Academic senate spring session

 (Gui Oliveira)

(Gui Oliveira)

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges’ discussion in the spring session of 2009 took place April 16-18 at the Westin Hotel in Millbrae. In addition to discussing current issues, the senate also commemorated its 40th anniversary. Several hundred community college affiliates made an appearance to comment on several topics concerning everything ranging from financial issues to pre-requisites. The massive crowd was largely made up of staff members, faculty, counselors, and professors.

Mark Wade Lieu, president of the executive committee, began the conference by giving a speech on the “state of the senate”. Among some of the good things he mentioned was that the “senate is doing well in terms of resources”. In aspects of not so good news, Lieu mentioned the problem of “new staff leaders who are not familiar with the system of their college”.

Next to speak was Phillip Maynard, who speaks on behalf of the elective’s chair. Maynard inducts new residing members to positions available. In hierarchical order, Maynard lists each chair, starting with president, then vice-president, secretary, treasurer, areas A, B, C, D, and lastly, northern and southern representatives.

Richael Young of CSM displayed a presentation on pre-requisite courses.

“Our colleges’ supply of such courses (pre-requisite) hasn’t met student need and demand” Young said.

The question of how helpful pre-requisite courses are was a primary issue that was brought up during the conference.

“Pre-requisite + guidance= better preparation = higher rate of success” said Young.

The purpose of the academic senate is to twice a year gather and discuss “through a legislative style resolution procedure, take faculty position on academic and professional matters”, according to the “Appendices for use with Resolution” booklet.

At Skyline college, preliminary steps must be taken prior to enrolling in many classes that require a pre-requisite course such as English and Math. For example, English 836 is a pre-requisite to 100 and the work is more or less cut out to the same amount, but 836 is not transferable.

Lou Ferguson, a general counselor at Skyline, mentions that “pre- requisite and non transferable classes are not a waste of time. The purpose of these courses is to prepare students, and students do have the option to challenge their assessment test score results”.

Of course, placement tests are not as reliable as some people perceive them to be. In some cases a student who places low in the math test for whatever reason gets put in pre-algebra, but took trigonometry in high school and successfully completed it- in this instance administrative consideration or a re-test should be taken in order to find out which course best suits the student.

For students like Denisse Gonzales, a member of DSPS who plans to run for student president, pre-requisite courses are a very good thing.

“For returning students like myself, pre-requisite courses are very helpful in order for me to gain better preparation”.