|Faculty Council of Community Colleges|
|State University of New York|
The Faculty Council of Community Colleges is the statewide faculty governance group for all of SUNY’s community colleges. For over 40 years, we have been representing community college faculty and student interests. We have active delegates from every community college within SUNY (Select Colleges for names and contact information for FCCC Delegates). As an organization, we work closely with SUNY System Administration, the community college presidents (NYCCAP), the University Faculty Senate (UFS), and SUNY’s community college campus governance leaders. We also have many other liaison relationships (See Liaisons).
As a community college organization, we focus on the mission of community colleges. We believe in The Power of Community Colleges. We view community colleges as democracy’s colleges. Because of our mission of access and affordability, community colleges offer all Americans the opportunity to participate in higher education at anytime in their lives. The hope that community colleges provide to all is too often taken for granted until tight budgets begin to chip away at our ability to provide open access.
As a faculty governance group, our priorities are determined by principles of academic excellence, academic freedom and sound shared governance practices.
We have some fundamental positions that guide our discussions. First, we believe that faculty are best qualified to formulate policies relating to curriculum and standards, but in order to ensure academic freedom, these policies should be developed through a shared governance process. Perhaps our most important guiding principle is academic freedom. We agree with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) that academic freedom is essential to the efficiency and the morale of the institution and therefore the common good. Academic Freedom is an indispensable condition for faculty to carry out its work in the pursuit of advancing human knowledge. It is one of the major cornerstones for a sustainable democracy and should be vigilantly and rigorously protected and promoted.
Secondly, we adhere to the belief that sound assessment practices are best developed locally by the faculty not only so academic freedom can be protected and promoted but so the results can be used to improve teaching and learning. Assessments should not be used to punish or otherwise disparage faculty, programs, or campuses. A sharp distinction needs to be made between assessment and evaluation — a distinction that does not exist within the paradigm that assumes assessment can be used for both improving teaching and learning and accountability. To use assessment for both purposes is inherently a conflict of interest.
Accordingly, because we believe that sound assessment practices are best developed locally by the faculty, and because outcomes are by definition linked to assessment of student learning, we do not support the imposition of learning outcomes on local campuses, programs, and departments by external groups. We believe that in order to protect academic freedom, common student learning outcomes must be approved through a local shared governance process. The Faculty Council supports assessment as it relates to academic excellence and innovation, but there needs to be clear distinctions between curriculum development, pedagogy, and assessment.
Finally, we believe that students within SUNY should be able to transfer their coursework seamlessly and systemwide without undue complications; however, this does not mean standardization of course and curricular content. Faculty must have the flexibility to stay innovative with their research and their pedagogy in order to keep the State University of New York a premier university system.
Everyday there are new challenges and opportunities facing community colleges’ faculty and students, and we hope all of our constituents will reach out to us with their ideas and their concerns. Through conversation and collaboration, we can continue to provide diverse and innovative programs of study that meet the needs of our students, our communities, and our world.
I hope that you will find this website a useful resource on community colleges.