Having trouble reading this email? View it on your browser. Not interested anymore? Unsubscribe Instantly.

Academic Senate Newsletter

Friday September 4, 2009

Did you know?

Did you know?

  • The community colleges took a hit of $830 million.
  • Some districts have reduced their class schedules by as much as 20%. One district, San Diego CCD, cut 600 classes from their schedule.
  • Student services have been hit the hardest, with at least $193 million in reductions.
  • Last year college enrollment overall was the highest ever (over 2.9 million).
  • In the last four years, California community college enrollment has surged 15.9%.

Is this ironic or what? More students than ever want a place in our colleges as our budgets are slashed and we’re forced to cut class sections and services! Despite the fiscal and enrollment challenges, it is reassuring to remember that we can and do make a difference in the lives of our students.

It is hard to imagine a college that is left unscathed by the reductions to our funding. What is most painful for faculty and administrators is to turn away students, yet that is precisely what we are forced to do. Perhaps the best advice for faculty is to ensure their colleges have clearly established policies that are being followed and that the spirit of participatory governance is honored as they participate in decisions about programs, services and budgets. While Title 5 does not establish a faculty role in the implementation of budget policies, at some colleges there are faculty representatives who sit on budget allocation committees, which means that the faculty voice is heard when it comes to which courses and services are the most critical for today’s students. At other colleges, most determinations are made without faculty present. We urge faculty to remain engaged and assert the faculty role when programs are grown or reduced---as these clearly fall under “academic and professional matters".

back to top Back to top

AB 440

The Academic Senate remained active all summer, representing local senates in Sacramento. For those of you who followed AB 440, the bill that called for an associate transfer degree, the bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee in July, and while it did not get enough votes to move out of the house, we understand that there is still a great deal of interest in several camps to enact such a new law. The Academic Senate will remain vigilant in all related discussions. Thanks to those of you who voiced your concerns about the bill along the way.

back to top Back to top

Master Plan

Is it time to revisit the California Master Plan for Higher Education? There are legislators, researchers and others who have an array of ideas, and the Academic Senate is participating in preliminary discussions both with the UC and CSU faculty on ICAS (the Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates) and in a newly formed Consultation Task group about the future of community colleges (with representatives from Academic Senate, unions, administrators, classified and the Chancellor’s Office).

back to top Back to top

ACCJC Processes

Another Consultation Task group has been meeting to identify some of the major concerns that all constituent groups across the system have about ACCJC processes, such as the lack of training of team members and the unusual percentage of colleges on some sort of sanction, compared to other regions. Members of this group, led by Chancellor Scott, will meet with the ACCJC leadership in the near future with a goal to help communicate some system-wide recommendations for improvement. We will keep you posted.

back to top Back to top

Academic Senate

The state budget situation did not leave the Academic Senate unaffected. While precise numbers are not out yet, the reductions will amount to between 32-60%. Despite reductions, we have made a decision not to reduce a most important function of our organization: the support we provide for local senates in our institutes and sessions. Registration is available on our website for all the events this year; we encourage faculty to make the case for why attending these professional development activities.  (See side bar "Also This Month" for 2009-2010 Institute information.) 

Last Spring at our Plenary Session we adopted many important positions which will guide the work of the Academic Senate this year. One in particular affects many colleges, and that is Resolution 13.11 (S09) Selection Process and Duration for Interim Administrative Positions. Many colleges today have interim administrators, and colleges should be aware that Title 5 §53021 provides that “no interim appointment or series of interim appointments exceed one year in duration” and that even with the approval of the Chancellor extensions of such appointments may not exceed one year.  The Academic Senate will work on the resolution this year and will disseminate more information in the coming months.

On August 21, we sent a short survey to local senates, requesting them to vote for a new organizational logo for the Academic Senate. If you have not already done so, I hope senate presidents will share the link provided in that email and solicit the reactions of others on campus before casting the vote from your college.

In his final President’s Update in the Spring, President Mark Wade Lieu expressed his appreciation to faculty for serving our students and faculty colleagues so well. I wish to extend our appreciation to Mark for the nine years he served on the Academic Senate Executive Committee, the important publications he penned, the countless meetings he ran, all executed with his characteristic positive attitude!

I send my best wishes for a successful fall term! I look forward to seeing you at 2009 Plenary Session in November.

Jane Patton

back to top Back to top