What's Really Happening - 2005/10/04

 

 

What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of October 4, 2005

*The Board and its administrative representatives have made their position clear: the extra effort and commitment that faculty bring to their work are unvalued if not unimportant, and faculty are disposable, replaceable parts in the machinery of the College's operation.*

WORK TO THE RULE

To make clear the extent of the added value we faculty bring to our work, the CSEA Executive Committee has agreed that faculty should begin to Work to the Rule. What this means is to do what our previous contract required and no more.

Article 4.02 states, "Faculty will be required to undertake a maximum of 14 hours per week in mission and learning support activities." Typically, preparation for classes alone fills those 14 hours. Anything else besides preparing for classes is usually beyond the 14 hours required, but if you're uncertain, keep track of your hours. Once you've spent 14 of them preparing and grading, you have fulfilled the requirements of both Article 4 and the Appendix/Attachment I to the last contract, which states, "The time allocated for mission and learning support activities averages 14 clock hours per week (154 clock hours per quarter)."

In terms of committee work, all CSEA members and any non-members who support a negotiated contract rather than imposed terms should take the following actions beginning immediately:

Governance Councils and their related committees-not attend

Curriculum committees-resign

Assessment committees at department, division and college levels-resign

Grade grievance committees-decline to participate

Student conduct hearings-decline to participate

In-Service planning committee-resign/decline to participate

In-Service volunteer activities-decline to participate

Other department, division, or college committees that are college-initiated rather than faculty-initiated-resign

Any work that is traditionally done by coordinators or lead instructors-resign or decline to participate

You will be told that this variety of additional duties "is part of your job description." But the contract is clear: both Article 4 and Appendix/Attachment I the last contract clearly delineate that preparing for courses is included in these 14 hours. Preparation for classes, grading, and updating of instructional material routinely fill up at least this many hours weekly.

The Board and the administration routinely fail to recognize or acknowledge the additional time that faculty willingly put in beyond the 14 hours to serve on committees at all levels, participate in advising, revise curriculum, develop and present cultural events, and even go through the motions of the so-called shared governance. When working under a contract that has been reached through mutually respectful bargaining and agreed to by both sides, faculty can continue do these things almost without limit. However, when forced to work under conditions that have not been negotiated in good faith, faculty become less willing to go beyond what is required.

If your chairperson attempts to intimidate you with a line about your "job duties," or tries to threaten junior faculty with repercussions related to promotion or tenure, understand that your primary work as a junior faculty member is to dedicate yourself to teaching. Make clear that you are already performing 14 hours of mission and learning support time, as required by the contract, in preparing for your classes and doing work related to them. If such pressure continues, notify your Association representative.

Any future promotion WILL NOT be in jeopardy as long as you are performing satisfactorily in the eyes of your colleagues. Remember, promotion and tenure applications that are denied can be appealed if the President overrides a recommendation from the faculty committees. It is your faculty colleagues on the committees-not just the chairperson-who will decide whether you are performing as you need to be.

For years, managers have insisted that every new initiative-of-the-month and the administration's failure to provide adequate staff support demanded that faculty take on expanded duties as "part of your mission and learning support time." Most of us are familiar with the military term "mission creep." What we have experienced is mission-and-learning creep-an endless stretching of 14 hours into whatever amount of time faculty's nurturing hearts and minds could be made to take on.

We'll be accused of being "unprofessional," but that's cheap posturing, an unearned claim to ethical high ground. What's unprofessional is releasing disinformation to the public and to other employees. What's unprofessional is intentionally ignoring crucial facts that contradict arbitrary intentions. What's unprofessional is refusing to admit and face up to obvious mistakes. What's unprofessional is canceling meetings that will bring up hidden problems-uh, challenges. What's unprofessional is undermining a reputable institution by putting people who lack job qualifications into positions of authority and responsibility simply because they will follow orders.

This will not be easy. Some choices will demand that we evaluate the almost-instinctive qualities that make us good teachers: a willingness to sacrifice our own time and needs to bring the joy of learning to others. Some choices will be extremely difficult. If you're uncertain about how to handle a given situation, talk to your Association Representative.

PLEASE NOTE:

Faculty should continue to serve on faculty Promotion/Tenure Committees.

Faculty should continue to work on all grant-supported activities originated by faculty until the activities are completed.

Senior faculty should continue to mentor junior faculty.

Since we are professionals, the thought of choosing not to do some aspects of our job feels odd and uncomfortable. The Executive Committee has tried to create a list of activities you should or should not perform as the definition of "Work to the Rule." Obviously, the list is not exhaustive, and you will need to make a decision on your own activities.

In conclusion, as you decide not to do activities of your job that exceed the 14 hours of mission and learning support, you need to notify your colleagues, chair, and dean that you have stopped the activity. Sometimes we work quietly in the background and our work is not always noticed. There is a correlation between the level of respect an employee gets and the amount of added value s/he brings to the job. The Board has made clear that it believes that faculty do not deserve the respect of open, good-faith negotiations.

Make a statement about what you are doing and why. Make a connection between the Board's actions and your own.

And keep wearing your CSEA badges. New and improved messages will be distributed as they are developed.

CHANGE OF MEETING DATE

The member meeting originally scheduled for October 13 has been re-scheduled to October 20 at 3 PM. The location is still undetermined.

Please mark the change in your calendar NOW.

The meeting will begin Phase 2 of actions to address the Board's new imposed terms. Meeting agenda will include elections for Vice President and Parliamentarian, as well as for 4 Association Representatives and a Senior Association Representative. All will serve 2-year terms. Members will also consider and approve the 2005-2006 budget. Additional items may be added later.


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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