The Student Success Task Force of 2011 resulted in a historic series of recommendations to improve student outcomes in the California community college system. Included among these recommendations was a call to re-energize professional development opportunities and resources for all community college employees. A Professional Development Committee convened by the Chancellor’s Office produced a report in the fall of 2014 to specify the steps needed to accomplish this goal.
What AB 2558 does
AB 2558 revises current statute to establish the Community College Professional Development Program and authorizes the use of state money for those activities if it becomes available through the budget. It also clarifies that districts that participate in the Community College Professional Development Program must provide professional development opportunities to other staff as well as faculty.
Why Professional Development is Important
Simply put, students don’t thrive in a vacuum. They need effective and well-trained personnel to help them with activities such as developing an education plan, navigating the assessment process, arranging their financial aid, and utilizing online resources. The diversity of our students also requires that campus personnel be trained and ready to serve a wide range of student needs. Finally, the changing nature of higher education demands that employees adapt to new technologies to stay up-to-date to better assist students. A highly skilled campus workforce will help our students become successful and complete their educational goals.
The flexible calendar program is a component of the staff development program and the major vehicle for staff development activities. The purpose of the flexible calendar program, Flex Days, is to provide time to participate in staff development activities that are related to “staff, student, and instructional improvement” (title 5, section 55720).
The flexible calendar program allows time to work on improvement in three distinct areas,
• Staff improvement
• Student improvement
• Instructional improvement
Flexible calendar program participants are primarily faculty. However, other college personnel should be involved in flexible calendar development activities. The decision of who participates in the flexible calendar program is determined by the district/college shared governance process (title 5, section 55724 (5)).
Flex Week Programming
At the beginning of every Fall and Spring semesters SCC holds Flex Week. The Staff Resource Center releases the Flex Programming Booklet a few weeks before Flex Week for that current semester. Check out the book to see what SCC has cooked up for you.
What is a Flex Obligation?
All full-time and many adjunct faculty have a Flex obligation. Your Flex obligation is the total number of hours you must spend participating in professional development activities. Your tentative Course Schedule (TCS) states your Flex obligation.
Please review your TCS to see if you have a Flex obligation. Only those adjuncts with full term classes where part or all of the class meets on a Thursday or Friday will have a flex obligation. For those adjunct who meet the flex obligation criteria, the minimum Flex obligation is the total number of hours you would have taught class on Flex Days. You must complete your Flex obligation within the semester of your contract.
You have a minimum obligation of six hours per Flex Day, for a total of 12 hours. If you teach an overload class held on the same day as a Flex Day, you have an additional Flex obligation equaling the total number of hours you would have taught. Your Flex obligation must be completed within the academic year, July 1 to June 30.
Are Flex Days Mandatory?
Attendance at convocations and division/department gatherings that follow convocation (campus priority days) are mandated for full-time faculty only. For all other staff, attendance is encouraged but not mandatory. The rest of the Flex Days program is optional. Full-time and adjunct faculty can use other Flex Days activities to complete their Flex obligations if they wish.
Flex obligations can also be fulfilled by attending workshops coordinated or sponsored by the Staff Resource Center during the semester and/or by participation in an Individual Professional Development Activity. These must be attended outside of regular working hours.
What counts as an individual professional development activity?
An Individual Professional Development Activity is an activity which addresses an instructional improvement need and cannot be accomplished within normal working times. It should be above and beyond normal duties and responsibilities as outlined in board policy and collective bargaining agreements.
An appropriate individual professional development activity should not:
- Require being excused from class, office hours, etc.
- Be a repeat of an activity such as a department meeting regularly scheduled during the normal work week
- Include any part of routine day-to-day activities, such as paper-grading, term-paper reading, test construction, interview or standing committees, textbook examination, or preparation of lecture notes.
- Be anything for which remuneration could be received.
How can you suggest or present a flex workshop?
About halfway through each semester, the Staff Resource Center releases the Flex Day Workshop Proposal form for the current academic year. These are used to plan the next Flex Days’ program. This is your opportunity to suggest a workshop that would interest you or to offer a workshop that you think would interest your colleagues.
If you present a workshop you can earn extra Flex credit towards your Flex obligations. When workshops are led by one or more people, each person can earn two hours of Flex credit for each hour of presentation. If you spend more than one hour in preparation, you may receive additional Flex credit.
During the semester, faculty who lead workshops sponsored or coordinated by the Staff Resource Center can earn the same Flex credit as a Flex Days’ Presenter.
What is the process for documenting the fulfillment of your flex obligation?
The Flex Attendance Record, also known as Flex Obligation form is released each semester by the Staff Resource Center. The new form is generated in an online fill-able pdf, with the appropriate dates for submission indicated at the top. Turn in the form to your Division/Department Office no later than the due date indicated, and make a copy for your files. Your Division/Department keeps record of your flex attendance. Any Questions should be referred to your Dean.
How do you evaluate a workshop?
At the workshop you will be provided with an evaluation form to complete and turn in to the presenter at the end of the workshop. If the form is not available you may fill out the online Workshop Evaluation form and then submit to the Staff Resource Center.