The Education Code and Title 5 Regulations clearly lay out the requirements for faculty members hired to teach courses and perform other services in the California Community Colleges. Since passage of the Community College Reform Act (AB 1725) in 1988, faculty have had the primary role in determining who is hired to their ranks and specifically which courses each faculty is qualified to teach. This paper explains the various roles faculty play in this area. It outlines the duties of the statewide Academic Senate in determining minimum qualifications for faculty in disciplines and support services expressed in the Disciplines List. It also explains two important responsibilities of local academic senates: (1) developing policies and practices for determining equivalencies when applicants do not possess the exact minimum qualifications for hire specified by the Disciplines List, and (2) placing each course the college offers (except for not-for-credit) in a discipline. Finally, it explains the ways by which Faculty Service Areas (FSAs) are established by the governing board and the bargaining agent, in consultation with the local academic senate, and how these may affect competency to teach particular courses.
Recommendations for local senates
- Encourage all faculty involved in your college’s hiring processes to read this paper and other resources, such as Minimum Qualifications for Faculty and Administrators (2003), and the academic senate’s paper Equivalence to the Minimum Qualifications (1999).
- Access the academic senate web site (asccc.org) for other resources that help educate faculty about their professional responsibilities in maintaining reasonable qualifications for hire and placing courses within disciplines.
- Encourage all faculty, especially those involved your college’s processes for placing courses within disciplines, to read this paper.
- Encourage cooperation between your district’s bargaining agent and academic senate and others, such as department chairs, to establish faculty service areas that protect the integrity of disciplines on our campus.
- Become involved in revising the Disciplines list (Minimum Qualifications). the academic senate relies on suggestions from those at the colleges to suggest changes that keep the Disciplines list current. new disciplines emerge with the discovery of new knowledge and the use of new technologies.
- Work towards creating an equivalency policy in your district that is both fair and reasonable. Keep in mind that equivalent means having qualifications at least equivalent to those specified (education code, §87359).
- Consider the impact on diversity of any policies and procedures affecting hiring.
- Work with your local bargaining agent (i.e., union) to evaluate your district’s faculty service area (FSA) policy and procedures to see whether they help protect your college’s programs.
- When reaching agreement on issues about competency of faculty becomes difficult, seek the help of the statewide academic senate (asccc.org).