The Word - 2009/12/04

 

 

The Word from CSEA

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of December 4, 2009

CONVERSION TO SEMESTERS

CSEA has been working with representatives from Human Resources to develop an agreement on the conversion from quarters to semesters that would clarify that it is neither the College's intent, nor CSEA's intent, to use the conversion to semesters to alter in any significant way faculty workload, salary, or benefits. We have indicated to the College that, once this agreement is in place, we would encourage faculty to become actively engaged in the conversion process to make it a success.

Unfortunately, the College administration has refused to include any language addressing salary or benefits in the agreement. Although they have stated verbally that it is not their intent to alter faculty salaries or benefits, College officials will not put this in writing, which must give us all pause. One must wonder what their real intent is, if they won't include a simple statement like:

"The parties also agree to approach the transition with the intent to maintain the philosophy and integrity of the current workload as much as possible, and in a way that leaves unchanged, to the greatest extent possible, overall faculty workload (instructional duties, office hours, and mission and learning support) and income (other than salary increases that would normally occur). The parties recognize that some benefits will necessarily change as a result of the conversion to semesters (e.g., sabbatical leave policy), but agree that the intent is to leave unchanged, to the greatest extent possible, overall benefits of faculty."

Other colleges that are transitioning to semesters have included similar language in their agreements prior to faculty commencing work on the conversion process, including addressing salary and benefits issues. The fact that Columbus State's current administration will not include language to address these issues speaks volumes about what their real intent may be.

When it expands existing structures or creates new ones, the administration routinely adds employees (witness the dramatic expansion in administrative-managerial positions over the past several years) or re-allocates work. Yet, with the College undertaking a total realignment of its institutional and instructional structures to convert to a semester system, there appears to be no recognition that faculty cannot conduct a full restructuring of curriculum while performing their existing full-time duties. Past practice has been to provide reassigned time to change a course’s instructional format, but to date there is no evidence that this additional work for faculty—at the same time that adjunct training initiatives are underway—will include any workload offsets so these goals can be reached.

At this point, we are asking faculty to resist "digging their own graves" by doing any work on converting courses from a quarter format to a semester format, unless and until we can reach an agreement with the college about these matters. If any College administrator approaches you about doing this work, you should contact your Association Representative immediately. We will keep you informed of any developments.

$$$ FOR ADJUNCT FACULTY TRAINING?

An Academic Success initiative to develop mentoring and training for adjunct faculty will need considerably more funding and reassigned time for full-time faculty if it is to have any lasting impact and not ignite a revolt by full-time faculty.

The initiative is funded by a federal Title III grant that includes reassigned time for full-time faculty to work with adjuncts. However, it has no money for actually setting up structures such as formalized mentoring, training modules, or the administrative work (and Mission & Learning Support time) that will be required to maintain such work. Without acknowledgment that such initiatives will need ongoing funding and set-offs in full-time workload, undertaking these “innovations” will do little more than create an infrastructure that reinforces the current dismal full-time/part-time ratio.

Current proposals under discussion would establish required training for adjunct faculty. It’s unclear at this point whether adjunct faculty would be paid for such required training or would be expected to attend without pay, effectively requiring them to “volunteer” time to the College. With the considerable additional work that will be required as part of the conversion to semesters, the administration will need to acknowledge soon that faculty “free” time is seriously limited and that some form of set-off in terms of reassigned time may be necessary to complete the numerous initiatives and committee processes that the next 2 years will require.

NEAR-SIGHTEDNESS AMONG ADMINISTRATORS

Every public college and university in the state saw record enrollment increases this quarter, but some were better prepared than others. Columbus State decidedly was not, and the lack of planning for Autumn Quarter has the administration leasing space Winter Quarter from Franklin University.

With all administrative eyes apparently focused on Delaware County, the downtown campus has suffered for several years. Storage space in both new and older buildings is being cannibalized and converted into offices. The condition of several campus buildings suggests that maintenance budgets have not kept pace with the wear and tear of increased enrollments and numbers of employees.

The lack of long-term planning for adequate parking on campus has left the College relying on the fact that students who enroll at Columbus State will be unable to find parking after 9:15 am (and until 2:00 pm), many will give up, drop their classes during the first 3 weeks of the quarter - problem solved! While the administration boasts of record enrollments, one must ask the question: how many students are still enrolled during week 7 of the quarter? We can be sure that we won't see this retention rate accurately stated in a TV commercial.

Columbus State administrators could drive to Capitol Square in 5 minutes or land a well-thrown proposal in the Statehouse Rotunda. Yet, as a College we seem unable to capitalize on the impact the College has on the downtown area, or on our proximity to legislators to get additional funding for expansion of the downtown campus. It will be essential that the next President have the skills to handle both college administration and the clearly necessary political work (and related forms of fundraising) that the state’s largest community college needs to be engaged in.

CCAD LEADERSHIP COMMENDED

CSEA commends the leadership of Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) for their ability to work collaboratively with city leaders on various initiatives, and to acquire land downtown in order to expand their growing operations. Their purchase of the 105,000 square-foot building on the corner of Broad and Cleveland (that formerly housed a Byers Automotive dealership) was a major achievement for which they can be proud.

Columbus State leadership recently failed to acquire the old Columbus Cadillac Company on Jefferson Avenue (which may become available once again).

CCAD's purchase of the Byers Automotive dealership has allowed them to house creative workspaces for some of their design majors, plan for additional exhibition spaces, offer additional classroom space, and provide for additional faculty offices.

Columbus State leadership has been unable to obtain additional parking from Abbott Laboratory, in spite of the fact that the large lot nearby has sat vacant for years.

This Fall Quarter, CCAD opened their "Design Square Apartments" complex, which provides about 200 students with on-campus housing in an apartment-style residence, each of which includes 2 or 4 bedrooms, a living area, a dining area, kitchenette, and bathroom(s).

Columbus State leadership has been unable to move forward on badly-needed renovations of Union Hall, because the lack of long-term planning has resulted in no additional spaces in which to temporarily house the dislocated employees.

SURVEY PLANNED FOR WINTER QUARTER

The College has contracted to conduct the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), an instrument intended to assess institutional practices and student behaviors that are highly correlated with student learning and student retention. The survey will be conducted during Winter Quarter, and will require responses by students enrolled in courses in both Career & Technical and Arts & Sciences courses, drawn from a random sampling of course sections.

CSEA has representatives working with the administration to minimize disruption of curriculum and instructional lesson plans when the survey is administered, probably in late February or early March. Survey results will generate data about the students we serve that will be valuable to both faculty and administrators, so CSEA encourages all faculty to do their best to accommodate this important informational tool.

PROMOTION & TENURE APPEALS COMMITTEE NEEDS FULL PROFS

The College Promotion and Tenure Appeals Committee needs 5 full professors to step up and be willing to serve on this critical committee for the coming year. Although appeals are rare, the essential nature of tenure in higher education and the importance of a faculty-driven promotion process demand that this committee be fully staffed. Any full professor may serve. The Committee consists of two full professors from each academic division, and one full professor elected at-large. Contact Carmelita Boyer at x2407 if you are willing to serve in this important role.


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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