Senate approved a new Professional Development structure

At the final meeting of the semester, Pierce Academic Senate voted in support of the new plan for Professional Development despite objections over budget concerns.

The proposed structure provided a vision plan which included increasing release time for faculty members to deal with other responsibilities that keep the campus running.

Jennifer Moses, the incoming Senate secretary explained that she was concerned about dividing the responsibility into separate committees.

“It was essentially creating two separate committees, one for faculty and one for the larger, larger college. I think that’s a problem,” Moses said. “Anytime you’re having different people, different siloed groups of people instead of having all stakeholders in together in the same room, I think that’s a problem.”

Moses also explained that the plan wasn’t financially feasible.

“I also think it’s really not showing wisdom to ask for four different faculty members all who have reassigned time, all for professional development. I mean that’s just not reasonable,” Moses said.

According to Professor of Communication Studies Barbara Anderson, some members of the Academic Senate were concerned about approving the proposal in the middle of a budget deficit because of the embedded language regarding faculty release time.

“I wish that we could raise the release time for our curriculum chair and for the other faculty members that need that to fulfill their obligations on campus, but if it’s limited I think it mandates that we be responsible financially and discuss those issues as a Senate,” Anderson said.

Academic Senate Curriculum committee member Margarita Pillado explained that the Senate should consider the budget deficit before deciding on new plans that require budget allocation.

“I want to commend professional development for thinking outside the box, for putting it on the table, make it more relevant perhaps for what we do as a Senate. As an officer of the Senate in this time of dire straits, I am concerned of any proposals as has not yet identify a source of funding for what is proposed,”

For Pillado, the lack of detailed budgeting allocation is a deal breaker.

“I think this for me is, is something that I contemplate with concern and caution that I do not know the climate we’re going to have next year,” Pillado said. I would hope the Senate thinks that when we come up with recommendations to the administration, that we have done our homework in terms of identifying viable sources of funding for these kinds of proposals.”

According to Jill Binsley, department representative for computer applications and office technology, the decision will ultimately be up to the new president.

“As far as having people with release time and hiring potentially other people you have to make sure. So, you know, once the new administration is on board we’ll kind of see what they’re thinking,” Binsley said.