On March 2-3, the Faculty Association of the California Community Colleges (FACCC) held its annual advocacy and policy conference in Sacramento around the theme of “Changing the Narrative on California Community Colleges.” The conference included a full day and morning of discussions and panels and an afternoon of direct lobbying of legislators. The opening session began with a rousing welcome by FACCC President Dean Murakami, who teaches psychology at American River College and is also President of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, AFT 2279 and a Vice-President of the California Federation of Teachers.
I hope to post the text of Dean’s excellent speech on the Academe blog later this week. (You may read his remarks here.) Dean was followed by keynote speaker Sasha Abramsky, author of The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Lives, who spoke eloquently on the growing inequality in American society and, more important, on promising initiatives aimed at reversing that baleful trend. I hope to post a summary of Abramsky’s talk as well.
Conference attendance was among the highest ever and included large numbers of community college students as well as faculty. Faculty, staff, and student activists were joined at some sessions by prominent legislators and legislative aides. Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles) was honored as Freshman Legislator of the Year and Assembly Member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Chair of the powerful Assembly Budget Committee, was honored as legislator of the year. Among faculty honorees, AAUP member and activist Doug Dildine, who teaches at Contra Costa and Diablo Valley Colleges, was named Part-Time Faculty Member of the Year. AAUP was honored to participate in this inspiring event: California Conference Interim President Mary Ann Irwin, a part-time faculty member at Diablo Valley College; AAUP Western Regional Coordinator Jason Elias; and I were among those in attendance. We look forward to further cooperation with our community college colleagues in FACCC. (For more info on FACCC go to their website at faccc.org.)