The Word - 2013/03/06

 

 

The Word from CSEA

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of March 6, 2013

THE FUTURE OF ACF

According to several reports from faculty, department chairs have informed faculty that effective summer semester 2013, the Administration will be eliminating the ACF positions. Members of the Cabinet told CSEA in an email dated February 20, “…while no final decision has been made, there is a real chance that we will not be able to fund ACFs.” When asked if there was a timeline for making a final decision, their response was that they will “work to provide notice as early as is practical.” When CSEA is notified, we will communicate it to faculty as soon as possible.

Until a final decision is made, CSEA recommends that faculty develop written rationales that justify the continued need for the ACF in your department. The Administration is looking at eliminating ACF positions as a pure cost savings measure. Unfortunately, while two adjuncts may be able to teach as much as one ACF and not require the College to pay them benefits, the role an ACF plays in a department goes far beyond what two adjuncts can do. ACF help with advising program students; ACF hold office hours; ACF are dedicated to CSCC in a way that adjuncts, who may be teaching at several different institutions, are not always able to. In CSEA’s opinion, the loss of ACF will be a significant setback to the academic process that couldn’t possibly be made up for in budgetary savings.

CENTRAL SCHEDULING

The Enrollment Management Task Force (i.e. the Central Scheduling Committee) was created several years ago to make scheduling more rational and efficient. The intent was to maximize the use of our limited space and resources. At that time, chairpersons and other academic administrators were members of the committee. However, these academic administrators were removed from the Task Force when we switched to semesters. The result was a committee, void of faculty (or even chairperson) representation, making decisions about what classes to offer, when to offer them, where to offer them, how to offer them, when to cancel them and when to let them run. Not surprisingly, this led to many complaints at the beginning of the first semester.

CSEA discussed this issue with the Administration during our most recent Labor/Management Committee (LMC) meeting, and the Administration admitted that there were several problems with the process, including a complete lack of faculty input. The result is that CSEA and the OAA Co-Chair committees will each appoint a faculty representative to the Enrollment Management Task Force. The group will still be charged with revenue maximization through the cancellation and consolidation of courses. However, it will also establish predictive enrollment estimates (at the program and course levels) so that the chaotic schedule changes happening just prior to the start of both autumn and spring semesters will not reoccur. One goal is to identify about 90% of the listed courses that will run so that faculty and chairpersons are not scrambling at the last minute to cover or replace courses which were cancelled.

EFFECTIVENESS OF THE BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION TEAM (BIT) PROCESS

CSEA has received numerous reports from faculty regarding students who they felt posed a threat to faculty, students and the greater campus community. There was concern that the current BIT process was not allowing these teams to remove these students from current classes and potentially block their return in the future. In some cases, students were removed from one professor’s class in one semester and then allowed to return to the same professor’s class the next semester. CSEA also discussed this issue with the Administration at the latest LMC meeting. We are happy to report that the Administration was aware of problems with the existing BIT process and is working on a new process called SEBIT, which stands for Student-Employee Behavior Intervention Team. The Administration assured CSEA that this new process would include a broader spectrum of experts, including our campus safety officers and professionals, so that they would be better able to identify and deal with threats to the campus community. CSEA will work with the new Vice President of Human Resources, Deb Heater, to determine the best way “to incorporate faculty voice in the formation of SEBIT protocols.“ Watch for more information about this issue in upcoming issues of The Word.

STRS CHANGES MAY CAUSE A DRAMATIC IMPACT ON RETIREMENT PLANS

The changes to the STRS system that go into effect August 1, 2015 may negatively impact the ability of faculty to retire in the coming years. CSEA has heard from several members who met with STRS counselors thinking they had 2-3 years until retirement only to learn that changes to the STRS system could mean they now have 7-9 years before retirement eligibility. Professor Steven O’Neal has volunteered to collect information as to how the STRS changes impact the retirements of individual faculty at Columbus State. If you are willing to share your story, please contact Professor O’Neal atsoneal@cscc.edu.

CSEA urges its members who are considering retirement in the next 5 years to make an appointment with a retirement counselor at STRS to discuss how these changes may affect your plans. For more information about scheduling a counseling appointment, go to https://www.strsoh.org/active/2a.html or call 888-227-7877.

Finally, CSEA was recently made aware that the CSCC Human Resources Department has incorrectly reported years of service to STRS for several faculty members. In most cases, the Human Resources Department has corrected the mistake. In others, however, they claim not to have the relevant employment records and require the faculty member(s) provide them with evidence of the error. CSEA urges you to verify your years of service with STRS and raise any inaccuracies with Human Resources as soon as possible.

CSEA GRIEVES DISCIPLINE OF A FACULTY MEMBER

On February 1, 2013, the Administration met out the most severe discipline they can impose upon a faculty member – short of termination. Citing an alleged misuse and misappropriation of College equipment and resources, the Administration reduced this faculty member’s pay by 5%, arguing that the faculty member used an excessive amount of the College’s bandwidth.

Notably, witnesses for the Administration admitted that there does not exist a benchmark for a “normal” range of usage and that there are many reasons usage can spike. Based on this information, CSEA believes that Policy 15-01(F) creates a standard for excessive use that is, at best, ill-defined and, at worst, arbitrarily determined on a case-by-case basis and that CSEA members should be wary when using College resources.

During the legally required pre-disciplinary meeting, the faculty member explained that the research was prompted by student questions and that he was simply downloading material in preparation for class lectures. The faculty member also stated that the research could potentially lead to publication of an article in a scholarly journal. The faculty member had no idea how much bandwidth was being consumed in order to collect the data needed for his class preparation and research, and never received an inquiry about the basis for his usage. It was not until he received notification of the pre-disciplinary meeting that the Administration even informed him of the amount of bandwidth being used.

The Administration has also challenged whether the material was indeed used for class preparation and/or research purposes, citing in the summary of the pre-disciplinary meeting that they failed to draw any connection between the faculty member’s syllabi and the computer usage in question. CSEA believes the Administration does not have the academic expertise to determine what academic research is appropriate for a faculty member’s class preparation and/or research activities.

In short, a faculty member is being severely disciplined for using the computer in his office to access the Internet and download material for class. The Administration asserts that the faculty member crossed some nebulous line in bandwidth usage that was so egregious they felt compelled to discipline the faculty member to the maximum extent, just short of termination. However, at no time did the administration contact the faculty member to ask whether he was aware of how much bandwidth he was using, nor did they attempt to ascertain why. Instead, the Administration conducted a 7-month investigation that ultimately ended in a 5% salary reduction.

CSEA is obviously utilizing the grievance process to advocate on this member’s behalf in order to protect his (and your) academic freedom and other contractual rights. In the meantime, however, CSEA urges its members to conscientiously use the computers in your offices to access the Internet for tasks which may require significant use of bandwidth. Recall that when asked what constitutes a significant amount, the Administration could not provide a definitive answer; nor does the Administration offer any mechanism for faculty to monitor their own bandwidth usage. Because of these and other reasons, CSEA urges you to notify your chairperson and dean if you believe your work requires that which could potentially be considered excessive use of college resources.

Officers

Kevin James, President / x5008

Tom Shanahan, Vice-President / x2623

Eric Neubauer, Secretary / x5698

Michelle Duda, Treasurer / x2607

Ingrid Emch, Parliamentarian / x5824

****************************

Amy Brubaker / x5068 Senior Association Representative, Career & Technical Division

Adam Keller / x2562 Senior Association Representative, Arts & Sciences Division

Judy Anderson / x5822 Developmental Education Beth Barnett / x2593 Hospitality, Massage Therapy and Sports & Exercise Studies
Carla Mayers Bletsch / x5235 Allied Health Crystal Clark / x5451 Humanities
Terry Eisele / x5202 Modern Languages Ty Fogle / x5781 Business Programs
Lydia Gilmore / x3908 Health, Dental and Veterinary Tech. Frankie Hale / x5184 Communication
Chuck Kassor / x7108 Construction Sciences Li Yang / x5929 Social Sciences
Sue Longenbaker / x2430 Biological Sciences Phil MacLean / x5308 Justice & Safety
Jackie Miller / x2601 Nursing Mark Mitchell / x3612 Automotive and Applied Tech.
Dianne Fidelibus / x5015 Physical Sciences Dr. Antoinette Perkins / x5754 Integrated Media and Technology
Deb Dyer / x2477 Human Services Dona Reaser / (740)203-8231 Delaware Campus
Gilberto Serrano / x3863 Mathematics Edgar Velez / x3694 English
Rita Rice / x5818 Psychology

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


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