Faculty takes a stand

Academic Senate passes resolution to address cuts in curriculum

March 8, 2010
by Jamie Santiago | Staff Writer

In reaction to the administration’s mandate that faculty continue to make dramatic cuts in classes, Resolution 4.0, the first of its kind, was passed by the City College Academic Senate on Feb. 2 to address a disconnect between administrators and faculty.

In brief, the resolution states that for courses to be eliminated, administrators should first enter into a meaningful dialogue with faculty in order to reduce potential road blocks to the academic success of City College students.

Because of state budget cuts, City College lost some funding, forcing classes to be cut last semester. Connie Zuercher, Academic Senate president and physical education professor, said there was scarce opportunity for adequate discussion between faculty and administrators.  “Because of the budgets cuts and because of the funding, there were a tremendous amount of section cuts, and they came as a surprise to everyone,” Zuercher said. “There was a great deal of angst and frustration among the faculty. There was a general feeling that there wasn’t enough dialogue going on.”

The Academic Senate, a group of elected full-time and adjunct faculty members, represent academic divisions and acts as an information conduit between the two entities.  The Senate meets bimonthly, addressing issues pertaining to academic and professional matters, such as curriculum, grading policies, program development, degrees and certificates, and student preparation.

“We participate in a governance process,” said senator and English professor Troy Myers. “I think that’s the key role for the Senate.”

Myers said it’s important for faculty members to have a role in decision making, and not solely the administration.

“The people who really matter in this are the students,” Myers said.

According to Myers, Resolution 4.0 was created to make sure the faculty has a strong voice.

“I just don’t think that anyone in the administration, or for that matter the Legislature, has unilateral expertise where they can individually — without getting faculty communication — decide what needs to be trimmed,” Myers said.

According to City College Vice President of Instruction Mary Turner, steps have been taken to ensure more faculty-administration communication. Recently appointed as the vice president of Instruction, Turner met with the department chairs, leadership of the Academic Senate, and faculty-union representatives to address the issue.

Course reductions for the upcoming summer and fall semesters will impact students, according to Zuercher.

“I would just really, really encourage students to make sure that they see a counselor as soon as they can,” Zuercher said. “So that they can get into those classes and that they know what classes they are ready to take.



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