Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

Community College of Allegheny County

College Council Meeting Minutes December 10, 2009

December 10, 2009
Office Of College Services Board Room





Richard Allison
Maryann Anderson
Mary Frances Archey
Toni Carney
John Dziak
Carl Francolino
Rita Gallegos
Joanne Jeffcoat
Dan Maddox
Maura Stevenson
Barbara Thompson
Stephen Wells 

Joyce Breckenridge
Yvonne Burns
Mary Ellen Driver
Donna Imhoff
Charles Martoni

Dwight Bishop
Sharon Brown
Rich Carney
Monica Kennison
Bonnie Ordonez
Rodger O’Toole
Cyndi Syskowski
Brenda Trettel
Melanie Yeschenko

Maryann Anderson, College Council Chair, called the meeting to order at 2:00 PM.

NOV. 12, 2009 MEETING

 Steve Wells made a motion to approve the minutes of the Nov. 12, 2009 meeting of College Council.  Joanne Jeffcoat seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved as amended.



Proposal: Changes to Early Education and Child Development Program
Cyndi Syskowski presented the proposal and explained that the proposal is the result of the Western Pennsylvania Early Childhood Education Program to Program Articulation Agreement. The goal of the agreement is to raise the quality of education and teacher training. The agreement will allow students to earn 60 credits at the community college level and 60 credits at the college and university level. In negotiating the agreement among the colleges and universities, compromise was necessary and some courses had to be dropped.

Apart from CCAC, the other community colleges that are part of the program include Butler, Beaver, Penn Highlands and Westmoreland Community Colleges. The other community colleges have presented this program through their governance process and it has passed.

This proposal was necessary because of changes in the Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements for teacher education, in an attempt to raise the quality of education and teacher training. The revision of this program has taken about a year. When this articulation agreement is signed, students from this program will be able to transfer up to 60 credits to any of 5 colleges and universities. Those schools include Slippery Rock University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, California University of Pennsylvania, and Carlow University. Point Park will join the list eventually and the University of Pittsburgh will be accepting credits on a course by course basis. The Program must still be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Speaking contrary to the proposal was Rodger O’Toole, Department Chair of Humanities at Boyce Campus, who has taught oral communication for more than 30 years at Boyce Campus. He asked to speak regarding the elimination of oral communications within the proposal. He pointed out that Carlow University, Point Park University, California University of Pennsylvania, and Slippery Rock all require oral communications for their education students therefore should not be eliminated as a requirement here. The Initiators indicated that the online listing for these programs from these institutions do not reflect revisions to these articulation agreements.

Cyndi Syskowski responded that the articulation agreement does not include oral communications among the 60 credits required of students at the community college level. Oral communications may be required when the students articulate to those schools. Because the agreement was negotiated with other community colleges, we do not have the ability to customize our program.

Rita Gallegos made a motion to accept the proposal. Toni Carney seconded the motion and the motion passed 7 in favor and 2 opposed.

Proposal: Changes in Teacher Education Program (099.2)
Bonnie Ordonez and MelanieYeschenko presented this proposal which outlines changes which will enable our students who wish to become certified to teach children to transfer and become certified in Middle Level (Gr. 4-8) or Secondary (Gr.7-12) Education.

Toni Carney questioned the math requirement. It was pointed out that MAT 107 Math for Elementary Education, prepares students for their Praxis exam.

Ms. Ordonez explained that these changes are the result of changes in the certification requirements.  If these changes are not approved, the program would not be transferrable.

Toni Carney moved to accept the proposal. Steve Wells seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

Proposal: Changes in Teacher’s Assistant Programs (680.3; 679.2
Bonnie Ordonez and MelanieYeschenko presented this proposal. They explained that the name Teacher Assistant is no longer used. The position is now called Teacher Paraprofessional, necessitating a change in the name of the program. The certification at the State level changed. The State now requires 48 credits, whereas our Program currently requires 30 credits. Rick Allison questioned why oral communication was eliminated from the program since it's not a negotiated articulation agreement. Dr. Ordonez replied that it was important that the program be transfer-ready.

Carl Francolino moved to accept the proposal. Barbara Thompson seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.


Joanne Jeffcoat reported that the Subcommittee has not met for awhile. Starting January 21, the meeting start time will change to 2:30 PM. This meeting will be an executive meeting to discuss the hiring process. The hearing regarding academic hires will be February 4.


Proposal: Changes to Nursing Program Admission Criteria
Monica Kennison, the Dean of Nursing introduced Sharon Brown, who is the Nursing Data Base Administrator, and will be with us for a year.

They reported that for the past several years the college has used the NET test as a criteria for admission into the nursing program. As of January 1, the NET test will no longer be available. The faculty and the nursing department have decided to use the National League for Nursing Testing Service PAX Admission Test. To be considered being admitted to the nursing program students must attain a composite score of 50th percentile or above, as well as 50th  percentile or above on each of the three subtests; reading, math, and science. Students must also have a minimum 2.5 GPA at the community college level, or a 3.0 GPA minimum from high school.

The NET test score is valid for two years, therefore students who took the NET test will be grandfathered.

Members of Council question whether the PAX test is discriminatory or unfair. Rita Gallegos questioned the fairness of a timed test for students for whom English is not their first language. Monica Kennison replied that the mastery of the English language is critical when working as a nurse. She added that students with disabilities are allotted extra time for testing. Barbara Thompson asked about tutoring sessions for students to prepare them for the PAX test. She has been attempting to organize these at North Campus, and the nursing faculty have been resistant.

Toni Carney said the Academic Standards and Student Affairs Subcommittee was not given data relative to the test being discriminatory or unfair.  The Subcommittee was given anecdotal information, but no data in terms of a study.  Steve Wells asked if we are going to now be gathering information to ensure that the test is non-discriminatory. Dr. Kennison replied that this data will be gathered.

Dr. Kennison said that all Nursing faculty members have agreed to use the PAX test, with the exception of one faculty member. Other schools that have used the PAX test are finding that they have lower attrition rates. If approved, the College will begin utilizing the test for the Fall 2010 admission.

Under notes, the last sentence of the proposal was changed to read, “In this case a composite score of 60 or more as well as 60 or more on the math essential skills, science and reading must be obtained."

Dan Maddox moved to accept the proposal. Maura Stevenson seconded the motion and the motion passed seven votes in favor, and two votes against.

Proposal: Non-Discrimination Policy Update for Student and Faculty Handbook and College Catalog
Toni Carney presented the proposal. Rick Allison mentioned that the Non-Discrimination Policy is written in many college publications, and there are many different versions. This proposal updates the Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, and the College Catalog so the language is consistent with the current college policy on non-discrimination, which appears on the Human Resources website.

It was recommended that the end of the nondiscrimination policy be shortened from “or use of a guide or support animal because of blindness, deafness or physical disability of any individual," to “or use of a guide or support animal."

Barbara Thompson inquired about the inclusion of discrimination against the obese being included in the nondiscrimination policy. This would require an additional proposal. Also, the proposal is based upon the nondiscrimination policy of the County, which does not include nondiscrimination against the obese.

Carl Francolino moved to accept the proposal. Joanne Jeffcoat seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.


Distance Learning Annual Report for 2008-09 with a Presentation by Dr. Dwight Bishop
Carl Francolino reported that the purpose of the last meeting was to receive and approve the Distance Learning Annual Report for 2008-09. Dwight Bishop delivered the report. Some notable statistics include:

In 2005, 6.8% of CCAC courses registrations were internet courses. In 2009, 14.2% were internet courses.

In terms of headcount, in 2005, 16% were internet courses, and in 2009, 29.6% were Internet courses. Dr. Bishop said that he is looking for growth of 10% per year.

Internet courses and web enhanced courses are increasing, while the number of telecourses (i.e. VHS/DVD courses) is shrinking. There are currently only five such courses.

The average class size of traditional courses is 18.6 students, while the average internet class size is 22.2. Distance Learning classes, which include internet, web enhanced, and telecourses are capped at 25 students.

Almost 83% of internet students are Allegheny County residents. There were 17.1% from out of county in 2008-09, and 16.4% in 2007-08.

About 4,000 proctored tests were delivered in 2008-09. During the Spring semester, there will be added security against cheating on distance learning exams.

Dr. Bishop outlined several improvements for 2008-09, which include:

·         Expanded service desk hours, plus a partnership with IT. They found that most questions were access or password issues which can easily and efficiently be remedied by the HelpDesk. Many issues can be corrected completely online.

·         Online version of the survey of student opinion launched.

·         Internet course student registrations increased by 15% and headcount increased 11%.

·         Aided in the launch of the 24/7 online tutoring service, called SmarThinking.

·         Hired an Instructional Technologist, Justin Busch.

Carl Francolino moved to accept the report. Maura Stevenson seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.


There was no unfinished business.


There being no further business, the meeting ended at 4:46 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Thompson
College Council Secretary