December 10, 2008

Minutes of
General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

December 10, 2008, at CSM

Present: Eric Brenner, Ron Brown, Chip Chandler, Victoria Clinton, Katharine Harer, Teeka James, Dan Kaplan, Yaping Li, Monica Malamud, Karen Olesen, Sandi Raeber, Joaquin Rivera, Anne Stafford, Elizabeth Terzakis

Meeting began at 2:25

Facilitator: Teeka James


Welcome and Introductions


Minutes of the November, 2008 EC meeting

Some revisions are necessary; minutes of the November 12 meeting will be approved at the January 21, 2009 meeting.


Statements from AFT members on Non-Agenda Items:

A)        Elizabeth will send EC members information about the worker occupation of the Republic Windows and Doors plant on December 5, 2009, and the related rally at Bank of America’s Chicago headquarters planned for today, December 10, 2008, along with a website where people can make donations. She is also interested in writing a letter of solidarity.

B)        Monica raised the issue of the change – at the state level – in the Math and English requirements for obtaining an Associates Degree, and the potential impact of that change on the way Composition Load is calculated for full-time English faculty. Currently, full-time faculty members who teach 4 Composition courses that apply toward the Associates Degree receive a “bump” of 1.25 FLC’s for each course unit. Because of the current wording of our contract, some Composition courses that currently count toward “Comp Load” will no longer count, despite the fact that the work load has not changed.

Monica suggested that there is an issue of equity since part-time faculty are never allowed to teach a 4-course load and therefore never get the increased load for their classes. However, only those full-time faculty teaching 4 Composition courses get the increase; many English faculty, due to time spent in Writing Centers/Labs, Literature courses, and reassigned time for various projects, do not teach a 4-course Composition load either.

Monica did check with some other colleges to see what they do to compensate English faculty for the heavy paper grading load. Few actually grant increased FLC’s, and some suggested reducing class size as an alternative.

Though the Language Arts Deans at CSM and Skyline recently promised that they would not change how English faculty Composition load is calculated, they may simply not have the power to follow through. The EC agreed that English faculty should probably work on creating appropriate contract language and then meet with Harry Joel to create an MOU that, in effect, maintains the current Composition load.

C)        Teeka announced that at its January 2009 meeting, DSGC will be discussing restrictions on how faculty will be allowed to use the college’s name; Teeka will send us the actual language when it is available. At that same meeting, DSGC will also discuss the issue of District restrictions on political expression by faculty and staff.

D)        The District continues to hold to the position that it will not give reassigned time to faculty who agree to work on the (yet to be) reconstituted Trust Committee. Teeka and Anne reported on a meeting they had recently with Susan Estes to discuss possible alternatives to reassigned time. Teeka and Anne made it clear that faculty feel strongly that they want the time to do the work more than they want a stipend. Susan suggested paying faculty stipends to do the bulk of the work during the summer, and relying on the District office to do a good deal of the initial work. Teeka and Anne told Susan they would report back to the EC, who would continue to discuss the options.

Grievances

There was nothing to report at this time.

Class size MOU discussion

History:

Joaquin reported that in the past, class sizes started creeping up; in an attempt to ensure fair treatment for faculty, we negotiated the MOU. The MOU directs Deans to consult faculty in each discipline regarding the appropriateness of large classes, but we do not know whether this currently happens, and if so, how often or how consistently. A small number of faculty teach large classes and make extra money for doing so.

Current Discussion:

The EC discussed the two separate, but related, issues of workload and pedagogy. An increase in the use, or number, of large classes has the potential to eliminate faculty positions as fewer faculty teach more students. Dan pointed out that some unions have negotiated contracts that either limit the overloads faculty can teach, or in some cases, don’t allow faculty to teach overloads at all.

Some EC members feel that extra pay should be based on workload, rather than on the number of students in a given class since it is entirely possibly to teach a large class without increasing one’s workload.

There was also discussion about whether SMCCD should offer large classes at all since students’ access to smaller classes and to faculty is part of what distinguishes Community Colleges from 4-year institutions. The EC agreed that while workload is an AFT issue, issues of pedagogy should be decided by discipline.

The EC voted (12 “yes” 1 “no”) to direct a small sub-group of the EC to meet with the three campus Senates and request that they get disciplines and departments to discuss what they feel is an appropriate use of large classes.

 

Budget issues: COLA, retirement incentives

In an effort to mitigate the effects of looming budget cuts (CSM may cut as many as 70 class sections in the spring), the District is looking for ways to encourage faculty to take early retirement. Monica polled the top 20-25 most senior faculty to learn what sort of incentives might encourage them to take early retirement – only 4 or 5 responded. Joaquin and Eric then surveyed all faculty eligible for retirement – 87 out of 122 responded. In essence, the District is considering some combination of cash incentives between $20,000 and $25,000, and perhaps guaranteed post-retirement contracts for interested faculty. Most EC members agreed that even $30,000 is a relatively insignificant amount and did not want to be seen as promoting the District’s proposed incentives.

The EC voted unanimously to agree to $30,000 for faculty whose age and years of service total at least 75, $25,000 for those whose total is at least 70, and to attempt to negotiate guaranteed 3-year post-retirement contracts. Though CSEA and AFSCME will have their decisions about retirement incentives ready to present to the Board tonight, Joaquin reminded us that AFT must still negotiate the language we have just agreed to with the District. He will try to negotiate an agreement with Harry Joel before tonight’s Board meeting.

Alternative Calendar Task Force discussion

All Deans have been asked to work out mock schedules to determine whether changing to a compressed calendar is actually possible, and the state must approve any changes we decide to make. The question for AFT 1493 is whether we want to have an official representative on the Task Force, who will communicate the Task Force’s actions and discussions to AFT. The EC voted (11 “yes” and 1 “no”) to have Monica represent AFT on the Task Force.


Union and Senate roles discussion

The central issue, one that some EC members have been discussing for a number of months, both in meetings and informally, revolves around the delineation between the roles of AFT and the Senate. Many members feel that the Senate has developed a closer relationship with the Administration in recent years; simultaneously, AFT has become increasingly involved in issues and responsibilities that might traditionally have been in the purview of the Senate (such as the Accreditation Oversight Committee). Without going into details about particular committees, issues, responsibilities, etc. (due to our limited time at today’s meeting), we talked about whether AFT should consider pulling back more into our traditional role as the faculty bargaining agent if we feel our inclusion on various committees and projects isn’t genuine and complete. While most agreed that AFT should have a place on DSGC, there was some disagreement about whether we should insist on having an AFT representative seated at meetings of the Board of Trustees, as the District Academic President is. We will continue this discussion in the spring.


AFT/Senate areas of collaboration

Diana Bennett, President of CSM’s Academic Senate, spoke to Dan about holding an AFT/Senate summit in Spring 2009. The Senate is interested in discussing the faculty evaluation process; in particular, the Senate would like to talk about the possibility of doing student evaluations of faculty every semester. The EC voted (9 “yes” and 1 “no”) to agree to a summit.

* In connection to the issue of faculty evaluations, two EC members suggested that at a closed session in the spring we have a lengthy discussion about the faculty evaluation process and how it relates to grievances. Chip repeated an earlier suggestion that, to help strengthen the grievance process and make it more efficient, we create training videos for both the evaluation and grievance processes.


SLO’s: What should the Local (and CFT) do?

Tabled until January, 2009 EC meeting.


Political Activity disagreement

There is some concern that the District is making an effort to revise its Rules & Regulations without going through DSGC.


February EC catch-up meeting?

The EC voted unanimously to hold a February catch-up meeting.


Open discussion/meeting critique

We agreed that we need a time-keeper at our meetings.

Next facilitator:    Victoria

Next time-keeper:    Yaping

Meeting adjourned: 4:45.