What's Really Happening - 2004/09/28



What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of September 28, 2004


Mark your calendar. CSEA will hold a member meeting Thursday, October 7, at 3 p.m. in Nestor Seminar D. Election of union president, secretary, and treasurer, as well as election of several Association representatives and delegates to the Regional Assembly, will top the agenda. Other items will include upward evaluation, issues related to Datatel, and survey information on contract issues for next spring.


If you have not submitted your paperwork for payroll deduction of your union dues, please do so as soon as possible. Treasurer Greg Goodhart (x5431) extends special thanks to the dozens of faculty who have already paid their dues for the year in advance through a single payment.


CSEA extends greetings to the following new hires: Dean Bortz (Construction Sciences), Susan Farus-Brown (Nursing), Lisa Gordon (Communication Skills), Julia Shew (Mathematics), Erica Swartz (Social & Behavioral Sciences), Jan Van Horn (Hospitality Management), and Norman Clevenger (Marketing & Graphic Communication). They recently completed faculty orientation with other faculty hired earlier in 2004: Joan Young (Engineering Technology), Keith Sanders (Engineering Technology), Peggy Mayo (Nursing), and Deborah Bertsch (Communication Skills).

If you have not yet received a copy of the contract and membership materials, your Association Representative is in the process of forwarding this information to you.


CSEA notes with sorrow the death of Earl Schaeffer, professor in Social and Behavioral Sciences, and senior faculty member in the College, on August 31. The Executive Committee conveyed the union's condolences to the family.


Thanks to all the CSEA faculty who volunteered for this year's Taste the Future event. According to the President's report to the Board of Trustees Sept. 23, the annual gala that raises money for students scholarships brought in over $500,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.


"To say we are frustrated is an understatement."

With these words to the Board of Trustees Sept. 23, Dr, Moeller offered much-needed honesty to discussion of Datatel and captured the pervasive mood on campus. Students, faculty, and support staff have been using less-diplomatic words to wrestle with unprocessed grades, botched tuition payments, barriers to registration, mangled course schedules, inaccessible class rosters, and endless irritated/angry requests for tech support.

A Columbus Dispatch story on CSCC's computer problems Sept. 24 reported that enrollment for Autumn Quarter, previously undisclosed, is around 20,000, about 3,000 below last fall's enrollment. (These numbers are unverified at this time, and the College has still not made public Summer Quarter enrollment figures.) According to Dr. Moeller's report to the Board, community colleges and universities in central and northern Ohio have seen similar declines. This information has not been independently verified.  Noting that "some business processes need to be refined," Dr. Moeller said that additional hardware has been ordered to address the system's shortcomings. Of more interest was one of her closing comments: "We have to decide how much to invest and at what point there is a diminishing return."

Most of the issues with Datatel were not only predictable but predicted. While a Datatel system may be sufficient for some smaller institutions, it is clearly unable to meet the demands of Columbus State. The College can not afford to be shackled to a system that requires more than an hour's work from a faculty member to retrieve three class rosters, or that drops students from classes for non-payment of fees after they've paid, or that can't handle the College's volume of online registrations and costs the College hundreds of enrollments and years of well-earned reputation for service.

In a time when evaluation, assessment, and accountability are the watchwords of the College, it is past time for administrators to be held responsible for acquiring and implementing this boondoggle. The VP who championed this system may have left the College, but other administrators have continued to rationalize Datatel's shortcomings in the face of obvious and continuing negative impacts on both service and morale. A primary aspect of leadership is admitting when mistakes have been made. There's no need to count the number of serious problems that have resulted from adopting a system that has created numerous registration and fee payment errors for students, forced the wholesale scrapping of effective and efficient internal processes, reduced faculty and staff productivity, and required that employees "volunteer" time from their job duties to make up for Datatel's flaws.


CSEA is preparing an evaluation form that will allow faculty to give their chairs helpful feedback about their performance. The forms will be distributed this quarter to all full-time faculty. Since the intent of this upward evaluation is to provide meaningful feedback to chairs, results will be confidential. CSEA will forward evaluation results to individual department chairs.

This year's evaluations will not be publicized or shared with College administrators or any other party. However, since upward evaluation is a goal of CSEA, this issue will be raised as part of next year's contract negotiations.


The Ohio Association of Community Colleges reports that the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) and state colleges and universities proposed higher education allocations of over $500 million for the next biennium. This number reflects a reduction of more than 15% from past averages. Dr. Moeller reported at the Sept. 23 Board meeting that the OBR is concerned that the proposed allocations could be reduced to $455 million (a 10% reduction) and possible by as much as 20%.

Where is the leadership in state government? Many legislators run for office on hot-button issues but then seem unwilling or unable to forge creative solutions to a state economy that continues to slip and is now among the worst in the nation. "Social" and "wedge" issues might rouse public passions, but legislators are elected, as part of their job responsibilities, to provide for an efficient system of public education. Given the incompetence of the current General Assembly in addressing issues of funding elementary and secondary education, it may be unrealistic to expect action in higher education, but the people of Ohio, and of Columbus State's service district, have waited too long for action.

Get informed. Contact your legislators. Review their records. Find out where they stand on education issues at all levels.

The Ohio Education Screening Committee has made the following endorsements of candidates on the November ballot in Central Ohio. Endorsements are made based on interviews conducted with candidates by the OEA Screening Committee. CSEA applauds the bi-partisan diversity of these endorsements and encourages your support for state legislators who support or have supported improved education in Columbus State's service district.

House District 2, Delaware County: Kathy Burner (D)
House District 21, northern Franklin County: Abramo Ottolenghi (D)
House District 22, northern Franklin County: Jim Hughes (R)
House District 25, southern & central Franklin County: Dan Stewart (D)
House District 27, central Franklin County: Joyce Beatty (D)
House District 83, Union County: Anthony Core (R)
Senate District 10, western Madison County: Steve Austria (R)
Senate District 16, western Franklin County: Steve Stivers (R)
Senate District 26, northern Union County: Larry Mumper (R)


Liz Betzel (Math) will assume Association Representative functions on behalf of Leslie Smith while Leslie is on maternity leave. Her extension is x5329.

If you have questions about who your Association Representative is, contact any of the officers 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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