As academics and faculty leaders, we rely heavily on the use of words to convey meaning. But sometimes words fail us – when the words do not quite capture the concept, when they have multiple meanings, or when we really need a new word, but one just does not seem to exist. Despite language having infinite generativity (anything can be said in multiple ways), we find ourselves stuck. This subject emerged at a recent Academic Senate Executive Committee meeting and caused me to reflect on the various times it has emerged over the past decade.
The Academic Senate receives many requests from the field, and most of them come through the Senate Office into the inbox of our own Executive Director Julie Adams (hence the name of this column). As you might imagine these requests vary by topic, and the responses represent yet another resource to local senates. This column will share the questions and solutions offered by the President and the Executive Committee. Please send your thoughts or questions to julie [at] asccc.org.
One of the major hurdles senate leaders face, regardless of their time on the senate, is finding faculty to participate in committee work. Unless the committee’s work directly impacts a faculty member (i.e., a hiring committee), or he or she is compensated (i.e., union service or tenure review committees), many faculty would much prefer to just teach and mentor students, while avoiding committee service. How do you, as a senate leader, engage faculty so that they want to serve on committees, especially in cases where committee service is not a contractual obligation?
Earning a passing grade in a course on the first or second try is now more important than ever. The Board of Governors recently approved new regulations that limit repetition and withdrawal per student per course per district. All students will be limited to three “takes” of a course—whether repeating to alleviate a substandard grade or withdrawing, and whether new or continuing. The college will be funded for only three official enrollments in the course1.
Community college faculty, staff, and administrators are aware of the many challenges and issues veterans face when they return to college to pursue their education. These issues can range from emotional and psychological to financial or academic. On many campuses, these students can feel isolated and struggle at finding ways to feel like they are part of the campus community.
At the Faculty Leadership Institute in June 2011, a large number of the attendees were brand new academic senate presidents. Energetic, enthusiastic, and eager, many found the tasks and knowledge they needed to bring to their new position to be overwhelming. Some had at least one year of shadowing the previous senate president as president-elect. Others had served years ago and hoped to refresh their skills and update their knowledge. And still others found themselves elected and taking office with little mentoring or assistance from the previous presidents.
Faculty are obligated to teach to the Course Outline of Record (COR). This requirement is in Title 5 and accreditation standards and should be in all contractual job descriptions. Yet, ensuring that faculty adhere to the basic content, objectives, and evaluation methods for the course seems to be an untouchable subject, and discussions of teaching to the COR often challenge our collegiality. As peers we must be willing to protect, defend, and teach to the COR as fiercely as possible, and we must respectfully challenge our colleagues who veer away from it.
The California Community College Association for Occupational Education (CCCAOE) is an umbrella organization representing career technical education (CTE) and economic development professionals. Many educational disciplines have their own professional organization, but CCCAOE is the only voice that speaks for all of career technical education in the California community colleges. The association is recognized by the Chancellor’s Office as the voice of CTE for the community college system and maintains direct contact with many of the responsible vice chancellors in the Chancellor’s Office.
Community college faculty have two representatives on the state Board of Governors which makes policy for colleges much like the local board of trustees makes policy for local districts.
The Academic Senate recommends faculty to the Governor for appointment to the Board of Governors and must send at least three candidates forward for each open position.
Resolution 17.01 F10 "Responses to Violations of Law, Policy, and Procedure" asks the Academic Senate to "develop a resource document to provide guidance to local senates in reacting to and dealing with administrative violations of state and local policies and regulations." Such a resource document would presumably help faculty members identify the authority responsible for responding to violations of law or regulation and how to effectively notify that authority so that the violation will stop.