Student Success Task Force Panel at the ASCCC Fall
At their Fall 2011 Plenary meeting, the ASCCC convened a
panel of Student Success Task Force members. The panelists included:
Chancellor of the California Community Colleges
President, California Community Colleges Chief Instructional
VP of Instruction, Orange Coast College
Math faculty member at De Anza College
President of California Community College Independents (who
incidentally issued a
very strong response to the SSTF recs)
Chancellor of San Diego Community College District
Past President of the ASCCC
CCC Board of Governors
Member of the board of Trustees of Mt San Antonio Community
Government faculty member at Rio Hondo College
The panel discussion was quite interesting. Some the major
points that the dialog revealed include:
A genuine concern about the large number of students who
need basic skills instruction and don’t make it through our programs
The SSTF recommendations were not consensus
There was frustration among faculty participants in the
The SSTF was convened in united opposition to another
Senate bill that would have required outcomes-based funding for the CCCs
Faculty participants were frustrated at the “last minute”
addition of the “not at this time” phrase in the recommendation to not
implement outcomes-based funding
There is little discussion at this level about what the
“primary mission” of the CCCs should be—avocational students are last in
The following are some highlights of the dialog, mainly in
the Q&A section. All are keyed to the time of the video so that they can be
easily found. They do not cover every question, only those where Fred thought
that the dialog was particularly revealing. But listen for yourself.
0:30 Chancellor Jack Scott introduces the SSTF
5:45 Chancellor Scott provides recognition of how some
students get jobs after taking a welding class and leave the college, but
emphasizes that a large percentage of students leave after taking 12 units.
6:30 Chancellor Scott explains how this SSTF effort is really
in response to a proposed senate bill that would have required completions-based
funding. It was a huge success that that bill was morphed into the one that
prompted this SSTF.
10:30 Chancellor Scott introduces vice-chancellor Barry
Russell to explain the recommendations. I
watched portions of this section of the video, but did not find any of it
32:30 Each panelist introduces themselves and says a few
words about their perspectives of the recommendations.
33:30 Rich Hansen talks about how some of the critics of the
CCCs were actually on the SSTF. I assume that he’s talking about Nancy Shulock,
a persistent critic of the CCCs. He
observes that some of those critics mellowed their views on the CCCs as they got
to know each other on the task force.
34:15 Constance Carroll talks about these unprecedented times
in CA. California is facing unprecedented economic hardship and rapidly growing
diversity of student body-- 40% students of color in the 1980s has increased to
68% students of color today.
35:45 Jane Patton, in a spectacular example of a “politic”
response to the SSTF recommendations, answers the question that is on
everybody’s mind, i.e., “what were you thinking?” She goes on to claim that the
five faculty members on the task force “were not from Mars”, and says that it’s
hard to see the good things in the report because of those aspects of the report
that are so “offensive, to pretty much everyone.” People couldn’t see the
strengths of the report because the “tone of the report was so irritating.” I
really urge you to watch this portion of the video. These notes just don’t do it
41:45 Questions begin.
41:45 The first
question is about the recommendations directing most resources towards new high
school graduates, rather than adults returning to school to get job training,
which comprise a large cohort of community college students. How will it benefit
CA to push our community learners out of our community colleges?
Chancellor Scott replies and talks about priority
registration favoring students other than those who are “avocational learners,
such as those who would like to take guitar because they’re an adult who would
like to take guitar…” There’s nothing new here—he’s just following the direction
of the legislature from two years ago. He claims that public opinion polls
support this position.
funding—please explain the apparent contradiction in the recommendations.
Jane Patton: faculty went to task force with opposition to
performance-based funding as their number one agenda. Put a lot of effort into
it and feel some degree of success. At the 11th hour, the phrase “at
this time” was added, and this was very frustrating.
Constance: CEOs are against performance based funding. Not
much evidence supporting performance based funding nationally.
Also see next question at about 52:15
50:00 What was the
decision making process?
Rich Hansen: It’s not a consensus document. Everybody sitting
at the table disagree with parts of it.
Rich goes on to talk about outcomes based funding. Makes the
point that the places that have used outcomes-based funding (Washington State,
Ohio) have always been more flush with money than CA currently is. The
outcomes-based funding was always a small fringe amount of money that they had
to play with. It was a small proportion of money compared to the total budget.
53:30 Chancellor Scott reemphasizes that this task force was
born out of a common opposition to performance-based funding. The SB 1440 asked
that the SSTF consider performance-based funding, so they considered it, and
1:05:00 There’s a lot
to hold colleges accountable in these recommendations. What about holding
students accountable for their own success?
Jane Patton: Actually a number of the recommendations do
that. Academic Senate has taken a number of positions in recent years that
support this idea; the colleges need to support students so that they know the
impact of their decisions and know what to do.
1:08:45 What about the
mission? The recommendations change the mission of the colleges. Did the task
force discuss that and come to the conclusion that the mission should in fact be
changed or was it a change made by “accident”?
Chancellor Scott addresses the life-long learning aspect of
the mission by saying it is one of the missions, but it was “a later mission”,
and wasn’t mentioned in the master plan. Life-long learning has always been
considered a mission, but not a primary mission. “We really feel that CTE,
transfer, and basic skills are the primary mission. And we’ve done this by
adjusting curriculum.” He goes on to talk about priority registration where “the
student who has taken Golf for six straight semesters ought not to be
registering ahead of the first-year student”…There seemed to be consensus on the
task force about the primary mission.
Manuel Baca: “It’s not about changing the mission; it’s about
being real about the mission.”
In general, there doesn’t seem to be much disagreement among
the panelists that the primary mission of the community colleges is transfer,
CTE, and basic skills, and that a secondary mission is avocational education.
1:15:05 Rich Hansen: “The Chancellor is right; it’s hard to
argue that we don’t need to make space for those incoming new freshmen. We need
to do that, yet protect the other aspects of our mission. It’s going to take a
lot of thought on how to do this. We need to engage in this to produce an
outcome we’re happy with.”
1:16:40 How is a
centralized professional development system better?
Panel generally backpedals on this one and says that this is
not what was intended by the task force.
1:24:00 Jane Patton says that she needs to go to the next
meeting saying that we need more time to process all of these recommendations;
the field input has been tremendous.