The Articulation Conference began in 1919. Its purpose was to provide continuing improvement of articulation among and between segments of secondary and higher education in California, in order that students may be afforded the quantity, quality and variety of education commensurate with their abilities, which will prepare them to move readily with the greatest economy of time and resources from one segment of education to another.” This introduction to California’s world of articulation was by Russell Riese in January, 1975.

The first conference included representatives of the high school, the State College and University of California. The Committee on Affiliation with Secondary Schools was formed. During the 1920s and 1930s there was rapid increase in the number of two-year colleges. Articulation with that segment became an issue for discussion resulting in respective representatives being invited to attend the semiannual meetings. It was not until 1944, however, that the community college segment became an official member of the Articulation Conference. At this time, the Committee on Affiliation became known as the Committee on Coordination with State Colleges.
Until 1947, committees of the Articulation Conference were made up primarily of administrators. It became apparent to the members during that period that there was a need to involve department chairs and faculty personnel in discussions of articulation matters in their areas of mutual interest. In that year, the first of the pre-professional and subject committees was established, namely, the Liaison Committee on Engineering. This Committee has operated without interruption since that time. In the intervening years, subject and pre-professional committees have been established in most of the major areas of interest, contributing significantly to the articulation process. Some of these committees have been discontinued when need for them no longer existed. There were as many as twenty-two liaison committees operating as part of this coordinated statewide effort until 1984, when a major reorganization and consolidation effort was undertaken.

During its early history, the work of the segments and liaison committees was coordinated by the University of California. A representative of the Office of Relations with Schools provided organizational continuity.and maintained the records of the organization. That relationship continued from the beginning of the articulation effort until the early 1970s.

As a need for statewide coordination became increasingly apparent and as philosophies, roles and responsibilities of the segments were undergoing change, the Committee on Coordination with State Colleges went through additional name changes. In 1959, it became the Administrative Committee reflecting organizational needs. Three years later the Administrative Committee went on record to reaffirm its position that it is not a policy-making body, but that its function is rather to explore problems of common interest. Each segment began to formulate its directions. UC wanted to see more reliance on the Liaison Committees and having the Administrative Committee play a more significant role in articulation. The Junior Colleges were seeking a definitive line of communication with the Coordinating Council on Higher Education. Members from the high schools stressed the need for articulation between the segments and were looking for a vehicle in which this would occur. Meanwhile, the State Colleges saw this as a discussion and informational body, but not a legislative body. The initial membership consisted of four members from each segment (high schools, Junior Colleges, State Colleges and University of California) plus one member from each area of the State Department of Education representing the respective segments. An ex- officio member from each of the four public segments was added in 1968 along with one person from the Coordinating Council on Higher Education, the State Department of Education, and the governing Board of Community Colleges. One member from the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities was added in 1969; in 1973 representation from the high schools was dropped.

The Articulation Conference saw fit to establish its own constitution in 1970. Most of the reasons given in favor of this act were philosophical in nature, but one was certainly pragmatic – to provide a method of financing. Two major problems this time were: 1) Junior College transfer students were having difficulty in registering for classes because native students were getting into them first; and 2) Junior Colleges needed lead time before major changes were to be instituted by the four year segment.

1980 saw the California Education Round Table organized in response to a proposal from then UC President David Saxon. It was originally called the “Round Table on Educational Opportunity”. The Round Table has never been viewed as a new bureaucracy rather a joint commitment of leaders at the State level in California education to accelerate efforts to deal with issues affecting student achievement and access; and, working together with faculty, students, administrators, parents, community organizations and state government. The following year a set of initial priorities were adopted as a part of the statement of purpose and initial agenda. These were: improving student achievement through strengthening the secondary school curriculum; improvement in selected secondary schools; strengthening the teaching profession; improving coordination and effectiveness of post secondary outreach programs; and the College transfer function. During the latter part of the 80s, two major restructuring actions took place: the number of Liaison Committees was reduced from 22 to 12: they were Agriculture and Natural Resources, Business Administration, Creative Arts, Early Childhood Education and Child Development, Engineering, English, Foreign Language, Home Economics, International Services, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and School and College Relations; 2) the Master Plan Review Commission addressed the quality and extent of cooperation among segments. As a result of this review, the Intersegmental Coordinating Council (ICC) was established to serve as an ongoing mechanism to assure that intersegmental efforts to pursue the access-related agenda were effective and efficient. The assessment of its role also led the Round Table to plan for a greater emphasis on the utilization of the group as a policy matter discussion forum and less as, a supervisory body for individual projects and activities. The development of the ICC made this direction more possible.

As previously mentioned, the Engineering Liaison Cuncil (ELC) has met since its inception. It is the only functioning Liaison Council today. The ELC meets once each semester; usually the third week in March and October for 2 1/2 days. Sites are rotated among the segments. Membership consists of faculty, associate deans, and deans of engineering and student services personnel. All segments of higher education are represented as well as University of Nevada – Las Vegas and Reno, RPI, Boston University and Drexel. Over 125 people attend.

The conference consists of several general sessions, individual segment meetings, and subcommittee meetings. Currently, the subcommittees are: Guidance, Lower Division Requirement, Engineering Technology, BS in Engineering Technology, Teaching Techniques and Student Affairs/Counselors.

Approximately 13 years ago, the Summit Agreement was established. This represents the required lower division courses necessary for Engineering majors. It is, in essence, what we currently refer to as Program Articulation. The past three years have seen an extensive analysis of topics included in each course in the Summit Agreement. Course content review is always a major subject of discussion.

On October 23, 1997, the ELC held its 50th anniversary banquet.
Written by Marilyn Rowe, Articulation Officer, Laney College