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Chaparral 2017-2018: 26.2 Senate Update

Senate Update (October 2017)

Senate Update

by Piper Rooney
Academic Senate President

In the fall and the spring semesters, the Academic Senate of California Community Colleges (ASCCC) gathers local senate representatives in four large “Area” meetings to discuss the formal Resolutions that have been proposed by Senators during the season, and to provide a “legislative update” from Sacramento. Resolution topics this year ranged from DACA to Guided Pathways, Apprenticeship models, and Access for Noncredit students to online courses. In terms of legislation, AB 705 and AB 19 were the primary focus - more on these two later.

At the ASCCC plenary session in November, senate delegates will vote on the proposed resolutions, which then inform and shape the policies and lobbying of ASCCC at the Chancellor’s Office and at the state.

Surprisingly, the resolution that focused on Guided Pathways concluded with this:

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges urge local senates to assert that determining the content, categories, and titles of the “meta majors” or “areas of focus” is a local curricular and educational program decision that falls within academic senate purview as defined by Title 5 §53200.

At Glendale, we have a pretty robust Mutual Gains document, AR 4000, and a well-established camaraderie when it comes to tending our 10+1, the fabled “Academic Senate purview.” However, the appearance of this resolution reminded me that, without vigilance and active involvement, we could find ourselves in a situation where we had to “assert” our right as faculty to determine the “areas of focus” of Guided Pathways. We don’t want to find ourselves reacting to proposals; we want to be sure that we work with our students and our colleagues to generate the most useful ideas about how to cluster our programs, creating student-driven meta-majors (and coming up with a better name for them while we’re at it).

The legislative update addressed two of the Assembly Bills which Governor Brown signed on October 13th: AB 705 and AB 19. 

AB 705 was introduced in part to “require a community college district or college to maximize the probability that the student will enter and complete transfer-level coursework in English and mathematics within a one-year timeframe, and use, in the placement of students into English and mathematics courses in order to achieve this goal, one or more of the following: high school coursework, high school grades, and high school grade point average.”

ASCCC had opposed AB 705 with this comment: “The current language of AB 705 seriously limits the ability of the colleges to recognize and respond to the needs of the diverse student populations we serve. The selection of appropriate multiple measures is dependent on the circumstance and life experience of each student. AB 705 limits the ability of colleges to select the most appropriate measures to best reflect the needs of the individual student by subjecting all students to the same measures.”

However, GCC already uses students’ high school GPAs as part of their placement data, so we are abreast of this legislation.

According to California Legislative Information, AB 19 “would establish the California College Promise, to be administered by the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, which shall distribute funding, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to each community college meeting prescribed requirements* to be used to, among other things, accomplish specified policy goals and waive fees for one academic year for first-time students who are enrolled in 12 or more semester units or the equivalent at the college and complete and submit either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a California Dream Act application.”

Chancellor Ortiz Oakley has acknowledged that this is a renaming of the Board of Governors Fee Waiver which had already guaranteed that a large proportion of our students at GCC were freed from having to pay tuition. However, he also stated that,  “We look forward to working with the governor and legislature on providing funding to support the California College Promise and additional financial aid to offset the non-tuition costs that create barriers to college attendance for students with financial need."

Discussion of the California College Promise on our campus has centered on how to offer a promise that is meaningful, feasible, and desirable to our students. Renaming an existing tuition-waiver, only to lure students into a bait-and-switch in which they discover that the “promise” is hollow, is not our plan at GCC.

* One of those “prescribed requirements is to participate in the CCC Guided Pathways Grant! [(d) Participating in the California Community College Guided Pathways Grant Program established pursuant to Part 54.81 (commencing with Section 88920) in order to clarify the academic path for students, help students enter a pathway, help students stay on an academic path, and ensure students are learning.]

Join us at the Senate on the first and third Thursdays of the month during regular semesters in LB 225. We’d like to hear from you!



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