Constructing Bridges Between Community Colleges
and the California University Systems
THE COMMUNITY College Interest Group-South (CCIG-S) held its very first preconference program this year at the CARL annual conference in Newport Beach, featuring speakers from California Community Colleges and the California State University system.
The first speaker, Dr. Larry Toy, President/CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC), discussed the two major initiatives of his group: cooperative purchasing agreements and the California Virtual University. He presented a wealth of information on various cooperative purchase agreements that his group has negotiated, such as the recent IBM PC Desktop/Laptop agreement that has generated over five million dollars in orders. Examples of other major agreements include those with Sun Microsystems, Computerland, Office Depot, Cisco Systems, and also an agreement with NETg to provide 500 self-paced staff-development courses to train staff on the newly acquired hardware and software.
The other major initiative in which the FCCC is involved is the California Virtual University (CVU), a Governor's initiative that is a collaboration of the UCs, CSUS, CCCS, and independent colleges in which the participants are autonomous. Some of the reasons why the CVU was created are to meet the needs of business and industry for employee training, to develop additional revenue, to respond to the changing teaching, and learning paradigms, as well as for the convenience of the student. The CVU does not have its own accreditation, nor does it offer separate degrees. However, it does offer common registration, an online catalogue of offerings, articulation coordination, as well as other online support. Among the many issues that confront the CVU are the planning and implementation of the technology infrastructure necessary to support it, adequate once teaming resources, access for the disabled, intellectual property rights of course materials, course loads, and the role of vendors in this initiative, to name a few. Information about the CVU and the FCCC consortium buying initiatives can be found at these two Web sites: www.california.edu and www.foundationccc.org.
Evan Reader, Director of California State University Software and Electronic Information Resources (SEIR), and Mary Ann Laun, Assistant Dean for Library Services at Pasadena City College Library, presented information on the cooperative purchasing program of the CSU and CCC systems. This program has created one of the nation's largest cooperatives for the licensing of electronic information resources, joining three organizations--SEIR, the Community College League of California, and the CCC's Council of Chief Librarians --and makes purchases for a combined student population of nearly 1,789,000 and 62,000 faculty. The CSU SEIR program is about ten years old and has saved the system millions of dollars through cooperative purchase agreements. Mr. Reader outlined the multi-step process that determines which resources will be purchased by the consortium, and this process includes trial periods where vendors provide their service free of charge so that librarians will have an opportunity to evaluate the product before purchase.
Mary Ann Laun, Pasadena City College Library, discussed some of the challenges of such a cooperative effort in a system with such loose organizations ties from one institution to another as with the California Community Colleges. She also discussed a recent CCL survey of electronic information resources held by the various community colleges. There is a vast discrepancy in the range of electronic information resources offered, and that the prices paid for these resources also varied widely. Community college librarians have been attending presentations by electronic information vendors, sponsored by SEIR, and then are encouraged to formulate recommendations about titles to be considered for purchase by Mr. Reader's SEIR group.
LeBaron Woodyard, Dean of Instructional Resources and Technology for the California Community Colleges, Chancellor's Office, discussed many of the technology issues facing California Community Colleges, including the implementation of the 4CNET, a network that has data, videoconferencing, and analog and digital satellite downlink capabilities for both the CCCs and the CSUS. He also discussed the multi-million dollar Telecommunications and Technology Infrastructure Program (TTIP), that provides funding for technology for California Community Colleges. The libraries in particular will benefit from this funding. Implicit in the purchase of electronic information re- sources is that our students will be taught the skills necessary to use them. Information competency is a major issue in community colleges, and its meaning goes far beyond just the ability to find and retrieve information, and our last two speakers addressed some issues related to that topic.
Dr. Tobin de Leon Clarke, Director of Public Services for California State University, Dominguez Hilts (CSUDH) spoke about CSUDH's Information Competency Project. This project's goal is to create a model list of information competency skills for high school and community college students. In October 1997 a workshop was held in which several CSU and community colleges participated. Out of this workshop came a preliminary list of information competencies to be recommended to the California University System. This April another workshop was held to create lesson plans that address these information competencies; it was attended by librarians from local CSUS, community colleges, and high schools. Information on the Information Competency Project can be found at library.csudh.edu/infocomp/.
Vinta Shumway, Orange Coast College, discussed information competency and gave an overview of information competency issues and initiatives in California Community Colleges. In August 1997, Gavilan College in Gilroy was awarded a Fund for Instructional Improvement grant to develop an Information Competency Draft plan that includes implementation, training and evaluation. To accomplish this goal, five workshops were held, attended by 139 participants from community colleges and CSUs across the state. Some key issues that emerged from the discussions were: the need for a technology infrastructure, funding for resources, personnel, equipment, maintenance, etc., and methods of assessing information competency, to name a few. The final report of this project was completed this July, and recommendations were presented to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges in September. More details on information competency can be found at: www.santarosa.edu/-kathy/ICC/docs.html.
The program ended with a question and answer session, and was followed by a CCIG-S membership meeting facilitated by Jim Matthews, President of CCIG-N.
Other Web sites that may be of interest:
Software and Electronic Information Resources (SEIR)
Santa Monica College