The Word - 2010/01/20

 

 

The Word from CSEA

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of January 20, 2010

UPWARD EVALUATION

In each contract negotiation, CSEA representatives have attempted to bargain for upward evaluation of managers, but with little success. As some of the most “evaluated” employees on campus (an annual appraisal, quarterly student evaluations, and in-class observations by department chairs and faculty colleagues), faculty recognize the value of such feedback in improving performance.

We also know that both operational excellence and fairness dictate that department chairs — those who supervise the people most responsible for fulfilling the College’s mission — deserve the benefit of feedback on their own management.

So even though the administration fails to appreciate its value, upward evaluation will still take place. Later this quarter, CSEA will provide full-time faculty with forms to rate the performance of their supervisors. These evaluations will not be publicized but will be shared with each department chair and his/her respective dean.

CSEA wants to refine the short instrument used in Autumn Quarter 2004 to conduct a similar evaluation. What questions should be on this form? Possibly using the form used by students for course evaluations, or coming up with questions that you believe will provide helpful feedback to your chairperson, please submit suggestions for the evaluation form to your Association Representative.

CONVERSION TO SEMESTERS

In a formal letter of intent, CSEA and the administration have agreed to work to ensure that neither group will exploit the adjustments necessary to convert the College’s systems from a quarter to a semester system over the next 2 years.

The agreement reads:

“CSEA and the College will work collaboratively to convert from a quarter system to a semester system, and to bargain the impact of the transition to semesters on the terms and conditions of employment as required by ORC [Ohio Revised Code] 4117.

“The parties agree that any work toward preparing for such a conversion will, to the greatest extent possible, leave unchanged overall faculty workload and not result in an expansion of the mission and learning support requirements.

“The parties also agree 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 and 3-quarter salary.”

We expect that this agreement will address the need for reassigned time necessary to undertake curricular and course structure conversions. Past practice has dictated that, when fundamentally restructuring a course or converting a course into a different type of delivery system, faculty receive reassigned time equal to the number of credit hours of that course in order to complete the necessary work.

This applies particularly to faculty who may have included such work in their goals for this year in their annual appraisals. Several faculty have reported being directed by their chairs to include such goal setting in their annual appraisals. Faculty who have done so should attempt to meet those goals, as long as the College provides them with the support necessary (including reassigned time) to do this work.

Occasionally, a faculty member may include a goal of attending a particular conference in their annual self-appraisal, but then is unable to attend the conference because the College did not provide the travel funds to do so. When this happens, the failure to meet that goal is not held against the faculty member (for promotion purposes, or in the next year's annual self-appraisal) because circumstances beyond his/her control came into play. In the same way, a faculty member who is unable to complete a goal of working on the conversion to semesters because the College does not provide him/her with adequate support (in the way of reassigned time, for example) should not have this held against him/her.

WHERE’S THE ACCOUNTABILITY?

For the second time in two years, Columbus State is paying the salary of a senior administrator at the same time someone else is paid to do her job.

HR cut off Provost Dr. Judith Scherer’s email December 11 after she was informed that she was being terminated. For 5 days the administration stonewalled reporters and offered no explanation to employees or the community. Finally the President’s Office issued a statement December 15, stating that the Provost had resigned “for personal and professional reasons.”

According to media reports, the Provost will continue to serve as a consultant to do so-far unexplained “special projects”, with the opportunity to earn the remainder of her $140,000 annual salary. Former Provost Dr. R. Michael Snider, who retired in 2006 and has worked for Columbus State since then under one or more lucrative consulting contracts, has been hired as interim provost.

This is an echo of a year ago, when then-Provost Dr. Kay Adkins was banished from campus by the President for still-unexplained reasons. Dr. Adkins continued to draw her $128,000 annual salary until June 30 of last year while various deans took on added work to cover her absence from campus.

The State of Ohio is in fiscal turmoil. Unemployment is high. Many people in our service area and throughout the state—including more than a few of our students—are in serious financial shape. The rumors and speculation within the institution continue, undermining administrative credibility as well as employee morale and productivity. It’s past time for the President to be held accountable and to explain how CSCC can spend tens of thousands of dollars on special agreements to support professional staff for not working.

OEA 2010 MINORITY LEADERSHIP TRAINING PROGRAM

The OEA Minority Leadership Training Program (MLTP) targets ethnic minority members who have an interest in Association activities and leadership roles.

The training fosters development of an understanding of organizational culture, an appreciation for cultural diversity & inclusiveness, and the identification & demonstration of skills required for effective leadership in a multicultural setting. The training also explores the importance of minority involvement at all levels of the Association.

There is no cost for this training and it includes dinner, breakfast, and lunch (hotel accommodations for Friday night is available if participants do not live near the training location). This training is only open to first-time attendees. The registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Training will commence on Friday evening, May 14, and conclude late Saturday afternoon, May 15. Each session is limited to 20 participants. The registration deadline is April 30, 2010. If interested, contact CSEA President, Darrell Minor, and he will email you the registration form.

UNUSED 2009 PERSONAL LEAVE PAY JANUARY 31

Full-time faculty should look for extra $$$ in their January 31 pay advice. That check should include payment for up to 16 hours of unused personal leave from last year. Depending on your current 3-quarter salary, this could range from $464 to $750.

CSEA secured payment for unused sick leave in its initial contract negotiations in 2002. Previously, employees forfeited all unused personal leave at the end of the year. In recognition of how collective bargaining influences all workers’ pay, the administration quickly granted the same benefit to staff and administrators. At least at CSCC, unions continue to be influential in improving conditions for all employees.

REMINDER: SURVEY PLANNED FOR FEBRUARY

In our last issue of The Word, we reported that 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 in late February 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. Survey results will generate data about the students we serve that will be valuable to both faculty and administrators. CSEA encourages all faculty to do their best to accommodate this important informational tool.

STUDENT SUCCESS ISSUES

Several faculty and staff committees have been working on the Student Success Initiative. The program is intended to develop structures that will increase retention and promote timely completion of degrees. CSCC has secured a $2 million grant (to be given in $400,000 installments over five years) that will attempt to address these issues.

Problems such as overcrowded course sections, the ratio of full-time to part-time faculty (and staff), adjunct faculty mentoring, and student parking can be addressed by an effective blend of vision and funding. But in the face of substantial surpluses in College accounts, the President and Board have been surprisingly stingy in using available funds to confront the issues. “More online courses!” is not a sufficient response.

Once again this past year, the Board of Trustees has found itself with over $10 million in excess revenues (i.e., “profit”), largely derived from increased enrollments, tight budgetary controls, and continuing over-reliance on contract/ adjunct faculty, who teach over 70% of CSCC’s classes in continuing violation of Ohio Board of Regents standards. Most of these funds remain in College accounts, having been allocated (or “parked”) into accounts in which they are unlikely to be spent.

It’s always prudent to have some savings. But in a time of overflowing classrooms, deteriorating facilities in many corners of the campus, and the need for increasing technical improvements, it’s time to get beyond stockpiling money and to direct a meaningful part of it to solving the pressing problems of growth.

HOW AQIP FUNCTIONED (BUT DIDN’T WORK)

It’s worth noting that the disproportionate ratio of full-time to part-time faculty remains a problem that was regularly noted in successive accreditation reports in 1990 and 2000. It was also (along with the similar problem with staff ratios) one of the two major concerns that emerged from the AQIP accreditation’s “Conversation Day” several years ago. Sadly but not surprisingly, the administration buried the issue as part of the vague AQIP accreditation process, which administrators gradually took control of to direct AQIP activities — like the governance process — into HR and administrative adjustments in operation.

Instead of allowing the accreditation process to address the issue of service to students, administrative representatives morphed employee concerns about dysfunctional internal communications and full-time/part-time ratios among faculty and staff into unrelated administrative processes related to “hiring procedures” and “sustainability.” Something got lost in the process, yes?

The FT/PT ratio among employees remains a dire problem without a plan for a remedy. Internal communication remains largely limited to after-the-fact announcements of decisions already made at upper levels. “Quality improvement” is about more than processes.

OEA ENDORSES MARK HILL FOR STRS BOARD

The OEA Board of Directors is endorsing Mark Hill, a teacher in the Worthington City Schools, for election to a seat on the STRS Board. The STRS Board election will be conducted during the month of April. Mark is a middle school math teacher and also serves as Vice President of the Worthington Education Association.

Mark states that "our pension benefits are a favored target of a concerted effort to undermine public education." If elected, he promises that he will "fight, with every fiber of my being, any effort to erode, diminish, or eliminate the defined benefit pension."


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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