A primary function of the District Academic Senate is to represent the college faculties in making recommendations to the administration of the District and to the governing board of the District with respect to the formation of District policy in academic and professional matters.Academic and professional matters of the District Academic Senate, as set forth in Title V and District Rules and Regulations: Policy 2.06, shall include but not be limited to the following policy development matters:
- Curriculum, including establishing prerequisites.
- Degree and certificate requirements.
- Grading policies.
- Educational program development.
- Standards or policies regarding student preparation or success.
- College governance structures, as related to faculty roles.
- Faculty roles and involvement in accreditation processes.
- Policies for faculty professional development activities.
- Processes for program review.
- Processes for institutional planning and budget development.
Other academic and professional matters as mutually agreed upon.
History of the Academic Senate in California
In 1963, an Assembly Concurrent Resolution asked the State Board of Education (which at that time had a junior college bureau) to establish academic senates “…for the purposes of representing [faculty] in the formation of policy on academic and professional matters …” While there were at the time local academic senates, this resolution gave senates legal recognition and a specific jurisdiction—academic and professional matters. In 1967, legislation was enacted to create the Board of Governors and the Chancellor’s Office for the California Community Colleges.
In 1968 Norbert Bischof (Math and Philosophy, Merritt College), called the first statewide meeting of local academic senate presidents to explore ways to create a state senate to represent local senates at the Chancellor’s Office and before the Board of Governors. A constitution was drafted in May 1968, ratified statewide, and approved by the Board of Governors in October 1969; the Academic Senate incorporated as a nonprofit organization in November 1970.
What is AB 1725, and why is it important?
In 1986, the Commission for the Review of the Master Plan for Higher Education issued a report focusing exclusively on the community colleges. This document, The Challenge of Change: A Reassessment of the California Community College, led the way for the great reform legislation, AB 1725. Passed by the legislature in 1988, AB 1725 gave many new responsibilities to both local senates and the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, among them being:
- Creating the focus for CCCs on transferring students to universities
- Shifting the power of governance from the legislature to local boards
- Involving faculty directly in matters of hiring and participatory governance, and creating areas of responsibilities known as the 10+1
- Instilling the 75:25 ration of full-time to part-time instructors, creating a calculation known as the Faculty Obligation Number, or FON
- Creation of funding models (which have undergone much revision since inception)
In 1989, the document California’s Faces, California’s Future supported this community college reform and contextualized the Master Plan within California’s shifting demography. The legislation resulted in the July 1990 adoption of Title 5 Regulations, “Strengthening Local Senates.” In 1992, the Academic Senate and the trustee’s organization the Community College League of California (CCLC), issued a Memorandum of Understanding that offers a joint interpretation of the Title 5 regulations.
AB 1725 is therefore the root of the way the academic senate operates today.