Academic Senate discusses new policy changes

The Skyline Academic Senate held a meeting to discuss potential changes to policies on campus on Feb. 18.

For those who might not know, the Academic Senate is a group of faculty members here at Skyline College that is made up of mostly professors and instructors . As outlined in their constitution, the matters that they discuss include class curriculums and prerequisites, degree and certification requirements, and program reviews.

This Academic Senate is made up of representatives, as well as a governing body, with roles such as treasurer and president. Each of these representatives is typically either on a committee for a particular section, such as curriculum or education policy, representatives of a particular division like counseling, or non-voting representatives of important educational organizations close to Skyline College, like the AFT and ASSC.

In their most recent meeting on Feb. 18, the main focus seemed to be related to two policy issues: dealing with curriculum development (Policy 6.13), the faculty selection process (Policy 3.16) and possible revisions to C-ID, which is a program meant for easing transfer from community college to a four year university.

Regarding C-ID, there are many provisions that seem to revolve around the vetting of curriculum for new classes. The C-ID system makes liberal use of what they call “descriptors,” that make it easier for four year institutions to look at and adjust their requirements for transfer. At this particular session, there were many discussions on not only new “descriptors” for majors, such as biotechnology and graphic design, but things like new descriptors for “Reading – basic skills,” although it is unclear what that currently would mean for Skyline students.

What is most of note regarding this report is the opening of a descriptor for a new Math 111 class. It is meant for alternative prerequisites to Introduction to Statistics classes, like Math 190, and is meant to mirror classes such as Math 110. That descriptor is now up for vetting by the Academic Senate. There are also considerations towards model curriculums and descriptors for fields like welding technology and health occupations.

The changes to Policy 3.16 are centered around the idea of “equivalency,” meaning that the college is willing to be more lenient in its requirements for accepting faculty. There are three main ways for applicants seeking to obtain employment at Skyline College, those being degree equivalence, academic background equivalence, and professional achievement equivalence.

Degree equivalence allows for an applicant with a degree to serve as faculty even with a degree of a different name, if they are similar enough in coursework and area of expertise.

Academic background equivalence allows for those in disciplines “in which a Master’s degree is not generally accepted or available” to be employed if they have completed 24 semester units in their respective field, have education in the field at least to the level of a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree, and a “detailed study of the discipline in breadth, rigor, and depth, usually met by coursework required for the degree major.”

Professional achievement equivalence allows for any applicants that have completed their general education requirements for their degree, and show that they either have significant achievement or ample experience, to be accepted as faculty as well.

This seems to line up with proposed increases to funding, in that there could be potential for career technical programs to be expanded even further. There are many trades that may not necessarily offer something to the tune of a Master’s degree, but would still benefit from the teaching of those who have years of professional experience.