The Importance of Designated CTE Liaisons for Local Senates
While all curriculum in the California community colleges is created and approved through the same general process, career technical education faculty face numerous special circumstances with which general education faculty may be unfamiliar. Many CTE courses lead directly to certification, employment, licensure, or registration. Creating a new CTE course, certificate, or program requires labor market data and approval of the regional consortia. CTE programs regularly hold advisory committee meetings with industry partners and are subject to program review every two years. Many local academic senate presidents may not be well versed in all of these aspects of CTE program and course development, and therefore they might benefit greatly from establishing a CTE liaison to serve as a conduit of information to the local senate and to keep other faculty informed.
At the Spring 2015 Plenary Session, the ASCCC adopted Resolution 17.02 – Establishing Local CTE Liaison Position:
Whereas, The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges appoints career and technical education (CTE) faculty to numerous statewide initiatives, workgroups, committees, and task forces to ensure their interests are represented, but communicating this critical need to CTE faculty and recruiting adequate numbers of volunteers is often difficult;
Whereas, In November 2014 the Board of Governors commissioned the Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation, and a Strong Economy to develop recommendations addressing system-wide policies and practices that may significantly affect career technical education programs, and CTE faculty must be appraised of and contribute to the work of the taskforce; and
Whereas, Information concerning CTE programs, faculty, and students may not always be disseminated to all CTE faculty at local colleges and districts, and therefore CTE faculty would benefit from the creation of a CTE liaison position to act as a conduit between the Academic Senate for Community Colleges and local CTE faculty;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges urge local academic senates to identify a CTE faculty member to act as a liaison to facilitate communication among local CTE faculty, the local academic senate, and the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.
Over the past two years, a significant amount of resources from the CCC Chancellor’s Office have been dedicated to the Strong Workforce Taskforce, and in the coming years hundreds of millions of dollars will be directly invested in CTE programs to improve workforce development and stimulate economic growth. The Strong Workforce Taskforce has proposed, and the Board of Governors has adopted, twenty-five recommendations spanning many academic and professional matters, areas regarding which academic senates may be relied on or mutually agreed with in decision-making. This year alone, the governor has provided $200 million to the community college system to increase CTE programs and to provide quality improvements to existing CTE programs. Funding priorities are determined by regional consortia where faculty and administrators from college districts in a region come together to collaborate on how to best serve the career and workforce needs of the region. Local academic senates need to have a CTE faculty liaison who is actively involved in these local and regional conversations that will allocate dollars to those programs capable of providing more and better outcomes that directly lead to higher quality and a greater quantity of CTE programs in California’s community colleges.
Clearly, the current educational environment in California is focused intently on the value that is provided by CTE faculty and their programs, and the number of initiatives for which CTE faculty can participate is ever increasing–career pathways, dual enrollment, and implementation of the Strong Workforce Taskforce recommendations. Local senates must reach out to their CTE faculty and request their participation in these endeavors. The role of the liaison is simple: act as a conduit of information on statewide CTE matters for their college, district, region, and fellow faculty. In order to help inform these liaison and provide a network of like-minded individuals, the ASCCC CTE Leadership Committee is dedicated to the professional development of CTE faculty through curriculum academies, CTE Faculty Leadership Institutes, and focused breakouts at spring and fall plenary sessions. The ASCCC has a specific listserve for CTE Liaisons where information is disseminated on the work of the taskforce and other statewide issues relating to CTE. Liaisons are instrumental in sharing that information with the larger college community. By providing CTE faculty with the knowledge and resources needed, California’s community colleges can answer the call from the legislature contained within the trailer bill language to the governor’s 2016-17 budget to implement the multiple recommendations of the Strong Workforce Program.
The call to action for CTE faculty can be heard loudly, and now is the time for concerted action that will position the highly valued, but often expensive, career and technical programs that form an important part of the foundation on which our community college system is based according to California Education Code:
66010.4. The missions and functions of… California[‘s] Community Colleges shall, as a primary mission, offer academic and vocational instruction at the lower division level for both younger and older students, including those persons returning to school…
(3) A primary mission of the California Community Colleges is to advance California’s economic growth and global competitiveness through education, training, and services that contribute to continuous work force improvement. [emphasis added] CTE faculty are deeply invested in their students and already spend an incredible amount of time outside of the classroom developing relationships with industry partners and creating world-class programs that lead to gainful employment and highly valued credentials. These very qualities are what make for an excellent liaison. To appoint a liaison and add that person’s name to the ASCCC CTE Liaison Listserv, contact CTE Leadership Committee Chair Lorraine Slattery-Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org