Study of the 18-Unit Major/Area of Emphasis Requirement for an Associate Degree

Spring
2011
Resolution Number: 
09.10
Contact: 
Assigned to : 
Category: 
Curriculum
Status: 
Not Addressed

Whereas, The 18-semester-unit minimum requirement in a major/area of emphasis for an associate degree was adopted in Title 5 in the early 1980s, and since that time there has been no reexamination by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges regarding the need for this specific minimum unit total;

Whereas, The Fall 2005 Academic Senate for California Community Colleges paper What Is the Meaning of a California Community College Degree? does not mention a specific major unit total but instead speaks generally about students acquiring focused study in an academic area as an aspect of an associate degree, and the Fall 2006 Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges resolution 13.02 (Opposition to Associate Degrees based Solely on IGETC and CSU GE Breadth) reiterates existing Title 5 language regarding the minimum of 18-units in a major/area of emphasis but does not present a justification as to why that particular total is required;

Whereas, With the passage of SB 1440 (Padilla, 2010), California community colleges are required to create associate degrees for transfer to the California State University starting in Fall 2011, and the 18-unit minimum requirement in a major/area of emphasis could force students to take a significant number of courses not needed to complete their transfer requirements; and

Whereas, The California Community Colleges Transfer Center Directors and Articulation Officers, the faculty most expert in the area of transfer, have expressed serious reservations as to the wisdom of maintaining 18 units in a major/area of emphasis for degrees developed to meet the needs of our transfer students;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges form a task force, including transfer center directors and articulation officers, to conduct a focused study regarding the 18 semester units in the major/area of emphasis for an associate degree and report its findings and recommendations at the Spring 2012 Plenary Session.

MSC Disposition: Local Senates

Status Report: 

At the time this was passed it was way too early to do anything.  There was no data yet. Such a study might be possible now, though I do not know if it would be a good idea. Might just leave it as unfeasible based on when it was passed.