I have contributed articles to the Chaparral before, but this is my first as Senate President. I thought it would be appropriate to start off by addressing a couple questions that come up often. What does the Senate do, and why is it important?
Academic Senates have existed in higher education for a long time. These Senates have historically been the body through which faculty have input into the policies and practices of their institutions, particularly those related to academic and professional matters. In 1988, AB 1725 formally established the California Community College system, separating it forever from its roots as part of the K-12 system, and establishing it as one of the three branches of California’s public higher education system. It also laid the groundwork for the participation of Academic Senates in the shared governance of their local community college districts.
AB 1725 made several specific changes to how community colleges were to be run. Some of the changes that had a direct impact on faculty included switching from the use of teaching credentials to a system of Minimum Qualifications as the basis for faculty qualifications, beefing up the tenure process, strengthening professional development for faculty, and establishing the principle that the Academic Senate is to be relied upon as the primary source for faculty input in areas of academic and professional matters. While AB 1725 itself really only specifically called for Senate involvement in policies related to faculty hiring and qualifications, later the California Code of Regulations Title 5 defined a broader collection of areas over which Academic Senates should have considerable influence. This list of areas came to be known as the “10 + 1”.
The areas specified in the 10 + 1 (Section CCR §53200 (c)) include:
1. Curriculum, including establishing prerequisites
2. Degree & Certificate Requirements
3. Grading Policies
4. Educational Program Development
5. Standards & Polices regarding Student Preparation and Success
6. College governance structures, as related to faculty roles
7. Faculty roles and involvement in accreditation process
8. Policies for faculty professional development activities
9. Processes for program review
10. Processes for institutional planning and budget development
“+1” Other academic and professional matters as mutually agreed upon.
As you can tell, this list includes many important areas related to academic quality and program integrity at the college. In all of these areas, the district governing board must “consult collegially” with the Academic Senate when developing (or revising) policies. This means that the district governing board shall develop policies on academic and professional matters though either or both of the following methods:
(1) relying primarily upon the advice and judgment of the academic senate; or
(2) agreeing that the district governing board, or such representatives as it may designate, and the representatives of the of the academic senate shall have the obligation to reach mutual agreement by written resolution, regulation, or policy of the governing board effectuating such recommendations.
In either case, the influence granted to the Academic Senate is significant, though not absolute. At Glendale Community College, how the district governing board works with the Academic Senate is generally defined in Administrative Regulation (AR) 4000, also known as the Mutual Gains Document.
The “10 + 1” places a high level of responsibility on the Academic Senate. The people who represent each Division on the Senate, and all of the At-Large representatives, have taken on work that is important to the academic life blood of the college. Beyond the work taken on by the Senate itself, there are committees of the Senate which take the lead in doing much of the detail work for which the Senate is responsible. The Curriculum and Instruction Committee (C&I) and the Committee on Distance Education (CoDE) have taken on the heavy lifting that is required to new and revised courses and programs offered in either the traditional classroom format or through distance education. In addition, there are many other Governance committees which carry some of the load. It is through these bodies that you could participate in the development and implementation of policies which help make the college run.
Hopefully this has provided you with a better understanding of the role of the Academic Senate and its importance to the college. If you are interested in participating in the Senate or any of the Governance committees, or have any questions or concerns about any of the areas covered by the 10 + 1, please feel free to contact me. You may also speak to any Senator or Senate Officer. A list of these can be found on the Senate webpage.
Visit us on the web: www.glendale.edu/senate