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Updates Email 9/10/2019

posted Sep 11, 2019, 11:04 AM by Ana Jiménez
From: Boguszak, Matej <>
Date: Tue, Sep 10, 2019 at 4:53 PM
Subject: [pccfaculty] A few updates
Cc: Jeffrey Lanuez <>, Dolores Duran-Cerda <>, Schmidt, Kate <>, Ted Roush <>

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 Boguszak
Mathematics Faculty
Pima Community College