Your union has set up a simple yet important survey, to ask for your opinion on the possible move to a 16-week instructional semester (which could begin as early as 2017–18). The survey link has been sent to you by email. These survey results (plus the feedback obtained already from the calendar forums) will be provided to the union’s negotiations team. While we are asking for input from all faculty, know that only active union members (both full-time and part-time) shall have the opportunity to vote on any agreement that is reached.

Please read all of the information carefully. There are a lot of things to consider, and the list below attempts to present the facts about what is required by the State, what is in our contract, and what is being considered locally. Importantly, this list also captures some emerging faculty concerns.

 

General Information (State Requirements, etc.).

  • The CSU system will be transitioning to a 16-week semester, in order to better align with the community colleges.
  • A calendar without a Winter session is being considered for our District:  two 16-week semesters and our summer session(s).
  • A professional development (PD) day, according to the State, includes both in-service (required to be on campus) and Flex (lots of options to fulfill the time).
  • The State requires that we have a minimum of 160 instructional days and STRS requires a minimum of 175 work days (work days = instructional days + PD days).
  • Following these guidelines would mean a 16-week semester x 5 days per week = 80 days x 2 semesters = 160 instructional days.
  • If we have 160 instructional days, then we must have 15 PD days per year: 160 + 15 = 175. We already have 3 in-service + 4 Flex = 7 total, so we would need to add 4 PD days per semester x 2 semesters = 8 + 7 = 15 PD total.
  • Our current instructional contract is 177 days, but STRS only requires 175.
  • Changes to the instructional calendar must be negotiated by the faculty union, which is expected to begin during March.
  • The union negotiates with the District (and active members vote) on how many PD days there are, and how many of them are Flex vs. in-service.
  • If the new calendar is approved by the membership, then the calendar committee decides where those negotiated & approved PD days are positioned within the calendar (e.g., before/after the semester, in the middle of the semester, etc.).
  • According to our contract, part-time faculty are paid by course (not by actual hours). Currently the pay for a 3-unit course is based on 51 hours (which is the middle of the range (48 – 54 instructional hours) required by the state). We must ensure that part-time pay does not decrease, even though adjunct faculty will be working fewer days with a 16-week semester.

 

Faculty Input Thus Far.

  • Discussions with non-instructional faculty reveal that without a Winter session, there doesn’t appear to be a negative impact on their workload.
  • Non-instructional full-time faculty have raised concerns that their contract days (mostly 200 and 221 days per year) could be reduced. We must ensure that non-instructional faculty do not see a decrease in pay.
  • There are some faculty who are fiercely opposed to switching from an 18-week semester. Comments here include 16 weeks being too short for our students to learn the content, and that current time blocks (instructional minutes) and 18 weeks align well with some courses.
  • Many faculty seem to be leaning in favor of a 16-week semester; however, there are overwhelming concerns about being able to own our PD days (e.g., not being required to be on campus to attend irrelevant meetings for the additional PD days).
  • Many faculty are concerned about losing instructional minutes (i.e., some faculty do not want to drop near the low range of instructional hours).
  • Faculty are interested in being able to count as PD the faculty work that we already do (such as curriculum, SLO discussions, program review, etc.).
  • Some faculty are in favor of maybe adding 1 more in-service day per semester, perhaps as a “grading day” where faculty have dept/division meetings, work on curriculum, discuss SLOs, etc. Or to be used as a time that we complete mandated safety training, etc.
  • Faculty are generally disappointed in and frustrated with how our current in-service days are handled, and express serious concerns that the District will take our additional PD days for their use. One idea has been to limit the hours the District gets to own with an in-service day.
  • Some faculty do not like the current and/or proposed placement of PD days (e.g., middle of the semester, finals week, etc.).
  • Perhaps negotiating the instructional contract down to 175 could be considered (with no reduction in pay to any instructional or non-instructional faculty).
  • One argument is that the work associated with our classes is the same, whether the semester is 18 weeks, 16 weeks, or summer school. That workload doesn’t change, only it takes more hours in the day if the term is shorter. This is probably the biggest selling point to negotiating down to a 175-day contract.
  • Another consideration may be to add some (paid) PD days for PT faculty, if there’s going to be more of it required for FT faculty. This could provide an opportunity to engage our PT faculty in department and pedagogical discussions.

Check your campus email for the survey link. We are asking for responses ASAP, preferably by Wed., March 16.