Student success has hit the press and airwaves as though it is a new idea, an innovative concept. It is bandied about as if no one had ever thought of such a novel idea. Well, California community college faculty have always thought about and planned for student success. Faculty are dedicated to supporting and facilitating student success. In fact, student success is the core guiding principle of our work.
Spurred in part by a press release from the Chancellor’s Office, delegates passed two resolutions on the topic of “excess units” at the Spring 2010 Plenary Session. One resolution urged that the Senate “research and develop an understanding of the causes of student accumulation of ‘excess units’ for the determination of ways that such unit accumulation can be appropriately minimized” (13.02) while a second resolution “affirm[ed] that high unit counts beyond direct necessity for degree or certificate completion or for transfer are not inherently negative” (13.06).
SEC. 70. (a) There is a direct linkage between those sections of this act which constitute the further professionalization of the faculty and the moneys required to enhance the programs of the community colleges for “transitional program improvement,” as specified in Section 84755 of the Education Code.
In Fall 2007, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges passed Resolution 13.04, presented by Greg Gilbert of Copper Mountain College and titled “A Document in Support of an Academic Culture.” The resolution stated in part that “just because our students pay fees, they are not customers; and just because managers have adopted such titles as Chief Instruction Officers, Chief Executive Officers, and Chief Business Officers, they are not corporate officers but managers whose jobs are to provide the necessary resources for all faculty to serve our students and missions.” Greg Gilber
Considering how important worker training is to the economic recovery both nationally and statewide, it is essential to increase the investment in education, particularly at the community college level, where much of the job training takes place. However, the danger looms of reductions to vital programs and to already scarce resources. Since an educated workforce is the foundation of any substantial economic recovery and sustainable future growth, more investment in education is required.
In August 2009, California Community College Chancellor Jack Scott terminated a Memorandum of Understanding with Kaplan University that had become unpopular and was vilified even before it was initially signed nine months earlier. Initial conversations between Kaplan and the Chancellor’s Office had begun with now-retired Vice Chancellor Carole Bogue-Feinour.
These days everyone is talking about the new “green economy,” about how green jobs are the future. Government and industry are putting billions of dollars into creating jobs in all shades of green, from solar-panel installers to electric-car builders, and Americans are clamoring to get them. Green jobs continue to grown amidst the economic downturn - California's unemployment rate has hovered around 12.4% for almost a year.
The conversation about sustainability and green technologies permeates our society in a variety of venues from newspapers to talk radio, from think tanks to the oval office, and for good reason. Organizations and individuals are broadly interested not only in the future of the planet and the cost to keep it healthy, but also in how they might reduce personal costs for related goods and services such as electricity, petroleum products, paper, etc.
In the last decade, outside factors have had increasing impact on the California community college system, including legislation, the economy, accreditation, and of course, the budget.
At the 2010 Fall Plenary Session, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges approved the paper “Guiding Principles for SLO Assessment.” The paper details the importance of faculty engagement in the development and assessment of student learning outcomes (SLOs). Dialog about student learning is a crticial accreditation theme and an important element in the Accreditating Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Institutional Effectiveness SLO rubric.
As stated in the Guiding Principle #7 of the SLO Paper, page 21: