Academic Senate
2007-2008 
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MPC Academic Senate

Annual Report for 2007-08

 

In Word format

 

Executive Summary

 

The Academic Senate had another busy year. Last year we spent a lot of time reflecting on who we are by revising our bylaws, and where we wanted to go by conducting two planning retreats in which we developed detailed goals. This year, we directed our energy into achieving those goals.

Articulating Student Learning Outcomes at the course level for MPC consumed a large part of our energy.  A fruitful dialog brought together faculty members with divergent views of SLOs. We found areas of agreement and identified areas where we disagree. The value we identified is that the SLO model provides a framework for faculty to engage in dialog about what it is students ought to know and be able to do as they exit our courses. We recognized that if faculty don’t take ownership and responsibility of this initiative, then somebody else will -- and that would be everybody’s worst nightmare.

At the end of the year we endorsed a “form” initially designed by Diane Boynton, for faculty to record a) the SLOs they have developed for each course taught during the semester, b) the techniques they used to evaluate the student attainment of those SLOs, and c) what, if anything, they plan to do to improve student learning based on the results. With the assistance of AAAG and the division chairs, these forms will be distributed during Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 semesters as a pilot project.

            We appointed and then supported the efforts of our Basic Skills Initiative committee in their efforts to complete a self study of developmental education at MPC and then develop plans and goals to improve our efforts to serve this segment of our student population. As a testament to this commitment, the term “basic skills” now resides in our two-sentence mission statement.

            We planned and hosted two engaging flex day sessions for the college community. Andres Durstenfeld and Terrence Roberts gave inspirational keynote speeches. In the spring we had a day devoted to issues of race and education and a day devoted to discussing, developing and writing course level SLOs. Faculty attended both days.

            The Academic Senate proposed a complete revision of our Academic Freedom Policy, which was eventually submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval. Drafted by a subcommittee chaired by Dave Clemens and discussed at length over four consecutive Academic Senate meetings, our statement represents what is probably a state-of-the-art policy on Academic Freedom. The policy is centered on the notion of institutional neutrality and intellectual pluralism and strives to “defend faculty, students, and the curriculum from the influence of any current or future political fashion or orthodoxy.” Its theme is that “the college is a bastion of competing ideas; unanimity is anathema to academic freedom and intellectual life.”

            We continued our efforts to interact with the ASCCC (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges). We sent two or three representatives to each of the Plenary Sessions and receiving funding to send the CAC chair to the Curriculum Institute on a yearly basis. We submitted a resolution to the spring plenary supporting the repeatability of non-credit courses.

 

Guiding Principles or Values for the MPC Academic Senate

 

The Academic Senate uses the pursuit of academic excellence and critical thinking across the curriculum as an ultimate goal for all it does.

 

The Academic Senate is the recognized voice of the faculty on Academic and Professional matters as set forth in Title 5 and the Ed Code, generally known as the 10+1.

 

The Academic Senate strives to ensure a strong faculty voice in shared governance processes

 

The following outline details some of our goals and accomplishments for the 2007-08 academic year. 

 

Goal: Foster academic excellence and critical thinking across the curriculum.

·      Initiate and support a series of faculty discussions called “Let’s talk about teaching”

Accomplishments:

ü  Academic Senate President Fred Hochstaedter hosted a series of three “Let’s Talk About Teaching and Learning” sessions during the Fall 2007 semester. A group of 8-12 faculty members attended each of the sessions. The final session highlighted faculty members’ participation at the Carmel Authors Festival, which turned out to be an extremely inspiring and enriching event for many of us.

ü  While we did not continue “Let’s Talk About Teaching and Learning” sessions during the Spring 20-08 semester, we hope to continue sponsoring events for more dialogue and discussion about teaching and learning in the future.

 

 Goal: Spearhead a faculty lead effort to articulate the meaning and value of SLOs at MPC

·      Collaborate with CAC to determine the best way to do this.

·      Request release time for an SLO coordinator.

·      Use “Let’s Talk About Teaching” discussions to learn how our colleagues determine what their students should be able to do at the end of a class.

·      Establish that faculty members “own” their SLOs

·      Assure faculty play a strong role on the accreditation team

·        Invite SLO experts to give guest lectures on SLO strategies

Accomplishments:

ü  Formed a “MPC SLO Articulation” committee consisting of Fred Hochstaedter, Robynn Smith, Yesenia Calderon, and occasionally Jon Mikkelsen.

ü  The MPC SLO Articulation Committee produced a document entitled “Articulating Student Learning Outcomes for MPC”; a major theme of this document is that faculty members “own” their SLOs. The document is available through a link here: http://www.mpcfaculty.net/senate/slo.htm

ü  The SLO Articulation Committee presented the results of their work as a major theme at the Spring 2008 Flex Day events. A large group presentation was followed by a series of twelve different breakout sessions for all the different disciplines.

ü  Appointed eleven faculty members to the Accreditation Steering Committee as chairs of all the major standards and sections

ü  MPCTA, at the Academic Senate’s request, negotiated release time for the MPC SLO Coordinator.

ü  Appointed Fred Hochstaedter as the MPC SLO Coordinator.

ü  Adopted a form developed by Diane Boynton that will enable faculty members to record their course level SLOs and their assessment of student attainment of those SLOs.  This form is a starting point or a “pilot project” approach to meet the goals and requirements of the accreditation process and assist faculty in utilizing the knowledge gained from consideration of their SLOs in their course review and development. The form is available through a link here: http://www.mpcfaculty.net/senate/slo.htm

 

Goal: Spearhead a faculty lead effort to establish Basic Skills best practices on the MPC campus

·        Send our Basic Skill representative to statewide workshops and conferences

·        Use “Let’s Talk About Teaching” discussions as a means to determine how to address Basic Skills issues on the MPC campus

·        Provide opportunity for an increase in dialog between the traditional instructional faculty and the supportive services

·        Invite Basic Skills experts to give guest lectures on Basic Skills practices

Accomplishments:

ü  Appointed faculty members from both the traditional transfer-based instructional areas and the supportive services instructional areas to a Basic Skills Initiative Committee.

ü  Received reports on, provided feedback to, and eventually approved the 5-year goals, the 1-year action plan, and the expenditure plan developed by the Basic Skills Initiative Committee.

ü  Initiated plans to give the Spring 2009 Flex Days event a “Basic Skills” theme

ü  Successfully recommended to the College Council that the term “Basic Skills” be included in the MPC Mission Statement.

 

Goal: Host invigorating and engaging flex days each semester

·      Plan throughout the semester

·      Upgrade the Flex Day Committee to an Academic Senate standing committee similar in stature to the COC or the Equivalency committee

·      Set up a “template” to make it easy for future Flex Day Committees to plan for flex days

Accomplishments:

ü  Hosted Fall 2007 Flex days in which Andres Durstenfeld gave an inspiring keynote speech, and Doug Garrison’s cousin Vinnie made a humorous motivational speech in which shared his recollections of his many years in the educational system.

ü  Hosted a Spring 2008 Flex days highlighted by Terrence Robert’s Keynote speech.

ü  Promoted progress on a day when all breakouts were devoted to SLO writing

ü  Planned a Fall 2008 Flex day in which Rich Kezirian will give the keynote speech.

ü  Revised the Flex Day Committee’s bylaws, and changed the committee status to that of a Senate standing committee, now named the Flex Day Scheduling Committee; see more information in a document available through a link here: http://www.mpcfaculty.net/senate/FlexDayInfo.htm

ü  Honored the Curriculum Advisory Committee for all the work they do and Susan Walter for her leadership over the last few years.

 

 Goal: Review and revise board policy that pertains to academic and professional matters

Accomplishments:

ü  Endorsed the Board Policy on Academic Freedom, held a “Town Hall Meeting” to elicit comments from all interested parties, sent the policy through PACC to all constituencies, and presented it to the Board at the April 22 meeting.

ü  Reviewed and approved proposed Board Policy or Procedures on the topics of “Procedures for Complaints of Unlawful Discrimination, Including Sexual Harassment (BP 5105A)”, and “Budget Management (BP 6520)”.

ü  Referred “Claims Against the District (BP 3810)” to the MPCTA.

ü  Declined to comment on the board policy regarding the naming of buildings and public spaces because it is outside the realm of academic and professional matters.

 

Goal: Assure that faculty members are represented on shared governance committees

·      Re-establish the committee handbook that lists all committee membership and bylaws or goals.

·      Establish and use a faculty-committee data base that lists all faculty committee obligations

Accomplishments:

ü  Appointed scores of faculty members to a wide variety of committees

ü  Created an Academic Senate policy document describing “Guidelines for Service on Shared Governance Committees”

ü  We did not accomplish the objectives of re-establishing the committee handbook or creating a faculty-committee data base; we hope to try again next year.

 

Goal: Ensure academic excellence and integrity at the Ed Center

·      Increase more cross-pollination between our Ed Center committee and the campus wide Ed Center planning committee (Executive Committee recommendation)

·      Investigate how the planning committee communicates with all the other shared governance groups on campus

Accomplishments:

ü  Dissolved our Academic Senate Ed Center Committee because planning and implementation of the new Ed Center seems to be proceeding well. 

  

Goal: Create and sustain effective faculty leadership

·      Send Academic Senate representatives to ASCCC conferences and leadership workshops

Accomplishments:

ü  Funded the attendance of Anita Johnson at the Fall ASCCC Plenary session and Fred Hochstaedter and Anita Johnson at the Spring ASCCC Plenary. Reports are posted from these meetings and are available through a link here: http://www.mpcfaculty.net/senate/asccc.htm

ü  Debbie Anthony also attended both of these meetings.

ü  Will send Heather Faust to the ASCCC Leadership Institute in June.

ü  Secured funding from the President’s budget to send the CAC chair to the ASCCC Curriculum Institute each year.

ü  Participated in regional BSI events through MPC leadership; MPC faculty to participate in ASCCC BSI training event in Newport Beach.

 

Goal: Inspire and encourage cross-disciplinary curriculum and program development
Accomplishments:

ü  Flex Day planning and events involved cross-disciplinary exchanges and dialogue

ü  BSI committee work brought together instructional and student services faculty and staff to review curriculum and program development, representing many disciplines and areas

 

Other Accomplishments:

ü  Responded to proposed changes in Title V by approving a resolution written by Mark Clements and Alan Haffa about the repeatability of non-credit courses. We submitted the resolution to the ASCCC Spring plenary, but withdrew it when it became clear that our resolution presupposed a conclusion to an investigatory process that is still ongoing.

ü  Established a joint MPCTA—Academic Senate committee to look at Distance Education issues. We will revisit this topic next academic year when the new dean is on line (so to speak) here.

ü  The MPCTA, at the Academic Senate’s request, successfully negotiated 40% release time for the Curriculum Advisory Committee Chair.