California’s Build Back Better effort requires reimagining possibilities. Student success is the key to the economic vitality of the state and of local regions. In a report published by the California Governor’s Council for Post-Secondary Education, Recovery with Equity: A Roadmap for Higher Education After the Pandemic, a series of recommendations were established focused on the following guiding principles:
The system-wide effort to diversify faculty rests on evidence that a diverse faculty improves the retention and success of diverse students served by the California community colleges. The 2019 Literature Review on Faculty, Staff, and Student Diversity compiled by the Board of Governors Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force summarizes a sampling of this research (California Community Colleges Diversity Taskforce, 2019).
Academic senates and student governments can create a critical partnership in addressing systemic changes to support equitable student success. Through the guided pathways framework, colleges have learned to design with students in mind. The best way to keep students at the forefront of discussions is to partner with student governments.
Given that one of the missions of the California community colleges is providing opportunities for students to prepare for transfer to four-year institutions, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has long been engaged in the work of streamlining the transfer process.
THE EXEMPLARY PROGRAM AWARD
“Our work is about the “We” not the “I”
In fall of 2019, ASCCC plenary session delegates debated and adopted a series of resolutions that updated sections of the ASCCC Rules—and in one case, its bylaws—that pertain to the elections process for members of the ASCCC Executive Committee. The order in which representative positions are elected has been reversed. Nominations from the floor will not be called for except in the case of positions for which no one has accepted a nomination.
(In 2013, the Academic Senate Executive Committee approved a project to record and preserve the history of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. The April 2017 Rostrum contains an article that explains the intent and structure of this project. The following article was written as an aspect of the history project and is the first in a series of planned articles remembering individuals who made outstanding contributions to the work of the ASCCC.)
Most people would agree that communication brings people together and, with empathy and an open mind, can provide the foundation for understanding and growth. The thought of moving into action and beyond words is exciting: to change a dominant culture to one more inclusive of all diverse voices, one that validates and empowers those often silenced and marginalized. Women, for example, have been trailblazing and fighting for equality and equity for centuries.
Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) Bylaws Article VI states, “Academic Senate caucuses are intended to serve as groups of independently organized faculty to meet, network, and deliberate collegially in order to form a collective voice on issues of common concern that caucus members feel are of vital importance to faculty and the success of students as they relate to academic and professional matters.” The caucus structure is a conscious effort by the ASCCC to establish a means within the organization to ensure all voices are heard.