March 12, 2014


San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers, AFT 1493

Minutes of General Membership/Executive Committee Meeting

Wednesday, March 12, 2014, at College of San Mateo


Present: Salumeh Eslamieh, Lin Bowie, Janice Sapagio, Joaquin Rivera, Nina Floro, Katharine Harer, Michelle Kern, Teeka James, Sandi Raeber-Dorsett, Vicki Clinton, Dan Kaplan, Eric Brenner

Guests: Zev Kvitky, Doniella Maher

1.Welcome and Introductions (if necessary)

Introductions were not necessary.

2.Statements from AFT (non EC) members on Non-Agenda Items

No statements were made.

3.*Minutes of February 12, 2014 AFT meeting

Minutes were approved.

4.An Online Teaching Proposal by the CSM Math/Science Division

Three science faculty from CSM are beginning a project, as described in their project proposal, “to enhance two online courses, each of which will serve between 100 – 200 registered ‘for credit’ students.” They hope to also make these courses available to “guests” who wish to use course materials for independent learning purposes. The proposed courses involved would be Health Science 100 and Survey of Chemistry 100, both of which are non-laboratory, general science classes (though Chemistry 100 is not listed in this year’s CSM catalog). The three faculty members asked to meet with AFT in January, and Dan and Teeka met with them to hear about their proposal. The faculty have also been in discussion with the CSM Academic Senate. The classes would be taught by our existing faculty, who would have student-tutors or other “personnel” to provide technological support to students. The faculty have found that online students’ technical difficulties with WebAccess, iTunes University, and so on tend to take quite a lot of instructor time, so they are thinking that if those aspects of course support are delegated to student-tutors or other “personnel” that the faculty will be able to serve more students while continuing to offer content support. Dan shared concerns about the transparency of the proposal process that were emailed to him by a CSM faculty member. The EC agreed that processes should be transparent but felt that in this case, the department would have to handle those concerns on its own. Dan also shared that an MOU might be needed to ensure the increased class size does not become generalized to all online classes as well as to address issues of fair compensation.

The union-related issues are 1) concerns about class size and setting a precedent for across-the-board increases, and 2) concerns that any “personnel” involved in course support who are not student-tutors need to be faculty who meet minimum qualifications and who are part of our bargaining unit (e.g. no outsourcing to corporate or private providers).

There is nothing to “do” at the moment, but AFT will keep an eye on the proposal’s progress. When it starts up we will then discuss how to mitigate our two concerns.

5.AFT Spring Social: the CSM experience

CSM and Cañada both had successful spring socials. CSM had roughly fifteen part-timers show up for pizza, cookies and conversation, many of whom were faculty colleagues whom we had not previously met or seen at union events. Besides almost universally saying that CSM was their favorite work place (primarily because of inclusive colleagues and designated office space which provided them with a sense of professionalism), part-timers had a terrific suggestion: AFT should sponsor a retirement workshop for part-time faculty. Those that are currently offered are almost exclusively targeted at full-time faculty.

Cañada’s event was also a success. They had five faculty attend, but those five stayed for a lengthy and deep discussion of working conditions and issues that concern part-time faculty. All who came said they would like AFT to do this type of event again in the future. Besides workload and concerns about parity in compensation (both of which are current union priorities), faculty at the event expressed a need for clarification on flex pay for part timers.

6.The AFT 1493 Facebook page

Michelle and Eric showed the EC our local’s new Facebook page in its fledgling state and encouraged those of us on Facebook to “like” the page. We talked about the sort of communication that might go on our Facebook feed, coming up with these sorts of items: political news (e.g. from CFT); “industry” news (e.g. Chronicle of Higher Ed.) such as the kinds of articles Dan sends out to the 1493 list; labor council updates; what’s the union doing for you—feature story profiles.

7.Quality Public Education Campaign update

Katharine has started to talk with faculty by meeting with new full timers. She started at Skyline and had an appointment with a faculty member at CSM after our EC meeting. While those she has talked to so far are thrilled to be full timers and are enjoying their “new” jobs, many have questions about tenure review (how is it supposed to work, etc.), teaching loads, and non-teaching work obligations for new hires. Katharine senses that new faculty perceive our colleges as having “workaholic” cultures. Even though we’re just at the beginning of our QPEC (and will be submitting our official grant proposal this semester), already we are gathering excellent insights.

8.Spring AFT 1493 elections: continuation of the discussion

Dan and Harriet and Mark (with a little help from Teeka) have stuffed a zillion envelops in preparation of sending out our official call for nominations for candidates for union positions. They went out on Friday, 14 March and are due back to the AFT office by 7 April. The ballots will go out 14 April and will be due back by 5 May. We are running the election using the tried and true paper balloting method.

9.Update on 2.30: Political Activity

Though Board Policy 2.30 went to the Board of Trustees last October, because the students asked the Board to delay discussion of the policy, AFT took a second look at it and discovered that the version of BP 2.30 that our attorney had negotiated with county counsel was in fact not the policy that had come before the District Participatory Governance Committee. Teeka and Bob Bezemek (via phone) met with Barbara Christensen and Harry Joel to discuss our concerns with the new BP 2.30. We had little trouble reaching consensus on the main points. The one thing left to figure out is the students’ desire to be able to use their funds, which are District funds, for political action as well as advocacy (e.g. specifically advocating for or against a candidate or ballot measure), which is not legal. Teeka proposed that the District look into creating a separate pot of money for the students funded by the vending machine sales, money that the students already get but which is lumped into one account. Everyone liked the idea, though Bob said our discussion was like a law school exam and he’d have to look into it. We decided in the end that Bob and county counsel would discuss the possibilities of the vending machine money and the law and get back to us.

10.  DSGC Report

The Academic Senate is revising chapter six of the Board Policies (over which the Senate has purview). One policy they want to change relates to our negotiating of the academic calendar. For some reason, the Senate is confused about how the calendar is negotiated and, despite the presence of the VPI’s staff curriculum experts being involved in the process, Diana Bennett reported that the VPIs want their offices to be involved in the process as well. Teeka and Harry Joel explained at the DPGC meeting that the faculty discussions take place at the AFT meetings, whose meeting agendas are well publicized. The Senate also requested a multi-year calendar. The EC decided we need to do another calendar article in the Advocate, at the least.

11.  Performance Evaluation Task Force update

PETF has been meeting weekly this semester and has made lots of progress. They are now consolidating the document and editing for consistency and clarity. They have removed redundancies throughout the document. They expect to be finished by the beginning of April.

12.  AFT 1493 T-shirt/sweatshirt ideas: a new AFT 1493 logo?

We looked at a few designs that Michelle had mocked up for us. Those present were leaning towards a shield-like design. Michelle will refine the drafts and check back soon.

13.  CFT Lobby Days: April 28-29

CFT Lobby Days are April 28 and 29 this year in Sacramento. Let Dan and Teeka know if you are interested and able to participate.

14.  Statements from EC members on Non-Agenda Items

There were no non-agenda statements made by EC members.