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Academic Senate still at opposite ends with administration

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The Academic Senate continued to be worlds apart with the administration on numerous issues that were brought up at its meeting on Monday, according to senate members.

Concepcion Gonzalez/Courier  Dan Haley, left, Eduardo Cario, talk about the boycott aganist the Committe on Academic and Professional Matters (CAPM) meetings, on Monday.

Concepcion Gonzalez/Courier
Dan Haley, left, Eduardo Cario, talk about the boycott aganist the Committe on Academic and Professional Matters (CAPM) meetings, on Monday.

One of the biggest issues still on the table is the senate decision to boycott the Committee on Academic and Professional Matters (CAPM) meetings, which was made at the senate’s Nov. 4 meeting.

“There is nothing set in writing at these meetings,” Academic Senate President Eduardo Cairo said. “We have had issues where President Mark Rocha will promise to present what we discussed about to the Board of Trustees, but instead only presents what he wants to present.”

CAPM is a forum for discussion and mutual agreement. It is the primary communication mechanism between the faculty, administration, and the Board of Trustees. Cairo said that the senate had sent stipulations on what grounds they would return to the meetings to the administration. The administration said no to these stipulations, Cairo said.

“Why would we come to these meetings with no means to protect ourselves?” asked Cairo. “Rocha has shown that he will lie to us. With these meetings being recorded and on record, it would help build trust back up.”

General Counsel Gail Cooper wrote in an email that she has not “seen any stipulations sent to the administration by the senate.”

Robert Miller, senior vice president of business and college services, said in November that the Academic Senate’s decision to not participate in CAPM meetings made it very difficult to transact the business of the college, which is to support teaching, learning and students.

“This action places students and faculty in jeopardy and places the college’s accreditation at risk,” Miller said.

The administration will also implement a block schedule for Summer 2014, according to Cairo. That schedule was never approved or talked about with the senate before its implementation.

“A block schedule seeks to create a framework for course scheduling that prevents overlap,” said Matt Jordan, interim associate dean of General Education. “Students can schedule all of their classes back-to-back or with small breaks rather than a six-hour break between the classes that they need.”

Student Trustee Simon Fraser concurred.

“I was one of those students who had that problem,” Fraser said. “We have seen too often students unable to get a decent set of classes purely because of a five or 10 minute overlap. I think that we absolutely needed change.”

Currently, courses are scheduled by divisions and they use their own scheduling conventions, Jordan said.

Cairo said the Academic Senate has not seen data that proves a block schedule is going to improve student success.

The Academic Senate would like the current scheduling process maintained while they have a chance to review the schedule in more detail and have all of their questions answered.

“The Senate never opposes change so long as you can prove that the change is for the better,” Cairo said.

Jordan said scheduling does not fall within the shared governance guidelines, so the administration is not required to seek faculty input.

However, he added that the administration did form an Academic Senate Ad Hoc Block Scheduling Committee and took many of their recommendations under consideration.

Cairo said that since there was an ad hoc committee on scheduling that included an administrator and faculty member as co-chairs, that is proof that it is in the purview of the Academic Senate.

“The administration is still receiving a lot of comments on the block schedules,” Jordan said. “We’re collecting those and we’re going to review them for possible inclusion into the block schedule.”

Cairo said that the senate would continue to talk about these issues at its future meetings. He said that they would decide what to do regarding the boycott against the CAPM meetings now that the administration had said no to the senate’s stipulations.

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6 Responses to “Academic Senate still at opposite ends with administration”

  1. Students & Faculty Unite says:

    It is about time that administrators hear our voices. We are not afraid of your empty threats. We want what is best for students rather than what is best for your pocket books. Please stop sending your faculty with 80%-100% release time to do your dirty work. Spend the money on the students’ needs, such as more counselors, rather than on refurbishing Rocha’s private bathroom.

    When PCC administrators decide to act as professionals, the faculty will be willing to hear you. Faculty and students are level headed, honest and transparent. We had three separate votes of “no confidence” last academic year. I hope that the community and its BoT reps have heard our message, “It is time to get a professional with leadership skills to direct this campus.”

    Academic Senate: Keep up the great work. You offer voices of reason in a time of PCC turbulence.

    • Potential Target says:

      The community and BOT have most distinctly NOT heard our voices. From their point of view, the faculty are lazy and greedy; we’ve been painted as anti-student.

      The votes of no confidence that you cite are the ultimate proof of that; despite them, the BOT’s new president stands by our president and can’t understand why there’s so much discontent on campus.

  2. Bravo. says:

    The Senate is to be commended.
    It was wholly reasonable to expect the Administration to act honorably–Mark Rocha squandered that amiable working relationship by betraying trust. CAPM had been a place for private, but honest discussion, which now must be recorded and held openly.
    Administration now has no reason not to meet the request for transparency. It will be a petty path for them if they continue to stall, complain, and blame.

  3. Potential Target says:

    Keep fighting the good fight, Senate.

    But President Cairo, you will never get that data supporting block scheduling. Since when has this administration offered such evidence for ANY of its plans? Realignment, NCNs, block scheduling, Rosemead–there’s no data to support any of it.

  4. Where's the Data? says:

    What proof, other than one student who didn’t like the schedule, does the Associated Students have to want this change? How many students were surveyed? I certainly don’t remember getting a survey, and I find nothing wrong with the schedule.

  5. Rocha speaks through his prophets? says:

    Of course, now that the Senate is no longer the President’s lap dog, Admin flunkies claim that scheduling does not fall under the Senate’s responsibilities. Anything that bothers Rocha does not fall under the Senate’s responsibilities.
    (Now that Mark Rocha is laughed out of meetings, its safer to assign to someone else to spout the party line.)

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