Liaising with the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges
Virginia "Ginni" May, ASCCC Vice President, Legislative and Advocacy Committee Chair
Carrie Roberson, ASCCC At-Large Representative, Part-Time Committee Chair
In 2015, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) established its first three formal liaison positions for local senates through the ASCCC resolution process: career technical education (CTE) faculty liaison (Resolution 17.02 S15), legislative liaison (Resolution 17.03 S15), and noncredit liaison (Resolution 17.05 S15). Since that time, the guided pathways liaison and OER liaison (Resolution 17.02 F18) positions have also been added, and, in spring 2021, Resolution 3.02 was passed urging local academic senates to identify a faculty member to act as an inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism (IDEA) liaison.
Initially, the ASCCC liaisons were established primarily due to the increase in “the number of new statewide initiatives and programs impacting the California community colleges” (Bruno, 2016) that resulted from legislative action. Since that time, many more statewide initiatives and programs such as the Open Educational Resources Initiative, the California Community Colleges Guided Pathways Grant Program, and the Student Equity and Achievement Program have been placed into statute and have directed the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, or the local community college or district to implement. Major portions of these programs fall under academic and professional matters as provided for in Title 5 §53200, and thus often the local academic senate president is responsible for keeping the local academic senate, faculty, and other college partners apprised of needed changes and new responsibilities. The purpose of establishing ASCCC liaisons was for each academic senate to have a point person or point people that could focus in that area and keep information flowing to and from the local academic senate. As was noted by ASCCC President Julie Bruno in 2016, this trend of legislation is far from over, as is still demonstrated by proposed and approved legislation in 2021.
The ASCCC relies on local academic senate presidents to assist the ASCCC with finding faculty representatives to serve on committees, workgroups, and task forces for initiative and program planning and implementation to ensure that effective faculty participation and collegial consultation take place. Therefore, the ASCCC requests that local academic senates identify faculty to serve in these liaison roles in each of these areas.
When establishing a liaison, a local academic senate should consider the needs, interests, and capacity of the faculty at its college. The liaison may consist of a single faculty member, two faculty members, or even a committee of faculty members with one serving as a lead. Representation should be considered from college centers or other college locations as well as broad faculty representation. These considerations can allow the senate to engage part-time faculty and historically underrepresented faculty with opportunities to serve. In addition, when addressing statewide issues, the liaisons, in consultation with their academic senate president, may be expected to seek feedback from other college constituencies such as administration, the governing board, students, classified professionals, and bargaining agents or unions. Therefore, the structure of the liaison should lend itself to effective communication.
All six liaison roles are listed below with a brief description of the topics on which each liaison may be asked to focus. Until a liaison is appointed by the local academic senate, the local senate president is usually included on the liaison listserv so that the local senate does not miss any information from the ASCCC.
In general, ASCCC liaisons are expected to do the following:
- Sign up for ASCCC listservs related to the liaison’s area of focus.
- Update and engage the local academic senate and campus faculty on statewide matters and efforts relevant to the local college or district.
- Communicate with the local academic senate and campus faculty regarding academic and professional matters related to the liaison role.
This position focuses on career and technical education and workforce development efforts, issues, and challenges in the California community colleges. The CTE liaison may consider sharing information with faculty on creating and maintaining responsive and system-wide portable curriculum, programs, and degrees aligned to current and emergent industry trends and guided pathways, with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of career technical education. The ASCCC often appoints CTE liaisons to serve as volunteers to various statewide initiatives, workgroups, committees, and task forces in order to ensure that their interests are represented.
Guided Pathways Liaison
This position focuses on guided pathways efforts, issues, and information pertaining to innovative strategies and actions that support students in achieving their educational goals. Liaisons communicate with their local academic senates and campus faculty regarding guided pathways efforts and implementation relevant to the local college or district.
This position focuses on efforts throughout the California Community Colleges system around inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism (IDEA) work, including through the CCCCO Call to Action, the DEI Task Force Recommendations, and the Vision for Success goals with an effort to eliminate equity gaps.
This position focuses on tracking current information regarding relevant legislation and enabling the local academic senate to form positions upon which it may wish to act, providing information and analysis to the local senate and receiving in response feedback and direction for action. Through various opportunities, liaisons often also provide the ASCCC with information that may influence legislation.
This position focuses on initiatives, plans, and ideas for curricular redesign and communication about noncredit education. The ASCCC often appoints noncredit liaisons to serve as volunteers to various statewide initiatives, workgroups, committees, and task forces in order to ensure that their interests are represented.
This position focuses on taking an active role in increasing local open educational resource (OER) awareness, adoption, and support. The OER liaison is an integral component of the ASCCC Open Educational Resource Initiative (OERI), with the goal of supporting local college OER efforts by creating a network of OER liaisons that serve to connect local colleges to the OERI and centrally-hosted OER-related support systems, ensuring an effective means of communication with the OERI and providing relevant resources.
This list of liaisons is fluid because the ASCCC delegates, through the resolution process, or the ASCCC Executive Committee, through an ASCCC Executive Committee action, may establish other liaison positions as needs arise.
Additionally, liaisons may have opportunities to do the following:
- Consult with academic senate leaders to create a mechanism for the most effective communication with faculty at the local campus;
- Monitor local and state discussions and act as a resource for local inquiries;
- Communicate opportunities for faculty to participate through the ASCCC in statewide workgroups, committees, and taskforces in relation to initiatives and programs related to the liaison role; and
- As local funding permits, attend ASCCC statewide events related to the liaison role.
The ASCCC maintains a variety of specialized listservs for the purpose of distributing official business of the ASCCC, the CCC Chancellor’s Office, and other formally recognized practitioners and stakeholders. These listservs are for distribution only, so they only disseminate information; recipients may not reply.
Liaisons can sign up for the ASCCC liaison listservs at https://asccc.org/signup-newsletters.
Individuals with any additional questions or desiring any additional information should contact info [at] asccc.org.
Bruno, Julie. (2016, February) Establishing CTE, Legislative, and Noncredit Liaison Positions. Senate Rostrum. https://asccc.org/content/establishing-cte-legislative-and-noncredit-li….
[The attached article was published in the November 2021 Rostrum]