Academic Senate

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

Catherine Nelson (Sonoma), Chair
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The Academic Affairs (AA) Committee had another substantive meeting in November 2015.  I’d like to thank the members of AA for their hard work and thoughtful contributions.  Our guests included Ken O’Donnell (Senior Director, Student Engagement and Academic Initiatives and Partnerships); Shelia Thomas (Assistant Vice Chancellor, Self-Support Strategy and Partnership/Extended Education); and Angela Williams (Project Manager, Intrasystem Enrollment).  Course transfer emerged as a major theme in our discussions.

Assistant Vice Chancellor Thomas reported on various initiatives in Academic Affairs, including the review of graduate programs underway (curricular requirements, the ratio of undergraduate to graduate units, etc.) and the implementation of AB 2610, the supplanting bill passed by the legislature during the last session.  The CSU is also working with Senator Marty Block (San Diego) on SB 634.  This bill authorizes the State to enter into a regional interstate reciprocity agreement to allow private, accredited institutions of higher learning in one state to provide distance education in other member states.  The agreement provides regulatory oversight of the out-of-state private, post-secondary institutions.  The Committee raised questions about the implications of the agreement for the transfer of courses to the CSU.  According to Dean Thomas, no change is anticipated in how the CSU evaluates courses for transfer because of the bill.

The Committee also had an in-depth discussion about the transfer of courses to, and between, CSU campuses.  With the advent of CSU Fully Online Courses, CourseMatch and Community College BA degrees (including California Community Colleges [CCC] upper division General Education courses), faculty must monitor the course transfer process closely to make sure it protects academic quality at the same time as it fosters student success.  Angela Williams explained the course transfer process in detail.  Of particular interest to the Committee is the point at which campus articulation officers consult with department chairs in cases where there is no existing articulation agreement or no exact match with an existing course.  Campus senate chairs have reported uneven consultation with faculty in this part of the process.

In addition, the Committee discussed the Chancellor’s Response to AS-3230-15/APEP/AA Establishing a Task Force on the Requirements of CSU General Education (GE) Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (B4) Credit.  Language in the response implies that the faculty (and the ASCSU in particular) is only one voice among many in the discussion of GE B4 quantitative reasoning standards and the larger conversation about math instruction currently underway in the public secondary and post-secondary education communities in California.

As a result of our work, we brought two resolutions forward.  The full Senate passed the first resolution, AS-3235-15/AA Chancellor’s Office Response to AS-3230-15/APEP/AA Establishing a Task Force on the Requirements of CSU General Education (GE) Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning (B4) Credit, on a first reading waiver.  The Committee received valuable feedback for improvement on the second resolution, AS-3238-15/AA Role of California State University Faculty in the Evaluation of Courses for Transfer, during its first reading.  Full text of ASCSU resolutions are available at: http://www.calstate.edu/AcadSen/Records/Resolutions/

For more information, please contact Academic Affairs Committee ChairCatherine Nelson