion, and diversity by applying institutionally-focused, systemically aware, equity-advancing practices.
The concepts discussed in the first four equivalency papers remain substantively unchanged in this paper; however, this update includes practical suggestions and considerations inserted to help local academic senates in refining their policies and procedures regarding this important academic and professional matter.
- Every district must have an equivalency process.
- Equivalency determinations should be made by an equivalency committee that is a subcommittee or standing committee of the academic senate.
- The equivalency committee should include representatives appointed by the academic senate to ensure that the process is consistent and fair.
- Equivalency should be determined with input from discipline faculty.
- Equivalency processes for part-time faculty and emergency hires should be no different from equivalency for full-time faculty.
- Local academic senates must ensure that their district and college policies and processes do not allow for single-course equivalencies.
- Academic senates should assure consistency of the equivalency process.
- Equivalency decisions should be based on direct evidence of claims, such as transcripts, publications, and work products.
- The determination of equivalency should be documented and justifiable to an external review.
- Claims of equivalence must include how both general education and specialization requirements are met.
- Human resources offices should not screen for equivalency but should maintain records of the outcomes and documentation of equivalency requests.
- Local academic senates must never allow equivalency to be delegated to administration or classified staff or allow determinations to degenerate into a gathering of signatures without discussion.
- Equivalency policies should be reviewed regularly to ensure that the equivalency process aligns with the overall hiring process and that it promotes faculty diversification and affirms the college’s commitment to equity, diversification, and inclusion.
- Tools in the ASCCC’s Career Technical Education Faculty Minimum Qualifications Toolkit should be considered in reviews of equivalency policies.
- Criteria for the acceptance of eminence as a means to establish equivalency should be clearly defined in hiring policy. Eminence must not be the sole basis for the determination of equivalency.
- Once the local equivalency process has reached a recommendation regarding an individual applicant, Education Code §87359(a) requires that the governing board take action on the equivalency before hiring occurs.
Equivalency to the minimum qualifications is an important mechanism to ensure consideration of a diverse group of qualified applicants that can engage and enhance student learning. Additional training materials may be obtained from the ASCCC Office or through its website at asccc.org.