California Community Colleges Curriculum

Faculty Authority

For California community college faculty, authority over the curriculum is codified in California Education Code section 70902(b)(7): “The governing board of each district shall establish procedures to ensure faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to express their opinions at the campus level, and to ensure that these opinions are give every reasonable consideration, and the right of academic senates to assume primary responsibility for making recommendations in the areas of curriculum and academic standards.” (Bold face type is added for emphasis in the Ed Code and Title 5 references provided here for reference.)

Title 5 regulations, which detail the implementation of California Education Code, state the faculty authority for curriculum through section 53200, definitions, where the academic senate and its purview are defined:

The Academic Senate means an organization whose primary function is to make recommendations with respect to academic and professional matters.

Academic and professional matters mean the following policy development matters:

  1. Curriculum, including establish prerequisites and placing courses within disciplines.
  2. Degree and certificate requirements.
  3. Grading policies.
  4. Educational program development.
  5. Standards or policies regarding student preparation and success.
  6. College governance structures, as related to faculty roles.
  7. Faculty roles and involvement in accreditation processes, including self-study and annual reports.
  8. Policies for faculty professional development activities.
  9. Processes for program review.
  10. Processes for institutional planning and budget development, and
  11. Other academic and professional matters as mutually agreed upon between the governing board and the academic senate.

For further powers assigned to the academic senate, see Title 5 §53203. Local board policies may assign further responsibilities to the academic senate related to curriculum.  Local board policies also define which of the 10+1 are “rely primarily” and which are “mutually agree”.

Academic senates may delegate some or all responsibility for curriculum matters to a curriculum committee per Title 5 §55002(a)(1): “Curriculum Committee: The college and /or district curriculum committee recommending the course shall be established by the mutual agreement of the college and/or district administration and the academic senate. The committee shall be either a committee of the academic senate or a committee that includes faculty and is otherwise comprised in a way that is mutually agreeable to the college and/or district administration and the academic senate.”