I was going to begin with a dull title-"Revisiting Plenary", but then I realized I had so much more that I wanted to say - that there was a need to interpret the events of Plenary.
Accreditation is a stressful and challenging time for any institution. However, it also offers the chance to collectively assess the strengths and weaknesses of your college's programs and services. One wrinkle of any college's accreditation is distance education (DE). Because DE is a relatively new area, many of the policies and procedures are still being ironed out. This is why DE is a particularly worrisome element for those writing the self-study report at any college.
In Fall 2001, a resolution called for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges to develop a paper outlining practices and recommendations to assist local senates with addressing issues raised by admitting minor students to colleges. Not long after that in 2003, a task force of the Consultation Council was created to investigate the same issues. Finally in Fall 2005, the Educational Policies Committee was assigned to write a paper on the subject, and Minors on Campus: Underage Students at Community Colleges, was adopted at the Fall 2006 Plenary Session.
Following on the work of the Associate Degree Task Force and responses to the Fall 2006 associate degree survey, six resolutions concerning the associate degree were presented for consideration at the Fall 2006 Plenary Session. Resolutions that would have further defined the associate degree failed. While survey responses and general debate seemed to support clarifying the difference between the associate of arts and associate of science degrees, delegates wanted examples of clarifying language before voting to ask for Title 5 changes.
A year ago, delegates to the Fall 2005 Academic Senate for California Community Colleges passed Resolution F05 20.02, which asked for breakout sessions focusing on the experiences of community colleges that had participated in projects that examined issues of student equity, retention, and success. One of those projects was Equity for All, a comprehensive approach to student success.
As educators, we understand that implicit in the principles of academic freedom is the value of diverse voices and opinions, which benefit our students, our institutions, and the communities beyond our institutions. But somehow we have not applied that same value of diversity to our own hiring practices.
Recent studies of faculty in California higher education institutions point to the continued lack of diversity.
There is a myth circulating out there: it takes too long to approve curriculum. I hear this criticism repeated both at local and state level discussions, and I cringe each time because such a statement accuses faculty and colleges of being slothful, unresponsive or unnecessarily pedantic in their deliberations. To some it has become an axiom and a reason for colleges' perceived lack of responsiveness to changing community and workplace needs. Let's examine this "axiom" to see if it really holds water.
The Legislative and Governmental Relations Committee hosted two breakouts at our recent Plenary Session in beautiful Newport Beach-one on sources of funding for community colleges and the other on current legislation approved (or disapproved) by the Legislature and Governor in Sacramento.
The Senate's Counseling and Library Faculty Issues Committee coordinated two breakouts at the Fall 2003 Plenary Session that were of particular interest to counseling and library faculty-one on web advising and one interestingly title of "Library and Counseling Programs-First to be Cut?"
Recently, at the time I was chairing a local academic senate meeting, a burglar or burglars entered my home and stole my computer. As I have often heard from others with a similar experience, I felt violated, and enormously inconvenienced. It is not the loss of the machine itself-that has been replaced and my home insurance will reimburse me for most of that cost-but what I had on the machine, articles, records, speeches, pictures, were not backed up and are now all sadly gone forever. I caution all faculty (or indeed anyone) to think about what you have stored on your computer.