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Academic Senate Newsletter

Wednesday December 19, 2012

President's Message

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Season’s Greetings! As we near the end of 2012, I find myself reflecting on the events of this past week, which go a long way towards putting things in perspective. I went from pondering when the norm became to introduce a month of reruns by celebrating a “midseason” or “winter” finale and wondering why anyone would want to marry someone who needed an impossible to forget anniversary date to ensure he or she would not forget their anniversary (no offense if you opted for the 12-12-12 wedding date) to the more serious matter of trying to understand why someone would opt to effectively attack the faculty and make them the scapegoat for all that ails our system. Just as I was wrapping my head around the latter, the event in Connecticut had us all asking more profound and unanswerable questions. Such inconceivable things put our current issues in perspective and remind us that the word “tragic” is reserved for more serious matters. But even with this reminder of the need for perspective, challenges to the regulations that ensure appropriate faculty involvement in decision-making, our persistently underfunded status, the implementation of the SSTF recommendations, and on-going accreditation issues are still things that weigh heavily on our minds. Having said that, I want to start this update by offering a special holiday greeting to our colleagues at City College of San Francisco, Cuesta, and College of the Redwoods. We know these past few months have not been easy and we are hoping for the best possible outcome for each of you in the New Year.

A safe, happy, and healthy holiday season to all,
Michelle Pilati, Ph.D.

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Collegial Consultation

As noted above and in an earlier message, a legal challenge to the Title 5 regulations that ensure faculty primacy with respect to academic and professional matters has been filed. California Competes is asserting that the twenty-year-old regulations are the primary source of our current issues and that they have permitted faculty to hinder local decision-making. If any of you has, in fact, cast a spell upon your board and they think they answer to you, please release them immediately; you are making us all look bad. I am not a lawyer, but I believe that whether or not the regulations are not legal is a matter of interpretation and that two decades of their successful implementation offers ample evidence that they are not only legal but effective. Working with CCLC, the ASCCC has long provided guidance with respect to how local governance should work. In that training, faculty primacy with respect to the issues in the senate purview is emphasized and the ultimate power of the local board is stressed. I have long been baffled by one statewide constituency group’s reported disdain for faculty and am, consequently, not surprised by their support of this challenge. What is more baffling is to see individuals expressing support for the challenge when they have a record of ignoring those same faculty who California Competes claims have “the ability to usurp the authority of local community college trustees” and “veto power”. While we seem to be constantly battling attempts to politicize academic matters, I hope that reason wins in this instance and have had assurances that it will. From a policy perspective, does it not seem like common sense to have the permanent academic staff of an institution ensured a right to be heard by the board of elected lay people? If you need a refresher on the relevant sections of Education Code and Title 5, please click here. This document was prepared in response to an earlier attempt by California Competes to draw attention to their cause. We do not need conspiracy theories to discredit this effort, but they do come in handy as we seek to explain this blatant attack on our system.

If you have taken the time to read the legal challenge (available here), you will quickly become frustrated by the misrepresentation of the regulations and a variety of other factual errors. While I find such purposeful distortions offensive, I also take great comfort in the lack of a legitimate basis for the claims being made.

You can read more about the challenge. Please note that while accreditation is mentioned in the legal challenge, ACCJC has posted a press released that states that “actions or opinions within the California Competes petition were not obtained from or endorsed by the ACCJC.” If and when anything changes, we will let you know.

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C-ID Update

Recent memos from the Chancellor’s Office established goals for AA-T and AS-T degrees, as well as requirements for participation in C-ID. C-ID was initially developed as our answer to the call for “common course numbering” and was a ready mechanism for identifying the courses in AA-T and AS-T degrees that would guarantee student acceptance into the CSU and provide the closest thing to common major preparation that the state has ever had. This is a result of unprecedented collaboration between the CCCs and CSUs and has been achieved absent Title 5 regulatory changes or new Education Code. We would prefer not to see this work legislated and have already successfully fought off legislation by asserting that participation in C-ID would ensure the portability of courses in these degrees, something Senate Bill (SB) 1440 does call for. If and when legitimate issues arise with C-ID, we want to hear about it. We have heard some odd reports about fears of losing articulation, as did happen when CSU was implementing LDTP. Colleges should not reduce their course outlines to match the minimum called for by C-ID or be revising courses without guidance from their local articulation officer. The goal of C-ID is for us to work as a system to better serve our students, something that we are called upon to do all the time. We would far prefer to establish a way to work like a system as opposed to having someone else’s concept of how we achieve SB 1440’s goals imposed on us. If you have questions and/or concerns about C-ID, we do want to hear them. Please contact us at info@c-id.net.

A special thanks to the CCC and CSU faculty from the eight disciplines that were recently convened and gave up one of two recent Saturdays to do the work of C-ID and SB 1440, reviewing course outlines of record, developing or finalizing descriptors, and/or working on TMCs. Please see the C-ID website at www.c-id.net for the latest changes. Finalized descriptors for statistics, human anatomy/physiology with lab (an integrated sequence), and business calculus are either now available or soon will be, just to name a few. Kinesiology developed leveled descriptors for a number of activity courses, chemistry will be posting a number of descriptors for review, and the Studio Arts, Art History, History, and Theatre FDRGs each reviewed over 100 course outlines of record.

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Senate Bill 1440 Update (AA-T and AS-T degrees)

Updates on the progress of the CCCs with respect to TMC-aligned degree development are provided to our Board of Governors at each of their meetings, and the CSU regularly reports out regarding their progress with respect to determinations of similar. Updates are available at www.sb1440.org under “Counseling.”  Statistics to note: 100% of CSUs with majors in art history, history, political science, and sociology have deemed the TMC “similar” and no more than 2 CSUs with the following majors have not yet deemed the following TMCs similar: administration of justice, communication studies, early childhood education, elementary teacher education, English, mathematics, music, physics, psychology, studio arts, and theatre arts. These data are based on a report generated on October 26, 2012.

Finalized TMCs for Spanish, philosophy, and chemistry are either posted or will soon be available. Degree development based on the chemistry TMC is not possible until after IGETC for STEM disciplines is formally available to the colleges; we anticipate that this will occur by the end of January. Now vetting are a radio, television, and film TMC and two engineering model curricula. The engineering model curricula do not conform to the SB 1440 unit limits, but we hope that curricula can be agreed to and the benefits of SB 1440 conferred on students who complete degrees based on the proposed model curricula. A biology TMC is also expected in the near future.

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Department of Finance Signs Off on Title 5 Changes and More

At long last, the Department of Finance (DOF) has approved the new Title 5 regulations regarding repeatable courses. The changes will now go into full effect for the Fall 2013 term.  In addition, the DOF recently announced that they have signed off on the enrollment priorities regulations that were also approved by the Board of Governors some time ago.

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SSTF Recommendation Implementation

Things have felt rather quiet with respect to efforts related to implementation of the Student Success Task Force recommendations, but progress has been underway. Work continues with respect to data elements for student services activities, Title 5 regulations, and funding with respect to student services. Professional development discussions continue and a “summit” took place on aligning courses with student needs. There is nothing truly concrete to share at this point in time. On the “aligning” front, if your college does not currently have some means of prioritizing course offerings, this might be a task your senate opts to tackle.

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Winter Reading

If you have actually taken the time to read all of this update, you will probably welcome some additional reading suggestions for any downtime that you are looking forward to. We are pleased to share that our post-Plenary Rostrum covers a host of timely topics (available at this link). If you have not yet read the LAO’s recent report “Restructuring California’s Adult Education System,” it is worth a read (available at this link).

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