Opportunities / Responsibilities

Instructor Responsibilities

Teachers at College of Marin are required to not only have expertise in their fields, but also the ability to use a variety of instructional techniques in order to reach their diverse student population adequately.  Student learning is our top priority and teachers facilitate this with integrity, good humor, and open minds. 

Faculty members have these professional responsibilities:


  • To provide a syllabus to students which inform them, in writing, about course requirements, student learning outcomes, grading and attendance policies
  • To create a stimulating classroom environment that encourages students to do their best
  • To teach
  • To discuss with students individually regarding their progress toward course student learning outcomes
  • To follow up with struggling students early on to ensure their ultimate success in the class
  • To refer students to resources and services at College of Marin that can assist them with physical, emotional, learning or other problems, not in the instructor’s area of expertise


  • To teach their classes following approved course outlines
  • To teach each class at the regularly scheduled time for the full time allotted
  • To maintain accurate enrollment, attendance and scholastic records for each student
  • To submit any and all required reports including grades according to deadlines
  • To add students during the add period up to the maximum expected enrollment for the class

Academic Freedom Policy

BP 4030 Academic Freedom

Professional Development Opportunities

The goal of the staff development program is to provide resources, training and opportunities that support the professional development needs of college employees; create a cohesive and supportive environment that recognizes and celebrates achievement; and improve institutional effectiveness with the ultimate goal of supporting student success.

Detailed information is available on the Professional Development page of the college website.

Conference Leaves and the Professional Affairs Committee (PAC) is included below.


What is the Professional Affairs Committee (PAC)?

The Professional Affairs Committee or the PAC is a UPM- District Committee of two UPM-appointed faculty members and two District-appointed managers whose responsibility is related to a recommendation of faculty leaves.  These responsibilities are negotiated as part of collective bargaining and spelled out in Article 5 of the MCCD/UPM-AFT Contract.  It is suggested that you carefully read this article for details about the PAC and leaves that may not be covered in this FAQ.

The PAC’s primary responsibility is to review and make recommendations to the Vice President of Student Learning on faculty requests for reimbursement of expenses related to leaves for professional reasons, such as attending a conference.

Is the Professional Affairs Committee the same thing as UPM-PAC?

No.  UPM-PAC is a Political Action Committee.

When should I apply to the PAC?

All full time and part time faculty who wish to take a leave of absence for professional reasons, such as attending a conference, should apply to the PAC each and every time you wish to take a leave, regardless of whether or not you are requesting funds.

You should also apply to the PAC to request an unpaid leave.

Who is eligible for the PAC funding?

All full-time faculty and all part-time faculty with a load of 40% per semester or that average 40% for the academic year are eligible to apply for the PAC funds.

How much funding is available?

As of the current MCCD/UPM-AFT Contract, the PAC receives $45,000 each academic year, beginning July 1, to distribute on a first-come, first-serve basis.  If all of the $45,000 is not spent in any academic year, the left over does NOT roll over to the next year.

How much may I receive?

Eligible faculty members may each receive a cumulative maximum of $1,500 per academic year until the money runs out. 

Does the PAC provide funds in advance?

No.  Once your application has been approved, you will be notified in writing by the Vice President and the amount of your request will be set aside.  In order to collect, you will have to provide detailed receipts and fill out a Claim for Reimbursement within 60 days of the end of your conference leave.   (This form is available here and in the MyCOM portal under "Employee Only Forms".)

Do I send Claims for Reimbursement to the PAC?

No.  Requests for Reimbursement should be sent directly to the Office of the Vice President for Student Learning with your receipts.

How do I apply for the PAC funding?

Please fill out the PAC application Conference, Honorary Leave, Short Course Request Form for UPM/AFT Unit Members along with the CEU Waiver Form and requests for substitutes. Your completed application and the CEU Waiver should be submitted to the Executive Assistant (Rhonda Jones) in the Office of the Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Student Learning and Success (Jonathan Eldridge), where they will be date stamped and submitted to PAC.

Is there a deadline for applications?

Yes. Applications must be date stamped by the Executive Assistant at least 15 days prior to a requested leave to be eligible for approval and funding.

What happens if for some reason I cannot apply 15 days prior to a requested leave? Can I still apply for the PAC funds?

If there are extenuating circumstances that prevent you from applying to the PAC in the requisite time frame, you may still apply, but you will be required to submit a written request for a waiver explaining your reasons for the late submission and the request for a waiver needs to be received prior to a regular meeting of the PAC.

Do I need to include anything else aside from the application?

Yes.  You MUST include a signed “CEU Waiver” and brochure or announcement with information about the conference or meeting you will be attending.  This information should include the dates of the conference and the fees.  It is also a good idea to include hotel and airline booking information with an indication of the fees.

Can I request a substitute if I am going to miss classes?

Yes.  The PAC has a limited amount, $15,000 per academic year, for substitutes.  If you need a sub, make certain that you fill out all the information requested on the form.

Are there a maximum number of days that I may request a paid substitute?

Yes.  You may only be granted four days of paid substitutes.  More than that will require you to “trade.”

If I do not want funds, but want to take a conference leave, or if my leave is paid for by categorical funds, do I need to apply to the PAC?

Yes.  Professional leaves are part of your job. Approval from PAC for your leave is necessary for you to be covered by the District in case of any medical or legal issues.

If your leave is funded with categorical monies, you must note the budget number for those funds on your PAC application form.

Can I receive reimbursement for attending a course for which I receive college or professional development credit that will increase my base salary?


Can I receive PAC funding for conferences during the summer, even if I am not teaching during the summer?

Yes, if you are a full-time faculty member you may apply for and receive PAC funds to attend conferences during the summer.  Part-time faculty, however, are not eligible for summer funds.

How often does the PAC meet?

PAC meets once a week during the academic year.

How will I know if I have been approved?

If your request for leave and/or funding has been approved, you will receive a letter from the Vice President for Student Learning informing you of that approval and/or the amount of approved funding.

Who do I ask if I still have questions?

If, after reading Article 5 of the CBA, you still have questions about applying to PAC, please feel free to contact your UPM-PAC members.

College Governance

There are a number of College Participatory Governance Committees on which you can volunteer.  The overall system is detailed in the following publications:

Here is a useful set of Participatory Governance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

The Participatory Governance System consists of the standing committees and councils listed below. Click on the committee name for information about the committee's charge, responsibilities, and composition.

There Are Three Senates:

Academic Senate Subcommittees

  1. Academic Standards Committee
  2. Curriculum Committee
  3. Distance Education Committee
  4. General Education Committee
  5. Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Council

Curriculum Development and Review

Faculty is encouraged to not only look at and use the Course Outlines of Record for the courses they are teaching but also to consider how to make them better.  All courses must be updated every 5 years and CTE courses must be reviewed every two years. 

In addition, the college's Curriculum Committee welcomes new members.  It meets weekly during the academic year to review and approve new and revised course outlines from all college disciplines as well as new and revised degrees and certificates.

The goal of the Curriculum Committee members is to provide the highest quality of education for all College of Marin students by supporting and assisting the faculty in the process of development and revisions to all approved academic materials. It is our intent to maintain and improve academic standards as set forth by Title 5 regulations, the State Chancellor’s Office, and the duties as set forth by the state Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.

For complete information and resources including the curriculum handbook, please go to the Curriculum Committee Webpage.

Looking for examples of other college's course outlines?  Go to:


Program Review

Since 2007, faculty at College of Marin have participated in the Program Review process mandated for accreditation.  Faculty analyzes their discipline's success and growth (or decline), look at the discipline's curriculum, Student Learning Outcomes, and goals, as well as facilities, staff, faculty and equipment needs.  To participate in your discipline's review, please contact your department chair. 

For more information, please go to the Program Review Website. Program Review will be completed through eLumen starting in 2020.  

Individual Research and Development Grants (IR&D)

Faculty can apply for Individual Research and Development (IR&D) projects for one or two semesters.  These projects are for the exclusive purposes of:

  • evaluating, and developing new curricula deemed feasible (as opposed to course preparation for current curricula
  • evaluation and improvement of instructional effectiveness
  • improving student learning
  • increasing student enrollment and retention
  • encouraging the adoption of instructional, learning or technical innovations

IR&D Grants are non-transferable.  Funds expended for personnel services and equipment shall be limited to those line items and amounts specified in the grant as approved by the UDWC.  Budget revisions require UDWC approval.

Please refer to Article 8.3.2 - 8.3.3 of the MCCD/UPM-AFT Contract for further information.