FAQ: Logistics of workload point system
We recently began our first academic year with the Workload Point System Pilot Program in place for full-timers. The Point System aims to set clear and reasonable expectations for committee work and other non-primary duties.
In response to questions faculty put forward while creating their plans, some AFT members put together an FAQ on the basics of the Point System in May. Today we are sending an additional FAQ to address questions that have arisen since the program actually went into effect:
1. What does it mean that this is a pilot program?
A: It means that we are testing the program, so there is no penalty for any faculty for the two years of the pilot as we navigate how to make this system work for all of us. However, the pilot program is in our contract, and all full-time faculty (except first-year contract faculty) must participate. The fact that this is a pilot also means we will be collecting faculty feedback on the program in various ways.
2. I tallied up all the points for everything I normally do and it’s way over the required points for my faculty role (6 or 7 for instructors, 5 for counselors, 4 for librarians). Should I include all these points in my plan? Does that mean the District will have to compensate me for the extra?
A: If you include points over the requirement on the plan you submit, you are saying that you volunteer for those activities, meaning that you are not entitled to be compensated for them. You can only be compensated when your dean asks you to go beyond the required point total for your faculty role, and you agree.
3. What compensation is available to me if my dean asks me to exceed the required total points for my faculty role, and I agree?
A. There are two possibilities: either you can be compensated at the special rate for actual hours spent on an activity beyond your required points, or you can bank the points for next year, similar to banking units. Note that because this is a two-year pilot, the banking option is only available this year.
4. Can my dean change my activities if I have met the required points for my faculty role?
A: In general, a dean is required to approve any plan that meets the minimum total for the role of the faculty member submitting it. There are a few exceptions set forth in Article 6.5 (we have copied the relevant original text at the bottom of this email for your reference):
- If your plan includes an activity that the department or college has no need for this year, the dean can tell you that the activity is not available. You can then choose an alternate activity to get to the required points.
- If too many faculty list a particular activity on their plan, the dean should inform all faculty who included that activity and ask them to resolve among themselves which faculty will be responsible for it. Other faculty can then choose an alternate activity to get to the required points.
- If there is an institutional need for a particular activity (ex. hiring committee for a new full-timer in that division) and not enough faculty include it in their plan, the dean should ask for volunteers to modify their plan. If the dean still cannot get enough faculty to choose the activity, they can assign it. However, the dean may not require a faculty member to serve on more than two tenure review committees or more than 2 hiring committees in an academic year.
- If the dean assigns you a new activity because there is an urgent institutional need and not enough volunteers, it is up to you what to delete from your plan to compensate for the new activity.
5. Are first-year contract faculty required to carry out a professional responsibilities plan?
A. No, first-year contract faculty are not required to participate in the workload point system; they should work with their deans in taking on an appropriate level and type of professional responsibilities that allows them to focus on their primary duties (teaching, counseling, or library work).
6. I have not heard back from my dean about the Professional Responsibilities Plan I submitted in May. Should I assume it was approved?A. Plans should be approved so long as they include the required number of points for your faculty role and you are not informed that any of the exceptions listed in question 4 apply. If you have not heard back from your dean, and your plan included the required number of points, you should assume it was approved.
Do you have other questions you’d like answered? Please reach out to your campus chair:
- Cañada: Michael Hoffman (math) email@example.com
- CSM: David Lau (English) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Skylike: Rika Yonemura-Fabian (sociology) email@example.com
You can also reach out to Marianne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* From Article 6.5 of the most recent contract between AFT and SMCCCD:
“Plans shall be approved unless one of the following applies:
a) The Plan includes activities for which there is no institutional need during the academic year covered by the plan. For example: A Plan includes evaluation of tenured faculty and no tenured faculty evaluations are scheduled for this period. In this case, the Dean will advise the faculty member that a chosen activity is not available and the faculty member will revise the plan accordingly.
b) The Plan includes activities for which the demand exceeds supply. For example, multiple faculty include in their plans writing a new course curriculum for the same course. In this case, the dean will inform all faculty interested in this activity, and request that they resolve among themselves who will take on this particular activity. If the faculty are unable to resolve among themselves, the dean will make the assignment and instruct the others to revise their Plans.
c) There is an institutional need for a professional activity that an insufficient number of faculty have included in their Plans. For example: there is need for a particular curriculum review that no one has included in their Plan. In this case, the Dean will first ask for a volunteer to modify their Plan. If that fails, the Dean may assign the activity. However, a dean may not require a faculty member to serve on more than two tenure review committees, or more than 2 hiring committees in an academic year, even where the total points do not exceed 7 points. The assigned faculty member may then, at their sole discretion, determine what to delete, of the same point value, from their Plan. This same approach shall be used if an urgent, unanticipated, institutional need arises after the academic year has begun. An “urgent” institutional need is one where, if not addressed, the District will: 1) be in violation of law; or 2) be unable to proceed with a hiring process. No faculty member will have their professional plan involuntarily adjusted in this manner more than once during the period of the pilot program.
If there is a specific, time sensitive need for the faculty member to provide all of the existing services on the member’s plan, the dean may request that the member not delete any activities, so long as the total point value does not exceed 7. Any additional assignment that results in an increase in points may be appealed to the pilot review committee. If the faculty member is requested by the dean not to delete any activities resulting in a plan that exceeds 7 points, and the faculty member agrees to do so, the faculty member will be compensated for the additional service at the special rate for the actual hours spent. Alternatively, faculty requested to exceed the point requirement in year one of the pilot may opt to receive credit for the following year. No faculty member can be required to exceed more than 7 points in an academic year. If the dean does not request additional service, the faculty member may choose, at their sole discretion, not to delete any activities from their Plan. However, such voluntary additional service does not result in additional compensation.
Nothing in the Plan development and approval process precludes a dean and faculty from mutually agreeing to modifications to a Plan after the academic year has begun to address new opportunities or areas of need.”