Academic Senate: Semester system for district, academic renewal, enrollment

Ethan Bennett, Managing Editor

Semesters at Foothill and De Anza colleges? It could happen.

Karen Chow, Academic Senate president, presented a letter from vice chancellor Dorene Novotny and Kathy Perino, chief negotiator of the faculty association, announcing a new task force that will gather and discuss information about changing the current academic year.

Some suggested changes include switching to a semester system, a compressed schedule or a flexible schedule.

The feasibility taskforce is currently looking for faculty representatives from Foothill and De Anza to serve as the core membership.

Despite this, meetings are already pre-scheduled with the first one happening on Nov. 13, Wednesday at De Anza.

Bob Stockwell, political science professor, said this suggests that “broad inclusion was not one of the primary goals of this taskforce.”

“If you set up a taskforce and one of your goals is broad inclusion,” he said, “then you establish meeting times based on the availability of those willing to participate.”

“Establishing meeting times in advance limits participation to those who can accommodate the pre-ordained meeting schedule.”

The feasibility taskforce will present ideas and recommendations to Chancellor Miner by June 2020.

Academic renewal

Academic renewal allows students to request to exclude a non-passing grade from their cumulative GPA. A maximum of 45 units can be excluded from the GPA calculation.

Currently, students may petition for academic renewal two academic years after completing a course.

Dean of Enrollment Services Nazy Galoyan presented suggested changes for students to apply for academic renewal.

With the change, students may now petition to have a class removed up to three consecutive quarters plus a summer quarter.

“It definitely makes it easier for students to apply,” transfer counselor Betty Inoue said.

The transfer center does not receive a lot of students asking for academic renewal, she said.

“We do have the occasional student asking for academic renewal,” she said. “Usually, we look at the records and consult with the student if they need renewal for a certain class they had and they don’t want it reflected on their GPA.”

Students may re-petition for academic renewal if their request is denied but once granted, the renewal is irreversible.

Removing a class, grade or unit will still reflect on a student’s official transcript.

Fall Enrollment down

Interim president Cristina Espinosa-Pieb appeared briefly at the Sept. 30 academic senate meeting and said that college enrollment is down to 1%.

“It is the smallest percentage in over six years,” she said.

But Tim Shively, faculty association union representative, said that the statistics of full time equivalent students point to a lower enrollment number than actual enrollment.

“The 1% is just a rosy number to look at,” Shively said.

According to recent census data, De Anza enrollment is down to 2.5% with a district-wide 3% decrease in enrollment.

President search update

Chow said the chancellor’s office hired a search consultant and will conduct focus groups within the campus starting in November.

A survey will be handed out to all staff, faculty and administration that will be used to “assess the college based on organizational characteristics,” according to a letter addressed to the district by Chancellor Judy Miner.

The focus groups comprised of several faculty and students will assess the state of the campus and “envisioning what the campus wants to see in the new president.”

The search committee will begin late November along with another search consultant to be hired by the chancellor.

The hiring committee will comprise a minimum of four faculty members appointed by the Academic Senate and two students appointed by the DASB Senate.

“As in past searches, all constituency groups, including students, will have representation on the search committee,” said Becky Bartindale, Foothill-De Anza coordinator of communications and public affairs.

Hiring and appointing a new president does not follow existing administrator hiring procedures.

“The president and vice chancellor positions are hired at the discretion of the chancellor,” Bartindale said.

Public forums for the community will be held next year to provide additional input.

Chancellor Miner will make a final recommendation to the board by June 2020.