Academic Senate

Academic Senate Home

Charge: To make recommendations to the administration of West Valley College and to the Board of Trustees, with respect to academic and professional matters. As outlined in Title 5, the Senate's responsibilities include curriculum, degree and certificate requirements, grading policies, instructional program development, standards regarding student success, professional development, accreditation process, program review, institutional planning and budget development.

Senator Terms: Two years

Meetings: Second & Fourth Tuesday of the Month, 2:10 PM – 4:30 PM, Baltic Room in Campus Center

Accreditation: Self Study, Reports and Documents

Agenda Request

WVCAS Agenda Item Request Form (35 KB) 

Fall 2018 Academic Senate Meetings

The WVC Academic Senate meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 2:15 PM – 4:30 PM. Below are meeting dates for the Fall 2018 semester. The regular meetings take place in the Campus Baltic Room. Special meetings are as noted.

  • September 11
  • September 25
  • October 9
  • October 23
  • November 13
  • November 27
  • December 11

All Senate meetings are open to anyone who wishes to attend. The West Valley College Academic Senate is the voice of all faculty, both full and part time, in the governance and decision-making processes of the college. In accordance with Title 5 section 53203, the Academic Senate makes recommendations to the college and district on a wide range of academic and professional matters.


Name Term Representing
Gretchen Ehlers June 2017 - June 2019 President
Amy Gutierrez December 2017 - June 2019 Associate Faculty Rep
Christel Ligocki December 2017 - June 2019 Associate Faculty Rep
Mitra Fabian September 2015 - June 2019 School of Art and Design
Victor Castillo March 2018 - March 2020 Professional Studies
Cynthia Reiss June 2008 - June 2019 School of Art and Design
Jeanette Richey September 2017 - June 2019 Language Arts
Meg Farrell September 2017 - June 2019 Language Arts
Yanghee Kim August 2017 - August 2019 Library
Patricia Louderback September 2017 - June 2019 Health & Human Development
Rebecca Wong September 2017 - August 2019 Science/Math
Vacant   Science/Math
Andrew Kindon February 2014 - September 2017 Senator-At-Large
Tim Kelly June 2005 - June 2019 Social Science
Carol Pavan September 2015 - June 2019 Student Services
Chris Trent September 2017 - June 2019 Student Services


Name Term Position
Eric Pape June 2015 - June 2017 Senate President
Cynthia Reiss September 2015 - Current Senate Vice President

Former Presidents

Name Term
Eric Pape 2013 - 2017
Lance Shoemaker 2009 - 2013
Angelica Bangle 2005 - 2009
Vivian Lock 2003 - 2005
Linda King 2001 - 2003
Jim Wilczak 1998 - 2001
Joan Sarlo 1996 - 1998
Lydia Harris 1995 - 1996
Ed Lodi 1994 - 1995
Wanda Wong 1993 - 1994
Linda King 1992 - 1993
Fred Barnikel 1991 - 1992
Ed Lodi 1989 - 1991
Michael Herauf 1987 - 1989
Claudine Simpson 1986 - 1987

Academic Senate's Role in Governance

Assembly Bill 1725 (1989), the last major California community college reform legislation, codified the concept of shared governance and required each district to implement the provisions of law within parameters established by regulation in Title V. The district's Board Policy 3.3.4, Academic Personnel, recognizes the role of the Academic Senate under the provisions of AB 1725 as codified in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, 53200 and following. Board Policy 3.3.4b states, "It shall be the policy of the District to rely primarily upon the advice and judgment of the Academic Senate in all eleven areas identified in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 # 53200." Board Policy also states, "The recommendations of the Senate will normally be accepted, and only in exceptional circumstances and for compelling reasons will recommendations not be accepted. If the recommendation is not accepted, the Board or its designee, upon request of the Academic Senate, shall promptly communicate its reasons in writing to the Academic Senate."

Academic Senate Purview

  1. Curriculum, including establishing prerequisites.
  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.
  8. Policies for faculty professional development activities.
  9. Processes for program review.
  10. Processes for institutional planning and budget development.
  11. Other academic and professional matters as mutually agreed upon.

Senate Bylaws

Academic Freedom

Article II in the West Valley Academic Senate Constitution states the following regarding academic freedom:

(The West Valley College Academic Senate voted to incorporate the following academic freedom statement into its ByLaws on March 16, 1993. With the exception of the first paragraph defining the scope of its coverage at West Valley-Mission Community College District, it is an almost verbatim rewrite of the California State University system's statement with the district name inserted where needed. The CSU statement on Academic Freedom is, in turn, substantially based on the 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles of Academic Freedom and Tenure, while their statement on Professional Ethics is an exact transcription of the 1966 AAUP Statement on Professional Ethics.)

Academic Freedom Academic freedom in the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge through all media shall be maintained at the West Valley-Mission Community College District. Such freedom shall be recognized as a right of all members of the faculty, whether of tenure or non-tenure rank, of all administrative officers, and of all students.

Academic Freedom and the Common Good Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well--being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. Recognizing this, the West Valley-Mission Community College District exists to promote these purposes and the common good of the citizens of California and mankind and not to promote the welfare of an individual faculty, an individual department or college, or the institution as a whole.

The freedom of faculty to inquire, to teach, to speak, and to publish contributes very much more to the welfare of their fellow citizens outside the College than to their own good or the good of the campus. As a previous Chancellor of the California State University system, Glenn Dumke, said, the academic community has as one of its oldest functions to serve as "one of the consciences of society." The academic community "is a questioner, a worrier, a critic, and idealist, seeking a better way toward human aspiration and fulfillment." Academic freedom and tenure are essential for excellence in education and, moreover, exist so that society may have the benefits of objective and independent criticism, and honest answers to scientific, social and artistic questions that might otherwise be withheld for fear of offending an influential social group or transient social attitude.

On the most practical level many of the technological innovations of great material value to our society are the results of scientific research that is most effectively carried out in an atmosphere of complete academic freedom. On less tangible levels the social benefits of academic freedom are not so easily identified and accepted, but they are no less real than the material benefits. Free research, teaching, and discussion in political, social, and cultural freedom. Society is best served when the teacher and the scholar feels free to criticize and advocate change in any theories and beliefs, however widely held, and in any existing social, political, and economic institutions. It is not easy for faculty to dissent and to advocate unpopular ideas; it is almost always to their personal disadvantage to do so; but it is to the advantage of society to encourage them; only thus will society be aware of the full range of social political and cultural choices available to it; and only thus can the democratic ideal be fulfilled.

Academic Freedom and Responsibility It is recognized that faculty in the West Valley-Mission Community College District must defend and protect academic freedom - however unpleasant and costly to them personally. Earlier citizens of the State of California wisely established institutions of higher education in which the principles of academic freedom were respected; it is the responsibility of all faculty to conserve the integrity of these institutions at whatever sacrifice to their personal tranquillity. West Valley-Mission Community College District faculty have these further and related responsibilities: to maintain themselves as experts in their fields of competency by study, research, and, where appropriate, publication; to diffuse knowledge and, if possible, to encourage creativity by their teaching; to defend their colleagues and their institution against any threats to the exercise of their responsibilities, whether from within or without the West Valley-Mission Community College District.

From time to time in the history of higher education in California and elsewhere, advocates of particular social, moral, political, or aesthetic positions attempt by violence, lawlessness or political and social pressures to interfere with academic freedom. At such times, West Valley-Mission Community College District faculty have a special responsibility to see that their own actions do not interfere with the freedom of others. They have further responsibility to insist that their institution does not yield to ephemeral passion or heavy community pressures to take hasty actions that may infringe on freedom of expression.

Professional Ethics Faculty, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end, faculty devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although faculty may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.

As teachers, faculty encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Faculty demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. Faculty make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that their evaluations of students reflect each student's true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between faculty and student. They avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from them. They protect their academic freedom.

As colleagues, faculty have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars. Faculty do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, faculty show due respect for the opinions of others. Faculty acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. Faculty accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.

As members of an academic institution, faculty seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although faculty observe the state regulations of the institution, provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. Faculty give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within their institution in determining the amount and character of work done outside it. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, faculty recognize the effect of the decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions.

As members of their community, faculty have the rights and obligations of other citizens. Faculty measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their professions, and to their institutions. When they speak or act as private persons they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, faculty have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

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Last Updated 1/30/19