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Academic Senate Newsletter

Monday March 17, 2014

President's Update

Beth Smith
Grossmont College

Dear Senate Presidents,

March madness is upon us as we head into spring breaks, midterms, Area meetings, and all the other excitement that spring brings to our colleges. At the state level, there are new initiatives and old ones that keep us busy. Here is a quick view of what's going on:

Student Success Center - Congratulations to California which is one of only three states to be awarded an opportunity to create a state-wide student success center for community college students. In an effort led by the Chancellor's Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges, entities from our system were invited to join a coalition to bring this resource to our students, and the Senate was invited to join the team. The governor supported the coalition as well, and now the Senate will be moving forward together with our partners to give faculty an opportunity to contribute and shape the center. Work will begin in late spring, and we'll send out a call for faculty volunteers as soon as we know more about the governance structure for the center and how to include the faculty voice in meaningful ways. 

Overall, the spotlight is once again on California as a leader in bringing about important educational initiatives for community college students and their success. The Senate is a leader in supporting student success, and we are seen as a potential partner rather than a competitor which greatly increases the number of invitations we receive to join projects. In fact, we have had more than four successful project proposals this year already because of our willingness to be part of a team. Through relationship building, many faculty will be able to influence the direction California takes for community college students.

Performance Metrics and Goals - On the heels of legislation from the last couple years plus insistence from the governor that the CCC system have goals related to student success, the Chancellor's Office has crafted some goals aligned with the scorecard metrics. This action is proactive and an attempt to recommend goals that make sense for our mission and students, rather than allow other entities to establish goals for us. UC and CSU were not so fortunate or proactive and had goals determined for their respective systems. While the scorecard metrics were discussed at fall plenary and in other venues, we learned about the proposed goals and targets on Feb. 20 at the February Consultation Council meeting, and the Board of Governors will take action on the goals in May. Spring plenary will be the best time for you to learn about the goals, however if you are interested in more information prior to plenary, click here to check out the information presented to the BOG on March 4.

Revisions to the Accreditation Standards - The ASCCC Accreditation and Assessment Committee has prepared a detailed report on the proposed revisions to the ACCJC standards. We strongly encourage you to review the standards and send comments to ACCJC through a local process that includes recommendations of your senate. All comments are due April 30 to the commission. The report from the ASCCC Accreditation and Assessment committee can help with local conversations, and again, there will be opportunity to discuss a response from the Academic Senate at spring plenary. Click here to read the report.

Also, the Senate was asked to participate in the joint legislative audit of ACCJC and accreditation processes. Our interviews are confidential until the report is public, and we directed the audit team to the Senate website for information about our resolutions, letters written to ACCJC and the US Department of Education, and the role of faculty in the accreditation process.

Spring Plenary - We are looking forward to seeing all of you at plenary April 10-12 at the SFO Westin. Our theme this year is "Academic Excellence: Strengthening Our Core," and we anticipate many excellent conversations about a variety of timely topics.  If you haven't already made reservations, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. As usual, our program is packed with wonderful speakers, presentations, elections, and voting on resolutions on Saturday. Register today!

Elections - Most of you know by now that there will be a contested election for ASCCC President. Our elections chair, Dan Crump, is preparing a structured way for you to meet the candidates and ask questions. As soon as Dan establishes a plan, it will be shared with all of you.

Academic Senate Foundation Spring Fling - From Foundation President, Julie Bruno - The Academic Senate Foundation is pleased to announce the inaugural Spring Fling to take place on Friday night of Plenary Session, April 11th. The Spring Fling will be an evening of dining and dancing as well as a silent auction with fabulous items. It's sure to be the event of the season! Act now to obtain your ticket now while there are still some available - at only $100 each, they are going fast! Tables of eight can be purchased for $1,000. A special reception for table sponsors and their guests will be held prior to the dinner giving them a sneak peek of the evening’s festivities. Tickets or tables can be purchased during the registration process or by following this link: http://asccc.org/foundation-spring-fling-online-payment. All proceeds benefit the Foundation’s mission to enhance the excellence of the California community colleges by sustained support for professional development of the faculty in the furtherance of effective teaching and learning practices. For more information and to purchase your tickets or table of eight (8) visit the Spring Session webpage or contact AS Foundation President Julie Bruno at jbruno@sierracollege.edu.

Department of Finance Support for the Academic Senate - The Senate budget was reduced during the recession and luckily we received a huge increase in 2013-14. We are hoping to continue that trend by seeking even more revenue to support the work of the Senate in 2014-15. For the first time, the Senate has approached the DOF directly about increased funding for the work we do. When we speak about the role of faculty in student success initiatives, legislative mandates, and our contributions to educating California's citizens, people are easily convinced that the Senate needs an increased budget. We are optimistic about receiving more funding next year which will enable us to improve our service to your senates.

Hayward Award and Our First Official Recognition of Part Time Faculty Winners - At the Board of Governors' meeting this month, four faculty were recognized as outstanding in their disciplines and service to the college and community. For the first time, two of the winners were part time faculty. In response to a resolution from the body, we created a rotating schedule where two Areas will nominate part time faculty for the Hayward Award and two will nominate full time faculty. This year part time from Areas A and D were recognized. Here is part of a thank you note I received from the Area A winner Rebecca Sarkisian, music, Fresno City College: “I am deeply honored and most grateful. Allow me to say, how proud I am to be in the first group of adjunct faculty honored in this way. Thank you for extending the award to include part time faculty. As I said, I believe this reflects the executive committee's (and all others involved with this decision) insight, understanding and appreciation of the contributions of adjunct faculty. It truly sends a significant and positive message. Thank you." Cick here to read more about this year's Hayward Award winners.


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