History of the Flexible Calendar:
After a 1976 pilot program in six California community colleges, changes in Title 5 legislation (AB 1149) in 1981 allowed all community colleges the option of adopting a flexible calendar program. This legislation permits colleges to substitute up to 15 days of Faculty Professional Development activities for instructional days in an academic year.
SBCC voted to adopt a flexible calendar in 1998. During subsequent years, faculty though required to complete flex activities were restricted to four scheduled days of Faculty Professional Development workshops at the beginning of a semester. Individual activities were not generally permitted.
When SBCC adopted the new 16-week instructional calendar, beginning in the 2003-04 academic year, the ability to meet flex obligations was extended to individual activities. Two all-faculty days at the beginning of each semester were retained as part of the negotiated Instructor's Association contract. These all-faculty days include the former In-Service and one day of scheduled workshops and/or departmental activities. The all-faculty days were kept because of the value of maintaining community, with faculty interacting as a whole and learning from each other. Since these days were negotiated as part of the I.A./District agreement, they could be renegotiated at the end of the current contract if warranted.
The purpose of the Faculty Professional Development calendar (also called Flex) is to provide time for faculty to participate in professional activities that are related to staff, student, and instructional improvement (Title 5, sec. 55720). The Faculty Professional Development calendar allows faculty to work individually or with departments or other groups to achieve improvement in three distinct areas: faculty improvement, student improvement, and instructional improvement.
Individual activities can be a part of faculty/staff improvement as long as a connection can be established to the enhancement of performance at the college. Staff development can be viewed in two different but complimentary ways. First, it can be seen as (and is) a powerful strategy for implementing specific improvements. Second, for long-term effectiveness it must be seen as part and parcel of the development of (colleges) as collaborative workplaces. Staff development, then, is both a strategy for specific, instructional change, and a strategy for basic organizational change in the way (faculty and staff) work and learn together (The New Meaning of Educational Change, p. 319 (State Academic Senate Guidelines for Implementation of the Flexible Calendar Program, p. 7)
The Faculty Enrichment Committee of the Academic Senate is the oversight body for determining the appropriateness of all contractual Faculty Professional Development activities.
As FEC developed the Faculty Professional Development Guidelines, the assumption was that, as professionals, faculty would respond to the opportunity provided through the flexible calendar by choosing meaningful, appropriate and permissible activities. Since accountability is required by the state, the attempt was made to create as simple a process as possible to accomplish this task. Devising a user-friendly system will be an on-going process.
Beginning in Fall 2003, a web-based sign-up system will be in place. Each faculty member will be able to register for workshops and create individual plans on-line. The forms and summaries of completed hours will help faculty manage and keep track of the status of their PD activities. In the meantime (from May to August), a paper-based system will be used. Forms and registration procedures are discussed in the Signing Up section of this booklet.
Additionally, on the following pages specific guidelines for the Faculty Professional Development activities and the FAQ relating to these guidelines are listed. And, finally, text of both Title 5 and Education Code regulations relating to the flexible calendar are included for your reference. Questions concerning either the guidelines or the interpretation of the guidelines should be directed to your divisional FEC representative, Dean Marilynn Spaventa, or Faculty Development Coordinator Lana Rose.
Everyone working on this Faculty Professional Development project has attempted to make procedures as simple as possible. Recognizing that this is a new process and that there are bound to be glitches, your patience and constructive suggestions are appreciated.
Following is a list of those who have worked to create the program, process and procedure.