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2023 April Rostrum

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Realizing the What and Determining the How

ASCCC President

The California Community Colleges system, or rather the California community colleges, is implementing or anticipating implementing changes in regard to curriculum such as curricular offerings, general education, major study preparation, associate degree opportunities, baccalaureate degree opportunities, transfer pathways, and teaching and learning technology. All of these areas are academic and professional matters, and thus local academic senates, as well as the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, have the right and responsibility to provide recommendations to local boards of trustees and the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, respectively, on policy development and implementation matters in these areas [1].

As debate regarding legislation and other initiatives took place, practitioners and stakeholders generally agreed on the “what” but had many divergent ideas and sometimes contradictory solutions for the “how.” The what generally consisted of providing full access to educational opportunities and support services to ensure that all students, especially those that have been disproportionately impacted, could realize their educational and career aspirations. High-level portions of the how have been determined by well-intended yet limited and prescriptive legislation, regulations, and guidance. Multiple taskforces, workgroups, and advisory committees have been formed with consultants, practitioners, and representatives from organizations outside the California Community Colleges system to recommend and design the details of the how. While much of the how has fueled robust discussion and productive debate, some misinformation has also circulated regarding the requirements for and consequences of implementation.

When practitioners are arguing among themselves and pointing fingers on the how, outside voices and policy makers can use that diversion as an open door to create more unwanted and potentially misguided policies. Faculty must now open their eyes, pull together, and unite with system practitioner groups to collaborate in creating student-centered solutions for realizing the what and determining the how. Academic senates, working with their collective bargaining agents, administrative colleagues, classified professional staff, and students, must examine the opportunities and challenges, anticipate the unintended consequences, and design solutions with a student-centered focus that provides flexible and multiple options how to truly meet the needs of the students in the California Community Colleges system, which has the most diverse student population in the world.


General Education

Implementation of AB 928 (Berman, 2021) [2] is well underway, and faculty have much work to do. After broad vetting by the Academic Senates of the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCCs), the Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates (ICAS) acted to establish the California General Education Transfer Curriculum (Cal-GETC) framework on February 1, 2023. Concerns regarding the impacts on oral communication, lifelong learning and self-development, and language other than English were shared during the months-long vetting processes. Because of the faculty voice, several elements were addressed. Oral communication was included in Cal-GETC provided that the California community colleges made some adjustments with course prerequisites. ICAS acknowledged the value of lifelong learning and self-development courses for community college students and is examining ways to include lifelong learning and self-development courses within other areas and majors. Furthermore, the CCCs continue to advocate for the CSU to make lifelong learning and self-development a graduation requirement instead of an upper division GE requirement. Finally, the UC included language other than English as a graduation requirement as opposed to an entrance requirement.

With the recent addition of the Ethnic Studies area, the unit limitation set by AB 928 requiring a minimum of 34 semester units, and the limitations of what the UC accepts for general education, some opportunities that were included in CSU GE Breadth’s 39 units could not be included in Cal-GETC. While Cal-GETC will be the only general education pathway that determines transfer eligibility to both the CSU and the UC by the 2025-26 academic year, at this time both university systems still have their own GE patterns for their students. Furthermore, the CCCs are in the process of restructuring associate and baccalaureate degree GE requirements so that they align with Cal-GETC yet are not identical.

Critical issues needing strong faculty, student, and practitioner voices for guidance and recommendations based on in-depth analyses include the following:

  • Must courses approved for Cal-GETC be articulated to both the CSU and the UC?
  • What happens to the courses that students currently use for CSU GE Breadth that do not meet the requirements of IGETC or Cal-GETC? Will community college students still be able to take those courses to transfer to the CSU?
  • Will lifelong learning and self-development be an area included in the CCC lower division general education requirements?

Common Course Numbering

AB 1111 (Berman, 2021) [3] is the fourth bill since 1983 requiring common course numbering in the California community colleges. The AB 1111: Common Course Numbering Task Force [4] (CCN Task Force) has broad representation from within the CCCs as well as representation from the other California higher education systems. At this time, the task force has reached no decisions and made no recommendations. The CCN Task Force is in a learning phase in order to formulate recommendations for workgroups and implementation. The legislation requires all community colleges to adopt a student-facing common course numbering system for all general education and transfer pathway courses by July 1, 2024. Faculty and other practitioners systemwide will be called upon to participate in workgroups to address areas such as the following:

  • Numbering schema
  • Curriculum requirements for approval of common course number designation
  • Technology needs
  • Articulation processes
  • Role of C-ID

Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is essential for both faculty and students in order to achieve effective teaching and learning. It protects the rights of faculty and students to engage in discourse that is inclusive of diverse perspectives within and across disciplines on subject matter appropriate to a course. Currently, academic freedom is under threat across the nation. Recent proposed legislation in Florida, SB 999 (2023) [5], if passed would prohibit education on belief systems in critical race theory, gender studies, and intersectionality. In Texas, proposed HB 1006 (2023) [6] is a bill on academic freedom that would also prohibit colleges to fund, promote, sponsor, or support diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts except those that are necessary under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

However, last year in California, Senate Resolution 45 (2022, Min) [7] was passed by the Senate and advocates for full academic freedom. The Senate resolved that “under an academic freedom policy, a faculty member can, within their discipline, articulate or even advocate positions or concepts that may be controversial in nature without fear of retribution or reprisal by the institution” and “academic freedom is an essential requisite for teaching and learning in California Community Colleges.” The ASCCC, ICAS, and the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) continue to advocate to the California Legislature for the full protection of academic freedom. Including such protections in statute would ensure faculty and students have the right to express themselves freely and engage in discourse as appropriate to the context of a course, reducing and hopefully eliminating restrictions and fear of retribution.


The time is now to move from pointing fingers to opening hands so that faculty can embrace their collective voice. Faculty and colleges must create solutions that meet students where they are, not where others think they should be. From streamlining and simplifying transfer to organizing and presenting curriculum, and then ensuring the protection of academic freedom for faculty and students, faculty voices need to come together. Faculty are stronger when they combine their efforts and their voice for the benefit of all.

1. Academic and professional matters under the purview of academic senates are defined in Title 5 § 53200, available at https://govt.westlaw.com/calregs/Document/I604256434C6911EC93A8000D3A7C4BC3?viewType=FullText&originationContex=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default). The role of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges is established through Title 5 § 53206, available at https://govt.westlaw.com/calregs/Document/I605C95034C6911EC93A8000D3A7C4BC3?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default), and through the Procedures and Standing Orders of the Board of Governors, section 332, page 42, available at https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/docs/procedures-standing-orders/december-2022-procedures-standing-ordersv2-a11y.pdf?la=en&hash=FF692A0AE8ACC8FE6BB2A4D75018302005A8A4D6.
2. Full text of AB 928 (Berman, 2021) is available at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB928.
3. Full text of AB 1111 (Berman, 2021) is available at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB1111.
4. The AB 1111: Common Course Numbering Task Force website can be accessed at https://www.cccco.edu/About-Us/Chancellors-Office/Divisions/Educational-Services-and-Support/common-course-numbering-project.
5. The full text of Florida SB 999 (2023) is available at https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2023/999/BillText/Filed/PDF.
6 The full text of Texas HB 1006 (2023) is available at https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/88R/billtext/pdf/HB01006I.pdf.
7 The full text of SR 45 (Min, 2022) is available at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SR45.

Baccalaureate Expansion in the California Community Colleges

ASCCC Vice President

Since SB 850 (Block, 2014) created the California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Degree Program Pilot, only the original fifteen pilot colleges have been allowed to offer a baccalaureate degree. The fact that “pilot” was in the title of the program also suggested that California community college baccalaureate degrees could be temporary. Fortunately, this status changed with the passing of AB 927 (Medina, 2021), which removed the word pilot from prior legislation and opened up opportunities for as many as thirty new baccalaureate degree programs annually.

California is not alone in its effort to expand baccalaureate degree opportunities in community colleges. According to the Community College Baccalaureate Association, an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges, as of 2021, 145 colleges in 25 states now offer community college baccalaureate degrees (CCBA, n.d.). California is adding to and will continue to add to the national total, with the California Community Colleges Board of Governors recently finalizing approval of the last of nine programs proposed in January 2022 (California Community Colleges Chancellors Office, 2023), increasing to 24 the total number of California community college baccalaureate degree programs. In addition, 29 colleges have applied in January 2023 for the opportunity to offer one of a maximum of fifteen more new programs for this application period.

The opportunity to expand baccalaureate degree programs within the California Community Colleges system has not been without challenges, most notably objections from California State University (CSU) campuses and programs. These objections have largely centered on the philosophical perspective that within the public higher education sector, baccalaureate degrees are the purview of the CSU and University of California systems, as was designated in the California Master Plan for Higher Education. The CSU mission includes offering “undergraduate and graduate instruction leading to bachelor’s and higher degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, the applied fields, and the professions, including the doctoral degree when authorized” (California State University, n.d.). However, proponents of community college baccalaureate degrees point to the inclusion of doctorate degrees in the CSU mission, a purview originally limited in the Master Plan to the UC alone.

Objections, including the recent Academic Senate for California State University’s resolution AS-3618-23/AA from March 16-17, 2023 (ASCSU, 2023), also center on the programmatic perspective that duplicative community college and CSU programs will adversely impact CSU enrollments, particularly at a time when CSU and community college campuses are struggling with low enrollments. However, one must keep in mind that because of the technical and hands-on aspects of most community college baccalaureate degrees, at least in California thus far, annual cohorts of graduates are small, as little as 15-35 students. Further, community college baccalaureate proponents recall that when introducing the 2022-23 January budget proposal, Governor Newsom expressed intent for “70% of working-aged Californians to hold a postsecondary degree or credential by 2023” (Spitalniak, 2022) and the Public Policy Institute of California projects that 40% of jobs will require a bachelor’s degree by 2030 (Johnson, et. al., 2019), goals that cannot be obtained without community college baccalaureate degrees.

Three themes are present in both SB 850 (Block, 2014) and AB 927 (Medina, 2021): workforce need, regional consideration, and serving place-bound students. [1] These elements are important reasons to justify the expansion of baccalaureate degrees in public higher education in California through the implementation of community college baccalaureate degrees.

Language within the intent section of SB 850 directly addressed community college baccalaureates being established in subject areas with unmet workforce needs and in program areas that do not “unnecessarily duplicate similar programs offered by nearby public four-year institutions” (Section 1.(e)). This language highlights the workforce focus of community college baccalaureate degrees while also acknowledging that some degree of duplication may exist and will need to be determined as necessary. SB 850 also acknowledged “nearby public four-year institutions” as the institutions to be considered for duplication. These themes were reinforced in the intent language for SB 927, requiring that a district “identify and document unmet workforce needs in the subject area of the baccalaureate degree to be offered and offer a baccalaureate degree at a campus in a subject area with unmet workforce needs in the local community or region of the district.”

Workforce development is part of the mission of the California community colleges. As community college baccalaureate degrees are being implemented nationally, they traditionally have a workforce, technical, or applied emphasis while including rigorous upper division major and general education coursework. The requirement that California community colleges applying to offer a baccalaureate degree include labor market data demonstrating not just employment potential but also graduate earning potential, with a regional living wage the minimum expectation, is indicative of the baccalaureate degree’s role in workforce development.

California community colleges have a strong history of serving local communities, as evidenced by “community” in the name of most colleges. This regional connection, in combination with the workforce emphasis of community college baccalaureate degrees, is an important aspect of the degrees. Education Code §§78042(i)(1-3) require that the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges “consult with and seek feedback from the Chancellor of the California State University, the President of the University of California, and the President of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities [AICCU],” who may “notify institutions with physical campuses in the service area of the community college district seeking the proposed baccalaureate degree.” The notification of the CSU Chancellor and UC and AICCU Presidents to their institutions with campuses within the community college service area is an indicator that community college baccalaureate degrees are intended to serve a local and regional need, and therefore review for duplication should be limited to programs offered at regional colleges and universities.

The importance of place as it relates to students and community college baccalaureate degrees seems to be dismissed by those outside the California Community Colleges system, yet it is a critical factor for those choosing to pursue a baccalaureate at a California community college. Many Californians do not live in close proximity to a UC or CSU campus, whether the campuses are in a nearby urban city or across a more rural county. When one takes into consideration family and work obligations, educational opportunities need to be close to home for most students, especially given that nationally the average age of community college baccalaureate students is 30 years old (CCBA, n.d.). For most, the role of student is in addition to the role of parent, caregiver, or employee. Online education may be an option for some, but online education may not be an option in technical fields, and success gaps still persist for students of color taking online courses (Hillman & Weichman, 2016). An August 2022 UC Davis Wheelhouse research brief highlighted the fact that 56% of California community college baccalaureate degree graduates reported they would not have pursued a bachelor’s degree had it not been offered at their community colleges (Hoang, et. al., 2022). For these students, the existence of community college baccalaureate degrees made the attainment of a baccalaureate degree possible.

Community college baccalaureate degrees are intended to address workforce needs of local and regional employers, and thus taking courses close to home and close to intended employers is key. Nevertheless, during the intersegmental review period for community college baccalaureate programs submitted to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for consideration in January 2022, objections of duplication were lodged by two CSU programs against one program, Ecosystem Restoration and Applied Fire Management proposed by Feather River College, which in Quincy, California is located more than five hours away from the nearest of the two objecting CSU programs.

As was shared by leadership of the Community College Baccalaureate Association and attendees at their February 2023 conference, the tension in each state between emerging community college baccalaureate degree programs and public universities who have traditionally offered bachelor’s degree programs is common, and some of these tensions may ease only as community college baccalaureate programs graduate students who prove themselves in the workforce. In some states, continued collaboration between systems has been key in reaching a point where all public higher education systems acknowledge that by providing workforce-focused baccalaureate degree programs in regional locations where high employment potential and direct connection to local employers exists and increased earnings are possible, community college baccalaureate degrees can complement rather than compete with university degree options.


Academic Senate for California State University. (2023, Mar. 16-17) Resolution AS-3618-23. https://www.calstate.edu/csu-system/faculty-staff/academic-senate/resolutions/2022-2023/3618.pdf

Community College Baccalaureate Association. (n.d.). Infographic. https://www.accbd.org/wp-

California Community Colleges Chancellors Office. (2023, Feb. 21). New Bachelor’s Degree Programs Get Green Light from The California Community Colleges Board of Governors. https://www.cccco.edu/About-Us/News-and-Media/Press-Releases/2023-bdp-green-light

California State University. (n.d.). The Mission of the California State University. https://www.calstate.edu/csu-system/about-the-csu/Pages/mission.aspx

Hillman, N. & Weichman, T. (2016). Education Deserts: The Continued Significance of Place in the Twenty-First Century. American Council of Education Center for Policy Research and Strategy. https://www.acenet.edu/Documents/Education-Deserts-The-Continued-Significance-of-Place-in-the-Twenty-First-Century.pdf

Hoang, H., Vo, D., & Rios-Aguilar, C. (2022). Benefits and Opportunities: California’s Community College Baccalaureate Degree Programs. UC Davis Wheelhouse. https://education.ucdavis.edu/sites/main/files/file-attachments/wheelhouse_research_brief_vol_7_no_1_final.pdf?1659636036

Johnson, H., Bohn, S., & Cuellar Mejia, M. (2019). Higher Education in California: Meeting California’s Workforce Needs. Public Policy Institute of California. https://www.ppic.org/publication/higher-education-in-california-meeting-californias-workforce-needs/

Spitalniak, L. (2022, Jan. 11). California governor proposes almost $40b for higher ed, sets long term goal. Higher Ed Dive. https://www.highereddive.com/news/california-governor-proposes-almost-

1. Full text of both SB 850 and AB 927 is available at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB927.

Resources for Academic Senate Leaders

ASCCC South Representative
ASCCC Area C Representative

New local academic senate presidents or president-elects may sometimes feel lost in endless acronyms and often feel overwhelmed by the scope and demands of their positions. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is here to help by providing local academic senate leaders with an incredible array of valuable resources.


The ASCCC’s Local Senates Handbook, available at https://asccc.org/papers/local-senates-handbook, is the place to start for new academic senate leaders. This handbook is organized into five parts:

  1. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges: A Brief History.
  2. Roles and Responsibilities of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, including a legal framework from California Education Code and Title 5 that relates to collegial consultation.
  3. Duties as a Local Senate President.
  4. Ensuring the Effectiveness of the Local Academic Senate, including effective practices for participatory governance.
  5. Linking Local Senates to the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.

Each section provides basics and links to more information. The handbook is an essential resource for all local academic senate leaders.


The ASCCC website at asccc.org is a treasure trove of information and resources, complete with a search tool. As with most web pages, the more time one spends with it, the more familiar and easy to navigate it becomes. A few of the resources found on the website are as follows:

  • The RESOURCES tab has several options, including the local senates handbook, IDEAA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-racism, Accessibility) tools and resources, the Disciplines List related to minimum qualifications for hiring information, Rostrum articles, and President’s Updates as well as others. This tab also includes an archive of very useful ASCCC papers that cover an incredibly broad range of topics, providing background, guidance, and good practices. Example paper topics include curriculum issues and practices, accreditation processes, equivalency, developing equity-driven systems, anti-racism education, and protecting academic freedom.
  • The ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS tab provides searchable access to resolutions adopted by the ASCCC at plenary sessions. The resolutions process is how local academic senates provide direction for the activities of the ASCCC, facilitated by the ASCCC Executive Committee. Details for writing and submitting resolutions as well as the process for debating and voting on resolutions may be found in the ASCCC Resolutions Handbook.
  • The EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE and ABOUT US tabs provide information about the current ASCCC Executive Committee and the ASCCC Office Team. ASCCC Executive Committee meeting information and agendas, foundational documents such as the constitution and bylaws, current executive committee members, executive committee election information, and more are listed under those tabs.


The ASCCC offers a number of listservs that provide information on various topics of interest. Starting points are the academic senate presidents listserv and area listservs. The information that is sent to academic senate leaders via the listservs should be shared widely with local faculty so that all stay informed with what is going on statewide. One does not need any specific qualifications to join any ASCCC listserv; for example, membership on the academic senate presidents listserv is not restricted to local academic senate presidents or even academic senate leaders. Listservs can be joined at www.asccc.org/sign-our-newsletters.


Specific questions may be submitted to info [at] asccc.org (info[at]asccc[dot]org). Faculty may also to reach out to individual ASCCC Executive Committee members, who will forward the query to info [at] asccc.org (info[at]asccc[dot]org) for an official response.


A number of possibilities exist for college visits, which are listed under the SERVICES tab on the ASCCC website.

  • Local senate visits entail members of the Executive Committee and Relations with Local Senates Committee visiting local academic senates to provide support tailored to the request made. Such visits are included in the membership dues paid by all local academic senates, with no additional costs to the member senates.
  • Another popular option is a Collegiality in Action (CIA) visit to provide assistance in assuring the effective participation of local academic senates in district and college governance. The CIA visit is a joint program of the ASCCC and Community College League of California, with a $1000 fee to help offset travel costs. These visits normally entail a joint presentation by the leadership of the ASCCC and the Community College League, and therefore they require a joint request from the local academic senate president and the college president.
  • Other types of visits and supports are offered by the ASCCC as well.


The ASCCC offers several events and institutes each year. Two of the most popular are as follows:

  • Faculty Leadership Institute: Largely geared toward new academic senate leaders, this institute provides professional development on academic and professional matters in both theory and practice. The Faculty Leadership Institute also provides the opportunity to interface with academic senate leaders from across the state.
  • Plenary Sessions: Member academic senates gather twice each year, in November and April, for professional development and to perform the business of the ASCCC through the resolutions process. Each member academic senate has a delegate representing that academic senate who votes on resolutions and in elections of ASCCC Executive Committee members, with elections occurring during spring. Plenary sessions are also incredible opportunities to meet and network with faculty leaders throughout the community college system.

Information on other ASCCC events, as well as an events calendar, is included under the EVENTS tab on the ASCCC website.


Academic senates and local boards of trustees fall under the Brown Act, which includes providing agendas and documents to the public. These publicly available documents are a resource of various ways to approach and actualize academic and professional matters. Academic senate constitutions, by-laws, participatory governance handbooks, and more are available on local academic senate or college and district websites. Examples of district board policies, administrative procedures, participatory governance handbooks, and more are also accessible on district websites.

An incredible number of resources and opportunities are available to support academic senate leaders. The ASCCC offers its support and assistance whenever local academic senate leaders are in need. Faculty can contact the ASCCC by emailing info [at] asccc.org (info[at]asccc[dot]org) or through any member of the ASCCC Executive Committee.

Time to Modify Title 5 to Define Academic Freedom

ASCCC Educational Policies Committee

In July 2021, the California Senate passed an important resolution: Senate Resolution 45 (“Relative to Academic Freedom”). In the supporting bill analysis, the senate affirmed that “academic freedom is an essential requisite for teaching and learning in California Community Colleges” (Senate Judiciary Committee, 2022). The Faculty Association for California Community Colleges (FACCC) and the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) both supported SR 45, which was passed in the senate with no opposed votes.[1] Since then, FACCC has led the effort to procure a state legislature to author a bill to define academic freedom. The ASCCC and the Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates (ICAS) recently joined this effort as well. However, as of the writing of this article (March 5, 2023), efforts of FACCC, ICAS, and the ASCCC have not resulted in legislative action.

In the absence of legislative action, the ASCCC should pursue another avenue: regulatory language.


Currently, California law and regulation are nearly silent regarding academic freedom. In fact, Title 5 § 51023 provides a single sentence inclusive of academic freedom. As FACCC stated in its support research on SR 45, defining academic freedom will “set a standard so that the California Community Colleges can point to this, enforce it, and utilize it in their curriculum and classrooms” (Senate Judiciary Committee, 2022). Therefore, the ASCCC should utilize the regulation route to provide colleges with a definition of academic freedom.

The landscape that California community colleges operate in demands such an approach. Since 2015, a plethora of legislative mandates—such as guided pathways, the Vision for Success, and Roadmap for the Future—has centered on inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism, and accessibility (IDEAA) in the requirements that local and state institutions must meet. This new IDEAA landscape and the objectives that these legal mandates seek to achieve necessitate changes to regulatory language. Additionally, some of the following situations make changes to regulatory language necessary:

  1. Changing circumstances: Regulatory language may need to be updated to reflect changes in the market, technology, or societal norms that affect the regulated activity.
  2. Ambiguity: If regulatory language is unclear or ambiguous, clarification of its meaning may be necessary to ensure compliance and enforcement.
  3. Inconsistency: When different regulatory frameworks or standards conflict with each other, changes may be needed to ensure consistency and avoid confusion.
  4. In general, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO), the ASCCC, and FACCC have pursued changes to regulatory language through a transparent and inclusive process. This practice has helped to ensure that the changes are based on sound science, are supported by a broad range of stakeholders, and are effective in achieving their intended objectives.


Defining academic freedom in regulatory language is important because it can help to protect and promote the fundamental values of academic inquiry, intellectual curiosity, and free expression in educational institutions.

Academic freedom refers to the principle that scholars, researchers, and teachers should have the right to pursue and disseminate knowledge without fear of censorship, retaliation, or interference from outside forces. This principle includes the ability to research and teach controversial or unpopular subjects, express ideas that may challenge established beliefs, and engage in open and honest debate. If a clear definition of academic freedom is incorporated into regulatory language, educational institutions can establish a formal framework for protecting the academic freedom of their faculty and students. This framework can help to ensure that academic freedom is respected and upheld even in the face of external pressures or political influence.

Additionally, in the current context, California community colleges find themselves grappling with diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives from the CCCCO and the IDEAA-centered professional development or learning that the ASCCC and FACCC offer to faculty. In 2020, the ASCCC, in a paper titled Protecting the Future of Academic Freedom During a Time of Significant Change, asserted that academic freedom does not run counter to the IDEAA work that faculty are engaging in; instead. it is necessary to protect and support students from historically marginalized communities in several ways (ASCCC, 2020):

  1. Access to diverse perspectives: Academic freedom allows for a wide range of perspectives to be expressed and explored in the classroom and in research, including perspectives from historically marginalized communities. This process can help to broaden students’ understanding of different cultures, perspectives, and experiences and can foster greater empathy and understanding across different communities.
  2. Freedom to express and explore their own ideas: Students from historically marginalized communities may face particular challenges in expressing their ideas and viewpoints in academic settings due to factors such as cultural biases or stereotypes. Academic freedom can provide a safe and supportive space for these students to express their ideas and engage in open and honest debate without fear of censorship or reprisal.
  3. Access to critical thinking skills: Academic freedom promotes critical thinking skills and encourages students to challenge assumptions and explore new ideas. This process can be particularly valuable for students from historically marginalized communities who may have experienced marginalization and discrimination in their lives. By developing critical thinking skills, these students can better analyze and navigate complex social and political issues and advocate for themselves and their communities.

In short, academic freedom can help to promote a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment where all students feel empowered to express their ideas and perspectives without fear of censorship or discrimination. This freedom can be particularly beneficial for students from historically marginalized communities who continue to face unique challenges in an academic and educational setting that was not designed for them.


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (2020). Protecting the Future of Academic Freedom During a Time of Significant Change. https://www.asccc.org/papers/protecting-future-

Senate Judiciary Committee. (2022, March 16). SR45 Analysis. https://sjud.senate.ca.gov/sites/sjud.senate.ca.gov/files/sr_45_min_sjud_analysis.pdf

1. The text of SR 45 (Min, 2022) can be found at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SR45

Academic Integrity in the Era of Artificial Intelligence: The Onus is on Faculty

ASCCC At-Large Representative

Since the first decade of the twenty-first century, California community colleges have struggled to find a solution to the easy access to information that the Internet has provided. In 2005, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) passed two resolutions, 14.01 and 14.02 [1]. Both resolutions sought to increase faculty’s authority to fail a student who has cheated for a course, not just for the assignment in question. In 2007, the ASCCC adopted the paper Promoting and Sustaining an Institutional Climate of Academic Integrity as a sign that faculty were—and continue to be—concerned with “the proliferation of electronic resources” and that “they feel uncertain about their rights and responsibilities as well as about those of their students” (ASCCC, 2007). Numerous ASCCC resolutions and Rostrum articles have continued since that paper was published, but the challenges remain and, in some ways, have become more complex.

For example, a revolutionary tool made headlines in late 2022 and early 2023. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence powered chatbot that can generate responses based on a prompt that the user inputs. In fact, ChatGPT was able to pass exams given in law school and graduate business courses, although not with exemplary scores (Murphy Kelly, 2023). Unsurprisingly, users of ChatGPT are getting help with homework and other assignments for their classes.

Both in the past and currently, faculty have framed and continue to frame issues of academic integrity through a deficit lens, as unacceptable student behaviors. Resolutions, Rostrum articles, and ASCCC adopted papers have nearly all framed failures of academic integrity as the sole responsibility of students. As such, ASCCC resolutions that have been presented and adopted sought to increase the penalties in order to act as a deterrent. In the juvenile and adult justice system, some have noted that “harsher punishments, such as longer prison sentences, not only do not prevent crime but may actually have the opposite effect” (Knight, 2020). One might ask whether this could also be the case in education when faculty are empowered with the ability to issue a failing grade in a course for a single incident involving academic integrity and whether such actions are creating the actual desired effect. Instead of looking at failures of academic integrity through a deficit lens, one might look at them as an opportunity for faculty to learn to stay, at the very least, well informed.


In 1997-98, the academic community was provided with what many considered a formidable tool to help encourage academic integrity. Turnitin ushered in an era where plagiarism could be identified in merely minutes. Nearly twenty years later, a 2015 study found that the majority of study participants held a view that the plagiarism they encountered was treated as unintentional and penalized only what they considered to be extreme versions of intentional plagiarism, which often contradicted the way they presented the concept of plagiarism in their syllabi and their classrooms (Bruton & Childers, 2016). Faculty should take an active role in clarifying and make more explicit in their syllabi what is considered plagiarism in order to help educate and inform students.

One way to better inform students on this issue is to use the tools themselves in class as a teaching tool. Turnitin, ChatGPT, or other artificial intelligence can be used as a tool for teaching and educating students in a number of ways while promoting the value and ethics of academic integrity. The following are a few suggestions:

  1. Use Turnitin, ChatGPT, or other artificial intelligence to provide students with additional information and resources. These resources can be used to supplement lectures, readings, and other course materials, providing students with additional information and insights. For example, one could use ChatGPT to provide students with definitions, explanations, and examples related to course concepts.
  2. Encourage critical thinking and independent learning. Rather than using Turnitin, ChatGPT, or other artificial intelligence to provide students with answers to specific questions, encourage them to use the tool to explore and expand their understanding of course topics. Encourage them to ask open-ended questions and to use the information provided by ChatGPT to generate their own ideas and perspectives.
  3. Emphasize the importance of citation and academic integrity. Make certain that students understand that they are responsible for properly citing any information they receive from ChatGPT or any other source. Emphasize the importance of academic integrity and the consequences of plagiarism.
  4. Set clear guidelines for the use of ChatGPT. Provide students with clear guidance and expectations for how they should use ChatGPT. For example, one could specify that ChatGPT should only be used for clarification or additional information and not for answers to graded assignments or assessments. [2]

Turnitin, ChatGPT, and other artificial intelligence tools can be resources for teaching and can be an effective way to enhance student learning as long as they are used responsibly and in a way that emphasizes academic integrity and critical thinking. Academic integrity is essential for the preservation of the academic enterprise and the pursuit of knowledge, as it helps to ensure that academic work is trustworthy, reliable, and of high quality and it promotes a culture of honesty, fairness, and respect in academic communities.

Finally, one might consider the intense focus on students and the deficit thinking that plagues California community colleges. Deficit language and thinking refers to language or thoughts that frame individuals or groups as deficient, inferior, or lacking in some way, often based on stereotypes or biases (Griffin, 2014). It can have negative effects on both individuals and communities and can perpetuate systemic inequalities and injustices. Some might see this type of deficit language and thinking in the past resolutions and Rostrum articles related to academic dishonesty. As the ASCCC continues to work on its core commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism, and accessibility, the use of deficit language is being critically evaluated to move away from its use.

The landscape that California community colleges find themselves navigating necessitates a new perspective on enduring puzzles. Recognizing the heightened concern the field has developed with these new technologies, and the known and unknown implications for teaching and learning, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges will work to investigate this issue and develop resources to assist the field.


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (2007). Promoting and Sustaining an Institutional Climate of Academic Integrity. https://www.asccc.org/sites/default/files/publications/academic-integrity-2007_0.pdf
Bruton, S. & Childers, D. (2016). The ethics and politics of policing plagiarism: a qualitative study of faculty views on student plagiarism and Turnitin. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 41 (2), 316-330. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02602938.2015.1008981
Griffin, Ashley. (2014, Sept. 22). Questioning the Deficit. The Education Trust. https://edtrust.org/the-equity-line/questioning-deficit/#:~:text=Simply%20asking%20that%20question%20renders,despite%20information%20about%20its%20harm.
Knight, B. (2020, July 16). Do harsher punishments deter crime? UNSW Newsroom. https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/business-law/do-harsher-punishments-deter-crime
Murphy Kelly, S. (2023, Jan. 26). ChatGPT passes exams from law and business schools. CNN Business, https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/26/tech/chatgpt-passes-exams/index.html

1. Full text of all ASCCC resolutions can be accessed at https://www.asccc.org/resources/resolutions.
2. For more information on the use of artificial intelligence as a teaching tool, see Rose, Jennifer, (2023, Feb 21), “ChatGPT as a teaching tool, not a cheating tool” in Times Higher Education, https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus/chatgpt-teaching-tool-not-cheating-tool and Thomas, Paul, (2023, Feb 28), “ChatGPT and a new battle in the citation gauntlet for students and teachers” in Radical Scholarship, https://radicalscholarship.com/2023/02/28/chatgpt-and-a-new-battle-in-the-citation-gauntlet-for-students-and-teachers/.

Accreditation: Then and Now

ASCCC Accreditation Committee

Accreditation is the method by which institutions of higher education ensure academic quality. General standards of accreditation are agreed upon by members of higher educational institutions across the country (U. S. Department of Education, n.d.). These generalized standards are then modified by the membership of regional accreditation bodies. In other words, accreditation standards and processes followed in the California Community Colleges system are standards that member institutions in the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) have designed for themselves to ensure the academic quality of higher education and to preserve the quality of their colleges’ ability to provide education. The member colleges of the ACCJC determine the standards and, through a peer review process and the collective decisions of representatives on the ACCJC Commission, evaluate how well institutions are meeting the standards.


Faculty voices have been resonant and loud in establishing the standards applied to community colleges associated with the ACCJC. California community colleges are the largest portion of colleges accredited by the ACCJC. In fact, California community colleges are so dominant within the ACCJC that many other member colleges believe they need to emulate the processes using institutional self-evaluation reports from California community colleges as a template for writing their own self-evaluation reports.

During the early 2000s, the accreditation process caused palpable anxiety for both faculty and administrators and often felt like a hurdle to be cleared once every six years, starting with the institutional self-evaluation report, colloquially known as the ISER. Some faculty had the fortune of being selected as a visiting team member for site visits during that time. For some of those faculty members, a site visit was their first experience with the accreditation process outside of their own institutions. It was an exciting opportunity to learn more about the accreditation process and about the colleges being visited.

However, for many, the experience was nothing like what had been expected. New team members were surprised both by the level of anxiety expressed by the institutions and by the frustration of fellow members of the accreditation visiting teams. By listening closely to the conversations, participants began to suspect the potential consequences to the college were very different than they had been led to believe. The visit was not perceived as a recognition of effort and good work. Instead, the collaborative process that had been described during team training was infused with a sense of frustration and futility on the part of experienced team members and college personnel. Newly met colleagues on the visiting team were particularly unhappy that the interpretation of the standards allowed no room for acknowledging the operational environment, external influences, or culture of the college. Some who served on accreditation teams during this time remember team chairs expressing anger about how narrowly the standards were being interpreted, how many colleges had been placed on warning, and the restrictions placed on narrative content of the final report. Most found little of the experience to be pleasant.

The voices of faculty and administration ultimately led to a change by asking for greater clarification on how institutions should meet the standards. At the same time, members of the public were asking for proof that colleges were providing quality educational experiences and evidence through numbers or check lists. The people who sought accreditation leadership positions and ACCJC commissionerships worked towards responding to those interests and demands.


The leadership of the ACCJC is selected in large part from leadership within California community colleges, further indicating the influence of the system’s voice in the development of standards, procedures, and focus points of the accreditation standards. As with any institution, changes in leadership can result in rapid changes in the focus of the accreditation process. For example, in the early 2000s, leadership at the ACCJC became much more prescriptive in designing not only the standards but also how the standards were to be evaluated by peer review committees. This in turn resulted in pushback from faculty members and administrators who insisted the standards should not be so narrowly defined.

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) frequently weighed in on defining the role of local academic senates in relation to accreditation and on the accreditation standards themselves.[1] The strength of the voice of the ASCCC was made exceptionally clear in the early 2000s when the accrediting body required the inclusion of student learning outcomes as an evaluative measure for both institutional quality and faculty performance. The ASCCC adopted a paper that included a number of recommendations, including several directed at the accrediting body to ensure faculty representation on all site visit teams and a direct objection to the implementation of student learning outcomes in a manner not consistent with academic freedom (ASCCC, 2004).

After several long years of debates, public hearings, and ongoing negotiation, the wording of the standards and implementation of the evaluations were revised to be less rigid. The role of the ASCCC and the voice of faculty across the California community colleges in achieving these changes demonstrates the importance of the faculty role in the peer review processes.

Transitioning from a high stakes and anxiety-driven process to a collaborative one took time and effort. To move the transition forward, faculty consistently pushed for a focus on quality of education within the respective colleges and expanded interpretations of the accreditation standards in ways that allow institutional cultures and values to be honored. The reality is that administrative representatives are not always free to express themselves in the same way as faculty. Faculty representatives serve on the accreditation commission, on accreditation site visit teams, and on committees within individual colleges that work constantly to maintain alignment with the accreditation standards.

Voices of the public and representative voices from member institutions of the ACCJC reshaped the process as more collegial and moved the standards forward through review and revision. Interests aligned across institutional differences, and colleges sent the same messages about their expectations for accreditation. The ACCJC commissioners, whose membership includes faculty, and the leadership of the ACCJC shifted the focus of accreditation from prescriptive and punitive to being accepting of innovation within more broadly defined standards.

The ACCJC Commission and the ACCJC leadership continue working to create and support an accreditation environment where colleges meet the standards and improve their institutional effectiveness while celebrating their uniqueness, sharing their achievements, and daring to innovate. And faculty members continue to influence those changes.

The ASCCC and many local academic senates have focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism in response to numerous acts of systemically approved violence in recent years. In recognition that these acts had been ongoing, but not acknowledged, and that systems, processes, and procedures have promulgated an environment that allowed continued abuses to occur, faculty voices began speaking up and pushing for review and evaluation of all of policies, procedures, practices, and curriculum with an eye toward advancing the social justice movement and ending systemically-based promotion of discrimination and violence. As faculty voices rose and academic senates acted, and as many administrators also spoke out, similar concerns and discussions arose within the ACCJC. As a result, in June 2021, the ACCJC Commission adopted a “Policy on Social Justice” in which “[t]he commission recognizes the moral necessity of promoting equity and diversity through its policies and practices and creating a climate of inclusion and anti-racism among its membership” (ACCJC, 2021). Policies of the ACCJC are part of the accreditation process and thus are also influenced by faculty participation.


Faculty have a responsibility to participate in the accreditation process at all levels [2]. Title 5 §53200 (c) delineates eleven areas of academic and professional matters on which academic senates, as representatives of faculty, must be consulted. These areas specifically include “faculty roles and involvement in accreditation processes, including self-study and annual reports.” Each of the remaining areas of academic and professional matters can be directly associated with the four broad standard areas that define the accreditation process. The the following table shows shows the alignment of these areas with the standard sections.

Accreditation today serves the same purpose that it did in the early 2000s: It ensures that institutions provide quality education, are financially stable, meet the needs of their communities, and seek continual improvement and effectiveness. The impact of the collective voices expressed through the ASCCC, local academic senates, and individual participation in public listening sessions offered by the ACCJC have wrought a more effective, inclusive, and rewarding process. Faculty members involved with formal accreditation now more commonly find it to be a valuable, collegial, and worthwhile experience in professional development and that the experience adds value to their work within their home institutions.

Table 1. Alignment of Academic and Professional Matters with Accreditation Standards

Accreditation Standards Standard 1: Institutional Mission and Effectiveness Standard 2:
Student Success
Standard 3: Infrastructure and Resources Standard 4: Governance
and Decision-
Academic and Professional Matters Listed in Title 5
§53200 (c)
#9 – Processes for program review
#10 – Processes for institutional planning and budget development
#1 – Curriculum including establishing prerequisites and placing courses within disciplines
#2 – Degree and certificate requirements
#3 – Grading policies
#4 – Educational program development
#5 – Standards or policies regarding student preparation and success
#8 – Policies for faculty professional development activities
#10 – Processes for institutional planning and budget development
#6 – District and college governance structures, as related to faculty roles


Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. (2004). The 2002 Accreditation Standards: Implementation. https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/publications/AccreditationPaper_0.pdf
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. (2021). Policy of Social Justice. https://accjc.org/wp-content/uploads/6.b.i.-Policy-on-Social-Justice-First-Read.pdf
U. S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Accreditation in the United States. https://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg2.html#U.S.

1. See, for example, ASCCC Resolution 2.02 SP 90 at https://asccc.org/resolutions/accreditation-standards-7, the ASCCC paper Accreditation: Evaluating the Collective Faculty (1990) at https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/publications/Accred90_0.pdf, and the ASCCC paper Strengthening the Accreditation Process (1992) at https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/publications/StrengtheningAccreditation_0.pdf.
2. Faculty can apply to serve on an accreditation visiting team by completing a Peer Reviewer Interest Form at accjc.org/forms/.

Elevating Unheard Voices Through Critical and Intentional Evaluation of Academic Senate Foundational Documents

ASCCC At-Large Representative
ASCCC Area C Representative

“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” [1] This statement reflects the need to redesign systems that are inefficient or are not producing the desired results. A good place to start is to critically reexamine local academic senate foundational documents with the specific purpose and intent to design a system that increases the representation of perspectives that are missing from shared governance and leadership spaces. Some examples of foundational documents are the academic senate’s constitution and by-laws, handbooks, policies, and processes.

Faculty can begin by looking at the composition of their local academic senates and standing committees and asking whether these bodies reflect the diversity of the faculty population, whether they resemble the student population, and whether faculty of color are in faculty leadership positions on campus and within the district, perhaps as academic senate officers or committee chairs/co-chairs. If the answers to these questions is no, then a reconsideration of local structures may be in order.

The mission of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) reflects its commitment to advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism, and accessibility (IDEAA). Local academic senate foundational documents provide one of many possible starting points for continuing IDEAA work at local colleges and districts.


California Education Code and Title 5 Regulations establish the basis of academic senate authority, with primary responsibility for curriculum and academic standards under Ed Code §70902 (b)(7)) as well as collegial consultation in academic and professional matters under Title 5 §53200. Locally, academic senates are actualized via constitutions, by-laws, handbooks, board policies, administrative procedures, and other policies and documents. Meetings are frequently governed by established procedures such as Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. Academic senates employ these structures and processes in order to perform their important roles at their institutions, but these same structures and processes may create either opportunities or barriers.


Local implementation of academic senates varies widely, though every academic senate has foundational documents that describe the actualization. The basics of the academic senate structure are likely provided in a constitution or by-laws. Each college may also have other documents that describe what participatory or shared governance looks like on its campus or in its district, which may include information on the standing committees of the academic senate.

Academic senates may be well served to critically review their membership with an equity lens. Some questions on which to reflect are as follows:

  • Are all faculty considered to be part of the electorate that chooses and is represented by the academic senate?
  • What is the basis of representation on the academic senate, or the representative body—however it may be named locally—that meets regularly to discuss and make recommendations on academic and professional matters?
  • Are part-time faculty able to be academic senate representatives? Are positions specifically designated for part-time faculty?
  • Are all members voting members? Does the academic senate also include non-voting members?
  • How are academic senate members selected? Are they appointed? Are they elected to represent specific areas?
  • How are academic senate officers selected?
  • Do academic senate officers have term limits? Do other representatives on the academic senate have term limits?
  • Do the officer positions receive release time, and if so, how much?

Another vehicle for institutional self-reflection of the academic senate is through goals and initiatives. These items are typically set at the beginning of the academic year and should reflect the principles of IDEAA. At the end of the year, a summary of goals and accomplishments will help track progress and perhaps provide ideas for goals for the following academic year. Sharing goals and accomplishments with the college president informs administration of faculty priorities each academic year and progress made towards those goals.


Many academic senates have an executive committee whose membership varies across colleges and districts. It may include only the academic senate officers, officers and faculty co-chairs that lead standing committees, or an even more expanded membership. In some cases, the executive committee may act on behalf of the academic senate on time-critical items or perhaps over the summer when the academic senate does not meet. Academic senates should therefore consider carefully who is included on the executive committee and how the members are selected.

Standing committees of the academic senate or of the college fall at least in part under the direction of the academic senate and sometimes have shared leadership between faculty and administration; they may include classified professionals as co-chairs on some specific committees as well. Membership and processes may differ among these committees. Every college will, for example, have a curriculum committee [2], but many other committees are a local decision. Some questions on which to reflect for standing committees are as follows:

  • What is the basis of representation on these committees?
  • How are representatives selected? Are they appointed or elected?
  • How is the faculty chair or co-chair position selected?
  • Do committee representatives have term limits? Do committee chairs or co-chairs have term limits?
  • Do faculty chairs or co-chairs receive reassigned time?

Standing committees may also develop goals at the start of the academic year and reflect on progress at the end of the year by reviewing goals and accomplishments.


Another layer of committees and structures often exists at the district level for multi-college districts. Some multi-college districts have a district academic senate to complement those at individual colleges. The same basic questions regarding local academic senates and committees also apply to the district level, as does the possibility of setting goals and reflecting on progress with goals and accomplishments. Each college should consider whether the academic senate representatives on district committees are accurately reflecting the will of the college academic senates.


Charges and missions represent the daily actions and responsibilities of organizations and thus provide an opportunity for institutionalizing advancement of the IDEAA framework and social justice in academic senates and standing committees. All too often, charges and missions are mistakenly thought to be colorblind and are perhaps from another era, particularly if constitutions, by-laws, and other operational documents have not been reviewed and revised in quite some time.

Barriers that limit access to leadership opportunities are often unintentional and sometimes rather subtle. Qualifications, meeting times, and a variety of other factors can contribute. Some items to consider on qualifications for leadership roles and committee membership are as follows:

  • Do both part-time and full-time faculty have access to these opportunities?
  • What are the effects on part-time faculty?
  • What are the effects on non-tenured, probationary faculty? Is tenure required to participate?
  • What are the modality and schedule for meeting participation? Is the organization looking to adopt procedures that are inclusive to a wide variety of personal and professional lives of faculty and students?

Academic senate and standing committee meetings can be rather intimidating to someone who is first attending. On-boarding with training for new faculty, both part-time and full-time, can help provide a common foundation and understanding of participatory governance in the college and district. It will inform faculty of opportunities to participate, for example, through the academic senate and standing committees. Trainings for senators and other committee members will reinforce the understanding of participatory governance, the special role of faculty, and the roles and expectations of senators and committee members. Meeting procedures adopted at the institution should be covered as well so that everyone knows how to participate in the conversations and take action.

Faculty leaders should be intentional about reaching out to faculty to participate on the academic senate and standing committees. Tapping individuals on the shoulder by encouraging them to run for leadership positions may result in greater participation. If a particular group is underrepresented or entirely missing on academic senate and committees, academic senate leaders should reach out to specific individuals, encourage them, and let them know that they are welcome. Creating an inclusive culture that values diversity and a welcoming environment that encourages free dialogue with diverse perspectives provides a foundation for increased involvement.


In addition to the questions for self-reflection by the academic senate and the institution offered above, some additional questions to consider are as follows:

  • Who is missing?
  • Why do we do it this way?

Often, practices develop over time that are not reflected in process documents, such as constitutions, by-laws, board policies, and administrative procedures. Local academic senate leaders should welcome questions and questioning as opportunities to have open dialogue and interrogate current practices.

Developing and adopting organizational norms [3] can help guide discussion and debate, particularly for sensitive or controversial topics. Norms are standards of behavior expected of members in order to work productively. Going through the process of developing the norms can be as informative and productive as the final product, if not more so.

IDEAA work is a journey, and people and institutions are at different places on this journey. The ASCCC has developed the cultural humility toolkit [4] to provide a framework for facilitating discussions around IDEAA. The ideas offered here are intended to help start conversations at local colleges and districts with the goal of increasing the representation of perspectives that are missing from shared governance and leadership spaces, providing and empowering the voice of the often-voiceless faculty on campuses.

1. The original source of this a matter of debate. See https://deming.org/quotes/10141/ for a discussion of the possible origins.
2. California Code of Regulations §55002(a)(1): https://govt.westlaw.com/calregs/Document/I61F3AFC34C6911EC93A8000D3A7C4BC3?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)
3. Academic Senate for California Community College Executive Committee Norms can be found near the beginning of each ASCCC Executive Committee Meeting Agenda: https://www.asccc.org/executive_committee/meetings
4. The toolkit is available at https://www.asccc.org/sites/default/files/Cultural_Humility_Toolkit_FINAL_Fillable.pdf.

Awards Season: Congratulations to Award Recipients

ASCCC Standards and Practices Committee Chair
ASCCC Executive Director

Spring is in the air, and faculty are, as always, focused on providing the best experience possible for their students. Examples of amazing faculty work and dedication to students are recognized with submissions for statewide awards. The following recipients have been recognized for the 2022-23 academic year by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, along with a legislator award for outstanding advocacy for the California Community Colleges system.


The Exemplary Program Award was established by the Board of Governors in 1991 to recognize outstanding community college programs. For the 2022-23 cycle, the theme was “Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes: An Ethnic Studies Approach to California Community Colleges Curriculum.” Insufficient submissions aligned with this theme were received, preventing the completion of the process for this cycle. The ASCCC Standards and Practices Committee and the ASCCC Executive Committee are committed to revisiting a theme around Ethnic Studies, as defined in Resolution 09.07 S21,[1] for the 2023-24 cycle and very much look forward to celebrating the incredible work around this critical field and new general education requirement. Look for forthcoming details in early October, with a due date in early November.


The Hayward Award for Excellence in Education honors community college full-time and part-time faculty who demonstrate the highest level of commitment to their students, colleges, and profession. All faculty, classroom and non-classroom, are eligible for consideration. This year’s recipients were recognized at the March Board of Governors meeting along with excerpts from their applications.

ANGELI FRANCOIS is a part-time faculty member at the nominating college, College of the Canyons, and is now a first-year full-time English faculty member at Long Beach City College. Professor Francois has a natural ability to engage others and bring people into the conversation without presumption and judgment. She is an avid listener and often looks to see how the college can improve processes, student support services, and instructional deliveries to students. It is a pleasure to witness Angeli embrace her natural ability to lead others. In her capacity as a lead presenter on several campus presentations, she has demonstrated compassion for others and a willingness to collaborate with others on ideas shared, and she is brilliant at executing a collective mindset that may exist in the room. Angeli performs as a support, co-lead, and lead facilitator in campus presentations with mindfulness and ease toward her audience members. She has a strong presence and continues to amaze campus community members with her creativity, determination, and willingness to always put students first.

JANE LE SKAIFE is a part-time sociology faculty member at Sierra College. Professor Le Skaife has been a strong advocate for historically marginalized students. She is a true equity champion and has contributed significantly in advancing equity work. Her work to integrate equity initiatives and voices has been critical to the overall climate and progress of the campus. Even though she is a part time faculty member and teaches at multiple campuses, she always makes time for students and colleagues. She co-facilitated the first ever Sierra College Equitized Instruction Workshop and served as a peer mentor for several faculty as they completed equitizing their courses. She has demonstrated strong leadership skills in many spaces. She leads with humility and is not afraid to be vulnerable when necessary. She is a tireless and relentless voice for equity and antiracism in the classroom and institution. She is rapidly emerging as a dynamic and charismatic leader who is actively engaged in participatory governance. She is well respected by her students, and her love and passion for her students and her commitment to teaching is unparalleled.

KENNETH CHAIRPRASERT is a full-time political science faculty member at East Los Angeles College. As a political science professor and director of the pre-law program, he learns from his students’ diverse identities as he helps them find empowerment from their diversity. His students have immigrant backgrounds, many of them undocumented, are non-traditional, have families, have disabilities, and were formerly incarcerated. Professor Chairprasert asks them what law and politics personally mean to who they are and where they come from. He then designs pedagogical strategies to help them harness the power of their unique backgrounds to make a difference in their communities. He integrates readings, activities, and guest speakers who share the students’ backgrounds to show the students how their unique histories and challenges can become the strengths that can help them transfer, continue in higher education, and earn degrees to become the advocates for their communities that have been underserved and left voiceless. He tells his students that everything about them—whether they are undocumented, have a physical disability, or were formerly incarcerated—makes up the strengths that will help them become the awesome champions for immigrant, disabled or differently-abled, and system-impacted communities.

TAMARA CHESHIRE is a full-time ethnic studies faculty member at Folsom Lake College. She empowers students to achieve their educational goals and to further their careers that may translate into higher earnings; more importantly, she encourages students to work beyond themselves and to transform their communities. She works with her colleagues to transform education systems by identifying barriers that prevent disproportionately impacted students from succeeding and by establishing open and inclusive access. She states that ethnic studies is liberatory, anti-racist, equity-minded education that is accessible for all and reflective of voices previously silenced. Open access includes affordability, transportation, and access to and training in technology used to provide content and to assess student knowledge and skills. Issues such as food insecurity, lack of affordable housing, affordable childcare, and limited physical and mental health resources are pressing. Professor Cheshire believes that faculty and colleges must recognize that these issues exist, discuss them in the classroom, and empower students and provide them with resources, knowledge, and skills.


Serving the most diverse student population of any higher education system in the country, the California Community Colleges system is largely comprised of demographic groups that have traditionally faced barriers to education. The prestigious Regina Stanback Stroud Diversity Award acknowledges an individual or group that is exceptional in contributing to the advancement of intercultural harmony, equity, and campus diversity at their college.

The recipient of the Stanback Stroud Award this year is Veronica Gerace, communications studies faculty member at San Diego Mesa College. The following is an excerpt from the local academic senate letter of support: “An experienced instructor for more than two decades, our nominee helped create a number of classroom and non-classroom initiatives to foster diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). In addition, the nominee has endeavored to institutionally embed DEI both locally and throughout California. Professor Gerace conceived of the Common Grounds Initiative that gathers students, faculty members, classified professionals, and administrators for informal conversations that build trust among the college’s stakeholders. She founded the Regional Chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges that currently includes more than 150 members. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Professor Gereace and a colleague launched Propelled by Protests, a project that encouraged African American student leadership to host substantive dialogue among all the College’s stakeholders. Propelled by Protests activities included guest speakers who addressed concerns specific to Mesa’s African American students.”


The CCC Advocacy Award is presented to legislators who have demonstrated commitment to the California Community Colleges system and its unique mission and role within the state’s public postsecondary educational system. Recipients are nominated by ASCCC Executive Committee members and approved by the ASCCC Executive Committee. The award has no set cycle and is a rare honor. For 2022-23, the ASCCC Executive Committee recognizes Assemblymember Jose Medina for his dedication to and advocacy for students’ success and well-being. Medina served the 61st district in the California State Assembly over the years 2012-2022. Though he and faculty did not always entirely agree, the ASCCC very much appreciates that his door was always open and he was always willing to engage in collegial and productive conversations with faculty, keeping the focus always on students. At the time of this writing, the ASCCC Office Team is coordinating with Medina’s office to find an appropriate ASCCC event to bestow this recognition and award.

Despite various challenges and continued fatigue, faculty persevere, innovate, and foster student learning and success. Congratulations to all of the award recipients for this academic year. All faculty should pause, reflect, and applaud all of the work and dedication of the over 55,000 faculty in the California Community Colleges system on behalf of students.

1. The text of the resolution can be found at https://asccc.org/resolutions/defining-ethnic-studies-and-its-four-core-disciplines.

Using Accreditation to Support Innovation

ASCCC Accreditation Committee
ASCCC Accreditation Committee

For faculty busy with teaching, grading, and supporting students, accreditation rarely ranks at the top of their list of concerns until they receive an email asking them to serve on their college’s accreditation writing team or to attend an accreditation planning meeting. Unfortunately, this situation creates a lost opportunity where faculty see accreditation as a compliance issue rather than as a framework of quality where the standards and mechanisms to improve student outcomes are supported. In short, faculty miss the possibility for accreditation standards and requirements to support the very innovations that can help students succeed in their goals.

Community colleges serve more than one-third of students in the United States and have a higher student population of underrepresented groups (Francis, et. al., 2019). Additionally, community college is often a best fit for students that are financially disadvantaged, are in rural areas, or have career goals that could not be supported at the university level (Ocean, et. al., 2022). The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Vision for Success, local student equity goals and plans, and the directives found in legislation such as AB 1705 (Irwin, 2017) and AB 1111 (Berman, 2021) lay out system goals and a general set of priorities to guide innovation to support the system’s diverse student populations. Innovative institutions succeed in their missions to serve students when equity is at the center of their planning and actions, and within this context of diversity and change they create along with the accrediting commission a shared vision of accomplishment to help build community and leverage resources to support students’ academic and career goals through carefully considered and courageous innovation.

In this environment, California’s community colleges are encouraged by their accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), to serve diverse learners by developing innovative and flexible learning models and program designs. For example, eight California community colleges are experimenting with competency-based education as part of a pilot program. “Competencies are statements of what students can do as a result of their learning at an institution of higher education” (ACCJC, 2020), and competency-based education (CBE) is an approach to program completion where students are held accountable for learning by demonstrating mastery of knowledge, skills, and abilities through rigorous and authentic assessment and not by the notion of the Carnegie unit that defines learning as time spent in a classroom. The ACCJC has adopted policy language to guide colleges through the Substantive Change Process for competency-based education, a requirement of the U.S. Department of Education for offering CBE, and has partnered with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to support the pilot colleges to understand accreditation policies and federal requirements. In this instance, accreditation standards help foster innovation rather than hinder it.

Microcredentials are another innovative program design model. Microcredentials are short, discipline- and industry-focused learning experiences that meet workplace needs and are usually aligned with standards in industry. Although similar to existing credit and noncredit certificates offered by California’s community colleges, microcredentials are usually presented as digital badges that document specific competencies and skills rather than course titles, are acquired through a learning activity or project, and are often stacked within longer credential programs (Maxwell, et. al., 2020). In this instance, colleges can benefit from reviewing the ACCJC’s Transfer of Credit policies (ACCJC, 2023) and use those standards as a basis for developing novel and innovative ways to transcript student achievement in language that is translatable to other institutions as well as to employers.

Distance education is another area ripe for innovation where accreditation standards exist to guide, not thwart, innovation. While distance education is not new, advances in technology allow for an increasing number of methods for instruction. New technologies allow for increased student interaction centered around course learning objectives and critical thinking while creating a social presence and a community feel. Ironically, technology may “humanize” an online learning environment where students connect and build relationships, helping with student engagement and student retention (Bickle & Rucker, 2018). With distance education, one can again find support for innovation in ACCJC accreditation standards and commission policies. Per the ACCJC, institutions must ensure learning opportunities “have equivalent quality, accountability, and focus on student outcomes, regardless of mode of delivery” (ACCJC, 2021a). Accreditation tools and processes such as substantive change and the commission’s Distance Education Review Guidelines (ACCJC, 2022, p.102-104) not only provide support for meeting federal regulations but also establish effective practices and quality frameworks colleges can invest in to support the constantly changing world of online education.

Distance education, competency-based education, microcredentials, and other innovations such as credit for prior learning highlight the need for colleges to innovate in order to provide diverse learners more personalized learning experiences and opportunities that respect their psychological needs, intrinsic motivations, and desires for self-determination (Alamri, et. al., 2020). The hard work and leadership faculty provide to innovate in these areas and more is supported in the member-created accreditation standards, policies, and evaluation procedures of the ACCJC. This fact is seen most clearly in the ACCJC Policy on Social Justice, which requires member institutions to maintain an “ongoing culture of continuous quality improvement to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion” through the effective use of delivery modes and teaching methods “to improve equity and expects that institutional policies and practices foster a sense of inclusion and belonging among its diverse stakeholders” (ACCJC, 2021b). This shared vision for equity opens doors for innovation to achieve more equitable student achievement outcomes.


Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. (2020). Policy on competency based education. https://accjc.org/wp-content/uploads/Policy-on-Competency-Based-Education.pdf
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. (2021a). Policy on distance and on correspondence education. https://accjc.org/wp-content/uploads/Policy-on-Distance-and-on-Correspondence-Education.pdf
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. (2021b). Policy on social justice https://accjc.org/wp-content/uploads/Policy-on-Social-Justice.pdf
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. (2022). Guide to Institutional Self-Evaluation, Improvement, and Peer Review. https://accjc.org/wp-content/uploads/Guide-to-Institutional-Self-Evaluation-Improvement-and-Peer-Review.pdf
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. (2023). Policy on transfer of credit. https://accjc.org/wp-content/uploads/Policy-on-Transfer-of-Credit.pdf
Alamri, H., Lowell, V., Watson, W., & Watson, S. L. (2020). Using personalized learning as an instructional approach to motivate learners in online higher education: Learner self-determination and intrinsic motivation. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 52(3), 322-352. https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2020.1728449
Bickle, M. C., & Rucker, R. (2018). Student-to-student interaction: Humanizing the online classroom using technology and group assignments. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 19(1), 1–11.
Francis, M., Wormington, S. & Hulleman, C. (2019). The costs of online learning: Examining differences in motivation and academic outcomes in online and face-to-face community college developmental mathematics courses. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02054
Maxwell, N., Gallagher, S., & Perea, B. (2020). Using smaller credentials to build flexible degree completion and career pathways. New Directions for Community Colleges, 2020(189), 23. https://doi.org/10.1002/cc.20395
Ocean, M., McLaughlin, J., & Hodes, J. (2022).
“We take EVERYONE”: Perceptions of external assessment and accountability at the community college. Community College Journal of Research & Practice, 46(4), 223–239. https://doi.org/10.1080/10668926.2020.1841041

Social Justice and Accreditation

ASCCC Accreditation Committee
ASCCC Accreditation Committee
ASCCC Accreditation Committee Chair

“In June 2021, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) released its Policy on Social Justice. Historically, institutions of higher learning have operated with firmly established policies and procedures that promote a climate of exclusion, racial inequity and racism towards Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). The ACCJC understands that issues around inclusion, diversity, equity and racism are deeply rooted within systemic racists structures and policies that support the very foundation of society. Further, the Commission has determined that “people of color have long been disadvantaged by the prejudice, discrimination, and implicit biases inherent within higher education that white people have been able to benefit from” (Kirk, et, al., 2022).

The California Community Colleges system is the largest in the nation and serves approximately 1.8 million students enrolled in 116 community colleges. The system is unique, with 70% of the student population coming from a diverse ethnic background (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, n.d.). The 115 accredited community colleges must abide by accreditation standards in order to “meet acceptable levels of quality” (U. S. Department of Education, n.d.). The accreditation standards are guided by a social justice framework that allows for community colleges to carry on best practices and to implement initiatives for student success, completion, retention, degree completion, and transfer. As a result, institutions are creating programs such as Basic Needs in order to assist students. In addition, institutions are implementing conceptual frameworks that revolve around universal design for learning that will ultimately reach all students, including students with disabilities. These programs and initiatives will ultimately address accreditation standards that focus on student success.


The Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s was made up of numerous groups that mobilized and created disruptions all over the United States. In the south, African-American communities were fighting for equal rights due to mistreatment and daily injustices. Jim Crow Laws were enforced by the “separate but equal” doctrine of the infamously racist decision by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, which allowed the use of segregation laws by states and local governments in the name of keeping White Americans separate from Blacks, Mexican-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Indigenous populations. Today, Black men and women make up most of the incarcerated population in the U. S. Blacks are also targeted, profiled, and murdered at a higher rate by law enforcement, the rise of movements like Black Lives Matter.

The arrival of White Europeans on indigenous land was a historical and traumatic impact to the original inhabitants of these lands. Between 1492 and 1900, American Indians lost more than half of their population. A rough estimate of about 12 million Indigenous people died after the arrival of Europeans (Smith, 2017). The Indian Removal Act of 1830 by then-President Andrew Jackson enforced a relocation policy that resulted in close to fifty thousand indigenous people being forcefully displaced by U.S. military forces and the death of roughly four thousand indigenous people due to starvation, disease, and exposure to extreme weather (Indian removal, n.d.). Beginning in the late nineteenth century, the Indian boarding schools program forcefully removed hundreds of thousands of indigenous children from their homes and families. The children were stripped of their names, their religion, their native languages, and their cultural traditions. Today, indigenous communities are uncovering mass graves of children at Indian boarding school sites across the U.S. and in Canada (Associated Press, 2022). Currently, girls and women from indigenous communities go missing and are murdered at alarming rates: as of 2016, 5,712 American Indian and Alaskan Native girls and women have been reported missing (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, n.d.).

The long history of anti-Mexican sentiment has involved constant discrimination, including the removal of lands and land grants, segregation, lynchings, and massive deportations, all due to racial, ethnic, and anti-immigration prejudice. Today, Latinx people continue to face racism and discrimination, as the word immigrant is tied to brown bodies as well as low wages, physically stressed labor, deportation, immigration and customs enforcement detention centers, and incarceration but rarely to educational success when 0.2% of Latinx earn a doctoral degree (Enriquez, 2016).

The first racist law enacted by the U.S. against Asian-American communities was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which resulted in a ten-year ban of Chinese laborers immigrating into the U.S. Such exclusion laws had a dramatic impact on Chinese immigrants. These communities endured discrimination, harassment, exploitation, and violence on a constant basis. Today, since the COVID-19 Pandemic, more and more incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes have occurred, with more than 9,000 incidents reported (Associated Press, 2021).

Many movements and organizations have arisen to combat these and other injustices, including the Black power movement, the United Farm Workers, the gay rights movement, the feminist movement, and student movements. High school students in Los Angeles, California organized the L.A. Walkouts in 1968, and soon more high school student walkouts were organized across the nation by Chicanos as they demanded to no longer be treated as second class citizens. College students at San Francisco State College and UC Berkeley rallied and protested against discrimination and for better treatment by their professors, administration, and institutions. The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee had a Black Student Union, and other student groups came together, as well as leadership from the Black Panther Party and other groups with radical ideologies and a deeply rooted social justice consciousness.

At San Francisco State College, Black, Indigenous, Chicanx/Latinx, and Asian American/Asian Pacific Islander students participated in a five-month student strike, the longest in U.S. history. Students demanded to be taught by professors of color and to learn about their ancestral histories and contributions as well as demanding the first Ethnic Studies College to be institutionalized. What resulted after months of negotiations, rallies, protests, and resistance was an ethnic studies department. Ethnic studies was born from a revolution and foundation laid by members of the San Francisco State’s Black Student Union, and it included African-American Studies, Native American Studies, Mexican-American/Chicano Studies, and Asian-American Studies. Ethnic studies represents a long history of education for liberation and self-determination and is a direct representation of social justice.


In higher education, equity is in the forefront of the work faculty do. Institutional initiatives are important to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in every department. These institutional initiatives should align with accreditation standards. For instance, within the student services arena, multiple measures in student assessment were regarded as critical in the appropriate placement in English and math courses. Assembly Bills 705 (Irwin, 2017) and 1705 (Irwin, 2022) have guided educators on how to support students who are disproportionately impacted in academia. Such radical changes were intended to provide a new way to teach and to offer the necessary student support for success.

Furthermore, instructional faculty have risen to address the inequities that continue to persist in classrooms. From student learning to pedagogical practices, faculty must continuously assess the delivery of subject matter to students. Equally important is the way faculty address student learning outcomes in order to be intentional in how and what they teach and aware that they need to adjust and adapt to the needs of students with ethnic and diverse learning backgrounds. With this in mind, institutions need to evaluate their current best practices in order to provide an intentional and meaningful learning environment.


On August 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom approved an action that added §89032 to the Education Code. This bill, AB 1460 (Weber), required the California State University to provide for courses in ethnic studies at each of its campuses commencing in the 2021-22 academic year.1 The bill created an undergraduate graduation requirement to be fulfilled through the completion of at minimum one three-unit course in ethnic studies.

Today, the ethnic studies requirement is in full force. College students enrolling at both the California community colleges and the CSU must meet the graduation requirement. The California Ethnic Studies Movement has established Ethnic Studies Task Forces and Ethnic Studies Faculty Councils for the advancement of ethnic studies at the community college, the CSU, and now the UC levels. Several studies have found that students who participate in ethnic studies courses are more academically engaged, develop a stronger sense of self-efficacy and personal empowerment, perform better academically, and graduate at higher rates (Sleeter & Zavala, 2020).


Higher education leaders in the state of California are strategically adopting the social justice policy as established by the accreditation commission. The ACCJC reported that it is “committed to applying its leadership, advocacy efforts, and position of influence to dismantle historical and institutional racism and eradicate educational inequities” (ACCJC, 2021). The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) stated that the “social justice policy commits the commission to recruit more college professionals of color for peer review teams; recruit more professionals of color to serve on the commissions; and infuse anti-racism discussions into ACCJC’s professional development programs through conferences, symposiums, and webinars for member colleges and for ACCJC staff and commissioners” (CCCCO, n.d.b). Institutions must continue to address these critical topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion in accreditation. Without these conversations, the 115 accredited California community colleges will inadequately serve students.

Further, the ACCJC, through its standards, requires institutions to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in various areas of operation, including governance, curriculum, student services, and community outreach. Institutions seeking accreditation from ACCJC are expected to promote social justice and address issues of equity and inclusion.

The ACCJC has been actively engaged in discussions around equity and social justice in higher education. The commission has organized workshops and webinars for member institutions to explore the role of accreditation in promoting racial equity and social justice in the community college setting.


Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. (2021). Policy of Social Justice. https://accjc.org/wp-content/uploads/6.b.i.-Policy-on-Social-Justice-First-Read.pdf
Associated Press. (2021, August 12). More than 9,000 anti-Asian incidents have been reported since the pandemic began. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2021/08/12/1027236499/anti-asian-hate-crimes-assaults-pandemic-incidents-aapi
Associated Press. (2022, May 11). U.S. report identifies burial sites linked to boarding schools for Native Americans. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2022/05/11/1098276649/u-s-report-details-burial-sites-linked-to-boarding-schools-for-native-americans
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (n.d.a). Key Facts. https://www.cccco.edu/About-Us/Key-Facts
California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. (n.d.b). California Community Colleges Commend Accrediting Commission’s Action to Strengthen Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. https://www.cccco.edu/About-Us/News-and-Media/Press-Releases/2021-action-to-strengthen-diversity-equity-inclusion
Enriquez, Jose. (2016, October 3). How we can improve the Latino educational pipeline. Unidos US. https://unidosus.org/blog/2016/10/03/can-improve-latino-educational-pipeline/
Indian removal. (n.d.). pbs.org. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2959.html
Kirk, K., Robles Lopez, A., Stewart, R., & Webb, C. (2022). ACCJC social justice policy and enhancing racial equity in our accreditation work. (Powerpoint). Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Accreditation Institute. https://www.asccc.org/content/accjc-social-justice-policy-and-enhancing-racial-equity-our-accreditation-work
Missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW). (n.d.). Native Hope. https://www.nativehope.org/missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-mmiw#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThe%20National%20Crime%20Information%20Center,%2C%20only%20logged%20116%20cases.%E2%80%9D
Sleeter, C., & Zavala. M. (2020, Oct. 15). What the research says about ethnic studies. National Education Association. https://www.nea.org/resource-library/what-research-says-about- ethnic-studies
Smith, D.M. (2017). Counting the dead: Estimating the loss of life in the Indigenous holocaust, 1492-present. Southeastern Oklahoma State University. https://www.se.edu/native-american/wp-content/uploads/sites/49/2019/09/A-NAS-2017-Proceedings-Smith.pdf
U. S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Accreditation in the United States. https://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg2.html#U.S.

1. Full text of the bill is available at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB1460.

Self-Care in the Age of Collective Trauma

ASCCC Relations With Local Senates Committee
ASCCC Relations With Local Senates Committee

“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”
- Parker Palmer

Science has demonstrated that trauma of various kinds has lasting effects for individuals and even through generations. Whether it be abuse, violence, accidents, or other dramatic occurrences, trauma has broad-reaching effects. While educators and their students have experienced trauma from surviving the pandemic and witnessing deaths from COVID-19 as well as the effects of systemic racism, they also commonly experience burnout: the mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion resulting from too much stress or from supporting others who have been traumatized. Any of these conditions could result in feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to meet the demands of faculty’s everyday lives and important jobs as role models for students.


The classic airplane safety speech admonishes passengers to put their own air mask on before that of their accompanying child; in other words, one is no good to anyone if one is not good to oneself. That statement is the simplest, most understandable example of self-care, and it especially applies to educators.


Multiple resources are available when faculty are in need of some help. One should use them not only for one’s own benefit but also for the benefit of students who are looking to faculty for examples of how to be productive, healthy adults. As professionals and role models, faculty have an obligation to students to practice what they preach; they are obligated to demonstrate good self-care practices so that students also learn how to take care of themselves.


Anyone in crisis can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “BRAVE” to 741-741 at any time. For those not in crisis but needing support, California community college districts’ employee assistance programs are excellent resources. California also has an extensive suite of mental health resources as noted in the table below, which is taken from www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DCDIC/SACB/Pages/Crisis-Hotlines--Resou…. Faculty should not hesitate to reach out for help when necessary in order to heal and be healthy.

California’s Statewide Hotlines/Resources

Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 or text 838255 (24/7)
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 74174
Veterans Suicide Crisis Line
1-800-8255 and Press 1
California Parent and Youth Helpline
833-317-HOPE (4673)
RAIN National Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-HOPE (24/7)
Trevor Project (LGBTQ youth)
Call 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678 (24/7)
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance disorders.
The Trans Lifeline’s Hotline is a peer support phone service run by trans people for our trans and questioning peers. Call us if you need someone trans to talk to, even if you’re not in crisis or if you’re not sure you’re trans. Call (800) 877-565-8860 open 24/7 but staff is limited.
Guaranteed to be available from 2 pm -10 pm PST.
Teen Line
Call (800) 852-8336 (6 pm-10 pm PST)
Text TEEN to 839863 (6 pm-10 pm PST). Offering anonymous support for teenagers by phone, text. or email. No problem is too small, too large or too shocking for the trained volunteers.
California Youth (ages 12-24) Crisis Line
Call or text 1-800-843-5200 or chat online (24/7)