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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Participatory Governance Committee Membership & Issues for 2012-13

Two very important committees

PBC

In the fall, the Senate has to seat 9 representatives on Program and Budget Council (PBC), our school’s most important participatory governance committee (a 10th Faculty person is selected by the AFT).  Terms are for two years (but people can be reaffirmed for another two years by Senate).  These 9 representatives represent the entire campus.

This committee meets the third Wednesday of every month, and unlike other committees, uses for proxies/alternates the term “the designated alternate” which I presume means the same person each time, for reasons that seem obvious to the charge of the committee.

Faculty duties of this committee include:  written reports from the constituents represented (which is the Academic Senate) and to report back to the Academic Senate. 

There seems to be little doubt that Program and Budget Council will be dealing with program discontinuance, program reductions or possible suspensions, as some members of PBC have suggested).  They will have received some Program Effectiveness ratings from the Program Effectiveness and Planning Committee (PEPC), which also has to select members.

The way it works for Program Discontinuance (PD) is that each campus is to designate a committee to advise the President about PD.  On our campus, that task is given by our PGM to PBC, which can collect data and advice from any other committee.  PEPC is required to report to PBC about program effectiveness.  Here is the Board’s Program Discontinuance Procedure. 

According to the procedure, PBC studies the budget situation.  Note that part of the possible rubric for disc

Cost of program delivery relative to performance in relation to the program metrics adopted by the college.

Other criteria as determined by the college.

PEPC did not look at cost data; that is going to fall to PBC this year.  If we want to change this process (I recommend not changing it), we can, through formal Senate action and changes to the PGM (Participatory Governance Manual).

Once PBC makes its recommendations (which need to be firmed up by the last September meeting), those recommendations go to the Executive Vice President, who agrees or disagrees, but in any case presents a response to the full Academic Senate.  The Academic Senate then deliberates, having heard both the PBC recommendations and the views of the EVP and either agrees or demurs, and provides its own response.  The result of this process then goes to the President, who takes it under consideration and makes his own recommendations to the Board.  The Board must affirm all program discontinuances (but not reductions) and a plan has to be developed so that students in those programs are not impacted.

PEPC

From the charge of PEPC:

Members come from divisions and departments and are comprised of the Department Chair, Coordinator, Supervisor, or designee. In addition, all members are to have a designated alternate attend in the event of their absence. Members are to be appointed/selected annually.  (Note:  most of us have been laboring under the impression that department chairs had to do this; but they can actually designate another department member if they wish)

Co-Chairs

Executive Vice President of Student Learning Academic Senate President or Senate designee

Division/Department/Constituency Representatives: Five management representatives which includes the Dean of Student Services and the Vice President of Business Services  (Note:  there is no provision for designees in this paragraph; when the committee was set up, the need for financial information was well understood as part of the planning process, hence the need for the VP of Business Services; the need for the perspective on Instructional Effectiveness as seen from Student Services was also regarded as crucial).

Division/Department/Constituency Representatives:  Two Academic senate representatives (appointed by the Academic Senate) Two classified staff representatives including one from the Business Services division Two student representatives (appointed by Associated Student Government).  I hope to affirm two faculty members as Senate representatives to PEPC at our first Senate meeting.

Instructional: Those instructional departments with a designated Department Chair, Coordinator or Facilitator, including at least one Student Services representative.

PEPC distributes data to programs (last year I believe we had 27 designated programs) and expects them to write something called a PEPR (Program Effectiveness and Planning Report).  These reports change a bit every year, in response to changes in state law, Title V, participatory governance, board objectives, and  – the budget.

In 2011-2012, two PEPR’s were required, because of the issues surrounding the sudden imposition of “Program Discontinuance” on three colleges in our district by the Chancellor.  Resource request forms were not required with the second report, but will be accepted (as usual) in the fall.  It is likely that this two part PEPR process will continue into the future, with addenda being required to the original report as needed to keep all our programs in the best possible shape.

This committee meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month.

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Other committees, alphabetically

CUDS (Campus Use, Development and Safety Committee)

This committee became moribund during 2010-11, due in part to the loss of our Vice President of Business Services, and there was apparently no faculty Co-Chair.  The Co-Chair can been any full time faculty member and the search is on to find one.   The Academic Senate also gets to appoint one additional faculty member.  This is a crucial committee on our campus, so we need to get it organized over the summer.  In addition, there are 9 additional faculty (from the departments listed in the PGM) who should be attending.  

CUDS meets second Tuesday of every month.  We’re currently looking for a regular meeting space for it – hopefully in the Admin Building.  The co-chairs are the VP of Business Services (so no one, right now) and a faculty chair appointed, apparently, by the AS President (with Senate approval of course).  I’m working on that one.

Curriculum

Curriculum Committee meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.  While the implementation of Curricunet may, at first, mean some frustration in transition, I’m hearing from some campuses that are using it that in the long run, it really makes the whole process much, much easier.  It may necessitate some minor redesigns of curriculum process, but in the end, if it is anything like eLumens was for LOT, it may make that committee’s business much easier.

Every department has a curriculum rep, so be sure to know who yours is!

That committee is chaired by the Academic Senate President or designee and that designee is Teresa Bonham for Fall.  The committee itself was charged by Pres. Robert Cabral with finding a faculty replacement for Teresa, while she’s on sabbatical, for Spring, but word on the street is that it is Shannon Davis, our Articulation Officer.  Review the PGM for rules on who gets to sit on Curriculum Committee.  Its traditional meeting spot has been CSSC-101, and the first meeting for fall should be on August 22.

Learning Outcomes Team

LOT deals with SLO’s and assessment of Student Learning Outcomes on campus.  It is a faculty-driven process and it is our one most important way of ascertaining that we are meeting state-wide – and our own goals – about what students should be learning.  It is about identifying strengths and weaknesses (and improvement) in how students are learning.

Every course in the catalogue must have course level Student Learning Outcomes, which are listed on the syllabus.  Every course must have an Assessment Calendar, usually linked to a Department or Discipline calendar, whereby leaning assessment data is submitted for every Course Level SLO for that course.  This must happen at least once every two academic years.  It’s probably easiest to do all the CSLO’s for all sections in the same semester, but there are no hard and fast rules.  Some programs are assessing all sections more frequently than every two academic years, which provides way more data for analysis.  It is up to the Department to decide these things.  Everyone can always input more data than the minimum!

Every Program has Program Level SLO’s as well.  Each course’s SLO’s are supposed to be mapped to the PSLO’s (eLumens provides a quick and easy “matrix” for doing this – takes only a few minutes).

Then, at a time designated by the department (after the data from the assessments has been input), a Course Level Improvement Plan should be created for each course.  Some departments, allowing the disciplines to do this on their own calendars, have allowed great independence to the disciplines for completing this part of the process on their own time frame – but again, it must be within the four semesters.

Next, a designated person within the Department, Program or Discipline (varies by Department) writes a Program Improvement Plan.  The idea for that plan is to use as much data as is available (which may mean going back for a few semesters and opening the .pdf’s that eLumens provides).  On the other hand, some  programs have decided to do all their data collection in one semester, and therefore, would be looking at only one semester’s data (again, it varies).  Program Improvement Plans, more than anything else, are supposed to help instructors find ways to 1) address any instructional area weaknesses, 2) adequately reconsider the scope of the course (even considering creation of new curriculum if needed, or such things as advisories or prerequisites) or 3) modifying the SLO calendar and process (within institutional guidelines) to give better data.

SLO data are not the only way of improving a program, but eLumens and LOT are our institutional mechanisms for ensuring we meet Accreditation Standards in this area.  You can do your program improvement plans at any time during the 2 year cycles (or more than once, actually), but if you have waited until the end of your 2 your cycle (the last one is ended on May 17, 2012, with the end of the contract year and LOT has requested the PIP’s by May 4, to be uploaded to sharepoint as part of the PEPR process as well), that’s something that needs to be done now.

LOT will be considering, next year, how often it seems reasonable to do PIPs, but the process otherwise remains the same.

Because LOT is transitioning from being a PGM committee to being a standing committee that offers and receives advice from both Curriculum and Student Success Committees, its membership may be changing and its meeting date may be changing as well.  Stay tuned.

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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in PGM Committees

 

The Chancellor and his council have proposed a new governing document

Dated:  May 21, 2012.  We have a new Chancellor now!  We also have a new District Participatory Governance Manual, which you can find linked to the District’s Homepage (www.vcccd.edu)

 

While we are a small college, we still have the same big issues as any college. The first time I attended a school board meeting, I was in high school. The issue was: should girls be allowed to wear pants to school? It was a long battle, but in the end, I believe there were decisions from the courts: no one could make a girl wear a dress. Our board voted that, while we could wear pants, they could not have a fly front. Go figure (they changed that the next year).

As a cub reporter for the Ventura County Star Free Press (and the Santa Paula Chronicle), I had the school beat. I attended similar board meetings at Ventura College (it wasn’t a multi-college district back then). The issue was young women and their dress, but also young men and their dress. It worked much the same way as in the Santa Paula school district.

What strikes me now is that the Superintendent/Chairman of the Board (they were Chairmen back then, no Chairpersons), really allowed comments from the floor, if he found it was warranted. There was no digital countdown clock telling members of the public when they had to stop talking. It was rather lively. As the evening wore on, the vociferous and/or energetic people got to say more. That’s not always fair, but that’s how it was.

At university, I continued my career as a journalist (while majoring in anthropology) and became a news reporter for the campus radio station. My beat was the Academic Senate. So, I have quite a bit of experience in looking at Academic Senates, at one point attended San José State’s Academic Senate for comparison and of course, have been attending VCCCD Academic Senates since around 1989, when I was first hired full-time.

If you had told me, three years ago, I’d have anything to do with sitting on an Academic Senate governing body, I’d have been incredulous. It’s just such a lot of work, and there are so many meetings. Today, I heard the term MW (it’s like an AW except it’s for Meetings instead of Attention). I am not an MW (see urban dictionary if you are over 18 and want to know how modern people use the lingo – you can find AW there and make the translation), but I’ve come to see the value of a collective of people working things out.  Politics are involved.  People actually bring their own strategies, interests and agendas into meetings, not just their viewpoints and opinions.  Big Surprise!  (Need a funny motivational poster here).

I’m hoping this blog will provide a way for sharing documents (there’s a lot of homework for these meetings) and I intend to indicate just about how much time I spend reading the documents, forwarding them to relevant parties and asking (sometimes begging) for input. California is an amazing state, a true Republic, and its laws call for faculty to have input into educational matters, especially at the college and university levels. It takes patience, reading, notetaking – and research. It also helps to have a quick mind for detail like Jenny’s and to be slow to take offense, like Robert. (That’s not an exhaustive list of their great qualities, btw).

With the magic of technology, we can transmit, read and comment upon thousands of words of bureaucratic language and legalese, all at the core of contemporary academe. Most faculty rely on their elected representatives to read all that stuff for them – and I promise, I’m reading it (and taking notes, and listening to what others say about it). This week, we are being introduced to a new Governance Manual, created at our District, which is supposed to outline the state-mandated procedures by which we govern ourselves. It’s called a Participatory Governance Manual and it outlines which committees have, by law, decision-making power, and which are advisory.

That’s a very, very important distinction. Advice is good, but decision making is very powerful. In anthropology, we’d say that advice falls on the less stringent end of the power continuum (along with speech, gossip, glances, etc).  Decision making that is under the law leads to sanctions and consequences for those who break the rules.

The job of the Academic Senate is to attend to the second area (the law). It is a lasting way of making people do things (and any anthropologist will tell you, that often starts in casual conversation or gossip). When it becomes rule, law, contract (all areas that can shade into each other), it has longterm impact.

Participatory governance is alive and well at Oxnard College, even though we are small in number. We saw this in our collective approach to accreditation. Students don’t much see what goes on behind the scenes (that’s one reason I’m blogging: students need to see more of what the “adult world” really consists).

Anyway, the President sent every email user on campus a copy of the new Board Governing Document on Friday, April 27.  I know for a fact that almost no one has read it (it’s like 40 pages long).  I read it, but it was a bit opaque, even to me, even after about 4-5 hours of working on it.  I therefore asked for help (from several people, Robert and Jenny were the ones who donated the time, but Peter and Riley also chipped in; I reread).  I have a few pages of notes.  Let me mention that I’m not getting paid for this (yet).  I don’t take office until June 15th, but when there’s transition, there’s no keeping time of one’s hours.  The document has its problems.  It’s actually pretty good.  It fails, in some ways, to make clear which groups are decision-making and which are advisory, but it can evolve into the document we need.  The document tries to make it clear that faculty have a say in what gets taught, and all the other issues involved in what California calls the 10+1 (this you can google if you’re really interested…and not actually asleep by this point).

For me, it’s been interesting to think about what’s “advice” and what’s “decision.”  If they can take away your job, or your paycheck or make you have to appear in a classroom at a particular time or teach a particular thing and tell you what that thing is, that you’ll be teaching – that’s not advice, that’s decision (and believe me, faculty are heard on these issues, sometimes having to fight hard to be heard).

Advice is just that.  Faculty have primacy, in California, in making certain kinds of decisions and in consulting with decision making.  Sometimes the administrators can really only advise us, they can’t just make their own decisions.  In a well publicized move, the Chancellor of CSUN did the right thing just today, I believe,  by coming out in favor of academic freedom in a very controversial area, and bless him for it.   I don’t know whether he’s permitting the Controversial Professor to keep his work up on the University website (I think so), but I’m proud that a fellow academic took the Academic point of view:  all voices heard within the Academy.

But, I’m keeping my blog on a private space, just in case.  You just never know.  Also, WordPress RULES when it comes to widgets and ease of use, as I intend to visit some other colleges and universities in the days and weeks before I take office, and  to continue my research on one of the most successful educational systems in the world (alas, it’s not in the U.S., and my place of employment recently banned giving support to any out-of-48 state research; so it’s self-funded).  But it is still important to know what works (and sometimes, the United States of America needs inspiration and advice from others).

I have enough pages from VCCCD to read, though, to keep me busy for the next few months, with or without meetings.  Minutes, agenda, process analysis, it’s all work.  It’s certainly not fun.  And it’s certainly going to take more than 100 hours during the summer – but hey, we old people, we got time on our hands.

And, just as an aside:  while there are places where the Chancellor’s Governing Document that need work, the overall intent of it is to make clear how our colleges work.  In California, Faculty have primacy in consultation about the list called 10 + 1.  In the near future, I’ll be blogging about 10 +1 and some my thoughts, and some of the controversies involved in applying the law.  I’ve been hanging out on forums, like the State Chancellor’s forums, and also, reading minutes at other community colleges, where available (it’s second nature to me to use the internet for field experiences), and it’s a good thing I find this stuff interesting, because I’m happiest when I love my job (and I love teaching; I won’t be in a real classroom for awhile…)

(All misuses of what some would say is “proper English” can refer themselves to the official study of…slang…)  Comment anyway – especially on spelling.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in District Level Documents

 

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