Academic Senate

Reports from the Standing Committees:
Academic Affairs Committee (AA)

Catherine Nelson (Sonoma), Chair
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The Academic Affairs Committee (AA) had another substantive meeting in March 2016.  I would like to thank committee members for their hard work.  Our guests from the Chancellor’s Office (CO) included Chris Mallon, Ken O’Donnell and Ed Sullivan.

We discussed several pieces of legislation relevant to our charge.  AB 2352 (Rodriguez) would authorize the establishment of a 16th California Community Colleges' (CCC) baccalaureate degree pilot program at Crafton Hills College (if the college resolves outstanding accreditation issues).  The Committee provided the Fiscal & Governmental Affairs Committee (FGA) with a rationale for an oppose position on the bill.  AB 2317 (Mullin) would authorize the CSU to award the Doctor of Audiology degree.  No special funding would come with the authorization.  The CSU and the ASCSU are taking a “watch” position on the bill. AB 2786 (Chavez) would require that the CCCs, CSU, and request that the University of California (UC), offer eligible students an agreement that would guarantee them completion of a baccalaureate degree within four years.  If the students don’t complete the degree and it is the university’s fault, the students would not have to pay additional fees.  The ASCSU is taking a “watch” position on this bill as well.

We also continued our ongoing conversation about Title 5 Master’s degree requirements. According to Assistant Vice Chancellor Chris Mallon, the CSU requirement that 50% of courses be at the graduate level seems to be consistent with expectations nationally.  Overall, CSU graduate programs require a ratio of 60/40 graduate/undergraduate courses.  Another consideration is whether or not there should be a separate Title 5 section for Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees, similar to engineering and landscape architecture.  Current CO thinking is that there does not seem to be anything broken with the existing CSU master’s degree policy.

We talked with Ed Sullivan about the formulas used to calculate faculty workload regarding undergraduate student independent study (the infamous K and S factors) and funding for lab space for that research.   Committee members are particularly concerned that if high impact practices are going to be promoted as a major mechanism for student engagement and success, then faculty workload data need to accurately reflect the time and effort that go into such practices and sufficient and appropriate space needs to be made available.

The Committee had two resolutions on the plenary agenda.  AS-3245-16/AA (Rev) Selection of Faculty to Serve on Campus Honorary Degree Committees (second reading) was approved unanimously.  AS-3249-16/AA/FA/EX Concerns about Administrative Communications regarding Classroom Discussion of Possible Strike Action (first reading, waiver, co-sponsored by Faculty Affairs and the Executive Committee) was approved without dissent.  The resolution expresses consternation over recent communications from some CSU presidents and administrators that forbid faculty to discuss the potential strike action planned by the California Faculty Association in their classrooms. It also affirms that the determination of the relevance of particular material to a class is the decision of the faculty teaching that class in the context of accepted pedagogical and disciplinary standards. Campus senates are urged to communicate the content of the resolution to all faculty. 

For more information, please contact Academic Affairs Committee ChairCatherine Nelson