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"Faculty Primacy" at California community colleges: a guide for district trustees

Decision-making flow chart

Remmert Dekker

on 6 February 2013

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Transcript of "Faculty Primacy" at California community colleges: a guide for district trustees

Is it a "policy development or implementation matter" Start with an issue you want to address Yes Maybe No Is it on the list of ten-plus-one "academic and professional matters"? Congratulations! You may use your best judgment in seeking input and making a decision Ten-plus-one State regulations (section 53203) require local districts to delegate authority to academic senates when the addressing any of these topics:

"1) curriculum, including establishing prerequisites and placing courses with disciplines;
2) degree and certificate requirements
3) grading policies;
4) educational program development;
5) standards or policies regarding student preparation and success;
6) district and college governance structures, as related to faculty roles: 7) faculty roles and involvement in accreditation processes, including self-study and annual reports;
8) policies for faculty professional development activities;
9) processes for program review
10) processes for institutional planning and budget development; and
11) other academic and professional matters as are mutually agreed upon between the governing board and the academic senate." Maybe Yes, it is ten-plus-one No Might your academic senate (or for a multi-campus district, any of your academic senates), claim that the issue is a ten-plus-one matter? Yes/Maybe No Is the question of decision-making authority worth a legal battle? No Yes Which of the two process options did the district trustees previously decide to use for this type of ten-plus-one matter? "[R]elying primarily upon the advice and judgment of the academic senate" (or senates) "[A]greeing that the district governing board, or such representatives as it may designate, and the representatives 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." The issue involves multiple categories that trigger both methods Split up the issue, or negotiate a process with the academic senate(s) Is the academic senate addressing the issue expeditiously? Yes No Yes Do you agree with the senate's recommendation? No Is this an exceptional circumstance, and do you have a compelling reason for not agreeing with the academic senate's perspective (or its failure to act)? "Shared governance" at California community colleges:
a guide for district trustees Why it matters The statewide Board of Governors of California's community colleges requires local districts to use specific decision-making processes when addressing any "policy development or implementation matter." Failure to defer to academic senates in the required manner can invalidate decisions. (There is no definition of a "policy development or implementation matter," so if you are not sure if that's what you have, it's best to treat it as if it is one.) You may use your best judgment in seeking input and making a decision Use the "rely primarily" process Use the "mutual agreement" process Yes No You may adopt or implement the senate's recommendation You may use your best judgment. Be prepared to litigate the question of whether the situation is actually "exceptional" and your reasons "compelling." You must show that you "normally" accept the senate's recommendations. You must accept the senate's recommendation or its lack of attention to the issue. The "rely primarily" process, simplified* The "mutual agreement" process, simplified* * "simplified" It can be a lot more complicated in a multi-campus district, with senates of various opinions and willingness to act. Also, as trustees you could theoretically switch a ten-plus-one category from the "rely primarily" to the "mutual agreement" process, though the process you use for doing so may be litigated. Whether there is an "existing policy" can also affect the requirements that apply. Yes No Are you able to work out a solution that the academic senate will support? You may adopt or implement the revised policies or programs Does a failure to act expose the district to legal liability or cause substantial fiscal hardship, and are there compelling legal, fiscal or organizational reasons for acting? Yes No Give up, try again, or await a crisis. You may act despite the lack of support from the academic senate. Be prepared to litigate the question of liability, fiscal hardship, and compelling reasons. Clarify accountability!
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