On October 1st, 2008, the Governor signed the last bills for the two-year cycle of 2007-2008. He signed 771 bills and vetoed 415, citing budget reasons for many of these vetoes. The budget was the hot topic throughout most of the summer and early fall, and impacted many of the bills that needed to be worked on the last part of the legislative year.
While most of the current focus on accreditation issues is on SLOs and the reports following accreditation visits, there is a relatively new issue that is deserving of attention. There is now a component of the Higher Education Opportunity Act that may force us to change some elements of how we deliver distance education. This relates to accreditation as it is accrediting bodies that will need to check to see that we are doing as directed. The agency or association referred to in the following would be the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).
Faculty leaders are only as good as their alliances, but it is easy to get caught up in our myriad daily tasks and forget the importance of building and maintaining alliances. Have you ever been in a meeting and needed to take a principled stand but looked around the room to find no supportive allies? Have you ever been surprised that individuals who you thought agreed with the faculty perspective did not step up to support you?
Have you ever wondered if a proactive approach to committee membership is possible? For many involved in leadership and in developing leaders, it seems to be the norm to rely upon the expression of interest as the sole means of picking committee members with some back room arm twisting in those cases where no one wants to serve.
When the Academic Senate adopted the paper Promoting and Sustaining an Institutional Climate of Academic Integrity in 2007, the hope was that within a few months Title 5 language would have been worked out to give faculty more authority over grading options when cheating has been confirmed. Faculty and representatives from the Chancellor's Office diagrammed scenarios which included due process for students as well as provided options for colleges in managing incidents of cheating, specifically the work of the Admissions and Records Offices for annotating student records.
Although we are referred to as the California Community College System, I have long felt that this is in many ways a misnomer. Rather, I often refer to our "system" as a confederacy, given the delegation of significant authority to districts in spite of centralized funding and regulation. There is tension between these two organizational models, and the never-ending question that we constantly face is whether or not we need to become more of a system, thereby relinquishing some of the "local control" that we hold so dear.
A recent letter from the president of the California Federation of Teachers has asked the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to amend two standards, stating ACCJC's apparent intrusion into collective bargaining in Standard III.A.1.c. and into academic freedom regarding syllabi in Standard II.A.6 (see http://www.cft.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=287:hitt...).
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"-Wizard of Oz, 1939
A lot of things happened in November of this year-the elections, state budget crisis.and the ACADEMIC SENATE PLENARY SESSION! OK, maybe my priorities are a little skewed, but I do know the priority of this article-to let you know what Session issues might have been of particular interest to faculty in the occupational, vocational and career technical fields (I find myself using all three descriptors-sometimes in the same sentence).
In the last couple of years we have provided you with updates and background on the front page of our website (www.asccc.org) about the implementation of the new minimum English and mathematics levels for the associate degree, which were adopted by the Academic Senate in Spring 2005 and approved by the Board of Governors in September 2006. By now, the colleges that previously did not have these levels should have made the necessary adjustments to their local requirements and ensured that their college catalog for next year has been modified.