The Academic Senate’s (AS) spring session ended while discussing a plan currently underway to study changes to the school calendar, for Winter 2021, leaving senators to ponder the possibilities after their final meeting on June 3.
Terry Giugni, Assistant Superintendent and Vice President of Instruction, proposed eight different schedules to the AS earlier in May. He is co-chair of the Calendar Committee (CC) who has primary responsibility of forming the schedule.
The academic calendar has broad implications.
“The calendar really shapes the way that students and faculty and staff live their lives,” said Thea Alvarado, sociology instructor. “It has so many spillover effects into the communities and the families of the people who are involved at PCC.”
Concern grew as senators looked closely at Giugni’s options for winter term. In recent years, winter has been six weeks long. Several options propose a shortened term of either four or five weeks.
“Some of them were very radical changes. He was talking about all the pieces of information, all the data, all the people we need to talk to, all the schedules we need to consult, before that final decision was made,” Alvarado said. “And hopefully that would involve a decision with everyone on campus.”
The AS will need to approve the calendar for it to become effective.
“I like having that six week winter. But it shouldn’t be what’s convenient for me as faculty, and it shouldn’t necessarily be what’s convenient for students in my class,” said Linda Hintzman, math associate professor. “It needs to be what’s convenient and appropriate and in the best interest of the majority of our students. There’s never going to be one answer that works perfectly for everyone.”
The calendar was not the only thing on senators’ minds as they headed off for the AS summer break.
Beville Constantine, chairman of the Adjunct Faculty Committee, said intersessions can pose difficulty, in terms of seniority and rehire rights. Calendar changes may compound the issue.
“I’m really trying to change the mindset of administrators of faculty members, full time faculty members, and the way that they look at adjunct faculty,” Constantine said. “I think adjuncts have been mistreated, have been sort of put on the back burner. In terms of our policies, I see it sometimes.”
Constantine pointed to challenges for successful collaboration with students.
“I would say almost 60% of the courses that are taught here at PCC are adjunct faculty,” Constantine said. “That’s just my estimate. And the fact that we don’t have a designated adjunct faculty lab is something that stood out to me.”
PCC’s rapid changes this year kept the AS busy. Giugni said more calendar discussions would come in the fall, and hard work ahead is expected.
“The moment we stop asking questions and the moment we stop demanding answers is the moment that we are completely, apathetic? No. Complacent,” said Melissa Michelson, languages associate professor. “We cannot have a senate that is complacent.”
The Academic Senate’s fall session kicks off Sept. 9.