Concerns Regarding Proposed Legislation Authorizing Community College Baccalaureate Degrees

AS-3163-14/AA (Rev)

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) express concern regarding any legislation authorizing California Community Colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU assert that any legislation designed to pilot or implement baccalaureate degrees for one or more California Community Colleges must:

  • Offer the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC) the right of first refusal to offer or expand such degrees;
  • Make available first to the CSU or UC any additional resources needed to offer or expand such degrees in locations and modalities appropriate to student needs;
  • Require an analysis of the costs and benefits of such degrees, taking into account elements such as proposed location of the program, potential competition that the new program might bring to existing degree programs that might serve the same population, potential loss of students or revenue for existing degree programs, and if no competing program exists, the desirability of offering such a program through a community college, as opposed to offering it through a CSU or UC campus; and,
  • Include requirements that fiscal, library, student services, facilities, faculty, and other such resources appropriate to the offering of a baccalaureate degree be in place at the proposed location of the program

; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to California Governor Jerry Brown, the Leadership of the Assembly and Senate (Minority, Majority, and the committees associated with higher education), Senators Block, Anderson and Hill, CSU Board of Trustees, CSU Chancellor, the leadership of the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges (CCC), CCC Board of Governors, the CCC Office of the President, the Academic Senate of the University of California leadership, and the California State Student Association (CSSA).

RATIONALE: The Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) believes that an increase in the number of students attaining baccalaureate degrees will best meet the needs of the State of California. Toward that end, the Master Plan for Higher Education and the Donahoe Higher Education Act endowed the University of California and the California State University systems with the statutory authority to grant baccalaureate degrees, while the California Community Colleges (CCCs) were given authority to grant Associates degrees.

The ASCSU acknowledges, explicitly, that independent applied doctoral degrees in Physical Therapy, Nursing Practice, and Educational Leadership are now offered by the CSU, in unique circumstances warranting departure from the Master Plan. These circumstances are critical to stipulate: the University of California was consulted and offered the right of first refusal to offer and/or expand these degrees. In the present circumstances, the current limiting factor in offering or expanding applied baccalaureate degrees is the underfunding of higher education, rather than a deliberate decision by the CSU not to offer or expand such degrees.

The ASCSU holds that distinctions between public institutions of higher education in the State of California should remain clear, adhering as much as possible to the Master Plan. Moreover, just as the collaborative and efficient arrangement between the UC and CSU in the offering of doctoral degrees has resulted in a limited, carefully vetted number of doctoral programs offered by the CSU, any departure from the Master Plan must feature the cultivation of a similar relationship between the CSU and the CCC in the granting of applied baccalaureate degrees.

Therefore, if legislation is pursued, certain requirements should be met so as to cultivate that relationship. Just as occurred in the case of applied doctorates, the CSU should be extended the right of first refusal to offer or expand the degree, and attendant resources should follow the same principle, that is, the CSU should have the right of first refusal of resources as well. Similarly, just as the CSU had to conduct cost analyses for each of its proposed doctorates prior to legislative approval, the ASCSU maintains that it would damage working relationships between the two systems if the California Community Colleges are not held to the same burden to prove that they can offer high quality degrees using a cost-effective funding model. The ASCSU is dismayed that the draft final “Report from the California Community College Baccalaureate Degree Study Group” bases its findings on the “assumption . . . that offering community college baccalaureates would be a cost effective way for the state to prepare the workforce . . .” (p. 4, emphasis added), but “The actual cost of offering a baccalaureate degree was not reviewed by the Study Group. A cost study should be completed as costs may vary due to geography, program, service area, and population” (p. 5). The ASCSU concurs, and believes that any legislation must insist on an objective fiscal analysis to test the assumptions made. Such an approach holds each segment to the same standard, which enhances working relationships between them.

Approved – March 21, 2014



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