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Academic Senate Newsletter

Monday December 12, 2011

Bah Humbug or Joy to the World?

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Regardless of whether or not you embrace the season, we can all be thankful for the upcoming downtime. I’m personally looking forward to going completely off the grid, presumably to return to a simpler 2012. One can wish, right? As the end of 2011 approaches, we await the final version of the Student Success Task Force recommendations and our Chancellor’s Office is working hard to facilitate 100% compliance with respect to Senate Bill 1440. What will 2012 bring? We can all hope for time to focus on doing our best by our students, as opposed to responding to new legislative mandates. Perhaps we should be offering up some New Year’s resolution ideas to folks who spend much of their time in Sacramento.

All the best to you and yours,


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SSTF Update

The final meeting of the Student Success Task Force (SSTF) was held on December 7. Prior to the meeting it was determined that the proposal to make student success courses noncredit should be removed. The meeting began with an overview of the comments received on the website and by email. The take-home message from this discussion was the need to be careful with the implementation of the SSTF recommendations – the need to be sure that they do not harm the students who need us the most. Issues of concern with respect to the introduction, Chapter 4, Chapter 6, and Recommendation 8.3 were all topics of considerable discussion.

Efforts were made at the meeting to rewrite 4.1 and 8.3, so as to ensure that there were no surprises when the next iteration of the recommendations is made public. It is not clear when that document will be available, but a summary document and the language of 4.1 and 8.3 have been provided to the field. At the end of the day, the final document is certain to be much improved over the earlier versions.

While the document does now acknowledge the cost implications of the recommendations, it does not offer a means of providing the needed funds. And issues of equity will necessarily be in the forefront as implementation begins. I would encourage everyone to start focusing on implementation, as that is where the greatest challenge lies. Effective and timely implementation may be essential to warding off additional legislation. One student success effort that we began some time ago and may be stalled locally is the expansion of the use of prerequisites. A possible New Year’s resolution for local senates? The SSTF recommendations will likely be adopted by the Board of Governors at their January meeting.

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Compliance, Degrees, and Determinations of “Similar”

As you all know, Senate Bill 1440 called for every college to have transfer degrees available to students by Fall 2011. The Chancellor’s Office is working hard to facilitate the compliance of all our colleges (i.e., at least two AA-T or AS-T degrees fully approved). Questions about how many degrees have been and will be developed have repeatedly been a focus at meetings of the 1440 Intersegmental Oversight Committee. It has been stated that the community colleges need to continue creating AA-T and AS-T degrees to demonstrate their compliance with the legislation. At the same time, one can argue that there needs to be more CSU determinations of similar for them to show their compliance. In the interest of avoiding any unnecessary “clean-up” legislation, colleges should be reviewing the TMCs and the determinations of similar to identify additional degrees for development. Please see the C-ID website at www.c-id.net for more information. While final CSU determinations of similar for the TMCs now available are expected by December 31, the posted document is updated regularly.

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