The English Council of California Two-Year Colleges (ECCTYC) began modestly and evolved rapidly into the influential representative of English teaching in California that it is today. In February, 1973, English department chairs and representatives at the California Association of Teachers of English met in San Diego. Recognizing that community college graduates were having trouble articulating their units at the California State Universities, a group of delegates elected a steering committee chaired by Donald Snepp of San Francisco City College and composed of representatives from all of California’s geographic areas. The steering committee formed eight regional councils, and each elected a chair to represent its region at the meeting of the English Council of State Universities the following November. At that meeting, they held articulation meetings with the chairs of university English departments, at which the university chairs agreed to continue to honor courses already articulated and to consider adiving others. Periodically, the chairs from each of the eight regions and the steering committee met not only to discuss articulation, but also to study the English programs in the two-year colleges and make suggestions for improvement.
Subsequently, with the encouragement of the state universities, the representatives sought to develop a statewide organization of departments of English in the two-year colleges, both public and private, subject to the approval by the regional groups. They decided to meet at the same time and place as the state universities’ English council in order to discuss articulation with the university delegates and to confer with one another about two-year college problems. They then proposed to develop a state constitution and to seek affiliation with the National Council of the Teachers of English (NCTE), the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) and the California Junior College Association (CJCA). An interim executive committee served until the Constitution was written and ratified and elections were held. Donald Snepp was elected chair; Gertrude Fujii, Los Angeles Valley College, vice-chair; Jack Gill, San Mateo College, secretary; and Jocelyn Porter, Shasta College, treasurer. Later, Donald Snepp was elected first President of ECCTYC, as the organization came to be called.
Through the dedication and diligence of President Donald Snepp and Vice-president Gertrude Fujii, with their executive committees, for the first time, it was possible for English department chairs of two-year colleges to seek information from one another easily and to find strength in solidarity. By the time ECCTYC was a mere five years old, President Snepp adivressed the Board of Governors and presented English department concerns that had been expressed statewide about the effects of the proposed five-year plan on instruction in English. By then, the regions had grown from eight to ten, and the Board of Directors maintained regular contact with all ten. ECCTYC expended its influence to all instructors in the state by publishing, three times a year, a respected journal called inside english, edited for several years by Barbara Bilson Woodruff of Santa Monica College. For many years it has been the best vehicle for instructors to share teaching techniques and to learn about important issues facing the discipline.
In the mid-1970s the officers in each of the regions organized annual or bi-annual conferences for all chairs of English and some other instructors. Soon these regional conferences were supplanted by larger biennial conferences open to all instructors. The first one was held in San Francisco, and subsequently the site has alternated every other fall between the North and the South regions. In other semesters, the Executive committee, consisting of Officers and Regional Directors meet at the same time and place of the California State University English Council. Adivitionally, in the fall semesters when there is no statewide conference, department chairs meet in the North and in the South to exchange information.
ECCTYC has been fortunate in having exceptionally committed and talented leadership. Gertrude Fujii, who spearheaded its growth in the South, became its second president, and James Cagnacci of San Francisco City College, followed her as president, bringing wide knowledge gleaned from his service on the numerous committees dealing with English instruction throughout the state. Following that, the organization was ably led by Lois Powers of Fullerton College, Robert Dees of Orange Coast College, Lynn Fauth of Oxnard College, and Sterling Warner of Evergreen College. Currently Tom Hurley at Diablo Valley College serves as President. Through the leadership of its eight dedicated presidents and their Executive committees, ECCTYC’s mission has expanded far beyond its original goal to improve articulation with the state universities. It provides a forum for all English instructors at two-year colleges and adivresses all critical issues that its members bring to it. Today it provides instructors with their best opportunity to affect decisions being made by the legislature, the Board of Governors, and other powerful groups.
In further expanding its mission, ECCTYC, recognizing the importance of a national voice to help strengthen the role of the two-year colleges and support two-year English teachers, participated in the formation of a new national organization, the Two-Year College English Association (TYCA), a part of the college section of the National Council of Teachers of English. In 1978, ECCTYC became the Pacific Coast Region of TYCA. ECCTYC board member Jody Millward has served as the TYCA Chair.