What's Really Happening - 2005/02/28

 

 

What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of February 28, 2005

IMPORTANT FORUMS ON PROPOSED CHANGES IN TENURE AND PROMOTION

We encourage all full-time faculty to attend one of the three forums scheduled to discuss possible changes in tenure and promotion processes. The forums will be held March 3 (Thursday), 3-5 p.m. in DE 121; March 11 (Friday), 3-5 p.m. in DE 121; and March 14 (Monday), 4-6 p.m. in FR 104. Check your calendar now and write in one of these meetings.

What? We're encouraging you to attend a College forum? One of those offensive charades that pretends to care about your concerns or objections but is really just an empty ritual to show that "everyone participated"? One of those useless faculty or staff or all-campus gatherings where your "input" is solicited AFTER the decision has been made? Nope. These changes will affect your future at the College (and possibly elsewhere) and even your retirement, and nothing is final yet. So these forums deserve your attendance and thoughtful participation.

 

The major changes will involve

  1. the Awarding of Tenure and the Tenure System,
  2. the Faculty Rank System and Promotion in Rank, and the selection of and operating procedures for department, division, and College tenure and promotion committees.

Any changes in promotion or tenure, which full-time faculty must earn to continue to teach at the College, warrant your close attention.

Dr. David Hockenbery, dean of Arts and Sciences, emailed an announcement about the forums last week. We hope you realized how significant that email was. Faculty will soon receive a copy of the full document as well as a brief overview of the major changes that a committee of faculty, department chairs and administrators has developed over the past three years.

CSEA representatives have worked closely with the committee in recent months and will be present at each forum to address any questions that faculty may have related to the contract implications of the proposal.

"ALTERNATE HEALTH CARE PLAN" REQUIRES CAREFUL EXAMINATION

A recent story in the Office of Institutional Advancement's Update reported possible changes in health care next year: "the College's Health Care Committee is reviewing insurance alternatives that incorporate wellness, a cost shift to consumers and consumerism. One such option is a health-savings account."

Wellness is a good thing. "Cost shift" isn't. This means employees paying more-i.e., a reduction in income. When all the hype is stripped away, "consumerism" usually means increased risk. This has potential benefits for some, but each employee must retain the right to avoid risk when it comes to health care provided by the College.

The same story noted that claims by CSCC employees last year exceeded premiums paid by six percent, noting that "3.2 percent of covered Columbus State employees, or 57 individuals," incurred 47 percent of Columbus State's current medical claims. This may bother some, but it's neither unusual nor surprising. It takes only a few serious illnesses-in this case, three percent of all individuals-to run up serious costs. Last year at least three faculty members had serious heart problems, and two of them died. Regardless of what you might have thought about the Update's snippet of information, don't assume that your fellow workers are abusing the system at your expense. Insurance, by definition, is protection against worst-case scenarios, as well as the spreading of risk among a community of individuals. We ALL benefit from this pooling of risk.

DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION DESERVES YOUR SUPPORT

The Columbus State Development Foundation's "Support What Works" campaign is an important way that all employees, but especially faculty, can extend their ability to change students' lives.

The campaign's goal is to raise $11 million over five years. Employee participation is essential to the success of raising funds from individuals and businesses within the college's four-county service area.

If you are not already making some donation to the Development Foundation's work, CSEA encourages you to say YES when you have the opportunity to do so.

WHO'S TRACKING THE AMAZING VANISHING STUDENT?

It's no secret that the College is facing its fourth straight quarter of reduced enrollments. (Spring Quarter registration trends in several departments are 15% lower than a year ago.) What IS secret is what the College is doing to figure out why it's happening. Some folks, CSEA among them, say it's Datatel, with its dropping of paid students from class rolls and perplexing inability to do what the Legacy system handled with ease. Some say it's changes in financial aid practices and/or procedures. Some say a decline in foreign student enrollments explains part of the decline. Who knows, really? It's difficult to solve a problem if you're not clear about what the problem is.

If a private business lost 10 percent of its customers in a year, it would probably be doing some serious consumer research-interviews, focus groups, phone polls, studies of past and present advertising coverage, follow-up with previous customers who stopped purchasing the product, or who indicated an intent to purchase but then didn't, or who purchased the product but then didn't receive it-as well as some evaluation and assessment (there's that term again.) of internal processes.

Surprisingly, the College offices responsible for research and advertising are apparently not doing anything of the sort. (Even more surprisingly, the Board of Trustees appears unconcerned about either information or accountability on this issue.) Asked at various times what they were doing to try to determine why Columbus State's enrollment is down by over 10 percent while a majority of the other community colleges in Ohio continue to experience increased enrollment, representatives of both the Office of Knowledge, Research and Planning (alluring acronym.) and the Office of Institutional Advancement responded, in essence, "We don't know. If you have any ideas, will you let us know?"

Here's one: find out. It's part of your job. And the well-being of the College, its employees, and its reputation are riding on it.

PREPARING FOR NEGOTIATIONS

Using data provided by faculty in their responses to CSEA's questionnaire to focus and clarify issues, several CSEA committees have been working to prepare proposals for the bargaining table. The negotiating team is reviewing these documents as well as requesting additional information from the College.

The contract expires June 30. Negotiations will begin sometime in spring.

CSEA President Steve Abbott has appointed a negotiating team that includes veterans from the first contract negotiations and veterans of multiple College committees. Abbott will again be lead negotiator. Lisa Schneider (Communication Skills) and Kevin James (Mathematics) will join past negotiators Karl Rieppel, Amy Brubaker, Darrell Minor, and Bill Mundy. Several other faculty members have agreed to train as future negotiators by attending as many bargaining sessions as possible.

CSEA appreciates the committed involvement of the many members who have taken on a range of one-time and ongoing activities to support preparations for negotiations. If you are willing to help in any capacity, contact Steve Abbott by email or by phone at x5096.

WELCOME TO COUGAR NEWS

Any time students take responsibility for their own education, faculty have to be excited. CSEA welcomes Cougar News, a weekly student newspaper that published its first edition February 2. It is the first entirely student-run publication in the College's history.

Students under the supervision of Communication Skills Department instructor Bob Stein produce the publication, which appears in campus news racks each Wednesday. The business office of the Ohio State Lantern handles advertising and distribution aspects of production.

The first four issues have examined campus stories ranging from registration and military recruiting to sports, arts events, and commentary. Future issues will include listings of activities of student clubs and organizations.


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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