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Academic Senate Newsletter

Tuesday January 17, 2012

Happy New Year

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Dear Local Senate Presidents:

As the year ends, it makes sense to consider all that has happened in this eventful year. Oh, wait – we’re not even three weeks into January. So much has happened in a very short time, setting the stage for a very busy 2012. A Happy New Year to all – take a moment to appreciate the fresh start that comes with a new year and a new term – and then prepare for a very busy year ahead.

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Student Success Task Force (SSTF) Recommendations

If you’ve been watching your email, you know that on January 9 the recommendations of the SSTF were adopted by our Board of Governors (BOG). This happened after approximately three hours of testimony with over 60 people speaking. While there were some select wholesale supporters of the recommendations (including the Campaign for College Opportunity and MALDEF), most expressed general concerns about restricting access or specific concerns about implementation. Speakers were limited to two minutes. I chose to focus on the implementation process and the need for it to be thoughtful and appropriately staged. You can find my comments, as well as other related resources, on our website.

The following day the BOG adopted their annual legislative agenda based on the recommendations. This agenda expresses their priorities for legislation either that originates with them or in bills others develop. Many members of the Board expressed concerns about this timing; adopting the recommendations on one day with just one reading and then adopting a legislative agenda based on them the following day reinforces concerns regarding the speed at which this has all progressed. The Board and the Chancellor’s Office appear to appreciate the need for implementation to occur in an incremental and well-planned fashion. Commitments have been repeatedly made to follow all established processes with respect to the development of both regulations and legislation.

The Academic Senate is developing its approach to the recommendations, using our resolutions as a guide. Resolutions from 2011 Fall Session that addressed the recommendations and have implications for implementation are amongst those shaping our approach.

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While it is too early to say anything for certain regarding what legislation will impact us this year, there are some hints at what we might expect. Legislative interest in the cost of textbooks continues to be high and it appears that there may be renewed interest in open educational resources. Despite all the hard work of the SSTF and its determination that performance-based funding should not be recommended, it appears that some ideas that were rejected by the SSTF may make it into bills in the upcoming session. The Academic Senate will be working with other faculty groups to monitor things in the coming months and we will keep you informed as bills develop. February 24 is the final day for new bills to be introduced.

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Entertainingly, the budget was released early due to human error. Details continue to be dispersed. Unfortunately, it is a budget that requires us to plan for the worst in case it happens. Although touted as a budget absent “gimmicks," it is based on revenue generated by new taxes to be passed in November. If those new taxes are not voted in by the people of California, we suffer a pretty severe cut with little time to do the cutting.

Alarmingly, the budget proposes to consolidate all categoricals, including the Academic Senate. The good news is that the Chancellor’s Office is standing firmly behind the SSTF recommendations – recommendations that do not propose consolidation. In a CCLC-hosted budget call last week, Chancellor Scott was emphatic about his Office’s opposition to consolidation. There also seems to be a sense that the Legislature is also unlikely to be in support of categorical consolidation.

This is, of course, only the Governor’s budget proposal. It is a starting point. Much will happen between now and May, as is the case each year. For more information, including the archived CCLC call regarding the budget, go to http://www.ccleague.net/.

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Exemplary Program Awards

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At last week’s BOG meeting we had the honor of presenting the Academic Senate’s Exemplary Program Awards. This year’s theme, Student Success: Programs Engaging First-year Students , resulted in the selection of programs that highlight existing efforts to engage and promote the retention and success of new students. Awardees shared their programs with the BOG, emphasizing how they link to the SSTF recommendations. Santa Ana and Cosumnes River Colleges were selected to receive the 2011-12 Exemplary Program and two other colleges (De Anza and Norco Colleges) were selected to receive Honorable Mentions for this prestigious award. Each of these programs—Exemplary Award winners and Honorable Mentions alike—have found novel solutions in these current challenging fiscal times to effectively serve students. For more about the award-winning programs, please see the Academic Senate and CCCCO press releases. We are also pleased to highlight these programs in an upcoming Rostrum.

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SSTF – What Next?

As noted, the Academic Senate is working on developing an approach to the SSTF recommendations and providing guidance for local senates. This year’s Academic Academy offers an excellent opportunity to share existing and explore new approaches to student success that you can implement locally.

Academic Academy - For the Common Good: Foundations for Success
February 24, 2012 - February 25, 2012
Doubletree Anaheim/Orange County

What are colleges doing to ensure the success of students in our classes and programs?  What strategies can be employed across the college to foster better outcomes for all students? This year's ASCCC Academic Academy focuses on the integrated college experience – where support services and academics are explicitly connected and the development of the foundational skills needed for success is emphasized in all classes, not merely those identified as basic skills. The intended outcome of this Academy is to promote success by empowering local success champions from all disciplines.

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