Ask most California community college students, "What is your biggest college expense?" Overwhelmingly, you will hear, "books and supplies". First time, full-time community college students spent an average of $886 (Government Accountability Office, 2005) in 2003-04 on books and supplies. Now in 2009-10, we can estimate that figure to be approximately $1000 per year. Fortunately, faculty have the power to reduce this major student expense. And, this cost savings will make the biggest impact on the greatest number of students, even more so than reducing student fees. Intrigued?
My most favorite award ever was the gift of a Walt Disney tee-shirt that listed Crabby, Cranky, Grouchy, and Grumpy as my leading attributes. However, this past year I was bestowed with a Volunteer of the Year award from an organization related to my discipline. Contrary to the basking glow of April campaign speeches I don't suffer fame and spotlights as well as some seem to. I am a doer more than anything else. But what finally got under my belt was seeing the commemorative plaque tucked away in a back corner of an old barn listing all the past winners of this award.
"Diversity is the art of collectively valuing every individual."-Arin N. Reeves
Yes, I would say the title of this article describes what the Relations with Local Senate's Committee is all about. The charge of the committee (provided on our website at www.asccc.org) includes the statements that we "provide an opportunity to share information on issues of concern at the local and state levels" and to "serve as liaisons and conduits for information and requests for assistance." I am excited to chair the committee this year and I feel that it is a good fit for me.
Typically when we all return to campus in the fall, we ask one another, "So, how was your summer?" I hope the same will be true this fall; however, I suspect that the burning question being asked across the state is, "How will the drastic budget reductions really affect us?"
The title of this article is a simplification of the conflict within the lead character, Tevye, in the musical Fiddler on the Roof. For much of the show, Tevye struggles with change and debates out loud, for the sake of the audience, the pros and cons of new ideas as his young daughters challenge him to think differently about love, finding a mate, and core values. This year, faculty will contend with a similar challenge, not about love or marriage, but like Teyve's, it will test the basic tenets of the academe.
So, imagine that you are the senate president at your college, and a member of the accrediting team during your site visit turns to you and asks "What is your current information competency policy, and how does it meet the accreditation standards?" What would your response be? If your immediate response is to look blankly at the team member and stutter, you would not be alone, based on the results of a recent survey conducted by the Academic Senate Educational Policies Committee.
Curriculum is the heart and soul of what we do in academia. The complexity of curriculum in California community colleges is unlike that in any other higher education system, 110 individual colleges with up to 110 viewpoints and diverse practices all directed by Title 5, local board policy, and individual departmental requirements. Beyond this our curriculum must meet transfer institution expectations, satisfy accreditation requirements, and, in Career Technical Education (CTE) areas, industry standards.
Faculty often consider the work of curriculum done after they have completed the Course Outline of Record and passed it off to the chair and/or dean and curriculum committee. The curriculum committee often considers their work done after technically reviewing the curriculum and voting approval to send it to the Board. What this process is likely to neglect is the importance of discipline faculty directing the coding of the course, which is the shorthand mechanism used to report curriculum to the Chancellor's Office for staffing, funding and accountability reporting.
Since 2007, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) has clearly stated its expectation that colleges currently be at the "Continuous Sustainable Quality Improvement" level for Program Review and Planning on rubrics that ACCJC has provided.