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October PCCEA Update to Faculty

posted Oct 7, 2018, 6:35 PM by Ana Jiménez
From: Boguszak, Matej <>
Date: Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 5:21 PM
Subject: PCCEA Update

Dear colleagues,

I wanted to share a few updates on select topics that PCCEA discussed with administration in recently.

Faculty Reduction-in-Force (RIF)

It turns my stomach to type this, but October is the month when executive college leadership will most likely make the decision to reduce at least some non-vacant instructional faculty positions, meaning that some of our colleagues' contracts will not be renewed. Declining enrollment was not brought about by the faculty and should have been addressed with more urgency. Now we, as all employees, are faced with the dim consequences. PCCEA met with David Bea, Executive VC of Finance, last Friday to discuss the budget reduction alternatives, both in the general fund and within instructional funds specifically. The Finance office provided additional data on supervision lines and funding levels and will be making available a list of institutions bench-marked to arrive at the 50:1 FTSE:Full-time faculty ratio target used to justify the reductions.

Meanwhile, the Deans have been meeting to discuss enrollment data, program viability, and other unique factors within their disciplines to inform the Faculty Allocation Criteria developed previously (you may remember the August survey). They will present their recommendations to the Provost and Presidents this Monday, October 8, who will then make decisions for both need-based hiring and reductions over the coming week or so. Any faculty affected by this RIF will be confidentially notified before the end of October, so that they may still have time to apply for jobs in the academic hiring cycle for 2019/20. HR will conduct training on how to appropriately notify affected employees, and compensation package options for them are under consideration. PCCEA stands ready to help any affected faculty in working through their difficult situation and analyzing any data used to justify their selection; please don't hesitate to reach out to us!

We are meeting with the Provost and Presidents this Wednesday, October 10, to ensure the entire process is transparent, any decision to cut faculty positions is in fact based on instructional need, all other viable alternatives to reduce expenditures have been exhausted, and policy is being followed. In our previous meeting with the Chancellor and administrative leadership on September 18, PCCEA emphasized that enrollment must be our first priority, so it would be detrimental to cut faculty positions that are needed to support course and relevant program offerings.

Finally, note that Educational Support Faculty (counselors and librarians) already lost a large number of positions through attrition and are not being considered for non-vacant position reductions this year. Of the roughly 23 instructional faculty positions targeted for reduction, some will certainly be vacant or soon-to-be-vacated through retirements, and I am still hopeful that we can further lower the number a bit by identifying alternative expenditure reductions. Certainly wish I had better news, though.

Mandatory Training

In part to limit the College's exposure to liability and help the Chancellor accomplish his goals, HR has asked employees to complete a long list of mandatory training modules. PCCEA has repeatedly pointed out multiple issues with the request and was able to get some clarification from Jeffrey Lanuez, Executive Director of HR.
HR is working on a clarifying message, to be sent to all employees any day now reportedly, in order to extend the timeline, prioritize the different types of training, offer additional options and flexibility to adjunct faculty, and provide an estimate of how long each component is expected to take. They have come up with a workaround for finding out who has taken which training already, but a permanent solution is being researched with IT and the software vendor. Employees will not be expected to retake training they have already completed.

Employee Policy Rewrite

Traaen and Associates, the HR consultant retained to help rewrite our employee policy statements (including the FPPS), returned a first draft to the administration over the summer, but it was said to be more of a cut-and-paste job than a rewrite. Administration felt that in-house expertise was needed to rewrite many policy sections returned. Different administrative offices have been tasked with further editing these policies under the guidance of Traaen.

PCCEA expressed concern that Administration rather than Traaen is now rewriting the policy and asked that employee representative groups be involved early and often on anything substantial. We also noted that this project should not take precedence over other critical work the College is undertaking. It was agreed that although step-by-step procedures may not be something included in the final employee policy book, those procedures absolutely needed to be housed somewhere that would be easily referenced as people use these procedures on a regular basis.

    The AERC and employee representative groups are to receive the first sections of policy for review later this month in order to help shape the first public draft. There is hope that all employees will have some input into the proposed changes by the end of the semester.

      Proposed Future Required Use of D2L

        During our last meeting with the Chancellor and administrative leadership, PCCEA requested that additional discussions be held before requiring all faculty to use the D2L gradebook and inquired about the College's goals in this regard. The Provost may pull together a group of faculty to identify the best way to accomplish these goals, which include being able to have all students have access to grades online, data collection through eLumen, and separation of CLO performance by student for data reporting purposes. We emphasized the importance of faculty being given maximum reasonable flexibility in accomplishing these goals and not necessarily requiring them to use a tool that is far from ideal for everyone.

        All Faculty Meeting

        PCCEA will host an open All Faculty Meeting two weeks from now on Friday, October 19, 10 - 12, at the Downtown Campus Amethyst room to provide further updates and answer any of your concerns and questions. It is likely that the Provost will also host a faculty forum that afternoon from 1:30 - 3 in order to discuss additional information related to the RIF; her office will send a message.

        These are sad and difficult times for our beloved Pima. Thank you for all you do to make it the life-changing College that it is for our students. I hope we can keep a level head, stay focused on what matters most, and get through this together. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

        All the best,

        PCCEA President

        Matej Boguszak
        Mathematics Faculty
        Pima Community College