Friday December 4, 2009
Well, the holiday rush has begun, accompanied by the end-of-term crunch. And in addition to these annual pressures, colleges are still contending with myriad budget pains, reducing class sections and turning students away. Not surprisingly, the Academic Senate is getting many inquiries these days pertaining to faculty roles in budgeting, planning, program reduction or elimination and enrollment management, as well as the ongoing questions about accreditation processes. I’d like to remind you of the many resources
that are always available to you on the asccc.org website and especially our publications. I recommend that you (or perhaps a senator) peruse the Rostrums
from the last couple of years, as there are many informative and helpful articles that may be more relevant to your issues today than when they were published.
In addition, we have several recently-adopted papers to help you with your current challenges. (While they may not yet be available in paper copy, they are on the website. Your college representatives who attended Plenary Sessions last year and this Fall have paper draft copies.) Especially relevant to the kinds of inquiries we’ve gotten this year are the papers adopted in the last few years on accreditation and three papers adopted last Spring and this Fall: a) Program Review: Setting A Standard; b) Enrollment Management Revisited; and c) Budget
Considerations: A Primer for Senate Leaders.
Speaking of inquiries, one college recently wondered what the Academic Senate is doing to express faculty concerns at the state level in the current budget discussions. I assure you that your representatives on all the state participatory governance committees speak loudly and strongly about the needs of all of our students (e.g. for support services) and why we need to include depth and breadth in our course offerings. But if you saw the speech that Chancellor Scott gave at the Community College League of California conference in November (a copy was sent to you by your Area Representative) you’ll notice several themes
that he keeps repeating: 1) “avocational” courses are being scrutinized; 2) use of technology could be expanded to reduce costs; 3) the delivery
of some classes, such as basic skills, could be offered in an accelerated mode; 4) articulation and transfer processes should be streamlined. I imagine that you reacted, as I did, to hearing these themes with a series of what I call “yeah, but’s”: “Yeah, that’s a good idea, but . . . . “ From what I am hearing in state level discussions, both our colleges and our state will be challenged by these recurring suggestions to reform. We welcome your reactions and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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If you have read the newspapers and followed the reports from Sacramento, you know that the budget picture is not rosy. The Chancellor reports that while the system experienced at least a 7% cut overall, our categorical programs were cut up to 30% or more. Yet at the same time that colleges reduced sections, there is an overall 3.1% increase in student headcount and 4.3% increase in FTES. While that means colleges are more efficient, we know first hand that it also means a lot of students have not been served. As for what is next, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) released its five-year fiscal forecast
for the state, which suggests the budget for next year will be much worse that originally predicted. In January the Governor will write his proposed budget for the New Year, and then the 6+ months’ battle for a budget will begin again.
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Successful Plenary Session
At our Fall 2009 session we unveiled our new Academic Senate logo and our new tag line, Leadership, Empowerment, Voice as well as our new values statement. Our keynote speakers presented timely perspectives on academic freedom, on using research in governance and teaching, and on the status of the California community colleges. Breakouts provided information and opportunity for discussion from all our committees Delegates adopted over fifty resolutions
. Many senates find it useful for their delegate to report back at the next senate meeting about key resolutions that were debated and share the information from the sessions, and remember that all resolutions and many of the presentation materials are also on the website.
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Would you like a visitor?
Serving as liaisons to the Academic Senate, members of the Executive Committee and the Relations with Local Senates Committee visit local senates when invited. If you are interested in having someone come to your senate meeting or to meet with one or more your local senate officers, please contact Local Senates chair Dan Crump at Crumpd@arc.losrios.edu
. In fact, you may already have been contacted by a committee member. Please know that the purpose is only to see if we can be of service to you and to learn about your issues and ideas.
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On November 28 we sent senate presidents the recent legal advisory from the Chancellor's Office regarding student catalog rights. We asked for this advisory after receiving inquiries about the catalog rights of a student who began college before the new mathematics and English requirements took effect in Fall 2009 but who then transferred to another community college. This advisory explains what colleges may or may not choose to do. I suggest you share the memo - especially with counseling faculty.
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As the fall term draws to a close, I extend warm wishes for the holidays and the New Year from all of us at the Academic Senate. And if you have not yet registered for our many events in the New Year, please go to asccc.org and look for “Events” on the left side. We don’t want you to be left out!
Academic Senate for California Community Colleges
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