SPEAKING OF THE SENATE...
by Mike Scott, Academic Senate President
The State Academic Senate held its Fall Plenary in San Diego earlier this month. The main topics of discussion were the recommendations of the Student Success Task Force (SSTF), E-materials and Course Repeatability. The main emphasis of the breakout sessions was the SSTF. The SSTF has taken comments from the Academic Senate and others from throughout the state and has altered some of the original recommendations. Listed below are the original recommendations with the alterations in bold.
Student Success Task Force
1.1. Collaborate with K-12 to jointly develop common core standards for college and career readiness.—No changes.
2.1. Develop and implement common centralized diagnostic assessments.—Chancellor still feels that common assessments should be mandatory and that they would benefit students.
2.2. Require students to participate in diagnostic assessment, orientation and the development of an educational plan.—No significant changes.
2.3. Develop and use technology applications to better guide students in educational process.—No significant changes.
2.4. Require students showing a lack of college readiness to participate in support resources.—No significant changes.
2.5. Require students to declare a program of study early in their academic careers.—No significant changes.
3.1. Adopt system-wide enrollment priorities reflecting core mission of community colleges.—No significant changes.
3.2. Require students receiving Board of Governors fee waivers to meet various conditions and requirements.—No significant changes.
3.3. Provide students the opportunity to consider attending full time.—No significant changes.
3.4. Require students to begin addressing Basic Skills deficiencies in their first year.—No significant changes.
4.1. Focus course offerings and schedules on needs of students.—The requirement that students pay the full cost of a course outside of their education plan was removed. De-funding of Non-CDCP noncredit courses was removed.
5.1. Support the development of alternatives to traditional basic skills curriculum.—Language concerning ESL as basic skills will be revised.
5.2. Develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing basic skills education in California.—Language concerning ESL as basic skills will be revised.
6.1. Create a continuum of mandatory professional development opportunities.—The language giving the Chancellor’s Office the authority to dictate Flex Activity Days activities was removed. The Chancellor will instead make recommendations for activities.
6.2. Direct professional development resources toward improving basic skills instruction and support.—No significant change.
7.1. Develop and support a strong community college system office.—No change, unfortunately.
7.2. Set local student success goals consistent with statewide goals.—No change.
7.3. Implement a student success score card.—No change.
7.4. Develop and support a longitudinal student record system.—No change.
8.1. Consolidate select categorical programs.—Language to be modified to encourage collaboration between the programs and remove the consolidation requirement.
8.2. Invest in the new Student Support Initiative.—No change.
8.3. Promote flexibility and innovation in basic skills through alternative funding mechanism.—No change.
8.4. Do not implement outcome-based funding at this time.—No change.
The SSTF recommendations will continue to be debated. The SSTF will meet December 7, 2011 to finalize its report. The report will then be presented to the Board of Governors at their January meeting for a first reading. In March, the Board of Governors will have the second and final reading of the report and then vote on acceptance. If it passes, and it unfortunately will, implementation will begin immediately unless legislation is passed to slow down the process. When the report is adopted, a full explanation of each recommendation will be issued to the campus.
There were 17 resolutions on course repeatability. Six of them were for PE. The sole PE resolution passed recommends that the “175 hour rule” for student athletes be changed to 350 hours per year. This will allow our athletes to take out-of-season conditioning and skill courses. The resolutions for CTE, studio art, forensics, and performance courses all failed. The resolution regarding leveled courses passed, limiting them to only four levels.
There is growing concern throughout the state that e-materials are being used in inappropriate ways. Many instructors have turned over coursework assessments to the textbook’s supplemental e-materials. The reason for doing this is that it makes the instructor’s job easier. This is a totally unacceptable position. The responsibility for assessing students resides solely in the hands of the instructor and not the publisher. Title 5 is very clear on this matter, and by allowing the publisher to do the work we are violating that responsibility.
There are many issues with e-materials. One such issue is the use of e-textbooks. The e-textbooks are linked to e-materials and e-grade books. All of these require students to purchase a code to access them. We are authorized by Title 5 to require textbooks but we may not mandate that they buy them. (This is one of the reasons we have reference copies of textbooks in the Library.) Title 5 further requires that materials have a continuing value to students outside of the classroom. E-materials in some cases expire after the end of the semester, thereby preventing the student from receiving any continuing value.
The Senate will be working on an e-materials policy in the spring to address the mentioned issues and many more. &
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