Pima Community College
Education Association
(PCCEA) represents full-time Faculty members at the College. We speak for the Faculty during Meet and Confer - our interest-based negotiation process that addresses the salaries, compensation and working conditions for Faculty - while the Management Team speaks for the College's Board of Governors.  Visit the All Employee Representative Council webpage to review current Meet and Confer topics and submit any issue you need resolved. The outcomes of this work are presented in the Faculty Personnel Policy Statement. These policies govern the requirements and compensation for the full-time Faculty at Pima Community College.
Pima Community College Education Association ● 4905C  East Broadway Boulevard ● Tucson, Arizona 85709

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Recent Announcements

  • Below are the three most recent announcements. For more details, click on the announcement title. For past announcements, click the Announcement link to the left.
  • PCCEA Monthly Report | Nov 2019
    From: Boguszak, Matej <mboguszak@pima.edu>
    Date: Fri, Nov 8, 2019 at 6:24 PM
    Subject: [pccfaculty] November News
    To: PCCFACULTY <pccfaculty@pima.edu>
    Cc: Jeffrey Lanuez <jlanuez@pima.edu>, Dolores Duran-Cerda <dcerda@pima.edu>, Schmidt, Kate <kschmidt@pima.edu>, Ted Roush <troush@pima.edu>, Aubrey Conover <aconover@pima.edu>


    Dear faculty,

    Hope you're enjoying the cooler weather and angled sunlight these days. Have a great extended weekend, as we honor our Veterans for their unparalleled service.

    Below you’ll find a few updates on recent developments.

    Closing Counseling Faculty Positions

    The College is closing all 19 remaining counseling faculty positions next Fall as part of a long reorganization of Student Affairs, as announced by the Provost on October 17. Interested counselors are currently applying for 10 staff counselor positions and 8 new program advisor positions. One instructional faculty position is also being added to manage the STU discipline and its certification requirements broadened to allow for instructors with Education degrees.

    The new model addresses a shortage of advisors and adopts a few recommendations of the summer work group, but it is far from any of the three models the group proposed. Perhaps the most worrisome aspect is that those final 10 counseling positions were reclassified from Faculty to Exempt Staff (non-hourly, salaried positions) despite long-time efforts and repeated objections from counselors and PCCEA. No clear rationale was provided in response to inquiries, and the only plausible explanation, vividly missing from the announcement, is that this will be significantly cheaper for the College in the medium term. Pima will pay future counselors much less as staff, regardless of educational attainment, and max them out $30,000 lower on the salary schedule than equivalent faculty, while having more direct control over their work assignments and being able to work them longer. It should be noted that a new statement of intent was added to the Work Week policy for Staff:

    While the workweek for full-time regular exempt employees is normally considered to be 40 hours, greater emphasis is placed on meeting the responsibilities assigned to the position than on working a specified number of hours. Due to the nature of exempt positions, work beyond the basic workweek may be required to meet legitimate business needs. 

    You get what you pay for. The College will likely not be able to recruit and retain the caliber of caring, smart professional employees it has in counseling right now with less desirable, lower paid staff positions. We would have valued a more honest and transparent approach from the start, such as “The College has painful budget cuts to execute in counseling, as elsewhere, and that is why we’re cheapening positions and outsourcing services, even as we hope to improve what we do for students overall and try to make the best of it, sorry”. Instead, a broad brush was used to paint this development in a rosy color and over the unanswered questions and deep hurt of the counselors, whose recommendations were largely not followed.

    These folks have been through a lot over the past year and are now in an ugly position of competing against each other for jobs with the College. Please support them as you can, and let’s all keep an eye on how well this new model works for students. On behalf of PCCEA, I am so sorry we could not avert this reclassification.

    Closing Instructional Faculty Positions

    Last Friday, the Provost reported in Senate that six instructional faculty positions will be closed for Fall 2020, as expected, based on recommendations from deans and FACT criteria. As a reminder, the cuts are a result of declining enrollment and expenditure limitation laws in AZ, which led the College to adopt a 50:1 FTSE:FTFE ratio as a target for the total number of instructional faculty.

    Two of the six positions were non-vacant, and the individuals losing their jobs have been notified. The disciplines and reasons for identifying them for position cuts have not been announced, and PCCEA has requested that this be done soon to build confidence in the process. We were surprised it was all over before anything was announced and stand ready to assist any individuals or disciplines caught up in these reductions.

    The revised policy on personnel reductions has not yet been posted but has no substantive changes to last year’s selection criteria or requirements for transparency, objective decision-making, and communication. We expect that executive administrators will soon share more information about this year’s process and the rationale for selecting the affected disciplines.

    Employee Handbook

    Most policies are now posted in the new employee handbook. A few topics and a few error corrections are still outstanding. In most areas, the new policies are in good shape, and I'd like to thank all of you who provided input during 21-day comment as well as the faculty, staff, and administration representatives involved in Meet and Confer on this gargantuan project. I am especially grateful to Makyla Hays, Nan Schmidt, Melissa Laliberte Bouey, Ted Roush, and Aubrey Conover for their hard work and pragmatic attitude in making it happen.

    There are a few areas worth highlighting where substantial changes should concern us all.

    Step Progression Plan (SPP)

    A revised SPP for faculty was approved by the Governing Board only two years ago, after extensive work on a more robust annual evaluation plan. The Faculty Salary Schedule, Compensation Policy, and SPP are all part of one interdependent system.

    PCCEA is extremely alarmed that the administration is now attempting to essentially revoke the SPP, with nothing to put in its place. Without a mechanism for moving from one Step to the next, the salary schedule loses its true meaning and becomes highly misleading for current and prospective faculty. In addition, it is fundamentally unfair and dysfunctional to have us stuck on different Steps for years (counting 7 years assuming a Step doesn’t fall from the sky this spring, and the way things look, that could easily turn into 10 years), yet we have been patiently waiting and understanding that the College does not have the expenditure capacity for Steps (well, not for the faculty anyway). But deleting one of the most important, Board-approved personnel policies that sets up a responsible, equitable mechanism for salary progression would be a step too far.

    The reasoning presented is that the upcoming classification & compensation study will help address future pay, so it would be misleading to post the current SPP, especially since the Board is unlikely to approve Steps anytime soon. As demoralizing as that is, getting rid of the whole system for Step Progression is a much more serious matter than a temporary lack of funding for Steps. Meanwhile, some administrators are placed and moved up on their salary schedule with no discernible system at all.

    The no-brainer solution is to make a note of the class & comp study in the SPP, post it, and move on. Before the RFP for the study is finalized, all employees should have input and be part of the process early and often. Once the selected consultant has recommendations for the College, we’ll have a thorough, healthy discussion on faculty compensation in Meet and Confer and look forward to working with the administration to update the SPP at that time.

    PCCEA is actively working with the administration on a temporary resolution, and I still believe we can agree on something reasonable, but this has been a long-standing area of disagreement with no progress.

    Code of Conduct

    The following section was added to our current code of conduct over the summer without a 21-day comment period like other policies and despite objections from the vast majority of the AERC:

    All employees are expected to maintain a certain standard in their communications to each other and the public. Employees are expected to communicate with a high degree of integrity and transparency. Employees are prohibited from lying, misrepresenting, or intentionally omitting information with the intent to mislead and/or to benefit themselves, other employees, employee groups, or non-College individuals or organizations. This standard applies to communication as an employee, in any form, including social media, to any member of the College, community, or the public.

    While we can all agree that lying is bad and even with the general “spirit”, this language is far too broad to consistently and fairly apply, its focus is negative and reactionary, and to me as a layman, it seems inconsistent with basic free speech (on a college campus, no less). It has already been cited to employees as policy after they spoke out in a critical manner, and whether intended or not, it has a chilling effect on individuals considering speaking their mind or questioning the wisdom of administrative decisions. Highlighting how difficult it is to fairly apply this policy, recent emails from the administration, e.g. on the virtues of wearing badges and reclassifying counselors, would appear to violate it for “intentionally omitting” and “misrepresenting” information to bolster a weak argument. But we are not the adjudicators of such terms in a hypothetical grievance and would likely stand to lose.

    In the context of further revisions to the code of conduct, the AERC is discussing alternatives to this clause and should be sending out a revised Code for comment soon. We are attempting to meet the responsible decision makers to discuss freedom of speech and the seriousness of this matter.

    Missing Policies

    A number of key policies are still missing from either the handbook or other official documents, such as faculty hiring, seniority, evaluation, academic freedom, and others. The Provost’s Office has been charged with reviewing and updating them, and PCCEA has had excellent discussions with Kate Schmidt on their progress so far.

    • Academic Freedom will be a new Board Policy and go through the usual comment and adoption process; an inclusive group is working on it.

    • Faculty Hiring sounds promising if it preserves genuine discipline faculty involvement at all stages and enables us to finally move up the timeline so we don’t continue to lose top candidates to other institutions.

    • Faculty Evaluation won’t be changing much for now, and a long-standing working group with truly committed representatives continues to make gradual improvements. PimaOnline has additional quality control elements, and a more formal evaluation for Department Heads and Discipline Coordinators was added this year. The group has discussed how to integrate it with the annual evaluation more closely and minimize the bureaucratic burden on faculty while meeting the evaluation objectives.

    Of concern is that Hiring and Evaluation are currently being kept out of the employee handbook, and it is unclear what kind of input mechanism is being envisioned for them now and going forward. Both are elementally important employment-related policies that were part of the FPPS and should be referred to the AERC for adoption/revision. We will continue to work with the Provost to get this resolved.

    AERC Elections

    The AERC will send out a revised Administrative Procedure for comment this month to bring the College in compliance with HB2750 (see my prior emails). The major change is that

    • 3 of the 4 faculty seats will now be elected by all full-time faculty, instead of appointed by Senate or PCCEA, and any faculty member is eligible to serve.

    • All four faculty representatives will be expected to serve on resolution teams that do the heavy lifting on policy work in the Meet and Confer phase, not just attend the monthly AERC meetings.

    • So far, the administration has verbally committed to 3 load hours of reassigned time per faculty rep per semester to support this work.

    Elections are expected to be held in January. This is a great opportunity for more of us to get involved. If you think the issues PCCEA reports on are of consequence and are interested in making a difference, please think about throwing your hat in the ring, and contact me if you’d like more details. We always need more level-headed problem solvers to help us become a better College.

    Warm regards to you all,

    Matej

    --
    Matej Boguszak
    Mathematics Faculty
    Pima Community College
    http://dtc.pima.edu/~mboguszak


    Final PostScript on Badges

    Speaking for myself only. Despite overwhelming faculty opposition, the chancellor wants us all to wear a badge in a floppy plastic sheath everywhere, and he has the management rights to make it so. In his email on October 8, he restated old claims of improved safety (in Senate, the police chief could not articulate a measurable security benefit on a public campus) and customer service (which we can get behind enthusiastically, but there are better solutions such as metal name tags some would find less objectionable and whose appearance would actually be harder to fake than a wrapped plastic card).

    It is sad that unspecified threats to our safety are being used to justify this policy, and valuable resources like supervisor time are diverted to implementing it instead of focused on improving actual service to students. I am proud to be a Pima employee, but I am ashamed of the new look and feel being presented to them.

    Posted Nov 11, 2019, 5:00 PM by Ana Jiménez
  • PCCEA Monthly Report | Oct. 2019
    From: Boguszak, Matej <mboguszak@pima.edu>
    Date: Fri, Oct 4, 2019 at 1:57 PM
    Subject: [pccfaculty] PCCEA monthly report
    To: PCCFACULTY <pccfaculty@pima.edu>
    Cc: Jeffrey Lanuez <jlanuez@pima.edu>, Dolores Duran-Cerda <dcerda@pima.edu>, Schmidt, Kate <kschmidt@pima.edu>


    Dear colleagues,

    Wishing you a happy month of October! If you're free this afternoon, please join us for minutes or hours at the New Faculty Reception & Old Faculty Social from 4-7. See below for more information.

    Meanwhile, here are some of the items I am updating Faculty Senate on today. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.
    • The AERC has resumed resumed policy work to finish the new Employee Handbook. This morning we discussed policies on conflict of interest, grievances, and code of conduct, and they should be coming out for 21-day comment again this month.
    • As I reported in September, the College did agree to maintain some reassigned time for faculty involved in this work. Please, if you are even a little interested, contact me for more info or a chat. We need more help this semester, and it would be especially nice if you'd consider joining us in the spring. Now is a good time to think about that as you're planning your class schedule. The seats on the AERC will be up for election in December/January, so please consider serving or asking a colleague you think might be interested in the opportunity. Let me know if you have any questions.
    • PCCEA met informally with Human Resources (HR) this week and will resume regular meetings. We talked a bit about the upcoming classification & compensation study, and HR assured us that there is no agenda to save money but rather to improve competitiveness. IT is a perennial example of an area struggling to recruit and retain talent due to relatively low wages. HR is aware that this will potentially mess with every single employee's salary and will carefully scrutinize any potential consultant to make sure they have the experience, expertise, and credibility to take on such a big job. PCCEA recommended sharing information, providing timelines, and seeking employee input early and often. We will be watching this endeavor very closely with an eye toward fairness and pay equity.
    • PCCEA also met with the Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) and Legal Department overseeing them to try to clarify and resolve a number of complaints that have arisen last year. ODR plays a critical role at the College in helping investigate and adjudicate complaints and grievances, so it is vital that employees have confidence in the work they do. I will be sharing further details in another communication but would encourage everyone with workplace concerns or policy disputes to (1) attempt to resolve them informally, (2) if unsuccessful, request assistance from ODR, and (3) if they feel that the process was unfair or biased or had other issues, contact PCCEA, the Legal Department, or HR.
    • The counselors have finalized their recommendations for a new counseling & advising model and provided a final round of feedback on preliminary proposals from the administration. A decision is scheduled to be delivered next week. At Wednesday's Board meeting, as in prior discussions, the Dean of Students alluded to a need to "move to staff positions" without giving a reason. There is a clear need for 12-month coverage and increasing the number of advisor-type positions, but that doesn't necessitate reclassifying whatever few counselors do remain as Staff, especially in light of extensive bench marking that showed colleges with some of the most successful student support models do utilize counseling Faculty. The only reason for the Staff reclassification PCCEA can discern is to save significant amounts on money on the backs of counselors over the coming years and have much tighter control over their working conditions. It makes me extremely concerned that we would be cutting additional faculty positions at Pima and more importantly cheapening our counseling services at such a critical time. It would also set an ominous precedent, and folks are obviously asking which group is next. Librarians? Developmental Education or CTE faculty? This kind of race to the bottom would be completely antithetical to our mission, and PCCEA implores the administration not to reclassify our counselors as Staff or to be forthright about the reasons for doing so. I am confident we can come up with a better model that will better serve our students and won't result in us losing current and future counselors.
    Have a great weekend, everybody!

    Matej

    --
    Matej Boguszak
    Mathematics Faculty
    Pima Community College


    New Faculty Reception & Old Faculty Social
    WhenFriday, October 4, 4pm – 7pm
    WhereLa Cocina | Downtown Tucson Restaurant - Bar - Live Music, 201 N Court Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA (map)
    Find us in the Dusty Monk bar room on the SE corner or outside on the patio next to it.
    DescriptionPlease join us at La Cocina in a couple of weeks to welcome our new faculty, say hello to old friends, and enjoy some refreshments and good company! It's a great chance to get to know your colleagues outside of work. You never know what you're going to learn. Hope to see many of you there! I'll send another reminder.

    Posted Oct 4, 2019, 2:36 PM by Ana Jiménez
  • Updates Email 9/10/2019
    From: Boguszak, Matej <mboguszak@pima.edu>
    Date: Tue, Sep 10, 2019 at 4:53 PM
    Subject: [pccfaculty] A few updates
    To: PCCFACULTY <pccfaculty@pima.edu>
    Cc: Jeffrey Lanuez <jlanuez@pima.edu>, Dolores Duran-Cerda <dcerda@pima.edu>, Schmidt, Kate <kschmidt@pima.edu>, Ted Roush <troush@pima.edu>

    Greetings faculty,

    Hope your semester is off to a great start a couple of weeks in. I know you get plenty of unwanted email but thought it was important to share a few updates. Maybe just pick your favorites to read.

    New Personnel Policies. Parts of the new Employee Handbook are now posted and in effect. Some folks have a penchant for "building the plane while flying it", so this work of love is still incomplete. For any topics that are not addressed, please refer to the old FPPS and Common Policy, and feel free to contact me or a PCCEA rep in case of any questions. A few unintended errors have been identified in the handbook already, and we are working with the administration to get those fixed.

    You can find all public comment from last Spring, with administrative responses, on the intranet home page. Significant discussion and often revision took place after each comment period, and some of our concerns were addressed. Once more policies are posted, errors fixed, and the dust settles a bit more, we will provide updated summaries of all policy changes with :) or :| or :(. Most policies are in good shape, but there are a few upsetting changes we'll either have to live with or demand further action on.

    Policy work will continue through the AERC this year. If you are even a little interested in working conditions, fairness, problem solving, and writing good rules, please consider contacting me to find out more!

    Salaries. The updated salary schedules are posted and reflect the Board-approved 1.5% permanent COLA. Accordingly, the overload rate increased from $820 to $832 per load hour and the supplemental rate should have increased from $31 to $32 per clock hour (we are getting clarification on the latter). PCCEA also repeatedly advocated for fixing the leapfrogging problem, and we sincerely appreciate Human Resources and Finance for hearing our concerns and taking them seriously. As the Provost announced in an email on June 19, all faculty on Steps 1-5 will now have their years of work experience re-evaluated annually. As a result, some of you have already seen a Step increase in your current contract, and all of you can count on slowly moving up to Step 6 according to the long-established placement protocol.

    Of course, that is little consolation for all remaining faculty who haven't gotten a Step since 2014. While plenty of administrators and other staff members have been able to secure raises since then through various mechanisms (e.g., apply for a higher position, have their position reclassified or even a new one created, receive multiple Steps at once for a reportedly greater work load, or have the Board approve an increase for the chancellor on the order of $35k), the faculty have no analogous means of salary advancement if they wish to stay on as faculty (except bite-size increases earned through lots more graduate credits, if they don't hold a doctorate already).

    To add to our predicament, there appears to be great resistance in upholding our Step Progression Plan and posting it as part of the new handbook, even though it was just revised and approved by the Board in 2017. Without it, the salary schedule is meaningless and misleading to both current and prospective faculty, as there is no way to move from one Step to the next. Having different faculty stuck on different Steps of the salary schedule for years is unsustainable and highly inequitable. For what it's worth, addressing the lack of Step progression will be one of PCCEA's top priorities this year.

    The College plans to hire a consultant to conduct a comprehensive classification and compensation study over the next year or so to address all kinds of legitimate salary and competitiveness issues. The faculty will be included in the study for the first time, and unfortunately the track record of past consultants is a mixed bag at best. Please know that PCCEA will be watching this very closely and continue our advocacy for fair and equitable faculty compensation.

    FACT. A lot of work has gone into revising and improving the rubric for allocating faculty positions over the summer. Your deans should have shared enrollment numbers and other data for your discipline with you. Please give them feedback, question odd data, and point out any considerations they might have missed, since they will be the ones pitching for your discipline when the ugly deliberations as to where to cut take place later this month and in October.

    I personally heard from several disciplines whose classes are full this fall, they'd love to add more sections to the schedule, but they can't because there is no one to teach them. Not sure how widespread this problem is, but it is not small nor isolated. As the schedule of offerings kept shrinking due to decreasing enrollment, 
    pressure from above to cancel early and not run sections with "low" numbers of students, as well as various rigid Pathways and block scheduling parameters,
    we first lost some long-time, experienced adjunct faculty due to a lack of classes for them, and then we lost a large number of full-timers who retired and weren't replaced. It now appears that several disciplines have a real instructor shortage, full-time or adjunct or both. The department heads have an especially clear picture of the situation, and I urge them to make their deans, VPs, and anybody who will listen aware.

    Hiring and firing faculty should not be done based on data that lags by 3 years, a score on a spreadsheet that only captures partial information, or a 50:1 FTSE:FTFE ratio that is set in stone. I'm all about using data and making rational decisions based on reasonable targets, but there has to be enough flexibility to allow us not to keep shooting ourselves in the foot. I fear we're in a downward spiral where lower enrollment leads to fewer faculty leads to fewer programs and class offerings at the time and place students want leads to lower enrollment leads to... you get it. 

    If the FACT data clearly shows that discipline x can make do without one instructor or program y no longer serves our students well, then by all means we have some hard decisions to make. But when discipline z say it needs an extra instructor to grow or even just keep up and is told to eliminate one instead because there is a target of cutting 6 positions College-wide, that's when we have to abandon hard targets and start questioning what other barriers to enrollment we could remove and where else we might be able to save money that does not jeopardize our core mission. I could think of some places...

    Counseling and Faculty Advising. While Educational Support Faculty (counselors and librarians) have not been included in the FACT process, we have lost a large number of them over the last few years through attrition, and they face challenges of their own.

    Over the summer, a group of counselors worked relentlessly to research and recommend three possible models for counseling and advising here at Pima. Crucially, consistent with best practices, all three models retain counseling faculty as a vital part of student services, rather than reclassifying a large number of them as staff advisors. The Provost (+2Ps) is reviewing the recommendations and will be providing an update on September 20.

    Meanwhile, Instructional Faculty are being asked to start documenting their 29 hours per year of advising. Please note that this is not a new policy, but it is now being enforced with renewed rigor to help support student success. Mandated initiatives such as Early Alert count toward the 29 hour requirement, and each division and faculty member should have some leeway in determining what is most meaningful and beneficial to their students. I am excited that collectively we should be able to make a real difference.

    HB 2750 and Employee Representation. You probably heard that State law was amended this summer to prohibit special benefits and compensation for employee representative organizations like PCCEA. Somebody in the legislature must be paying very close attention to the ins and outs of community college politics to have come up with such targeted language.

    After a rocky start in July when it looked like the Administration was going to take the most draconian approach, kick ACES, AFSCME, and PCCEA off all committees, and eliminate reassigned time for faculty involved in the work we do, I am pleased to say that much progress has been made during subsequent meetings in identifying practical ways to comply with the law while continuing to honor employee representation at Pima, as envisioned in BP 1.25. This month, the AERC is set to propose revised administrative procedures that:

    • reserve only one seat for each employee representative group on the AERC and on Meet and Confer;
    • conduct an election for the remaining seats, which can be filled by any employee regardless of membership;
    • continue a reasonable minimum level of institutional support for Meet and Confer, including reassigned time for faculty engaging in the process (so contact me if interested!).

    I could go on but will spare you. You have more important things to do. Feel free to reach out if you have any pay or policy questions/disputes. PCCEA is here to help.

    Thank you for all you do!

    Matej

    --
    Matej Boguszak
    Mathematics Faculty
    Pima Community College
    Posted Sep 11, 2019, 11:04 AM by Ana Jiménez
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