The QCC Academic Senate and the CUNY PATHWAYS Initiative

The approved minutes of the governing body of Queensborough Community College, the Academic Senate , constitute a major part of the official record of the policies and practices of the College. With regard to the CUNY Initiative, commonly referred to as “Pathways”, on the Efficient System for Transfer the record to November of 2013 is clear.   From the inception of the Pathways Initiative there has been no action of the Academic Senate as the governing body and policy making body of Queensborough Community College to approve of the Pathways Initiative.  Instead in the official record there are numerous actions expressing disapproval.  There have been repeated actions of the Academic Senate adopting and endorsing statements that are critical of Pathways and there has been no action of the Academic Senate to approve of courses to be submitted to the CUNY Office of Academic Affairs for inclusion in the Common Core.

March 13, 2012 meeting of the Academic Senate: [Click here for PDF]

The Academic Senate Adopted the following resolution

        Be it RESOLVED that the Academic Senate of CUNY/Queensborough, comprised of faculty,

637 students, and administrators, questions the legitimacy of the process by which "Pathways" has

638 been implanted, and we believe that "Pathways" curricular changes are harmful to the academic

639 reputation of Queensborough and the City University of New York, the careers of our graduates

640 and faculty, and to shared governance and academic freedom.

641

642 Be it further RESOLVED that while the Academic Senate of CUNY/Queensborough recognizes

643 the need to address transfer issues, it recommends that the "Pathways" initiatives be suspended

644 by CUNY and fundamentally rethought in order to assist the colleges of CUNY to establish more

645 dual-joint degree programs, enhanced articulation agreements and website assistance with

646 transfer advisement to facilitate and support transfer and at the same time maintain the academic

647 quality of all CUNY degree programs.

 

October 9, 2012 meeting of the Academic Senate: [Click here for PDF]

The Academic Senate adopted a number of resolutions with regard to Pathways. One  set of resolution that halted processing of matters related to Pathways.

202BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Academic Senate and Faculty of Queensborough Community

203College strongly supports the academic freedom of our colleagues in the Department of English--

204-and all Academic departments-- to render their best academic judgments in the review of course

205configuration proposals to accommodate the Pathways curriculum;

 

240BE IT RESOLVED THAT no further review of courses configured to meet the specifications of the

241Pathways initiative can proceed at the level of the Academic Senate until and unless it is

242guaranteed that the academic judgment and academic freedom of the faculty will be upheld

243without reprisal, in a written document from the university administration and/or college

244administration

 

254 BE IT RESOLVED THAT no further review of courses configured to meet the specifications of

255 the Pathways initiative can proceed at the level of the Academic Senate until and unless Vice

256 President Steele’s email, outlining the consequences of the English Department vote, is formally

257retracted, in a written document from the university administration and/or college administration;

 

The Academic Senate accepted a statement from the Committee of chairpersons of the Academic Departments which stated in part that:

301 VII.Statement by the Committee of Chairs

 

303 Statement on Pathways was read by Senator Rogers:

304In light of Chancellor Goldstein’s statement of September 19th, 2012 that “…authority for the governance

305of the University on all matters rests with the Board of Trustees,” the Departmental Chairpersons of

306Queensborough Community College wish to express their concern about the impact of the Pathways

307Initiative on the welfare of their students and faculty.

308It is not the Chancellor’s statement of the Board's ultimate authority that is alarming to us. Rather, it is the

309expression of a willingness to wield that authority as a means to implement the Pathways Initiative

310despite genuine and legitimate concerns that have arisen from the professional judgment of the faculty.

311These concerns were set forth in the resolution adopted on March 13, 2012 by the QCC Faculty Senate

312and similarly voiced by other Faculty Governance bodies throughout CUNY.

313Threats of reprisals if that power is not heeded have subsequently been muted to “worst case scenarios.”

314However, they have been neither fully repudiated nor withdrawn, and remain a source of contention on

315this campus. From the outset, in order to seek an effective solution to the problem of student

316transferability, we have been willing to engage in the kind of “collaboration” that the Chancellor called for.

317And such collaboration would indeed be "very much in the tradition and spirit of a great University.”

318However, that willingness should not in any way be construed as an endorsement of the Pathways

319Initiative. Nor should it be claimed that deference to the Board of Trustees’ authority under the shadow of

320possible reprisals is shared governance, either in spirit or in fact. As a result of recent statements from

321the Chancellery, it has now become obvious to all, that the inevitable course and program approvals that

322we are told must emerge from the Pathways process will be the result of anything but what the Chancellor

323in his letter claims his policies offer and what we believe is key to student achievement and success—

324what ultimately makes a great University great—the free exercise of faculty’s professional judgment.

 

The Academic Senate accepted and adopted a statement from the QCC College Chapter of the PSC which stated :

354The PSC chapter at Queensborough Community College stands for educational justice.

355 Whereas, we believe that our students have the right to an education worthy of their aspirations,

356their struggles and their needs. We have dedicated our professional lives to understanding and

357meeting those needs, and we refuse to compromise on the quality of our students’ education.

358 Whereas, we strongly regret and oppose the process by which we and other faculty at CUNY

359have been pressed to vote for proposed courses for Pathways against our best professional

360 judgment.

361 Whereas, we support and respect the right of CUNY faculty to vote for or against any curricular

362 matter, freely and without fear of adverse consequences. We reject the formula by which a

363 department is invited "to exercise [its] professional judgment," as Chancellor Goldstein writes in

364 his letter of September 19, 2012, only to learn that such judgment, backed by years of study and

365 experience, will not bear any weight in the final determination of curriculum and implementation of

366 change.

367 Be it resolved that we reject the claim that Pathways must be implemented immediately. We

368endorse the PSC's call for a moratorium on further implementation of Pathways in order to enable

369our academic community to initiate a more respectful and democratic process of reflection on

370how to facilitate student transfer at CUNY—a goal to which we remain strongly committed.

 

November 2012 meeting of the Academic Senate: [Click here for PDF]

When the Academic Senate met it needed to decide whether or not to allow the nominations of QCC courses for the Common Core to be received by the Academic Senate and then considered for approval.  There was a motion and the minutes record it as follows:

933 A motion was made, seconded, and approved with eleven negative votes from Emily Tai,

934 Philip Pecorino, Paul Weiss, Alexandra Tarasko, Lana Zinger, Aithne Bialo-Padin, Julian

935 Stark, Bob Rogers, Jennifer Maloy, Andrew Nguyen, and Cheryl Spencer, and two

936 abstentions from Regina Rochford and Anthony Kolios to allow these Pathways courses to

937be submitted to the Senate.

 

No further action was taken on the courses presented in a spreadsheet listing.  None were approved for acceptance by the Academic Senate as approved for the Common Core or for forwarding to the CUNY OAA for the Common Core.

December 11, 2012 meeting of the Academic Senate: [Click here for PDF]

During a discussion of what had taken place in the preceding meeting of the Academic Senate in order to make it quite clear what did and did not receive the approval of the Academic Senate in November so there could be no reasonable doubts the following transpired:

260 Senator Pecorino pointed out that the minutes of the preceding meeting of the Academic Senate

261 of November 13, 2012 were unanimously approved with not one word of discussion or dissent.

262 Those minutes codify what occurred on November 13, 2012. In those minutes concerning the

263 courses nominated for the Pathways Common Core there was no approval for sending them on

264 to CUNY through the Pathways process.

265

266 He noted that at lines 933-937 of the minutes the action on the Pathways courses at QCC is

267 described as:

268 "A motion was made, seconded, and approved with eleven negative votes

269 from Emily Tai, Philip

270 Pecorino, Paul Weiss, Alexandra Tarasko, Lana Zinger, Aithne Bialo-Padin, Julian Stark, Bob Rogers,

271 Jennifer Maloy, Andrew Nguyen, and Cheryl Spencer, and two abstentions from Regina Rochford and

272 Anthony Kolios to allow these Pathways courses to be submitted to the Senate."

273

274 He also pointed out that the QCC Academic Senate has not yet approved of any courses going

275 forward to the CUNY OAA and the Pathways Common Core. The only approval of the Academic

276 Senate was to lift the freeze and allow the courses to be moved from the Committee on

277 Curriculum to the Academic Senate.

 

The Academic Senate meeting was then adjourned with no action taken on the courses to be considered for approval for submission to CUNY OAA for the Common Core. No further actions of the Senate were taken to approve of any QCC courses to be accepted at QCC as approved for or to be submitted to CUNY OAA for the Common Core.


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