The Word - 2009/05/06

 

 

The Word from CSEA

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of May 6, 2009

CSEA MEMBER MEETING WILL DISCUSS CHANGE TO SEMESTERS

CSEA’s Spring Quarter member meeting will be Wednesday, May 20, at 3 PM in FR 104.

In addition to other agenda items, there will be an open discussion of preparations for the conversion to semesters, which was outlined at an In-Service Day presentation by President Moeller and Dr. Tom Erney, dean of student services.

That session was the first formal indication that Columbus State would be making this historic change in the College’s culture. Although the administration had made no formal announcement to the campus, it was widely assumed that CSCC would be making this change after the Ohio State University Board of Trustees voted in March to change OSU’s academic calendar to a semester system.

Faculty and administrators at OSU have been discussing such a change for several years. The OSU Board acted only after extensive consultation with faculty via OSU’s University Senate, which took a formal vote to approve the conversion to semesters at the University the week before the Board’s action. Because Dr. Moeller abolished our Faculty Senate in 2001, she has not consulted with any faculty body regarding a possible conversion to semesters.

Some faculty have reported that their department chairs have approached them to begin work on course conversions. Because this type of work is covered under contract language and an appropriate process for this important work has not been determined, faculty should avoid agreeing to ANY such work on semester conversion at this time. Requests by administrators for faculty to begin work on this project would be considered as direct dealing, a recognized unfair labor practice. If you are approached by an administrator requesting that you begin work on the conversion to semesters, you should contact your Association Representative immediately.

Of particular concern is the conversion of classes which are not currently part of a transfer module with state colleges or universities, in which the work to convert such courses would undoubtedly require extensive work. In particular, faculty in several of the programs in the Career and Technical Division will need to consider the amount of time and work involved in converting their curriculum, and receive an appropriate amount of reassigned time to complete this work.

Our own administration’s estimates of the projected costs of this conversion have been gradually increasing. CSEA believes that the College continues to seriously underestimate these costs, particularly in terms of the amount of additional faculty and staff time that will be necessary to complete the conversion by the projected implementation in Autumn Quarter 2012.

Mark your calendars and come prepared to discuss the semester conversion’s implications for your own program and to help develop a list of issues to be addressed as we lay the groundwork for this massive project.

SPRING SYMPOSIUM WILL FEATURE FACULTY PRESENTATIONS

The first Faculty Symposium, a full-day event featuring 20-minute presentations on recent scholarship, professional projects, and academic interests, will be held in the West Lounge of Nestor Hall on Wednesday, May 20.

The Symposium is scheduled on a regular class day in mid-week, when the greatest numbers of students, instructors, and staff members will be on campus, in the hope that the presentations will draw a large audience for this celebration of Columbus State's diverse and thriving intellectual life. The all-day event will be open to the public, and classes are welcome.

The event has been organized by the Arts & Sciences Faculty Lecture Series Committee. For more information, please contact event coordinators Susan Flatt (x5978), Dr. Mort Javadi (x5635), or Dr. Doug Gray (x5819).

PANDEMIC FLU CONCERNS & PREPARATIONS

In our December 8 issue of The Word, we noted the concern of health experts about the likelihood of a pandemic flu outbreak in the near future. Since last year, the College Safety Committee has been developing processes to put into action should a widespread outbreak of flu affect students and employees of the College.

CSEA still has copies of a DVD from the Ohio Department of Health titled "Pandemic Flu: What You Can Do" that are free for the asking. The short (approximately 12 minutes) video gives some practical steps that individuals and families can be taking to protect themselves in the event of a pandemic flu. You can obtain a copy of this DVD from John Nedel, faculty representative on the College Safety Committee. He can be contacted at jnedel@cscc.edu, or at x3857.

The administration continues to monitor the local health situation and has assured CSEA that it will quickly share any new information or proposed actions with faculty and staff.

JOIN CSCC AND CSEA FOR KOMEN RACE FOR THE CURE

Columbus State students, faculty, and staff will join thousands of other central Ohioans in this year’s Komen Race for the Cure to benefit breast cancer research, treatment, education, and screening. The 5K race/walk and 1-mile family fun walk will take place Saturday, May 16, starting at 8:30 a.m. downtown.

Although the pre-registration deadline has passed, you can still participate by registering as an individual or by being a race day volunteer. Individual registration can even be done on the day of the race. For more information, visit http://www.komencolumbus.org/race/ or contact one of the team captains below. The team members will meet at 8:00 AM on Saturday, May 16 in the CSCC parking lot across from Ballet Met for a group photo.

Not available for race day but still want to support the cause? You have two options: You can register for the race by following the directions above and selecting “Sleep in For the Cure” under “event type.” Or you can donate in the team’s name by going tohttp://www.active.com/donate/columbusRFTC09/KJames31 and completing the online donation form. For more info, contact one of the CSCC/CSEA team captains:

For more info, contact one of the CSCC/CSEA team captains:

OEA MONITORING PUBLIC RETIREMENT PLANS

An article in Sunday's issue of The Columbus Dispatch noted that Ohio's five public retirement systems, including the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), are looking at various changes in retirement contributions and/or benefits in order to meet the requirement that the number of years (at current contribution rates) to pay off unfunded accrued liabilities not exceed 30 years.

On Friday, April 24, the STRS Board was joined by a coalition of groups within STRS that OEA worked to establish called the "Healthcare and Pension Advocates for STRS". At OEA's urging, the STRS Board has been working with this coalition, which is made up of employee, employer, and retiree groups within STRS. This committee spent most of the morning studying possible changes in the pension plan, with a focus on five "levers" that can impact the financial condition of STRS most significantly.

Possible changes include:

1. Seeking a 4% increase in the contribution rate, which would require approval by the State Legislature. It was pointed out, however, that a 12% increase in the contribution rate would be necessary to get to a 30-Year Funding Period (which is the expectation), so even a 4% increase would only be one part of the solution.

2. Changing the Final Average Salary (FAS) calculation from a 3-year average to a 5-year average. This would result in a decrease of the FAS, thus reducing the monthly benefit from STRS.

3. Reducing the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) from 3% to 2%. The COLA is the single largest driver of unfunded liability among the five major options discussed, and it was pointed out that eliminating the COLA altogether (i.e., a 0% COLA) would, in and of itself, result in achieving the expected 30-Year Funding Period. Also, the COLA is a benefit that not all public pension systems have, and is often only payable if a pension system achieves a positive return on investments and is already below a 30-Year Funding Period. However, under this scenario the burden of fixing the problem would fall entirely on retirees.

4. Using a flat 2.2% formula for all years of service. This would essentially rescind the "35 year rule" that was enacted in the late 1990's, that provided for greater returns for years of service beyond 30. It turns out, however, that actuarially the "35 year rule" pays for itself, because those retirees work five additional years, contribute 24% of payroll to the system each year (14% from the employer as well as the 10% employee contribution), delay collecting benefits (including health care) from STRS for five years, and allow those investments in place to grow for an additional five years. Thus, any savings in this area would likely only result if the retirement age were increased significantly.

5. Raising the minimum retirement age to 60. This option was only one of several that was discussed, and the Board requested a variety of permutations of retirement age/years of service combinations to get a feel for what may be possible. Other possible scenarios would be to use a combination of age and years of service (e.g., a "rule of 88", where one's age and years of service must add to 88). What the Dispatch did not report, unfortunately, was that every member of the Board expressed the need for "grandfathering in" those approaching retirement in the next few years.

The decision on how to get to a 30-Year Funding Period ultimately rests with the STRS Board and the State Legislature. But as OEA members who have spoken to the STRS Board made clear, many of us in public education view our retirement as on e of the long-term financial benefits in a career that does not have financial parity with other professions that require similar educational backgrounds. Your retirement contributions and benefits are a priority for OEA, and you should be aware that OEA representatives are working with STRS Board members to protect your benefits.


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


Popularity:
This record has been viewed 612 times.

Comments:

Be the first to leave a comment.

Leave your comment
CAPTCHA Validation
CAPTCHA
Code: