Assistance to Assure Effective Participation in District and College Governance
(A Joint Program of the Academic Senate and Community College League) The Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges and the Community College League of California have joined together to offer a program of assistance for local colleges and districts. The purpose of the program is to help districts and colleges successfully implement state law and regulations that call for effective participation by faculty, staff and students in district and college governance. The services offered will be most effective if used before major conflicts arise and prior to a heightened level of local unilateral action by any parties involved in the local decision-making process. The jointly-sponsored program does not replace the individual services offered by the League to trustees and chief executive officers and by the Academic Senate to local faculty. Yet it is recognized that challenges to improve local decision making processes can be aided by the mutual support of the statewide organizations. Because the services are carried out by volunteers of the League and Academic Senate, the services will not always be available on short notice and scheduled assistance should be arranged well in advance. The program includes four distinct services that are available. Local college and district CEOs and faculty leaders who are interested in assistance should meet together to consider the services and to agree mutually on what assistance would be most beneficial. Although the program is intended to be flexible so that a mix of the four services or optional services may be available, the League and Academic Senate may not be able to help with some requests which vary too much from the four defined services or from the goal of improving the effectiveness of participation in governance. The president of the Academic Senate and executive director of the League are available at this early stage to answer questions and to help in identifying the best approach. These two persons will reach agreement as to whether the mutual request for assistance can be carried out. No joint service will be provided unless there is a written request for assistance signed by the college president or district chancellor and local academic senate president. This joint program is coordinated and implemented by the Executive Director of the League and President of the Academic Senate under policies established by their respective boards. Each district or college using the service is expected to reimburse the travel expenses for the assistance team members. The following provides a summary of the four services available within the assistance program: 1) informational presentation, 2) advisory assistance, 3) issue resolution and 4) special workshops and presentations.
Collegiality in Action:Effective Participation Fundamentals
The informational presentation service is intended to provide a basic overview of the state law, state regulations and guidelines concerning shared governance. The presentation is done by a representative of the League and Academic Senate and takes approximately two hours. Handouts are provided, good practices highlighted and questions answered. This service is best used at a college or district where there are no significant issues of conflict but a recognition that many participants in local shared governance roles are new and need an orientation or refresher on the required processes.
Collegiality in Action: Effective Participation Focused Study
The advisory assistance service is intended to provide a facilitated and structured opportunity to identify possible areas of conflict or different interpretations of the law and regulations and to develop ways to resolve the differences. The service is conducted by one to two representatives of the Academic Senate and League over four to six hours. The time includes a basic overview presentation for all interested parties and separate meetings with the faculty and with the trustees and administration. A written advisory report is provided by the assistance team to the district or college within six weeks of the visit. The advisory report seeks to clarify the key issues identified by the team in its visit, makes recommendations for addressing the issues and suggests who might be responsible for embarking on the solutions.
The purpose of the issue resolution service is to provide mediation assistance to a college or district when the parties have reached a stalemate and are unable to resolve their differences on a major issue. This service will not be provided unless the local board, chief executive officer and academic senate agree in advance and are committed and open to address seriously the recommendations of the assistance team. Prior to the six to eight hour visit of one to two representatives from the League and Academic Senate, focused discussions and investigation occur to clearly delineate in writing the issue to be resolved and the approach to be used. During the visit there will be focused interviews with individuals and groups. A written advisory report is provided by the assistance team within eight weeks of the visit. Prior to the formal presentation of the written report, the local parties involved will be given an opportunity to clarify, correct or refine the recommendations or statements in the report. The assistance team will return to the college or district to present the report and to answer questions publicly. In addition a follow-up training session to provide guidance on implementing the recommendations will be provided if requested.
Special Workshops and Presentations
The fourth service involves special workshops and presentations on topics that help local personnel better understand particular issues and various aspects of effective decision-making processes. These jointly presented workshops are designed under the direction of the President of the Academic Senate and the Executive Director of the League, working with local college representatives.
In an effort to off set travel costs associated with the CCLC President/CEO and ASCCC President participation in these events, colleges will be charged a small fee of $1,000 per visit.
What is Next?
Scenarios to Illustrate Effective Participation in District and College Governance