What's Really Happening - 2003/02/09

 

 

What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of February 9, 2003

WORK TO THE RULE

As of this notice, CSEA is directing its members and encouraging other faculty to WORK TO THE RULE.

Although there are many rumors about a possible strike if negotiations break down, CSEA leadership is committed to exploring all options short of a strike to reach an agreement with the administration. To convey how much added value and extra effort faculty bring to their work, CSEA believes that faculty should demonstrate how much they do beyond what is required as part of their ongoing contracts. "Working to the rule" allows faculty to meet their basic obligations without having to resort to a work stoppage, while at the same time cutting back on the "extras" that the administration counts on to maintain the high quality of instruction and service we bring to our jobs.

What WORKING TO THE RULE means is not strictly defined. The following information from "Redefining Faculty Role" (2000), the document that governs faculty work, may help.

All faculty are required weekly to perform 16 contact hours of classroom instruction, 10 office hours (3 flexibly scheduled), and 14 hours of mission and learning support. This last category needs to be understood in order to "work to the rule." Carefully review the guidelines below to determine what you are REQUIRED to do respective to your rank.

The following three activities are REQUIRED of faculty in all ranks:

INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT ACTIVITIES. These are defined as "work that is directly related to the planning, development, and evaluation of instruction." This includes grading papers/exams, preparing for courses, updating course materials, planning lessons, reviewing instructional materials, reviewing and selecting textbooks, developing new instructional methodology, developing/ revising course modules, and reviewing and revising curriculum.

Obviously, a faculty member could fulfill the entire mission and learning support requirement in performing these duties, making it more difficult to engage in other forms of mission and learning support.

STUDENT ADVISING AND MENTORING. This is defined as "work that exceeds or is outside of regular faculty office hours spent advising and/or mentoring students." Examples include assisting students with scheduling, advising students regarding selection of courses in a discipline, and serving as advisor to student organizations.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES. These are defined as "work that is directly related to the function of the department/program and provides service to the faculty member's profession or discipline." Examples include attending or presenting at professional conference/workshops, holding office in professional organizations, or taking courses (toward an advanced degree, licensure, or certification).

The following activity is REQUIRED for Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors. It is ONLY RECOMMENDED for Instructors.

INSTITUTIONAL SERVICE. This is defined as "work that is essential to the operation of the College." Examples include contributing to the formation of academic programs and policy, serving on Governance Councils, performing student recruiting or retention activities, and assuming leadership roles on department, division, or College committees.

The following activity is REQUIRED for Professors. It is ONLY RECOMMENDED for Associate Professors. It is OPTIONAL for Associate Professors and Instructors.

LEADERSHIP ACTIVITIES. These are defined as "administrative service to the department, division, or College." Examples include mentoring other faculty, providing leadership in development, maintenance and design of course curriculum outlines and syllabi, and chairing department promotion committees.

The following activity is RECOMMENDED for Professor and Associate Professors. It is OPTIONAL for Associate Professors and Instructors.

COMMUNITY/PUBLIC SERVICE. This is defined as "efforts on behalf of the College that are directed to the application of knowledge and expertise for the benefit on a non-academic audience." Examples include providing training for a local business organization, serving on a community board as a representative of the College, and serving as a judge for science fairs or other competitions.

The following activity is RECOMMENDED for Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors. It is OPTIONAL for Instructors.

SCHOLARSHIP/PERFORMANCE/RESEARCH. These are broadly defined as "pursu[ing] publication and performance opportunities in [a faculty member's] discipline and/or program area." Examples include publishing articles, writing books, editing journals, and contributing to and participating in artistic and creative performance activities.

Clearly, depending on the unique demands of different programs and disciplines, faculty members have considerable leeway in how they perform mission and learning support activities. All faculty could meet their required workload by engaging in no more than the first four categories, and our primary commitment must be to the students in our classrooms. CSEA members should not participate in any activities that are not REQUIRED for their specific faculty rank. We also encourage those who, for whatever reason, are not members to do likewise.

CSEA specifically recommends that all faculty continue to perform their duties in faculty-driven processes such as promotion and tenure committees, which contribute directly to maintaining quality and standards within faculty ranks.

A NOTE ABOUT RAISES, REGARDLESS OF AMOUNT

Pay increases at Columbus State historically have become effective January 1. With the administration's implementation of a new fiscal year (July-June), the proposed raises for faculty would cover the period January 2002-July 2003, when a new raise would go into effect. In other words, unless some adjustment is made you will lose six months' worth of raises EVERY YEAR under the administration's salary proposal.

NEGOTIATIONS: WHAT IS AT ISSUE

Although much of our recent information to you has focused on the salary schedule, it was not salary alone that brought about the union representation vote in 2001. It would be a mistake to lose sight of the other issues involved in negotiations.

This became even more clear last week when the CSEA Negotiating Team reminded the College that, as it had written on every proposal and counter-proposal since November, ALL ISSUES THAT WERE UNDECIDED PRIOR TO THE FACT FINDER'S REPORT ARE STILL OPEN TO NEGOTIATION. Even though both sides were focusing on a limited number of issues, the documents clearly state that the rest of the issues are still open. These include aspects of workload (and assignment of courses), changes in benefits, time for union business, seniority rights, union involvement in governance, and an early retirement buy-out.

Since the Board rejected the Fact Finder's report, the administration has wanted to pretend that it no longer has to negotiate on the issues on which the Fact Finder ruled in the administration's favor. The fact is, the Board rejected the Fact Finder's report, period. The administration cannot now decide which issues are settled any more than it could pick and choose among the Fact Finder's recommendations. We're not starting on the 50-yard line. We're back in the end zone.

What is finally at issue is a change in institutional culture at Columbus State. For years faculty asked college administrators to follow the College's Policies and Procedures in dealing with faculty; the College continued to violate its own rules, dismissing several faculty without due process.

In the late 80's a union drive was derailed by then-President Nestor's agreement to allow binding arbitration in cases of discipline and dismissal. When faculty attempted to invoke the binding arbitration provision, they were told that the College would not submit to arbitration, and that no outside decision would be binding on the College. A local court decision upheld the College's right to NOT be bound by its own Policies and Procedures.

When CSCC faculty had the highest workload in the state, the administration dragged its feet on bringing the workload more in line, with the President demanding that any change had to be "cost neutral"-i.e., that this necessary improvement not cost any more money, despite soaring enrollments and revenues. Then in early 2000 a union representation vote loomed, and the President took dramatic action, ordering a report from the Workload committee that would reduce the classroom hours (but not overall work).

When that vote failed by only 3 votes even after the workload realignment, faculty representatives met with the President and the Provost to suggest how addressing the issues that led to that union organizing drive would help to prevent another one. And an amazing thing happened: nothing.

Not one issue was addressed. Not a request to simply appoint a committee to study the possibility of a faculty salary schedule. Not the reduction in salary for the 80% of full-time faculty (a number unmatched in the state) who teach summer quarter. Not the near-total disregard for recommendations of Faculty Senate. Not the suggestion that long-term adjunct faculty be given 1-year appointments and some measure of medical benefits. Not the dangerously disproportionate ratio of part-time to full-time faculty. (It's true that the Board made a commitment to seriously address this issue in 2000, but after one year it reduced the number of new faculty positions created to address increasing enrollments.)

Also, almost immediately after the unsuccessful union vote, the administration began cutting reassigned time provided in the new Workload Model for faculty in Career and Technical Programs. Only when another union organizing drive began did the administration restore these hours to faculty.

Apparently, the administration measures collegiality by how much you talk about it, not by how much it's practiced. Regrettably, the administration measures the College's success by its headcount, not by a high ratio of full-time faculty to students. Foolishly, the administration measures creativity by the number of new initiatives that are launched, not the quality of service that is enhanced. Although improved salaries are part of the package, we must remember that improved opportunity for advancement within a pay range will not improve how things work at Columbus State. There are other, less tangible issues, and they are not on the table. There is no way to negotiate integrity, honesty, and serious commitment to new forms of behavior. The administration either has these qualities, or it doesn't. Let your own experience guide you.

WORD TO STAFF: DON'T BUY THE BALONEY

At the December Staff Advisory Council meeting, the Director of Human Resources told staff representatives that if the administration were to provide faculty with a salary schedule, it would cost so much that the College might have to start laying off staff. He must have forgotten that he has said previously that the College has the money for a salary schedule but chooses to use its $50 million in cash and cash equivalents for other things. Maybe some of the staff he's threatening to lay off could apply for jobs at the second campus the President is eager to construct up in Delaware County.

SPEAKING OF THE SECOND CAMPUS.

Inquiring minds want to know if there's any connection between the President and Strategy Team, Ltd., the firm that received the contract for the second-campus study. Funny you should ask. One of the senior partners in the company is Dr. Karen Snyder, a former member of the Columbus State Board of Trustees. You may have met her at one of the recent "forums" on campus. Minutes from a 2001 Board meeting reflect that Dr. Snyder made the motion, which was passed by the Board, that the President be awarded a $75,000 bonus ($15,000 per year) in 2004 if she completed 5 years of service (1999-2004) with the College-including two years or retroactive bonuses, 1999 and 2000.

The Board approved another motion by Dr. Snyder that same night: that the College pick up all of the President's State Teachers Retirement System contribution. This action resulted in a bonus worth an extra 9.3% of her annual salary. (So when the President postures that she received only a 3% raise this year, keep in mind that she receives this STRS pick-up bonus EVERY YEAR.)

FACULTY MEETINGS

We thank all full-time faculty who attended the open information sessions Thursday and Friday. We were happy to welcome many non-members and even sign up a few new ones. Your concern was obvious, your questions were perceptive, and your presence was gratifying. Please ENCOURAGE YOUR ADJUNCT FACULTY to attend one of our upcoming sessions just for them, this Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m. both days in Nestor Seminar C.

Some attendees expressed concern about administrators knowing of their membership in CSEA. Our position is this: with faculty beginning to WORK TO THE RULE and limit the additional, value-added work they are willing to perform, your public affiliation with the union is an added form of security. We urge all non-members to seriously consider joining CSEA now. Contact any member of the Executive Committee or Negotiating Team. Their names are listed below.


What's Really Happening is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Steve Abbott, President / x5096
Karl Rieppel, Vice President / x2500
Amy Brubaker, Secretary and Association Representative / x5068
Greg Goodhart, Treasurer / x5431
Darrell Minor, Parliamentarian / x5310
Bill Mundy, Association Representative / x5176
Dr. Jane McDowell, Association Representative / x2656 
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302
Dr. Wendy McCullen-Vermillion, Association Representative / x2693
Lisa Schneider, Association Representative / x5124


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