The Word - 2009/02/23

 

 

The Word from CSEA

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of February 23, 2009

TAX DEDUCTIBLE PORTION OF ASSOCIATION DUES

Members of CSEA can deduct all union dues paid during 2008, with the exception of $39.49 (which is contributed to political causes), on 2008 income tax returns. If you paid by payroll deduction, you can check your December 31, 2008 pay stub to see the total amount paid for CSEA dues, and subtract $39.49 from that amount.

Association dues qualify as tax deductions on Schedule A under "miscellaneous deductions," the total of which must be in excess of 2% of adjusted gross income in order to be deductible.

HELP? A SHORT SURVEY! REALLY SHORT! 3 QUESTIONS!

CSEA and Columbus State Community College are hoping to continue our efforts of working together in serving various organizations in our community through community service projects and volunteer efforts. To help us determine how such efforts can address your own service interests, please take a minute to answer a three-question survey.

Your feedback will provide CSEA information about potential community service relationships and opportunities.

Take your survey here: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/survey-intro.zgi?p=WEB228RZFJLQP4

BOARD ALLOCATES $10 MILLION – WHERE ARE THE STUDENTS?

With state and federal funding for education a continuing concern, it’s reasonable to want to set aside some money. But when the Board of Trustees allocated $10 million in surplus funds at its January 22 meeting (on top of a $12 million rainy-day fund created a year ago), it neglected to apportion even one dollar to help current students achieve educational goals.

The Board set aside an additional $2.5 million for its rainy day fund; $2.5 million for the Delaware campus; $2 million for an energy-conservation plan; $1.5 to explore self-funding our health insurance; $1.3 million for matching contributions to Health Savings Accounts; and $250,000 for an employee bonus system.

There are some obvious misplaced priorities here. CSEA President Darrell Minor spoke to the Board at the January 22 meeting, noting that in making the allocations recommended by the President, the Board neglected the needs of our urban campus in downtown Columbus. Where is the money that will help improve course completion rates? Where is the money that will improve our graduation rates (about 6% of our students graduate within 2 years)? Where is the money for additional tutoring? Where is the money for a larger and better-staffed Testing Center the handle the increasing numbers of Distance Learning students? Where is the money for additional parking, so that students who enroll in classes are actually able to attend their classes during the busiest first two weeks of each quarter? Where is the money for new office space? And where is the money for additional full-time faculty who are focused solely on helping our students achieve their academic and career goals?

The sad fact is that none of the $10 million in surplus funds from last year is going to have a direct impact on the success of students at our urban Columbus campus. Not one dollar. There is a dire need for a change in direction and a change in priorities in how future dollars are allocated.

FULL-TIME FACULTY NUMBERS INFLUENCE STUDENT SUCCESS

An article in the January 26 edition of "Inside Higher Ed" addresses the effectiveness of having articulation agreements between community colleges and 4-year universities. The article, "Articulation Isn't Enough", summarizes analysis of national data for students entering community colleges from high school (those who are most likely to seek transfer later).

Researchers Bethany Gross and Dan Goldhaber of the University of Washington presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in January. The somewhat surprising result of the analysis was that community college students are no more likely to transfer to 4-year institutions in states where there are articulation agreements than they are in states without articulation agreements, which contradicted their initial hypothesis.

But the researchers seemed more surprised at another finding of their study, one they hadn't been looking for: the percentage of full-time, tenured faculty members has a significant impact on the successful transfer of students from community colleges to 4-year universities. In fact, for every 10% increase in the share of tenured faculty members at a community college, students were 4% more likely to transfer to a 4-year university. Since only 28% of classes at Columbus State are taught by full-time faculty members as part of their regular teaching load, this finding presents the possibility for significantly improving Columbus State students’ ability to successfully transfer to 4-year universities in pursuit of bachelor's degrees.

The Board of Trustees will have a unique and infrequent opportunity to chart a creative and committed new direction in classroom staffing when it opens the search for a successor to Dr. Moeller later this year. CSEA looks forward to contributing to this important effort.

THINKING SPRING? HOW ABOUT SWAPPING PERENNIALS?

CSEA is planning an early-May swapping of perennials plants, a Saturday event for the entire campus community. As we prepare our spring gardens, there will be perennials that have spread too much or that we’d like to replace with something else. If you’re interested in working on planning this opportunity to share some plants and gardening ideas with others and pick up some for yourself, contact Steve Abbott by email ( sabbott@cscc.edu ) or at 5096.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” – DR. SEUSS

CSEA is joining forces with Columbus State’s own Alpha Rho Epsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the student Honor Society here at Columbus State, to participate in the annual Read Across America event next month. Read Across America is an initiative that promotes literacy in elementary age students, and is held every March as a way of celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Phi Theta Kappa is hoping to have around 100 first- and second-grade students on campus from 9:30 – 11:30 AM on Friday, March 6 in the Workforce Development building.

If you would like to help with this event (readers are especially needed!), please contact Darrell Minor at x5310 or dminor@cscc.edu.

WHAT’S WITH THE AQIP ACTION PROJECTS?

The deadline for submission of AQIP Action Projects is March 6, yet the campus was informed only last Friday at 4:41 PM, a scant 2 weeks before the deadline. Why is the campus being informed so late in the process and being given so little time to participate?

The Committee’s most recent draft meeting minutes state, “It will be difficult for individuals to participate in the process this year, because of the nature of the required information for initiative proposal.” Although a document outlining the College’s goals and strategies was distributed at some point after July 2008 to all employees, it has never been revisited or discussed widely in relationship to the AQIP process. For 6 months, the vast majority of the campus has been left out of meaningful participation in the process. And 10 working days before the deadline, there’s a call for proposals?

A lack of seriousness about involving employees in the AQIP process seems to have become the norm. Although sustainability is one of the 5 main goals the College has identified, members of the Sustainability Committee at both the College and division levels have not discussed submitting the initiative ideas they have for consideration as AQIP action projects. In fact, the committee has never discussed the required forms – even though sustainability is one of the five main goals the College has identified and the deadline is less than two weeks away.

It is surprising that these goals have not been posted permanently in work areas and regularly referred to in college publications so everyone could have the opportunity to address these goals together and relate them to the concept of continuous improvement throughout the College. According to the principles posted on AQIP’s web site, a “quality-driven institution encourages active collaboration among and within different internal departments and operational areas…. [and] removes internal barriers to collaboration, such as the constraints individuals often experience within a hierarchical chain of command or when they find themselves working for a sub-unit rather than the larger organization.”

Despite this basic principle of the AQIP process, after multiple members of the AQIP Steering Committee suggested on February 3 that the committee allow for faculty and staff input earlier in the process (prior to the Extended Cabinet review of suggested initiatives), their request was denied and not reflected in the process presented at the following meeting.

The lack of communication to staff and faculty, who according to AQIP are supposed to be collaboratively involved throughout the process, suggests that collaboration is too cumbersome a process for the College at this time. With virtually no time to reasonably explore, develop and share ideas for action projects, staff and faculty have been effectively cut out of the planning process for the first year of implementing AQIP goals.

Two years ago, on the Conversation Day In-Service, the entire campus—staff, faculty and administrators—identified “governance” and “full-time/part-time staffing ratios” as the primary issues the College needed to address. Since then, the decision-makers on the Extended Cabinet morphed these concepts respectively into “Bridging Communication Gaps” and “Improving Effectiveness of Recruitment and Hiring Process”. The core issues – the need for real faculty governance and the need for more full-time faculty – have been transformed and trivialized to the point that no one other than the President’s Extended Cabinet is taking this process seriously any more…another missed opportunity for the administration to truly work collaboratively with employees.


The Word is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Darrell Minor, President/ x5310
Amy Brubaker, Vice-President / x5068
Judy Anderson, Secretary / x5453
Phil MacLean, Treasurer / x5308
Kevin James, Parliamentarian-elect / x5008

Steve Abbott, Senior Association Representative / x5096
Gil Feiertag, Senior Association Representative / x5861
Beth Barnett, Association Representative / x2593
Liz Betzel, Association Representative / x5329
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
Dr. Bill Cook, Association Representative / x5364
T.J. Duda, Association Representative / x5309
Cindy Evans, Association Representative / x2435
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Dr. Mort Javadi, Association Representative / x5635
Dr. Sue Longenbaker, Association Representative / x2430
Jackie Miller, Association Representative / x2601
Mark Mitchell, Association Representative / x3612
Eric Nuebauer, Association Representative / x5698
Keith Sanders, Association Representative / x2588
Gilberto Serrano, Association Representative / x3863
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302


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