February 2013 Advocate

Faculty participation vital on workload survey

Union needs documentation to support negotiations

Does it feel like the list of things you’re asked to do keeps growing every semester?  Are you serving on more committees than you used to?  Are part-timers paid equitably when compared to full-timers?  With a reduction of the full-time ranks, are fewer full-timers doing more work, and more part-timers told they must pitch in even for tasks for which they are not compensated?  What should the parity goal be in our district in terms of part-time vs. full-time pay?

Faculty brainIn order to negotiate a reasonable workload and fair compensation for all, your union needs to hear from you.  What does your workload look like?  Are you being paid for everything you do? AFT 1493 sent out a Workload Survey to all faculty on Monday, February 4th.  A link to the survey is also available on the AFT 1493 website (aft1493.org.) We need to collect data from as many faculty as possible in order to have supporting documentation that can be used during negotiations.

The Workload Survey will help AFT learn more about how our workload has changed over the years. In particular, we want to quantify the heavier workload that all faculty have been experiencing, with more and more time now being devoted to various kinds of non-teaching responsibilities. We also want to explore the ever-increasing over-reliance on part-time faculty and the shrinking numbers of full-time faculty now employed in the District.

Setting a “parity goal”

AFT 1493 continues to work toward implementing a salary schedule for part-time faculty that not only brings part-timers’ wages up to the third or fourth rank in the Bay Ten but also more fairly compensates part-time faculty based on their education and teaching experience, which is the way the full-time salary schedule is structured. As the first step, AFT wants to determine how much time, on average, faculty spend on contractually defined teaching and non-teaching duties. The ratio of non-teaching duties to total work duties (teaching and non-teaching) will help AFT establish a “parity goal.”  

Documenting “duty creep”

Second, many faculty feel that the non-teaching components of our jobs have increased despite the fact that the “Duties and Responsibilities” as defined in our contract have not changed. Therefore, AFT also wants to learn whether faculty members routinely perform additional duties and responsibilities that they believe are not contractually required.

AFT will use the data collected through this survey as one factor in establishing a target percentage for part-timer parity, which forms the basis for measuring equal pay for equal work. AFT will also use the data collected to help determine whether AFT should pursue future changes to the contractual definitions of faculty “duties and responsibilities.”

We estimate that it will take faculty between 20 to 30 minutes to complete the Workload Survey. Please provide us with your thoughtful answers to questions that are designed to help us understand what you do in your professional life, both inside and outside of the classroom on a daily basis. All data will be analyzed and reported in aggregate form; no individual’s responses will be disclosed.

You could win prizes!

To show our appreciation for faculty who take the survey, all survey participants are eligible to win prizes! Survey respondents can enter their names for a chance to win dinner for two at yummy area restaurants, gift certificates to local bookstores, and more!
Please don’t delay. Complete the workload survey now!

 

Part-time faculty focus groups to gather input on part-timers’ concerns


by Sandi Raeber Dorsett & Rebecca Webb, CSM Chapter Co-Chairs

Are there part-time faculty issues you would like to see addressed in our contract?  If so, your help is needed to gather information and propose contract language on those part-time faculty issues.
In February, part-time faculty will receive an email from their AFT 1493 representatives asking them to participate in focus groups to gather information and propose contract language on part-time faculty issues including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Defining and working toward parity with comparable full-time pay rates
  • Health care benefits for part-time faculty
  • Paying part-time faculty for committee work and SLO work
  • Long-term contracts for part-time faculty
  • Right of first consideration for full-time positions
  • Part-time faculty summer session seniority

AFT wants to hear about part-timers’ personal experiences

Part-time faculty often teach in more than one Bay Area Community College District and so are in a perfect position to help gather information about how part-time faculty issues are addressed in other District contracts and to share personal experience with these issues in other Districts. 

Groups will mostly meet online

The work of the focus groups will most likely be done via email or “Facebook-type groups” but face-to-face meetings will also be encouraged.  Information gathered and proposed contract language developed by the focus groups will be presented to the AFT 1493 Executive Committee and the contract negotiations team for upcoming contract negotiations.
So watch for that email from your AFT 1493 representative about the part-time faculty focus groups.  Your participation will be important to all part-time faculty.  In the meantime, maybe you could start gathering information from your various District contracts and making notes about your personal experiences to share as soon as the focus groups are set up.

 

 

 

 

 

Academic calendar set for 2013-14; faculty to be surveyed for 2014-15

by Joaquin Rivera, AFT 1493 Co-Vice President & Chief Negotiator

AFT 1493 and the District recently negotiated an academic calendar for next year (2013-14) that is a rollover of this year’s calendar.  (The 2013-14 academic calendar can be viewed online here.)

As you may remember, this year’s calendar was agreed to after a vote of the faculty among several options.  As we were discussing the calendar with the administration and the AFT Executive Committee, several issues were raised, including: how to minimize the number of classes with only 15 meeting days, the length of the winter break, the position of the flex days, the split final exam week, and whether we should consider a compressed calendar.

Look for the 2014-15 Calendar Survey later this semester

Because there was not enough time to survey the faculty on these issues, we decided to adopt a calendar similar to this year’s and then survey faculty about the different options so they can be considered for the 2014-15 calendar.  We will be sending a calendar survey later this semester.  Please make sure you participate so your voice can be heard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Performance Evaluation Task Force update

by Lezlee Ware, Cañada Chapter Co-Chair

The District Performance Evaluation Task Force (PETF) team has been busy working on improving our faculty evaluation process with your support and input!  At our (very fun and productive) monthly meeting in January we discussed the following proposals, which were submitted by faculty and administration as well as brought up by members of the PETF Team:

  • Newly defined “grades” created for the faculty evaluation form
  • Short Survey completed and ready for distribution on all campuses
  • SLO language developed for the self assessment and dean’s assessment
  • Campus-wide emails became District-wide emails

The items in the list above have only been proposed and not yet adopted.  The new evaluation procedures continue to be a work in progress.  We will continue to rely on your support and ideas as the Task Force carries on with its work.  Stay tuned for additional opportunities to give us your feedback.

Check out our Sharepoint site where there are many sample faculty evaluation processes from other community colleges. Please take the time to read the several surveys that you have been receiving from the Performance Evaluation Task Force, and provide the Task Force with your feedback.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFT 1493 to fund two student scholarships

by Lezlee Ware, Cañada Chapter Co-Chair

AFT Local 1493 is happy to announce a fundful partnership with the San Mateo Community Colleges Foundation: AFT will fund two student scholarships for $1,000 each!  This will be a recurring scholarship for students attending any of our three sister colleges: Cañada, CSM and Skyline.  The scholarship is open to full- and part-time, returning/re-entry, continuing and transfer students.  We are hoping to award students who have a strong social justice background and/or stance and who have begun their college career in basic skills or ESOL courses.  Details will be announced soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LETTER TO THE ADVOCATE

Thanks for the AFT 1493 Email list

The following message was written in appreciation of one of the news articles related to community college faculty issues sent out regularly to faculty on AFT 1493’s email list. To join the list and receive articles, email Exec. Secretary Dan Kaplan at kaplan@aft1493.org. -Ed.

Just wanted to drop you a note to tell you how much I enjoy and appreciate posts like this one.  I read these as you send them out and it helps me to keep in touch with my (former) profession.  Being retired is great, but sometimes I do miss the vibrancy of being involved as I once was.  I have also given considerable thought to my current comfortable retirement status and how AFT fought so hard over the years for the benefits I now enjoy.  You may not hear it often, but I greatly appreciate my current lifestyle, much to the efforts of people like you and the AFT.

Thomas Diskin Professor Emeritus, Alternative and Renewable Energy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPINION

District considering MOOCs, but latest online product seems inappropriate for most community college classes and could undermine public higher education


The Advocate is publishing the following viewpoint article on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with the hope that other faculty members will submit alternative perspectives and prompt a District-wide discussion of this issue.
- Ed.

by Dan Kaplan, AFT 1493 Executive Secretary

The Board of Trustees held a Study Session discussion on January 9 concerning the subject of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). This could be a huge issue confronting community colleges in the near future.

MOOCsSebastian Thrun, founder of Udacity (a leading producer of MOOCs) was the main presenter at the Board’s Study Session, and he will soon be meeting with the Governors of Texas and Ohio in his efforts to promote Udacity’s role in education in those states.

Thrun said that he wasn’t saying that “Professors aren’t needed any more,” but that really was the implication of his presentation to the Board. During the Board presentation Thrun said that Udacity would focus on college readiness and remediation classes and would not be used in upper division classes, but the Udacity website includes many more advanced classes than introductory ones.

Studies show community college online classes have significantly higher attrition rates

The online approach is the least effective method for teaching remedial classes. An article in the most recent issue of the Journal of College Teaching & Learning (First Quarter 2013) presented a synopsis of the “largest and most comprehensive studies conducted to date of online learning in community colleges.” These studies found the following:

“Students’ enrolled in online courses were significantly less likely to complete courses than students enrolled in face-to-face courses. The completion rate for online courses was 11% to 15% lower than the completion rate for face-to- face courses. The completion rate for online remedial courses was even lower. The completion rate for online remedial math and English courses was 19% and 24% lower respectively than completion rate for face-to -face math and English remedial courses. Moreover, students who took online remedial English courses were 30% less likely to move onto college level English courses than students who took face-to-face remedial English courses. Students who took online remedial math courses were 24% less likely to move on to college level math courses than students who took face-to-face remedial math courses.”  (http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/TLC/article/view/7534/7600 )

Gov. Brown supports MOOCs as a cost-effective solution to higher education budget problems

Governor Jerry Brown has gotten very involved in promoting online education, and MOOCs in particular. Brown seems to think that MOOCs will be able to help the State solve the problems created by the slashing of education budgets over the last several years. Cutting education budgets, however, was a political decision, as is Brown’s promotion of MOOCs. Another kind of politics, based on different political values, would dictate that public education should be properly funded.

Business venture wants to transform public higher education with huge cheap online courses

But it isn’t clear how MOOCs will solve any fiscal problems given that business ventures like Udacity are in the business of making money. As Trustee Richard Holober said during the Board discussion: “This approach is at the intersection of education and business.” What does a for-profit corporation have to do with providing public higher education to the students of California?

During the discussion it was mentioned that students wouldn’t get college degrees after a full program of taking MOOCs; instead they might get certificates which would provide “validation” for a business to hire them. For MOOCs taken through a community college to be offered for credit and to be transferrable to either the UC or CSU system would require changes in the California Education Code.

Board of Trustees considering deal with Udacity

The Board will be discussing what they want to do with Udacity at a Board retreat on February 9. At this point, it is very unclear exactly what the Board might be proposing concerning MOOCs in the District. If the Board makes a proposal to contract with Udacity, then AFT would most likely demand to negotiate faculty compensation and the other details contained in the proposal. District Academic Senate President, Diana Bennett, said that the Academic Senate will soon be forming a Task Force to examine this issue.

MOOCs supported by top government leaders

The day after the Board Study Session on MOOCs, Jerry Brown held a press conference at San Jose State University to announce a new MOOC pilot project involving San Jose State and a few local community colleges. Also speaking at the press conference were Sebastian Thrun and our Chancellor, Ron Galatolo.  What makes this online initiative different from other such efforts in the past is that this initiative has the support of those in the highest levels of power in the State. And the MOOCs initiative also has the support of the Obama administration.

Rather than fund education properly, Jerry Brown has apparently decided to start providing education on the cheap. Chancellor Galatolo told me that the normal price for the District of a regular class (all things factored in) is around $4,000-$5,000. Udacity will charge the District around $60 for each class that it offers. Based on those numbers, there appears to be a significant financial incentive for the District to remove classes from the regular curriculum, and offer the same classes through Udacity.

Corporations see MOOCs as a means to privatize public colleges

The financial industry has been making plans for many years to make profits by privatizing public schools. Corporations like Udacity now believe that MOOCs will be the next technology poised to take off and make enormous profits for these “education” corporations.

Even though this kind of online education is not being driven by any real faculty or student demand, the MOOC movement is upon us. Clearly the faculty needs to become engaged in a discussion of this subject right away.

The Chancellor told me at the end of the Study Session that the structure of faculty compensation for MOOCS would have to be negotiated, but the issue of MOOCs goes way beyond just the issue of faculty compensation. I think it is really about what defines a quality education, and among other things, that includes establishing an affective relationship between teacher and student.  No matter how good an online class might be, I don’t believe that it is possible to create the same kind of teacher-student relationships online.

Free? What’s the catch?

Many of these issues have recently been summarized by Samantha Calamari, an educational technologist, in an article entitled “The Quality of Massive Open Online Education: How Free Is It?”:

“We are all skeptical when we hear the word “free”. Could it really be? What’s the catch? In the online world, there are many catches, loopholes and scams. We all feel vulnerable when it comes to online identity and exposure. In the case of MOOCs, the course information in the form of lectures, quizzes, readings (some books are required for purchase) is actually free of cost (not time, perhaps the next commodity frontier)…for the student. The course is not free for the institutions who produce it. Additional institutional resources and funding is required to develop and design a comprehensive course offering, digging into the pockets of schools whose wallets may already be tapped.”

“Public community colleges may see a drastic dip in enrollment”

Ms. Calamari concludes her discussion with words that I think all community college faculty should find ominous:

“Furthermore, we must also consider the impact on the institutions that offer the courses, which students may now take through a MOOC. This may not decrease the student population (and tuition) at private higher-educational universities per se but public community colleges may see a drastic dip in enrollment in courses that are similar to those offered online for free. There are still many issues around accreditation that need to be addressed, but once they are, the infrastructure of community colleges may be at risk. For example, if you are a single mom of two taking nursing classes online, are you more likely to take a basic 101 course online for free or for a price?”
(http://www.media-alliance.org/article.php?id=2200)

We encourage faculty members to submit their personal opinions on MOOC’s for publication in The Advocate. Email AFT 1493 Exec. Secretary Dan Kaplan at kaplan@aft1493.org.

 

 

ACCREDITATION

Questions growing about ACCJC’s power, processes and accountability

Our District colleges are currently in the midst of investing a huge amount of time, energy and money in preparing for another accreditation by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), which accredits two-year colleges in California and Hawaii. Sanctions imposed on colleges by the ACCJC in recent years have far exceeded the total sanctions by all other accreditation bodies in the country combined.

Who actually runs the ACCJC? What is the basis for the huge number of sanctions they have been imposing? What laws govern the decisions taken by ACCJC and who oversees their actions? These are some of the many questions that were taken up in an eye-opening report, titled “ACCJC Gone Wild”, written by Martin Hittelman, former President of the California Federation of Teachers and Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Los Angeles Valley College. The latest revision of the report, released on June 3, 2013, extensively analyzes many issues concerning how the ACCJC operates, and it is highly recommended reading for anyone involved in or interested in the accreditation process. A summary of the highlights of “ACCJC Gone Wild” was presented by Mark Newton, Past President, AFT 6157 in his article, “Accreditation Problems-More Than Meets the Eye?

As City College of San Francisco has been struggling to remain open and to prevent cuts in the face of “Show Cause” sanctions from the ACCJC, a research team working with a coalition to save CCSF have prepared a research document on the ACCJC titled: “What is the ACCJC? Facts and Analysis.” It is “a work in progress that will get deeper as the picture comes into clearer focus.”

Another recent article that questions ACCJC’s functioning, “Accreditation: Value Clouded in Contentiousness,” was written by Dennis Frisch, President of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) and an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal entitled “The Rise of the Accreditor as Big Man on Campus” by Hank Brown, former U.S. senator from Colorado and former president of the University of Colorado and University of Northern Colorado, describes how accrediting agencies wield too much influence in higher education nationally.

“The ACCJC operation is cloaked in secrecy”

In his “ACCJC Gone Wild” report, Hittelman wrote that “The ACCJC operation is cloaked in secrecy with all involved required to sign a pledge that they will not reveal the inner workings of the college visiting teams or how the ACCJC itself operates in determining what level of sanctions to impose. Even the meetings of the ACCJC are held in places and at times difficult for the public to even find out about or attend and comment. They have paid little attention to their own timelines for posting the agendas for their meetings, including where the meetings will be held” (“ACCJC Gone Wild”).

A clear example of this was just pointed out in a letter written by CFT President Joshua Pechthalt on January 8 to ACCJC Chair, Dr. Sherrill Amador, and ACCJC President, Dr. Barbara Beno, regarding ACCJC’s failure to adequately notify the public about a meeting they held January 9th through 11th.

CFT calls on ACCJC to make meetings accessible to public attendance and comment

The letter began by noting that “the Commission’s ‘Policy on Access to Commission Meetings’ states that: ‘The Accrediting Commission … supports and encourages the presence of members of the public at its meetings …’” But Pechthalt then raised concerns about the ACCJC’s lack of openness in providing public notice of their January 9-11 meeting: “Only two weeks ago, long after the Commission’s 30 day deadline for giving notice had elapsed, and after the 15 day time limit for the public to submit notice of a desire to speak to the Commission, did the ACCJC website finally indicate that the meeting of January 9-11, 2013, would occur in Burlingame, at the Hyatt. It was not until around January 4, 2013, however, that the [preliminary] agenda for January 9 finally appeared on the Commission’s website and expressly indicated there would be a public meeting. This means that proper notice was ‘posted’ about 25 days late.”

Later in the letter Pechthalt was more direct about the ACCJC’s apparent discouragement of public participation at its meetings: “If our understanding of the facts is accurate, the Commission has failed to satisfy its declared policy of ‘supporting’ and ‘encouraging’ the presence of the public at its meetings. It is difficult not to conclude that by the way it neglects to provide notice to the public of its activities, the Commission actually seeks to discourage or effectively restrict public attendance and comment at its meetings.”

At the end of the letter, Pechthalt called on the ACCJC leaders to follow its own written policy on public access to meetings: “the CFT would like to know what action the Commission proposes to take in the future to assure that it provides appropriate and timely public notice of its agendas, and the location of its public meetings. In addition, since the Commission website provides no information, we hereby request copies of all proposed additions, deletions or modifications to Commission policies which are under consideration and which are presumably within the scope of the preliminary agenda and the final agenda.”

There has been no response to Pechthalt’s letter from the ACCJC leaders.

[Updated 6-3-13 with link to new version of ACCJC Gone Wild.  -Ed.]

 

 

ACCREDITATION

Effects of sanctioning and downsizing of CCSF could be felt by community colleges around the state


by Wendy Kaufmyn, Engineering Instructor (30 years), City College of San Francisco

The tide is turning in the fight to save City College of San Francisco (CCSF). Over 300 students, faculty, staff, and community supporters crammed into an auditorium on February 6 for a community meeting called by the Save CCSF coalition to collectively discuss how to save the school from the forces of privatization and austerity. The standing-room only crowd was buzzing with energy and eagerness to take action.
The demands adopted at the meeting included:

  • Stop union busting. Rescind staff and faculty layoffs.
  • Stop the misuse of accreditation to impose austerity. Make accreditation transparent and democratic.
  • Reverse cuts to classes, programs, and compensation. Use Proposition A funds as promised.

Some Background

July 2012: ACCJC (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges) put CCSF on a status of “Show Cause”, despite the excellent academic programs and instruction, which in fact were praised in the accreditation report.

November 6, 2012: To address the budget concerns of the ACCJC, a parcel tax dedicated to CCSF was put on the ballot. San Franciscans passed Proposition A by an overwhelmingly majority of 72.9%

2013: CCSF administration (largely interim outsiders who have no long-term commitment to the school) are thwarting the will of the voters, refusing to use Prop A funds as promised. Instead of restoring classes, they are paying high-priced consultants and putting more than necessary into reserves. Their wrong-headed response to the accreditation crises has already resulted in:

  • Imposing layoffs and (possibly illegal) pay cuts without negotiating with the unions
  • Imposing drastic restructuring with no input from faculty or students
  • Limiting accessibility of classes to students
  • Downsizing City College’s mission – no more lifelong learning, civic engagement or cultural enrichment

If AACJC and its administrative allies are allowed to unilaterally undermine the contracts of CCSF’s faculty and staff unions while drastically reducing educational opportunities for its students, it will have an ominous effect on faculty, staff and students at other community colleges around the state.

Join us in fighting back!
March 14, 2013: March to SF City Hall!

Receive updates: text “follow saveccsfnow” to 40404
Contact us: info@saveccsf.org, facebook.com/saveccsfwww.saveccsf.org