RELATIONSHIPS-Isn't that what it is all about?

Chair, Relations with Local Senates Committee

Yes, I would say the title of this article describes what the Relations with Local Senate's Committee is all about. The charge of the committee (provided on our website at includes the statements that we "provide an opportunity to share information on issues of concern at the local and state levels" and to "serve as liaisons and conduits for information and requests for assistance." I am excited to chair the committee this year and I feel that it is a good fit for me. I am a librarian by profession and one of the main tenets of my profession is to identify a need, locate and evaluate the information and then communicate it (hmmm, does this sound like "information competency" to all the librarians reading this?), and I feel that this is a major focus of this committee. We are here to listen to your concerns, respond to them and let others know about both the concerns and the answers.

I want to provide a little historical background and perspective for the Relations with Local Senates Committee. A primary and ongoing purpose of the state Academic Senate is to serve as a resource for local senates. I am starting my eighth year of service on the Executive Committee and was privileged to serve in local leadership roles on academic senates in two different districts. One of my first experiences in the early `90s with the state Academic Senate was participating in the Geoclusters. It was a good structure for the time. Remember that this was in the day before email, videoconferencing, IM or Facebook (and you were lucky if you had access to a fax machine). If I remember correctly, the state was divided into 14 areas ("geographical clusters") for the purpose of sharing information with the local senates and also getting feedback from local senates. It was a good way for in-person interaction with colleagues, in addition to area meetings, institutes and plenary sessions. I reviewed the plenary session resolutions about geoclusters. By the end of the `90s, we had come up with more ways of communication ("technology caught up with us"). I still think that in-person interaction is the best, but it is not always convenient (we all have busy schedules) and I am proud to say that the Academic Senate is always exploring opportunities to share with the field-email lists, websites, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, podcasts, webinars, just to name a few.

As the new chair of this committee, I plan to be open to even more ways of sharing the skills and knowledge of so many faculty in so many areas of expertise with all 55,000+ faculty in the California Community Colleges.