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Academic Senate Newsletter

Tuesday October 7, 2014

President's Update

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Hello senate presidents and other interested readers,

October and November are very busy months, with almost every organization in our system holding an annual or bi-annual conference, preparations for the legislative year heating up in Sacramento, and of course plenty of activity on local campuses as the academic year roles along. In addition, the many statewide initiatives that began earlier in 2014 continue to progress. Although all of you have plenty to think about already, you may find updates in a few areas useful or interesting.

David Morse, President

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Fall 2014 ASCCC Plenary Session

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As noted in the September President’s Update, the ASCCC Fall Plenary Session will be held in Irvine from November 13-15.  Registration for the event is now open; more information is available on our website. The fall plenary’s theme, “Calling All Voices,” reflects the dedication of the Academic Senate and of all of our system partners to equity and diversity at our colleges as well as the ASCCC’s commitment to inclusion and diversity within our own organization. Although final preparations for the plenary session are still in progress, at this point we can preview a few possible attractions for you.

The scheduled general sessions will cover some of the most important issues facing our system today. The first will be a panel discussion with representatives from the three ongoing statewide technology initiatives:  Online Education, Common Assessment, and Educational Planning. This presentation will be followed throughout the day on Thursday with breakout sessions devoted to each initiative at which attendees can discuss and ask questions. The second general session will be focused on the changes to noncredit funding and on directions for noncredit instruction.  Finally, Friday’s keynote speaker will focus on issues of gender equity. In addition, the State of the Senate speech will highlight the ASCCC’s strategic planning process and its current draft goals, which will also be presented for input and revision suggestions in a breakout session.

The ASCCC Executive Committee has seen the numerous questions raised by local senate leaders regarding Brown Act compliance, and thus Chancellor’s Office Interim General Counsel Michelle Goldberg will join us for a breakout presentation on this topic. In addition, two new members of the Chancellor’s Office Staff, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Pam Walker and Vice-Chancellor of Institutional Effectiveness Theresa Tena, will be present throughout most of the plenary session and will join the ASCCC President and Vice-president for a breakout session on Friday to discuss their new roles and answer questions. Other topics for breakout sessions include hiring diverse faculty, student mental health, program review tools, messaging to students about transfer degrees, the new accreditation standards, professional development, and many others. Check out the preliminary program here

We hope that you will join us in Irvine to receive information, to give input to the Executive Committee, and to help formulate and approve ASCCC positions. We need to hear your voices in order to represent you, so come to the plenary session and make yourselves heard.

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Area Meetings

Before the plenary session, of course, come the area meetings, which will be held on October 24 and 25. Area representatives James Todd (Area A), Dolores Davison (Area B), John Freitas (Area C), and Cynthia Rico (Area D) are gearing up to lead their respective meetings and to help inform you about statewide events and issues.  No cost other than your own travel is involved with participation in area meetings, so please plan to attend and to bring along any interested members of your local senate. Pre-meeting materials, including the initial packet of plenary session resolutions developed by ASCCC committees, will be available during the week of October 13-17. Additional information on the area meetings, including locations, can be found by clicking on the links above.

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Executive Committee On The Road to Represent You

Members of the Executive Committee will be very busy in the next two months representing you in various venues.  Recently Secretary John Stanskas attended the Chancellor’s Circle Luncheon in San Diego on October 3 and met with faculty leaders there, while Noncredit Committee Chair Debbie Klein represented the Senate at the AB 86 Summit in Sacramento on October 6-7.  Vice-President Julie Bruno, Executive Director Julie Adams, Treasurer Wheeler North, and I will be presenting at the Research and Planning Group’s Student Success Conference on October 8-10. Wheeler North, Curriculum Committee Chair Michelle Grimes-Hillman, and I will present breakouts at the California Community College Association for Occupational Education (CCCAOE) conference on October 22-24.  On October 30, I will be taking part in a general session at the Chief Instructional Officers’ bi-annual meeting.  On November 16, Julie Adams and I will represent the Senate at the Fall General Assembly of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges.  Finally, Julie Bruno and I, along with C-ID Coordinator Michelle Pilati, will be making presentations at the Community College League of California Conference on November 20-22.

In addition, Executive Committee members have made numerous recent visits to local campuses. Michelle Grimes-Hillman and John Freitas made a Flex Day presentation on shared governance at Fullerton College on August 19, and Michelle also joined Michelle Pilati for a presentation to the Pasadena City College Curriculum Committee on September 4. On September 10, John Stanskas visited Modesto Junior College to present on transfer degrees and unit issues. On September 30, Craig Rutan and Michelle Grimes-Hillman visited Cypress College to discuss local issues regarding assigning courses to disciplines and curriculum topics. On October 1, John Stanskas and I made presentations at the Pasadena City College Flex Day on college governance and on the importance of general education. Finally, on October 3, Dolores Davison and Dan Crump met with the academic senate at Berkeley City College. If you are interested in having the ASCCC Executive Committee members visit your college, contact us or send an email directly to an ASCCC Executive Committee member and we will do all we can to accommodate you.

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Upcoming Executive Committee Meetings

The October Executive Committee Meeting will be held in Lake Tahoe on October 10-12, with the first day of the meeting taking place at Lake Tahoe College. The agenda for the meeting is available here. The November Executive Committee Meeting will be held the day before the Fall Plenary Session, November 12, at Irvine Valley College. We urge all local senate leaders and other interested parties to join us at our meetings to hear our discussions and interact with us.

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Open Educational Resources Council

The Open Educational Resources Council is a joint body of faculty from the CCC, CSU, and UC systems established through SB 1052 and SB 1053 (Steinberg 2012) to make high quality, low-cost instructional materials available for faculty and student use.  The council consists of three faculty members from each segment and a coordinator. Kale Braden is the ASCCC Executive Committee’s representative on this body, which began its work earlier in 2014 and is now in the process of overseeing the review by discipline experts of textbooks in its first five disciplines (statistics, economics, public speaking, chemistry, and history). The council hopes to have materials in these initial disciplines available by the end of 2014 and will continue to review and make materials available in other areas. This important project has the potential to lower textbook costs for many students throughout our system, although of course each individual faculty member or department must make the final decision as to whether these materials are appropriate for any specific class.  For more information, see the council’s web page by clicking here.

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Community College Baccalaureate Degrees

As most of you know, the governor signed Senate Bill 850 (Block, 2014) on September 28, authorizing a limited pilot through which California community colleges may offer bachelor’s degrees. By the decision of a majority of our delegates, the ASCCC opposed this bill throughout the legislative process, even though in the end we were nearly the only opposition. Now the bill has passed the legislature and been signed, and the implementation phase must begin.  Many questions remain to be answered regarding this pilot and these degrees on topics such as minimum qualifications, general education requirements, funding, and others. The Chancellor’s Office is considering the formation of a task force to address these issues. The ASCCC will continue to represent faculty in these discussions and will keep you informed of developments as they occur. One can also expect a good deal of discussion of this topic at the Fall Plenary Session.

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Statewide Technology Initiatives

Work continues on the three technology initiatives (Online Education, Common Assessment, and Educational Planning). All of the steering committees for the initiatives are working diligently and making progress toward their goals.  Recently, the Online Education Initiative held its inaugural training for course reviewers to evaluate submissions to the project. The Common Assessment Initiative will be sending out the continuum of competencies in math and English during the week of October 13th and for ESL after they are finalized on October 17th. These competencies will form the basis of the RFP, so faculty in English, ESL, math, and assessment are urged to review and comment on them.  Information will be available via the ASCCC Listservs.  If you are not already on the math, English, ESL or the president’s listserv, you can sign up today by clicking here to receive this important information.  Executive Committee Members John Freitas and Dan Crump (OEI), Craig Rutan (CAI), and Cynthia Rico (EPI) will hold breakouts and will be available to answer questions on the initiatives at the Fall Plenary Session.

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Chancellor’s Office Institutional Effectiveness Division

The Chancellor’s Office has recently created a new division of Institutional Effectiveness and hired a new vice-chancellor, Theresa Tena, to lead that division.  Vice-Chancellor Tena is no stranger to the Academic Senate, as she has for the past several years worked cooperatively and effectively with us in her position as Vice-President of the Community College League of California.  The new division is charged with providing technical assistance to colleges in the areas of accreditation status, fiscal stability, student performance, and legal compliance.  The ASCCC expects to be an important partner with the Institutional Effectiveness Division in all areas but especially in matters of student performance, as professional development in this area falls directly under Academic Senate purview.  Vice-Chancellor Tena has volunteered to attend the ASCCC Fall Plenary Session to meet faculty and answer questions regarding her new position and plans for the new division.  We look forward to working with the vice-chancellor and encourage you to get to know her at the plenary session.

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ASCCC Facebook Page

A new development in the communications efforts of the ASCCC is the creation of a page on Facebook. While the Academic Senate is aware that social media is not for everyone, we hope that the Facebook page will serve as an additional medium through which we can keep all faculty around the state more informed regarding ASCCC events and activities and important state-level announcements. The page does not allow for two-way communication; only the ASCCC staff will be able to make posts, and the majority of the announcements will direct readers to more detailed information on the ASCCC website or in other appropriate locations. This new effort is not a replacement for any of our existing communication venues, but rather a supplement which we hope will prove popular and useful. We urge all local senate presidents and faculty leaders who have Facebook accounts not only to click on the link above (or search for Academic Senate for California Community Colleges) and to like and follow the page themselves but also to announce it to their entire senates and even to their faculty as a whole, encouraging all faculty, both full-time and part-time, to connect with us. Indeed, we also welcome emeritus faculty, administrators, trustees, student leaders, and staff to like and follow the page—anyone with a connection to the community college system. The more connections we make through the Facebook page, the more we will be able to inform not only faculty statewide but the entire system about our activities, events, and positions and to stress the importance of the work of the ASCCC.

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Accreditation Institute

As many of you know, for the past few years the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) has partnered with the ASCCC on our annual Accreditation Institute.  This year, the ACCJC is planning its own event, and thus they will not be continuing their partnership with the ASCCC at this time.  However, Vice-Chancellor Theresa Tena, the leader of the new Chancellor’s Office Division of Institutional Effectiveness, has promised a partnership with her office this year. The Accreditation Institute will be held at the San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport on February 20-21. Registration will open soon, so please plan to attend.

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Regional Meetings

On September 26 and 27, the ASCCC Equity and Diversity Action Committee held regional meetings on Equity and Student Success at American River College and Mt. San Antonio College.  EDAC Chair James Todd and his committee put on excellent and informative presentations for the more than 75 individuals who attended each day. These meetings were just a first step in what promises to be a very busy year for EDAC. Materials presented at these meetings can be found here

Regional Curriculum Meetings are planned for October 17 at Sacramento City College and October 18 at Riverside City College.  These meetings will feature presenters from the Chancellor’s Office and will include presentations on general curriculum topics including distance education, adult basic education and noncredit, and CTE curriculum as well as a separate strand for curriculum technicians and specialists. The agenda and registration is available by clicking the links above. Curriculum Chairs should plan to attend one of the meetings and are encouraged to bring their distance education coordinators, curriculum specialists, and curriculum staff as well any interested curriculum committee members.

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AB 86 and Adult Education

Conversations around the state continue regarding AB 86 planning on adult education. A recent brief survey done by the ASCCC Noncredit Committee indicates that while these discussions are moving forward inclusively and productively in some regions, in others faculty are not being given sufficient voice. The ASCCC continues to work to involve itself in AB 86 discussions at the state level in order to help strengthen the voice of faculty in local planning efforts. After overcoming considerable resistance, the Academic Senate, in conjunction with other state-level faculty organizations, secured permission for ASCCC Noncredit Committee Chair Debbie Klein to attend the AB 86 Summit in Sacramento on October 6 and 7 and to observe this event from a Senate perspective in order to help inform our efforts.  We have also received a promise of adding a faculty representative to the state level AB 86 Workgroup, an oversight body whose lack of faculty representation has been a glaring deficiency. Other efforts are also underway to allow the ASCCC and other faculty groups to take a more prominent role in AB 86 planning oversight in order to provide assistance to local districts whose faculty voice is not being sufficiently included. We will continue to provide updates on developments in this area as they take place.

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The Executive Committee hopes that your colleges and local senates are all moving along smoothly through the fall term, both in terms of instructional excellence and of addressing governance issues.  If the ASCCC can provide assistance or input to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We hope to see as many of you as possible at the Curriculum Regionals, Area Meetings, and Fall Plenary Session and to connect with you through our new Facebook page and other venues.  Until then, best wishes from all of us on the ASCCC Executive Committee.

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