The Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates: What is it? Why is it? What does it do?
The "Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates" is a group of Academic Senate leaders from each of the three segments of public higher education in California, CSU, UC, and CCC. It meets monthly for the purpose of Jointly addressing matters of academic importance to all three segments. The value of the work of this committee is unquestioned, but few faculty, administrators, or others in the field of education in California are aware of the existence of this remarkable group, and are unfamiliar with the work that it does.
The origin of the committee appears obscure because it is a voluntary organization having no official status. Meetings have been informal, and there is little archival material such an minutes, agendas, or correspondence on file in Senate offices from which to derive information on the work of the committee. However, it was formed recently enough that the impounding members have no difficulty in recalling the circumstances, and we are indebted to them for having provided, from memory, most of the background information here described.
Informal discussions on the need for better relationships between the three segments of public higher education began as early as 1978-79. The impetus for this was rooted in concerns about the transfer function, declining levels of academic preparation of high school graduates, and a common desire to preserve the quality of baccalaureate education. Other matters of mutual interest that brought the segments together included Proposition 13, Proposition 9, and legislation requiring a common course numbering system modeled on the Florida system (the Molina Bill).
Early discussions began mainly through the efforts or Norbert Bischof, President of the CCC Academic Senate, 1979-80, and Karl Pister, Chair of the UC Academic Senate 1979-80. Their efforts led to a meeting of the Chairs of the three Academic Senates with some key administrators from the segments with the objective of opening discussions on ways to upgrade standards of transfer programs and reduce the rate of student failure on transferring to four-year schools. A subsequent meeting of historic significance was held at the Headquarters of the Community Colleges in Sacramento in the Spring, 1980, attended by Chancellor Hayward, and Karl Pister, Robert Kully, and Norbert Bischof representing the Academic Senate chairs of UC, CSU, and CCC respectively. The decathlon was made at that meeting for a group of senate members from each segment to meet regularly to address a variety of issues of mutual concern to faculty in the public segments of higher education, most notably the Master Plan, transfer issues, articulation, general education requirements, and educational quality. The need for the faculty to make a clear statement of standards for transfer programs was recognized at the outset.
By the Fall of 1980, the senate group began to meet regularly, and became known as the "Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senate Representatives," or more simply but less correctly as the "INTERSEGMENTAL Senate." The initial membership of the committee is unclear, but the senate chairs during this crucial year were Ben Aaron (UC), Robert Kully (CSU), and Tyra Duncan Hall(CCC). Additional members who subsequently played key roles in the committee's work included Lyman Heine (CSU), William Broen (UC), Phil Curtis (UC) and Henry Alder (UC).
The structure of the committee was determined by consensus. It was agreed that there would be five members from each of the three segments, including the chair and the vice chair of each Academic Senate. There was a strong sentiment that there should be no administrators on the committee. Meetings were held at various locations, and it was understood that the member from the host segment would chair the meeting. That is to say, the chair rotated from meeting to meeting according to where it was held. However, in 1984-85 it was decided that the chair should rotate among the segments annually rather than monthly. Initially, meetings were very informal, and no minutes were kept. The committee continues to operate on an informal and voluntary basis with no official statute or, for that matter, recognition from the various administrations. There is no staff support or budget for this intersegmental activity other than expenses claimed by individual members in connection with senate business. This presents a problem because the work of the committee is growing, both in terms of volume and importance; minutes are now routinely taken, and the need for staff support on a continuing basis is apparent.
Relationship Between the Round Table and the Intersegmental Committee.
A letter dated October 20, 1980 from Ben Aaron to UC President, David Saxton, documents the founding of the Intersegmental committee of faculty representatives from the three segments, recounts the hope that similar meetings could be held between the heads of the three segments, and expresses delight that the latter will happen under the auspices of the California Round Table on Educational Opportunity. Consistent with this, an information item in The UC Regents agenda of the May 14, 1981 meeting is a joint statement from President Saxon and Chancellor Hayward pledging cooperative efforts through the Round Table to strengthen the transfer function. It would appear then, that the Intersegmental faculty group formed before the Intersegmental administrative group. The Round Table group was apparently formed in response to a UC task force report, the "Kissler Report," on retention and transfer which was sharply critical of transfer programs and which elicited a thoughtful rebuttal prepared by MaryAmber Villa for the CCC Academic Senate.
Statements on Preparation
Initially, the focus of the Intersegmental committee was on the transfer function. Bill Broen(UC) was invited to head a subcommittee to draft a statement on the distinction between baccalaureate-level courses (for credit) and remedial courses. There was strong sentiment among the four year segments that the key to maintaining quality and upgrading the transfer function was to remove the possibility of a student receiving degree credit for courses that were deemed remedial in nature. An acceptable statement on this issue would, in the long run, materially assist the Community Colleges by signaling clear standards for baccalaureate education. It was natural, then, for the committee to wish to identify as far as possible what a student should know on entering college as a freshman. This led to the decision to prepare statements of competencies expected (according to faculty perceptions) of high school graduates entering college. The committee set highest priority on issues of greatest concern, namely, preparation in English and mathematics. Subsequently, the committee developed a draft statement on competencies in English and mathematics, invited critical review by the three Academic Senates, engaged in extensive consultation with other segments of education in California-including high school and college teachers of English and mathematics and administrators and parents--and, finally, prepared a document for publication and dissemination.
The level of consultation was extraordinarily high, and in view of the number of organizations that had input, it is surprisingly that the statements survived such critical scrutiny. Although much of this effort is lost in history, there remains a sense that there were unforeseen difficulties for the faculty in preparing statements that were acceptable enough for the California Round Table to endorse for publication. The Round Table Staff, through the efforts of Alice Cox (UC), Steve Weiner (UC) and Jack Smart (CSU) were supportive of the project and stressed the need to consult with K-12 and Independent schools before final approval by the Senates. To quote the final paragraph of a letter dated 10/12/81 from Steve Weiner to members or the Intersegmental committee "I believe that the document being developed by the Senates is of profound importance. To be effective, however, it must finally emerge as a statement enthusiastically supported by the Senates, K-12, the independent colleges and the Round Table. Anything else will muffle the clear message that you wish to send."
The letter also expresses Weiner's concern that Senate "ownerships" of the expectations document would reduce consultation with K-12 to pro forma status.
Disagreements were expressed by various K-12 groups that the statements were offensive--placing the blame on underpreparation on intermediate and secondary educators while ignoring the multifaceted nature of the problem. Aspects of the material were seen as intruding on a high school's responsibility for determining methods or instruction. Also, support by the Round Table staff and principals was not unqualified. Although the principals of the three segments were very supportive, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Wilson Riles, did not respond favorably to faculty meddling with K-12 education. Not surprisingly, Riles wanted to shape the English and math statements to the perception of the Department of Education. But, it was mainly through the support of David Saxon, who stressed that the document represented faculty opinion and was therefore an independent point of view, that the Round Table principals (Dumke, Hayward, Saxon, Callan, Riles) finally accepted it. Thereafter, closer consultation ensued with the State Department of Education to resolve any differences and misunderstandings; offending statements to the K-12 sector were also removed or revised, and the revised statements were brought back to the Academic Senates for approval of the modifications. The players at this stage who must be credited with guiding the statements towards closure were Barbara Hinkley (CCC), Jack Bedell (CSU), Phil Curtis (UC) and Henry Alder (UC), with continuing support from Bill Broen (UC) and Lyman Heine (CSU).
The foregoing gives a little impression or the time, energy effort, and dedication that went into the preparation of the English and math statements. The document that was ultimately presented to the Round Table on June 24 1982, and finally published in November 1982, with both statements bound in the same volume, had gone through innumerable drafts along the way, and were not the same as the versions originally approved by the Senates. The most significant difference was the deletion from the printed version of the Committee's definition of Remedial and Baccalaureate-level Coursework in English and Mathematics. The committee was unable to convince the Round Table to retain this section. The section was seen as controversial, although the reasons for the controversy are not clear. The best that can be said is that CSU wanted to establish a level of college-level work below which baccalaureate credit could not be given; David Saxon opposed this in the grounds that in the UC system it was to simply send them around to the schools. Seminars, workshops, and conferences are essential to the implementation of recommendations in the statements, and to curriculum development in general. One of the main objectives of the Intersegmental Committee is to find mechanisms and funding for the dissemination of the statements and activities related thereto.
The foregoing illustrates that considerable effort has been and continues to be invested by many faculty from all three segments in a concerted effort to improve the preparation of students entering our colleges and universities. Every effort is made to consult with teachers and principals at the secondary schools, with representatives of the Department of Education, and with the California Round Table. The statements build on the recently published Model Curriculum Standards prepared by the Department of Education and hopefully will contribute to better precollege preparation of students and to their greater success in college.
Important matters or mutual concern to the segments and therefore to the Intersegmental Committee include the ongoing review of the Master Plan for Higher Education; general education requirements and transfer core curricula; efforts to bring minorities into the mainstream of education and to foster their success; strengthening communication and cooperation between the segments of education, including K-12; criteria for upper versus lower division coursework, and so on. The Committee's record in its short history argues well for its effectiveness in intersegmental cooperation. It considers that it has a lot to offer, but the extent to which its full potential can be realized depends a great deal on whether the institutions that make up the segments are supportive of the cooperative efforts that many faculty have shown they are capable of.
Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates
California Community Colleges
Mark Edelstein, Palomar College President, CCC Academic Senate
Eileen Lewis, San Mateo College
Wesley Bryan, Golden West College
Carmen Decker, Cypress College
Alfredo Mendoza, Los Angeles Southwest College
California State University
Bernard Goldstein, CSU San Francisco, Chair CSU Academic Senate
Carol Barnes, CSU Fullerton
Frieda Stahl, CSU Los Angeles
James Highsmith, CSU Fresno
Hal Charnofsky, CSU Dominguez Hills
University of California
Majorie Caserio, UC Irvine, Chair UC Academic Senate
Neil Smelser, UC Berkeley
Mark Wheelis, UC Davis
Ray Rhine, UC Riverside
George Miller, UC Irvine
Intersegmental Coordinating Council
California Education Round Table
The Chairman of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
The Chancellor of the California Community Colleges
The Chancellor of the California State University
The Director of the California Postsecondary Education Commission
The President of the University of California
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction
The Intersegmental Coordinating Council (ICC) was established in 1987 by the California Education Round Table, a group composed of the leaders of the five educational segments and the California Postsecondary Education Commission. Those leaders have delegated to the ICC the responsibility for overseeing and coordinating the wide range of intersegmental programs and activities- undertaken by the five segments. In assuming that responsibility, the ICC will not only ensure a high level of accountability for the success of intersegmental efforts, but will also link those efforts together in a way which will make them more effective in encouraging the progress of students through the educational systems.
The ICC is responsible for carrying out the Round Table's mandate for more effective intersegmental relations and for seeing that intersegmental problems are resolved in a timely manner. In addition to the general coordination of existing programs, the ICC serves to identify problems that need to be addressed, to receive issues raised by others, and to assign unresolved matters either to existing bodies or to ad hoc groups for resolution.
The Intersegmental Coordinating Council is made up of faculty and student leaders and of policy level staff capable of fulfilling segmental commitments. The ICC derives its authority directly from the Round Table and works to ensure that intersegmental activities are consistent with priorities established by the Round Table. Those priorities are developed through the ICC, in consultation with the faculty, students and staff most directly involved with intersegmental projects and activities. Thus, the ICC serves as a channel to facilitate the flow of both authority and information between those who have specific responsibility for an intersegmental activity and those who have general responsibility for the five educational systems.
Statewide efforts to coordinate the programs and activities of California's public with those of its colleges and universities began as early as 1919, when the University of California first met formally with representatives of the state's high schools and established the Committee on Affiliation with Secondary Schools. As California's other college and university systems developed, the need for effective coordination increased rapidly, and new organizations were developed to meet that need. The Committees on Affiliation with Secondary Schools evolved into the Articulation Conference, which in turn evolved into the Articulation Council. Each new structure expanded the opportunities for representatives of the various systems to work together on issues of mutual concern regarding student preparation and progress.
By the 1980's dozens of effective intersegmental programs and activities had been established to develop and articulate curricula, improve instruction, increase the educational opportunities for underrepresented students, strengthen assessment practices, and encourage student achievement throughout the educational systems.
Even these efforts, however, seem insufficient given the great social, cultural, and economic challenges confronting education. Those challenges have made the interdependency of California's educational systems all the more apparent; they have also made it essential that the many opportunities inherent in such interdependency be fully utilized. In order to realize more completely the potential of the segments to strengthen and support each other in their educational functions, the leaders of the segments have developed a structure for intersegmental cooperation which not only is more comprehensive in scope than any previous organization but also functions with the direct authority of the system-wide leaders.
Structure And Role Of The Council
The Intersegmental Coordinating Council is composed of seventeen members appointed for two year terms. Each of the five educational segments is represented by two administrators (one policy level and one operational level), and each of the three academic senates (UC, CSU, CCC) is represented by a faculty member. In addition, CPEC has appointed a representative, and student organizations have appointed three representatives.
The Council is responsible for determining which issues should be addressed intersegmentally and to which groups those issues should be referred. The focus of the ICC is on general oversight and coordination rather than on direct administration or evaluation of programs. The ICC may occasionally address issues itself, if those issues can be readily resolved, but its primary role is to define the responsibilities of its subgroups and ensure that assignments are completed and the results are communicated. Although the ICC does not directly evaluate specific programs, it is responsible for assessing the range of activities which It has designated as intersegmental in order to:
- identify strengths and weaknesses
- highlight duplication and gaps
- determine how intersegmental efforts can be strengthened
- develop proposals for improvement
Based on its assessment of needs, the ICC proposes to the Round Table a comprehensive intersegmental relations agenda for the coming year; the Council also prepares an annual report on the results at the previous year's activities. In recommending the agenda, the Council considers issues and priorities advanced by the cluster coordinating committees.
Thus, the clusters initiate agenda items; the ICC develops a comprehensive agenda with suggested priorities; and the Round Table makes the final decisions and identifies necessary resources
In order to better serve the full range of intersegmental activities, the ICC has divided those activities into four related clusters:
- Transfer and Articulation
- Curriculum and Assessment
- Outreach and Student Preparation
- Improvement of Teaching
The ICC has established four cluster coordinating committees to oversee the activities of these clusters and to link them to the ICC. These committees, composed of representatives from each of the segments, bear a critical responsibility for the substance of intersegmental cooperation. They are not intended to function in an administrative capacity, but rather to provide a means of coordination, communication, and staff support for the various activities, programs and projects within their areas of responsibility. In addition to specific tasks which may be assigned to it by the ICC, each committee has the following general functions:
- to serve as a forum for discussion and exchange of information
- to maintain awareness of the interactions of the activities and programs under its purview
- to moderate and resolve any jurisdictional issues
- to propose steps to fill identified needs,
- to call attention to duplication and other undesirable results of inadequate communication
- to otherwise serve as a catalyst to ensure that intersegmental activities and programs function effectively
In carrying out these functions, the cluster committees are guided by three major principles. First, encouraging student achievement and advancement throughout the whole of California's education system is paramount in the conduct of INTERSEGMENTAL relations. Second, faculty and administrative cooperation must be fostered in carrying out these activities. Both faculty and administrative staff must be centrally involved as full partners in all intersegmental activities. Third, activities which are new, temporary, or experimental must be encouraged and facilitated. The structure must be flexible enough to stimulate the development of innovative approaches.
The cluster committees are not considered permanent, but are established on a five year basis only so that the Council can respond effectively to changing needs and priorities. in order to ensure a coherent approach to intersegmental efforts, the committees work within clearly defined charges and are responsible to the Council for the fulfillment of those charges.
The following chart shows the relationship of the various groups within this new structure. As indicated on the chart, the Council will work very closely with parallel groups such as the Intersegmental Budget Committee and the Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates. Because of the scope of activities and the number of institutions involved, the structure of this new organization is necessarily complex. However, its purpose is very simple: to direct the full authority of the five educational systems toward the improvement of intersegmental coordination. Such coordination is critically important in the effort to encourage student achievement and advancement through the entire continuum of education in California.