Time and time again, PCC boasts about our “impressive transfer practices” and high outcomes in student success, and while our consistency to remain an important, recognized community college is impressive, we must also recognize that there is a consistent lack of communication from the administration, specifically when it comes to profound changes on campus such as the implementation of AB 705.
While the English faculty are trying to implement AB 705’s rules and regulations, it has taken longer than expected not because of the faculty’s inability to reach a unanimous decision on how to approach the law, but because the administration on campus hasn’t been able to communicate directly with the faculty about the curriculum.
Long before AB 705 was signed into law, the English faculty had been working on piloting an existing 2 unit support course that was to be taken alongside English 1A. The course would allow students to meet with their instructor and have additional time to work on assignments which would further their success in transfer level courses.
Making remedial classes obsolete will hinder the ability for some students to achieve success in higher level english courses. The pilot based on an existing model demonstrates the English faculty’s willingness to find a compromise between the law and the current curriculum put in place at PCC. Rather than drastically altering the course list, they have decided to add a lecture course that would offer students the extra attention that they might need.
Therefore, after it was determined that AB 705 would be effective Fall of 2019, the English faculty decided they would proceed with the pilot and conduct further research. Yet, according to documents obtained by the Courier, the English faculty were told in an email at the end of last semester that they would have to stop the pilot. They were not given a proper reason about why this decision was made by the Dean of the English Division, Isela Ocegueda.
Instead, the English faculty were told by the Superintendent-President, Ericka Endrijonas, that the course they were using to model their pilot on was out of date and unable to be used.
While the reasoning behind stopping the pilot is reasonable, the fact that Dean Ocegueda did not directly tell the English faculty why this decision was made has led to growing conflict. These rising tensions caused by the administration have frustrated the English faculty and thus, have delayed the acceleration of student success on campus.
Furthermore, at a faculty meeting that occurred last semester, Dean Ocegueda insisted that the English faculty vote for her preferred method instead and completely disregarded the proposals put forth by the committee that was formed to look into AB 705, according to documents obtained by The Courier.
“Colleges across the state, responding to the law, were doing different things,” said English professor, Manny Perea. “[The English faculty] decided that the model we liked, through a vote, was a 2 unit lecture support class.”
Rather than being able to openly communicate with Ocegueda, the English faculty were shut down and in turn unable to present why their model would adequately serve the law and changes on campus. This is unacceptable and perpetuates the idea that the administration is allowed to make decisions without consulting with faculty. This consistent pattern is only hindering progress in a time where there needs to be unity and agreement about how to deal with this new curriculum standard.
What the administration needs to understand is that adjusting to AB 705 not only means changing the curriculum but shifting the mindset from getting students in and out of community college quickly with less units, to getting students in and out of community college in a timely manner that is consistent with their success. This is something that the English faculty has known even before this new law was set in motion.
We need to listen to the English faculty and take their decisions into consideration because they directly contribute to students succeeding in higher transfer level courses. Their guidance and support has clearly impacted how students proceed in their academic career at PCC.
Forcing the English faculty to adopt a model that won’t give a choice to students hinders the success PCC so proudly boasts about. Yet, allowing the English faculty to adopt their model will simply show students that there is another way to tackle AB 705. PCC can be the leaders in academic success like we say we are but the lack of communication and inconsistency from the administration won’t get us there.
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