Whereas, Community colleges are commonly referred to as “two-year colleges,” and students are often expected by external observers and even themselves to complete their studies within time frames and unit limitations that stress greater speed to completion and economy of course scheduling rather than the quality of their experience;
Whereas, Many students remain at community colleges beyond two years and take more than the minimum units needed to complete their educational goals for legitimate reasons, including the following:
- Family or work circumstances that prevent full-time attendance
- Lack of access to courses that are compatible with other commitments and offered in the student’s preferred mode of instruction
- Employment circumstances that compel students to return for retraining or additional coursework despite having achieved previous goals
- Insufficient preparation for college coursework that creates a need for remediation
- Completion of lower-division coursework not required for an associate’s degree but required or recommended as lower-division preparation for the corresponding bachelor’s degree by a transfer institution
- A simple desire to explore the options available before choosing a career path or major;
Whereas, Students should be provided with proper academic support, counseling and career advisement, financial aid, and other services to help them make appropriate course-taking decisions in order to reach their educational goals in a timely and efficient manner, but no student should be pushed into career-path choices or major programs due to misguided time or unit constraints before he or she is prepared to make such decisions; and
Whereas, Community college programs should be focused on giving students a high quality educational experience, not on pushing students through a model of education that stresses efficiency over true student success;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work with the Chancellor’s Office and other interested constituencies to expand the necessary support structure that will enable all community college students to determine and achieve their educational goals in a timely and efficient manner, including but not limited to financial aid, counseling and career advisement, and academic support; and
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges work with the Chancellor’s Office and other system partners to engage policy makers in a constructive dialog that will expand their understanding of community colleges beyond the narrow view that students are expected to reach institutionally defined goals within two years and with a minimum number of units earned.
It has not happened in any meaningful way yet. I still wish it could but that may be a pipe dream.