Dan Walsh discusses issues the senate should address. (Steven Jung)
The Academic Senate met this last Wednesday to discuss some issue the school is facing.
It seems one important issue facing the academic senate is the reduction of funding for departments and staff. Bob Cosgrove brought in a book for the senate to inform instructors maybe how they can avoid losing any more staff.
“I hope it will help other senators,” said Cosgrove. The book, “Fall of Faculty” written by Benjamin Ginsberg is about how schools have been cutting back on faculty to save money.
The senate may have found the problem as well as the solution to the issue. They discussed and approved the new rule to counter what’s known as “Program Discontinuance.”
This program somehow allows a teacher or any staff member to bring into question a department without any justification. That means if some instructor thinks money can be saved by eliminating a Career Technical Education or CTE, then not only will the department be eliminated, but so will the jobs of the staff for that department.
“Some instructors might try to eliminate a department just because the equipment and classes are expensive,” said Dan Walsh. If classes are expensive then eliminating them can save money but what if the class is a necessity? This is why the senate approved of their new rule: a department can not be eliminated to save money without justification.
Walsh did agree however that if a program is obsolete or if only 12 students out of the whole school are interested in an expensive class then “yes” an instructor can bring it before the discontinuance program.
The rule they passed is meant to keep certain classes safe such as chemistry or biology. It is also a way to prevent wasting faculty time because when one department is put on for review of discontinuance then a committee needs to be formed and the committee has to go through three different groups throughout the school to collect data on how many students are taking the classes related to the department. It would take a lot of resources if anyone could just put any class they wanted on the discontinuance program.
The senate also got a presentation from Ralph Meza about the AA-T and AS-T degrees. “It is possible that the AA-Ts might replace the AA degrees however both degrees can get a student to transfer into a university or a Cal State. It’s just one option for a student to apply to the four-year schools,” Meza said.
Its still new but its starting to look like more and more schools are beginning to accept the AA-T degree, Meza explained.
The senate was also given three new degrees before them; an AS-T in Geology, an AS-T in Kinesiology, and an AA-T in History. Walsh moved an action to approve of the degrees and it was approved by the senate.
The senate went over the academic calendar for the school year of 2014 to 2015. They decided to put off a vote for approval by two weeks but the chancellor and board both want the approval or corrections by February.
There were some other things they felt needed to go over quickly before the meeting ended like how Library Drive is now the Learning Resource Center Drive on the online campus map. They also need to change the name of the fire evacuation plan for the LRC building and need to further discuss later whether the electronic cigarettes should be considered actual smoking.