The Academic Senate met for their regularly scheduled meeting through Zoom on Sept. 17 to discuss several issues that included class size recommendations, changes on catalog rights, and land acknowledgments.
During this meeting, class size guidelines were addressed by the Class Size Task Force to focus on goals such as class size differences of similar course types. The task force said that when faculty are overburdened, it will affect the qualities of education students will receive. Some classes are set to have as many as 50 students per class.
“We are proposing a standard class size of 36 with the option for exception,” the Chair of the Class Size Task Force, Scott Guth said.
Class Size Task Force member Mica Steward said the goal is to achieve equity and ensure student’s opportunity for success.
Some members raised their hands with questions on the matter.
Academic Senator Roger Willis questioned if inquiries were made to other departments who has a lower capacity size and how would this suggestion of standard class size would have an impact on them.
Guth responded, “Smaller classes exist for a reason and those reasons aren’t going away. The class size committee will do what they have always done. That is to look at reasons for smaller class sizes and they will grant those small classes when appropriate.”
Two other issues discussed were based on catalog rights.
Catalog rights assure continuous Mt. SAC students retain the rights to choose whether to follow the information and guidelines on graduation requirements within the catalog that they started with or a revised version that might have changed during their attendance.
One of which was a proposal to change the catalog and curriculum effective date to fall semester and was approved unanimously. This will ensure all students with continuous attendance will have their catalog rights.
Counseling Department Articulation Officer Jamika Fowler said the reason for this is to make sure that students do not get detoured when changes happen, whether their goal is to get a degree or certificate, they have the choice of which way to go.
But in relation to this approval, it was discovered that Mt. SAC’s current AP 4027 contradicted this change. At this time, Mt. SAC’s catalog rights exclude students who only enroll in summer and winter intersessions.
Since a revision is sought for, a motion to postpone this discussion until the next meeting was passed with 46 votes.
Toward the end of the meeting Academic Senate President Chisa Uyeki discussed the possibility of adding land acknowledgement to each meeting. Under discussion items 5A, section 1c states that, “the teachings of United States history in school, museums, and the media have left out the voices of the original nations and peoples.”
“Acknowledging the native people who have been caretakers of the lands that Mt. SAC is on,” Uyeki said. “It was important for us to think about in terms of being an institution of higher education.”
The Academic Senate was not able to cover everything on the agenda this meeting and items were postponed till the next meeting which will be held via Zoom at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 1.