The Academic Senate; What They Do and Why You Should Care

Formed in 1970, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization created for the promotion and advancement of public community college education in California. 

Fresno City College also has its own Academic Senate, currently made up of 65 faculty members with a representative, or senator, from each department on campus that meet twice a month. 

President of the Academic Senate, Karla Kirk, said that the purpose of the senate is for faculty participation in the governance of FCC in decisions that impact specific areas of the campus.

“We have an Associated Student Government that represents the voice of our students,” said Kirk. “So the same way that ASG works where you have senators who represent all of the students, that’s how the Academic Senate works, we represent all of the faculty.”

The Academic Senate provides guidance to the college on areas including degree and certificate requirements, educational program development, policies for faculty professional development activities and processes for institutional planning and budget development.  

“What we want to focus on in some of our committees are academic standards,” said Kirk. “Academic standards is the committee that reviews grade petitions, grade changes, withdrawal from classes in extenuating circumstances and academic disqualification petitions.” 

Kirk also expresses the importance that each faculty representative plays in the Academic Senate.

“We understand what our grading system is,” said Kirk. “We are each representing our divisional areas. So the decisions we make represent [all] of the faculty. One thing that I have tried to do is to make sure that the committees that are reporting to the senate are bringing actionable items forward that are to the benefit of our students.” 

Academic Senate meetings are open to the public and held every second and fourth Wednesday of the month from 3 to 5 p.m. in the staff lounge of the cafeteria.