Equity and student completion are at the forefront of the newly elected 2018-2019 Academic Senate executive board agenda.
The Academic Senate represents the various faculty members on campus, granting the opportunity for discussion and action to chosen faculty members from each division.
The executive board for the 2018-2019 school year will include: Lynora Rogacs who served as Secretary for the Senate this year, as President of the board, Shelagh Rose continuing as the Vice-President, Matt Henes as Secretary and Veronica Jaramillo acting as Treasurer.
Elections are self-nominated, meaning that any individual who wants a position can place themselves in the running for eligibility. During this election, all four candidates were self-nominated and ran unopposed.
Incoming treasurer Jaramillo attributes her motivation to a desire to become more involved on campus and represent the needs of her division in natural sciences.
“In terms of the Science Village, I think it’s important to get faculty more aware of what’s going on,” said Jaramillo. “I hope that we get more involved and I hope that’s something that I can assist with.”
This past year, in particular, Jaramillo notes the relative stagnancy associated with helping the Science Village find a new location.
“We felt like our building was not discussed enough so it was unclear if/when we will be getting a replacement U-building,” she said.
She hopes that her time on the board will aide both the Science Village and her personal endeavors.
“I think my role is to learn a little bit at the beginning because I wouldn’t say I’ve been the most active on ‘that side,’” she said. “I’ve been more active here in the Science Village. I think my role will be to bridge the gap between the two.”
Secretary Henes also sees his role as a learning opportunity.
“What exactly is a union issue? What is a senate issue? What is a student services issue? Those distinctions aren’t clear in my mind,” Henes said. “I’m looking forward to seeing more from the inside to see how what the Senate does impacts the campus.”
The new board is prepared to contend with an onslaught of obstacles within the coming year, according to Henes.
First and foremost, the board has to deal with the passing of AB 705, a bill that aims to “ensure that students are not placed into remedial courses that may delay or deter their educational progress,” according to the California Community Colleges website. In effect, it pushes all students to begin at a college level, removing the majority of remedial classes.
“Students are going to need support because students who historically would have placed at a lower level are going to be starting out by default at college level,” said Henes. “We’re thinking about how to work with students who have different levels of comfort with the material, different levels of academic preparation. We also need to support the faculty.”
In addition, the ongoing push for equity will require its own set of needs.
“To address equity issues requires a campus,” Henes said. “We need to deal with systemic issues that disproportionately affect different people.”
The most recent FLEX day, or professional development day, focused on equity. An activity gave instructors the opportunity to view campus through the eyes of a PCC student—which Henes renders a valuable experience.
“Seeing the Senate as a driving force for that (FLEX days) gives me confidence that the Senate can actually do things,” said Henes.