April

Can Computers Replace Teachers?

In the Academic Senate paper, The Future of the Community College: A Faculty Perspective,1 the authors maintain that computer-based distance learning is inherently inferior to traditional classroom instruction. This position is not so much argued in the paper as it is merely asserted. "Teaching is the `business' of creating epiphanies," say the authors, "and this will always be best accomplished through the power of personal presence." (Future, p. 14)

Institutes "R" Us

As summer approaches, the Academic Senate is working on several training experiences for faculty and others. These summer institutes are a valuable service provided by the Academic Senate and, we hope, at least one of these opportunities may interest you-yes, YOU, not just your senate president! On tap are the Faculty Leadership Institute, the Student Leadership Institute, the Technology in Teaching Institute and the Curriculum Institute. Details on all these institutes will be available on our web site as they develop.

What is Needed to Realize the Vision of AB 1725?

Many think of AB 1725 primarily for its enactment of "shared governance" and the strengthening of the role of the academic senate, which was discussed extensively in this column in the last issue of the Rostrum. It is all too easy to forget the sweeping nature of the reforms of this landmark legislation. A brief article such as this cannot hope to touch all those points, but I have chosen a few for which I feel additional steps must be taken to realize the vision of AB 1725.

Faculty Development

Curriculum Committee

Based on my many faxes, emails, and phone messages, I am convinced that faculty view the curriculum process as very important yet often overly bureaucratic and cumbersome. Many faculty have expressed similar concerns to me directly during several of my recent visits to campuses around the state. Among the questions I've heard at the local, district, and state levels are: How do we avoid unnecessary rewrites of course proposals? How often should course outlines be updated? How do we deal with prerequisites and levels of scrutiny validation? How do we prepare on-line course proposals?

The Other Side of CalWORKs: Issues Colleges Need to Consider

The growing attention to welfare reform and the CalWORKs program is revealing new issues for community colleges. These programs are intended to provide job-specific education and the support services that will enable welfare recipients to develop the initial skills to get a job. Once employed, individuals will return to college for the more advanced education that will permit them to pursue a better life-style. In order to make this program successful, community colleges must address new issues that are rarely, or at best peripherally, mentioned in the mandates issued by the state.

Counseling and Library Faculty Counted in the 75/25 Ratio

Finally, after five years of research, meetings, resolutions, and debates, the Academic Senate was successful in getting counseling and library faculty included in the full-time/parttime faculty (75/25) ratio calculations. The Board of Governors at their November 1997 meeting approved the regulations making this change. Current counseling and library faculty will be included in the base year number for each district beginning Fall 1998.

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