Overview of the College
career as a community college teacher is greatly affected by the
laws, standards, and procedures set down by a complex maze of statewide
and local legislative and administrative bodies. The good news is
that California does value the input of community college instructors
and has provided mechanisms for their participation in decision-making
through a process referred to as "shared governance."
provides instructors an unmatched potential
to play a significant role in determining the future
of colleges. The bad news is that since the system
is rather complex and not particularly user-friendly
most new instructors do not understand how decisions
are made and do not actively participate in the
decision-making process. To help you understand
how policies are made that affect your professional
life, this section provides a brief overview of
the the governance process and some of the critical
issues facing community colleges.
That Stand For?"
about the meaning of one of the myriad of acronyms that are common
in community colleges? Just click on the question mark to the
left for a guide to the alphabet soup of community college organizations,
government agencies, etc.
A Quick Overview of How It All Fits Together
| It usually
helps to have a schematic of how everything fits together before delving
into the details of a complex system. The flow chart on the popup
page will provide a very generalized but useful guide to how policies
that affect faculty and students are shaped. Pass your cursor over
any image to get a brief description. After reviewing the decision-making
flow chart, continue on to the more in-depth description of governance.
here to get started.
Faculty's Role in Community College Decision Making
The Concept of Shared Governance
Shared governance is a process
created by the California state legislature that guarantees faculty
input in the decision-making process of community colleges. The purpose
of the the law, AB 1725, was to provide a mechanism to insure that
the expertise of the faculty would be used in developing college policies.
Although the phrase "shared governance" is not found in
the legislation, it has become the commonly used description
of the process that provides for faculty input. AB 1725 mandates that
colleges "consult collegially" with local Academic Senates
(the law also encourages colleges to seek active participation of
other constituencies such as classified staff or students in appropriate
collegially means that the district governing board shall develop
policies on academic and professional matters through either
or both of the following:
identified "academic and professional"
matters as eleven specific areas:
- Rely primarily upon
the advice and judgment of the Academic Senate
governing board, or its designees, and the Academic
Senate shall reach mutual agreement.
each college determines exactly how shared governance
will be implemented on its campus, the process varies
widely in its scope and details. With relatively
few exceptions, shared governance has provided California
community college instructors with a vehicle for
input into the decision making process unmatched
in any other state.
- Curriculum, including
- Degree and certificate
- Grading policy
- Educational program
- Standards or policies
regarding student preparation and success
- College governance
structures, as related to faculty roles
- Faculty roles and
involvement in accreditation processes
- Policies for professional
- Processes for program
- Processes for institutional
planning and budget development
- Other academic and
professional matters as mutually agreed upon.
are four types of faculty organizations involved
in community college governance in California:
organizations (the most important is the Faculty
Association of California Community Colleges)
bargaining agents (usually affiliates of the
California Teachers Association or the California
Federation of Teachers)
faculty organizations (the most widespread is
the California Part-Time Faculty Association)
important faculty organization in community colleges is the Academic
Senate. Through AB 1725, Academic Senates are the only organization
given legal standing in the shared governance process.
Each of the 108 community
colleges have an Academic Senate to represent faculty on academic
and professional matters. Typical issues that Senates address include
all of the topics listed above in the section on shared governance.
Most local Senates have representatives elected from divisions or
departments, although smaller colleges may have at-large representation.
Academic Senate of California Community Colleges
(ASCCC) is the statewide organization representing
local Senates. Each college, regardless of its
size, is given one voting representative at the
two annual conferences where position papers and
resolutions are discussed. The ASCCC is also one
of the organizations involved in the "consultation"
process that provides input to the Board of Governors
(see next page for more information).
in 1953 by a group of Long Beach City College
faculty members, the Faculty Association of California
Community Colleges (FACCC) was originally named
the California Junior College Faculty Council
Prop 13 moved a significant portion of the funding
(and therefore power) to the state Legislature,
FACCC's main office is in Sacramento where its
elected officials and professional lobbyists meet
with members of the state executive and legislative
FACCC advocates exclusively
for community college faculty. FACCC analyzes issues that impact
community colleges, develops policy and sponsors bills, and lobbies
the governor, the chancellor, the legislature, and other state and
Collective Bargaining Organizations
community colleges negotiate contracts with faculty
collective bargaining organizations. Contracts
cover salaries, working conditions, work load,
grievance procedures, leave policies, and other
locally determined issues. Some collective bargaining
units include part-time instructors while others
have two separate entities for full-time and adjunct
jurisdictional lines between the Academic Senate
and the bargaining unit are not precise, but most
campuses have developed good working relationships
between the two organizations.
community college bargaining units are affiliated
with the California Teachers Association (CFT)
or the California Federation of Teachers (CFT).
These affiliations are coordinated through two
statewide organizations, the Community College
Association and the Community College Council.
College Association is an affiliate of the California Teachers
Association (CTA) and the National Education Association (NEA). CTA/NEA
is the nation's largest educational organization, representing teachers
from kindergarten to university. The main function of the
CCA is to provide services to local units, such as assistance in negotiations
or grievance hearings. The CCA also holds numerous workshops throughout
the state and lobbies the state government on matters pertaining to
The Community College
Council is the policy making body for the community
college segment of the California Federation of
Teachers, affilitated with the American Federation
of Teachers. The Council is composed of presidents
from all of the Federation community college locals
in the state. Some of the larger community college
districts in California, such as San Diego, Los
Angeles, San Francisco, and Los Rios, are represented
by the CCC. The CCC operates much like the CCA,
providing services to local campuses, holding
workshops, and lobbying state officials.
While both the CCA
and the CCC have divisions that represent part-time
faculty, a separate organization, the California
Part-time Faculty Association (CPFA), has been
also created to further the the interests of adjunct
faculty. The policy and goals of the CPFA include
"abolishing the exploitation of part-time
- seeking legislative
- protecting academic
freedom for all faculty; and
- acting as a coalition
and resource base for various faculty organizations."
Bodies and Legislation
If you're unsure about an acronym just click the image to
the left to get a list of definitions. )
Role of the public in guiding community colleges:
to the UC and CSU systems, the public has always
had a much larger role in determining the direction
of community colleges. The very name "community
college" reflects the intent that these colleges
should meet the special needs of the local areas.
colleges received all of their funding locally,
but that situation changed dramatically after
the passage of the well-known Prop. 13 in 1978
which greatly reduced property taxes. Today much
of the revenue for community colleges comes from
the state (the exact percentage varies between
districts). However, while the state is continually
gaining in influence over local policy, the local community
still plays a very significant role in governing
The public has several
ways of influencing policy through its voting
power in electing the governor, state legislatures,
state judges, and, most directly, its local Board
of Trustees. The public also has a voice in determining
the fiscal fate of community colleges by voting
on local and statewide bonds. This funding process
has been dramatically changed by the passage of
a ballot proposition in 2000 that reduced the
bond approval percentage from 66% to 55%.
Role of the California government:
The state has broad
legislative and budget powers over the community
colleges. These powers are shared mostly between
the governor and the state legislature through
the spending and tax powers. The state also passes
legislation that defines community college structure,
policy and procedure. These laws form the Education
Code (see below), the highest level of education
law in California. State courts interpret the
Ed Code as well as other laws affecting teachers,
colleges, and students.
How the budget process works:
The California governor submits a budget and a legislative package
to the state legislature each January. This initial proposal is
based on state revenue estimates that will be refined later. The
budget includes spending to increase the base amount allocated to
community colleges for things such as the cost-of-living (COLA),
capital expenditures, or enrollment growth. There are also a few
new spending items each year. Some of these initiatives have filtered
up from the local level through the Chancellor's Office to the Community
College Board of Governors, who makes formal recommendations to
the governor. However, whether or not these recommendations are
accepted by the governor greatly depends on his/her own priorities,
the state's economic situation, and the public perception of community
colleges vis-à-vis the other educational institutions.
The legislature discusses these proposals
during the spring and invites constituent groups in to make recommendations.
The politics intensifies during this phase as all affected groups
lobby to increase or maintain their budget allocations. As the actual
state of the economy becomes clearer, the governor issues the "May
revise," a revision of the budget to reflect changes since
January. The legislature then has the rest of May and June to hammer
out a final budget before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.
The governor must sign the budget before it becomes effective but
does possess a "line item veto" that enables the deletion
of specific elements in the budget.
One of the key aspects
of the California Community College System is
that it is not really an integrated system like
those of the University of California or the California
State University. Community colleges are more
like a confederation of 72 Districts that value
their tradition of independence.
The Community College System is headed
by a Board of Governors, composed of a 16-member panel appointed
by the state's governor. The main function of the Board
is to provide policy direction for the community colleges and to
formally interact with state and federal officials and other state
organizations. The Board of Governors selects a Chancellor for the
system. The Chancellor, through a formal process of "consultation,"
brings recommendations to the Board, which has the legislatively-granted
authority to develop and implement policy for the colleges.
from the concept of shared governance.
In the consultation process, a council composed
of representatives of selected community
college institutional and organizational groups,
assists in development and recommendation of policy.
The council includes representatives from each
of the following: chief executive officers,
the Academic Senate, chief instructional officers,
chief student services officers, chief business
officers, chief human resources officers, chief
student body government officers, faculty members,
and community college organizations. The council
meets regularly throughout the year. It develops
and recommends policy, and reviews and comments
on proposals developed by other groups, locally-elected
boards, and the legislature.
Chancellor's Office is the administrative coordinating
body of the California Community College System.
Its work is primarily done through the following
- Educational Services
and Economic Development Division: This division has broad
responsibilities over distance education, library services, technology,
vocational education, telecommunications, and workforce development.
Many grants flow out of this division to colleges and individuals.
- Fiscal Policy Division:
One of the prime functions of this division is to plan for
facilities throughout community colleges.
Resources Division: A job bank is one of
the services of the HR Division. It is also
responsible for staff development initiatives.
- Policy, Planning
and External Affairs: To assist in the planning efforts of
the Chancellor's Office, this division is responsible for collecting
enormous amounts of management of information (MIS) data from
Services and Special Programs Division:
The primary goal of the Student Services and
Special Programs Division is to ensure that
all students have equal access to, and support
in college courses needed to achieve their educational
in 1974 by state law as California's planning and
coordinating body for higher education under the
provisions of the State Master Plan for Higher Education,
the Commission serves an unique role in integrating
fiscal, programmatic, and policy analysis about
California's entire system of postsecondary education.
The Commission is charged by law to:
the effective utilization of public postsecondary
resources, thereby eliminating waste and unnecessary
duplication, and to promote diversity, innovation
and responsiveness to student and societal needs."
Among the Commission's
- Long-range planning
- Policy development and analysis
- Program administration
- Review of new campuses and off-campus
- State clearinghouse
for information on higher education.
education law consists of the Education
Code (commonly referred to as the Ed Code)
V. The Ed Code is the highest level of
education law in California, consisting of laws
passed by the state legislature. It creates the
general framework for all public education from
kindergarten to university. The section of the Ed
Code that deals with community colleges defines
policies for issues such as:
and organization of the Board of Governors
for organizing local districts
process for floating bonds for public approval
rights of students
- Fees that may be charged
V consists of administrative law passed by the
state governing bodies for each level of education.
The authority to create these regulations is defined
in the Ed Code. The Board of Governors approves
regulations for community colleges. These regulations
cover such issues as
process for approving new colleges
of full and part-time faculty
for establishment of instructional programs
programs such as the Disabled Students or the
Extended Opportunity Programs
Boards & College
of the 72 community college districts in the state has a locally-elected
Board of Trustees, responsive to local community needs and
charged with the operations of the local colleges. The
CEO of a multi-campus district is referred to as "Chancellor,"
and the CEO of a college, either in a single or multi-campus district,
is called "President." Usually the board designee is the
chancellor for district matters and the president for college matters.
colleges have a committee structure to deal with various campus
issues. There are only a handful of legislatively mandated committees,
for example those dealing with curriculum or matriculation. Other
committees are created by local colleges, but most follow the concept
of shared governance and include representatives appointed by their
constituency groups. The committees referenced may be either college
committees or senate committees depending on the situation.