Thursday, May 17, 2018

DCCFA Attorney Advises Faculty that They Can Sign Their Contracts

As detailed in the Advance Blog post of Monday, May 14, the DCCFA Faculty Council asked long-time DCCFA legal representative Frank Hill to review the revised language recently introduced to the DCCCD faculty contract.

The Council is pleased to report that Mr. Hill has reviewed the language, and late Wednesday, May 16, told us he has no concerns with the language, and that we need not worry about signing our contracts. Specifically, Mr. Hill said it is most important and significant that the revised contract language does not diminish our rights to due process.

The Council looks forward to engaging and productive dialogue with the new Chief Human Resources Officer, and other senior District Officials, to ensure that future contract and policy language revisions are the result of robust stakeholder input in keeping with the principles of shared governance.

Again, based on consultation with our legal defense attorney, the Council believes all faculty safely can sign their contracts if they have not already done so.

As a reminder, the Council secured an extended deadline of May 31 for faculty to sign their contracts, and the college HR offices have been directed to allow faculty to sign and return their contract electronically, or via mail or fax, if they are unable to do so in person.

If you have additional questions, please contact your college faculty association president.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Message from the DCCFA Faculty Council Regarding Faculty Contracts

Several faculty at several colleges have raised concerns both with the delayed timing, and some changes to the language, of our faculty contracts. Both issues are connected, and this message is intended to explain the situation as well as how the Faculty Council is addressing it.

First, the outgoing Chief Talent Officer, who is retiring August 31, presided over some changes in the faculty contract language. A copy of the recent template for faculty contracts is available at this link. Her efforts to change the language began recently and, given the extensive alterations and need for detailed review by District legal personnel, explain why the contracts were delayed.

Second, and of more concern, the outgoing Chief Talent Officer did not consult with stakeholders – including and most especially faculty, the Faculty Council, or the DCCFA President – before making these changes.

Third, the District HR Council discussed a communication strategy regarding the delay and timeline for making contracts available to sign, and decided that each college HR office would handle it on their own. This process is emblematic of the structural problem with human resources operations in the DCCCD. Specifically, each individual location/college is empowered to communicate HR policies in its own way, which invariably leads to confusion, inequity, questions, concerns, and wasted time. (Incidentally, equity and consistency are the reasons why the Faculty Council speaks with one voice through the DCCFA Advance Blog.)

The Faculty Council learned Wednesday, May 9, that contracts were delayed but were coming soon and would be available for faculty to sign at their colleges (but did not have any advance notice of the changes in the contract language), and that a message would be sent to faculty from their location HR office to that effect. Between Thursday, May 10, and Friday, May 11, some college HR offices sent messages to their faculty that their contracts were ready. Some colleges, on the other hand, still have not received such messages as of today, Monday, May 14. Of the messages that were sent, some had varying dates, and one message had no information other than a subject line indicating that contracts were available. Further, the HR Council deliberately decided to exclude the use of MyPortal. The Faculty Council believes this was a poor decision as it shut off a uniform and frequently accessed powerful communications channel.

DCCFA President Bill Hammerschlag received a copy of the amended contract language on Friday morning, May 11. He immediately asked members of the Council to review it with him, and provide comments. Council members – some of whom were grading, some of whom were preparing for graduation, and some of whom were traveling – did their best to review the language, and sent their questions and concerns to Bill. Based on the number of questions, the Council on Saturday, May 12, passed a motion authorizing Bill to have DCCFA legal representative Frank Hill review the contract language. Bill has now done that as of today, Monday, May 14, and is awaiting a reply. In addition, the Council has contacted District leadership. They share our concerns and we will work with them toward both short- and long-term resolutions.

In the meantime, understanding that the spring semester has ended and some faculty are already traveling, we have secured an agreement to extend the contract deadline through May 31. Options are being provided for those who cannot personally visit a college HR office before then. Because we do not yet have an opinion from our attorney, the Council is officially neutral with advice on whether or not individual faculty should sign their contracts. 

Rather, our official position right now is, “Be cool” and “Don’t panic.” This is not an emergency. It is the latest in a long line of HR issues that we are confident we will begin to resolve thanks to the new Chief Human Resources Officer, who has said she wants Faculty Council input into all HR issues that affect faculty.

This is an evolving issue that the Faculty Council continues to monitor during the transition to the new Council on June 1. Your Council operates under several long-standing DCCFA principles, including that “we are the voice of reason.” We don’t act hastily or impulsively. We think a problem through and try to solve those problems logically, rationally, and cooperatively. It has served us well for 41 years, and is why District leadership, including the chancellor, respects the Council and the DCCFA.

Meanwhile, if you have specific questions about this or other issues, you may address them to your current Faculty Association president: Bill Hammerschlag, Shaun Gilligan, Pam Crawford, Matt Hinckley, Margo Silva, Brett Dyer, or Matt Henry.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Student Progress Reporting Update

On May 1, the DCCCD Board of Trustees passed revisions to Policy EGA (LOCAL), which among other things establishes that the District "shall provide periodic course reporting" on student performance and that such progress reporting "shall be conducted in accordance with administrative regulations promulgated by the Chancellor."

The Faculty Council believes that the general policy language adopted by the Board is not overly problematic or prescriptive, and it has been working with district administration this semester to determine the specifics of the regulations for Student Progress Reporting (SPR).

Earlier this semester, informed by the information gathered from the faculty survey on SPR, the Faculty Council recommended that there be just one reporting interval and that the reporting be done between 25% and 50% of the term for all college courses (excluding Winter and May terms). The Vice Presidents Council separately recommended two reporting intervals, with reporting to be done at the 33% and 66% marks.

In recent negotiations with Executive Vice Chancellor Justin Lonon, the Faculty Council pointed out that reporting at 66% would not be helpful to students, given that the drop deadline is set at the 75% mark. We therefore reiterated the belief that our initial recommendation for SPR is best. However, in an effort to achieve compromise, but still with a focus on doing what we believe is pedagogically sound and will be most beneficial to our students, we offered the following alternative recommendations:
  • For 13-16 week courses: 2 reports. First report at 30-35%; Second report at 55-60%
  • For 6-12 week courses: 1 report at 35-50%
  • For 1-5 week courses: No reports
The Council also continued to insist that 2018-2019 be a prototype year, in which students and faculty will be surveyed on their use of the progress reporting system, and that results be shared monthly with stakeholders to inform subsequent systemic improvements. The Council believes strongly that progress reporting is of limited value if it is not directly tied into an intrusive, proactive early alert and intervention system that can help students get the help they need, regardless of whether it is purely academic or is tied to economic and social issues like food, transportation, or housing insecurity.

Faculty should know that Chancellor May, and/or Executive Vice Chancellor Justin Lonon, will make the final determination about SPR, and that they may well decide that two progress reports must be issued each term. The Faculty Council is continuing to work diligently with them, and with other stakeholders, to ensure that progress reporting is helpful to students and promotes their academic success. To that end, the Faculty Council has recommended names of faculty to serve on the “Student Progress Reporting Implementation Team,” to be led by El Centro College VP of Instruction Greg Morris. The Implementation Team will work this summer to build the SPR system. Shaun Gilligan, CVCFA president, will be the Council liaison to the Implementation Team.

As soon as anything more specific about the plans for SPR is known, we will provide an update.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Four DCCFA College Chapters Elect New Presidents; New Faculty Council to Take Office June 1

Every two years, each DCCFA College Chapter elects its officers, including presidents. Cedar Valley, El Centro, and North Lake elect their officers in odd numbered years. Brookhaven, Eastfield, Mountain View, and Richland elect their officers in even-numbered years.

The official transition happens on June 1 of each year. Elections of DCCFA Officers and Standing Committee Chairs typically takes place immediately prior to the June DCCCD Board of Trustees meeting. That transition meeting and officer election will take place this year on Tuesday, June 5.

The Brookhaven College Faculty Association has elected Scott Sires to succeed Bill Hammershlag as BHCFA president.

The Eastfield College Faculty Association has elected Stacey Jurhree to succeed Matt Hinckley as EFCFA president.

The Mountain View College Faculty Association has elected Ryan Pettengill to succeed Margo Silva as MVCFA president.

The Richland College Faculty Association has elected Carlos Martinez to succeed Matt Henry as RLCFA president.

Continuing their service on the DCCFA Faculty Council are Shaun Gilligan from Cedar Valley, Pam Crawford from El Centro, and Brett Dyer from North Lake.

2018 BOARD OF TRUSTEES ELECTION UPDATE #7: Charletta Compton Re-Elected as District 7 Trustee

Incumbent DCCCD District 7 Trustee Charletta Rogers Compton was re-elected to office in the May 5 election.

Compton was elected to her fourth six-year term. She previously was elected to the seat in 2000, 2006, and 2012.

Compton defeated challenger Micheal Jackson by a 58-42 margin. Compton earned 3,461 votes. Jackson earned 2.544 votes. Vote totals by precinct are available at the Dallas County Elections Department web site.

The Board of Trustees is expected to elect its chair and vice chair at the June 5 regular meeting. It is unclear at this time if Compton will be re-elected by the Board as chair.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Faculty Survey on LMS Usage

As noted in this previous blog post, the Faculty Council is leading an effort to engage faculty in assessing our current LMS (Blackboard) and deciding which product the DCCCD should adopt as the official LMS (which could be Blackboard and or an LMS from another vendor).

As a first step in this effort, the Faculty Council has developed a comprehensive survey of faculty usage of LMS systems. This will help us assess what functionalities and features faculty now use or don't use, what they like and do not like about the current LMS, and what elements they consider to be important elements or would prefer to have in a future LMS.

Please set aside adequate time to complete they survey in one sitting. It is comprehensive, and it should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Please click this link to access the survey: http://webteched.com/LMSSurvey/LMSSurvey.aspx

Your participation with this effort is greatly appreciated. To gather information from as many faculty as possible, the survey will remain open and available until May 4, 2018.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Your Climate Survey Responses Pay Off; Return Week Meetings Modified Based on Faculty Input


The DCCFA Faculty Council takes seriously the input and suggestions received from all members.

One of the most recurring themes from direct input, as well as from answers to questions on the biennial faculty climate survey, is that Return Week leaves faculty feeling worn out rather than invigorated for the new academic year.

While it is extremely unlikely that the District will stop conducting Conference Day during Return Week, we do have some good news to bring to faculty. The annual Wednesday “curriculum workshop” that in recent years had convened at Richland College, for all program coordinators, lead faculty, and deans to attend, has been canceled. Indeed, faculty across the District have told the Council personally, and through the climate survey, that they thought the information presented at the "curriculum workshop" could be shared with faculty both more broadly and in a way that wouldn't require travel to another DCCCD college or location on a second day during Return Week.

Instead, the CTE and general education curriculum meetings will be conducted during the afternoon breakout sessions at the annual District Conference Day on Friday, August 24. Separate sessions tailored for new faculty, and for seasoned faculty, will be offered. In addition, discipline and program committees will be invited to schedule lunch meetings during District Conference Day, for which tables will be reserved and for which faculty may register during the Conference Day registration process.

While the faculty council still will continue pushing for Conference Day to be scheduled on Monday rather than Friday - if it must be scheduled during Return Week at all - we still believe that condensing the curriculum workshop into Conference Day is a much more efficient and effective use of faculty time.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

2018 BOARD OF TRUSTEES ELECTION UPDATE #6: Candidate Charletta Compton Answers DCCFA Questionnaire

Note: The DCCFA Political Information Committee sent questionnaires to both candidates for the District 7 seat on the DCCCD Board of Trustees. What follows are the answers from incumbent Charletta Compton. Answers from challenger Micheal Jackson will be published when they are received.

1. Please provide a brief biography that explains your educational and professional background.

Ms. Charletta Compton, a life-long Dallasite, has two daughters and three granddaughters. She holds a BBA from Dallas Baptist University and is a Certified Contract Compliance Administrator. She is the owner of a small consulting business Rogers & Associates Creative Productions specializing in community and public affairs, and disadvantaged business development. She has been a resident of the Kimball Estates neighborhood for 31 years.

Ms. Compton was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Dallas County Community College District in 2000 representing District 7 that covers southwest through southeast Dallas County. She is currently serving her third term. She is currently Chairman of the board. She is also a member of the Association of Community College Trustees located in Washington, D.C. She was previously employed by Dallas County Adult Basic Education teaching GED and ESL classes. . Ms. Compton has extensive experience working with small, minority and woman owned businesses. She worked for the Dallas County Community College District eight (8) years to managing their Diversity Business Program and was responsible for guiding the college district through a $75 million bond program with total minority participation of over 40 percent. She also worked for the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce for a number of years and headed their Convention and Tourism Department.

She recently received the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Excellence in Education Award. She is a past board member of the North Central Texas Regional Certification Agency and served two terms as chairman. She is a past president of the Dallas County Heritage Society Board of Directors and in 1996 received their prestigious "Heritage Award". Ms. Compton was selected as one of the "Women Who Mean Business 2000" by Minority Business News D/FW Edition and in 1997 she received a “Helping Hands" Award presented by D/FW Minority Business Development Council & Minority Business News.

Over the years, Ms. Compton has developed a wealth of expertise in the area of minority business development and has an extensive network of working relationships with our key stakeholders in the Dallas community. She has worked with the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, D/FW Minority Business Development Council, Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Business Council and Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau in various volunteer capacities.

Ms. Compton’s experience through the years also includes service on the Intel Corporation Management Review Committee for their Business to Business Information System Project; the Dallas Together Forum Private Sector Covenant for Workplace Diversity and Minority Economic Opportunity; the Board of Directors of Arts District Friends, Partnership for Art, Culture & Education and Young Audiences of Dallas Advisory Board. She is a past member of the Dallas County Historical Commission, Martin Luther King, Jr. Center Advisory Board, Shakespeare Festival of Dallas Board of Directors and Black Dallas Remembered, Inc. Board of Directors.

2. What is the role of the elected Board of Trustees from your perspective? How does that role relate to your individual input as an elected trustee? How would you describe the efforts that will be necessary to be effective in your role – and what has prepared you to be successful in that role?

To represent the viewpoints of the citizens of Dallas, assure fiscal responsibility with tax dollars, and as part of the governing board of an institution of higher education provide policy direction for the institution under its management and control providing access to a quality education at affordable prices. I have been prepared for this role by life experiences that have taught me the value of education to my quality of life, and being a concerned tax payer.

3. What is the role of the DCCCD in the educational marketplace in Dallas County? What is your agenda to continue to improve the quality and availability of educational programs to the citizens of Dallas County?

The DCCCD’s role in the marketplace is to offer degrees and training programs that meet the workforce demands of the future. I plan to continue to support forward thinking ideas, fairness and equity. To advocate for quality programming and pathways that remove barriers for those citizens wanting to improve their quality of life through education and assuring affordability.

4. On behalf of what issues and concerns of greatest interest to residents in southern Dallas County generally, and District 7 specifically, do you believe you can most effectively advocate? How will you advocate for those issues?

Southern Dallas has the most at-risk individuals in Dallas County. Issues that are of concern are to instill an understanding of the value of education to shaping lives. Focus on removing barriers and finding ways for citizens to finance going to school. I have lived in the Southern sector all my life and I understand the challenges people cope with each day. My background gives me a unique perspective and as a member of the Board of Trustees a platform for being a strong advocate.

5. If elected, how will you advocate for DCCCD students, employees, and colleges, in your dealings with business, the community, other public servants, and voters? Are you the type that works at 40,000 feet - or do you look more at where we spend $40,000?

I will continue to spread the word about what doors can open for you with an education. I will also continue to fight for and promote equal opportunity for all segments of our community. I want to make sure that taxes are low and an education is affordable for all our citizens. I work at both levels from above and below because in my opinion both are equally important. Understanding what is happening at lower levels helps you understand and focus on what is happening at higher levels and why.

6. What do you see as the biggest assets, challenges, and opportunities, in the DCCCD? How will you strengthen those assets to meet the challenges and opportunities we face? What particular skills and connections do you bring that can benefit the Board as a whole, and by extension the DCCCD?

The biggest assets outside of facilities are the people, their ambitions persistence, sense of responsibility and willingness to embrace all cultures and viewpoints to shape a better future for all people. The challenges we all must face are to dream and make those dreams a reality.
The District is aging and we must all contribute to make sure that our community colleges remain the best in the country. To continue to strive for sound fiscal management while providing the degrees and training for students that lead to good jobs that improve the quality of life at affordable prices. I bring experience and the knowledge I have gained through the years that will lead to solid viable solutions to issues and challenges as we move into the future.

7. In a recent survey of over 400 full-time DCCCD faculty, 53% agreed or strongly agreed that “lack of compensation adjustments to reflect my experience relative to the entering salary of faculty makes me more likely to seek employment outside the DCCCD.” In addition, despite efforts that have culminated in hiring faculty from diverse backgrounds, a disproportionate share of faculty resignations over the past decade have been faculty from historically underrepresented backgrounds, leading to the conclusion that we have a difficult time retaining what diversity we have in our ranks because so many can find better opportunities elsewhere. What efforts would you undertake to improve the opportunities for experienced DCCCD faculty to improve their compensation as they continually improve their efforts to provide top-quality instruction to our students, and thus help retain the diversity we have? How would you address the growing phenomenon of talented and diverse faculty, staff, and administrators leaving DCCCD for higher pay and/or better opportunities with other employers?

I am committed finding a workable solutions to this issue that will lead to policy changes. I am one vote on the Board. To accomplish anything you need at least four votes. I am encouraged by recent discussions between board members and the willingness to embrace other viewpoints. I believe positive change is coming in this regard. When have great ideas, but the challenge we have is to work within legal parameters.

8. Relatedly, how would you increase the hiring of individuals from historically underrepresented backgrounds, in order to diversify DCCCD staff, faculty, and administrative ranks? How would you encourage more individuals from historically underrepresented backgrounds in Dallas County, who lack the credentials to work the middle-class middle-skills jobs we have available here, to come to the DCCCD to gain those skills?

I can only do what I have always done, emphasize the great benefits, exposure to unique people and opportunities. We have great facilities and access to valuable resources that can benefit anyone. Unlimited learning opportunities that contribute to personal growth are available.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

2018 BOARD OF TRUSTEES ELECTION UPDATE #5 - Second District 7 Candidates Forum Scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5, at Mountain View College; Cedar Valley College Candidates Forum Re-Scheduled for Wednesday, April 11

The second of four forums for candidates for the District 7 seat on the DCCCD Board of Trustees, will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in Room B149 at Mountain View College, 4849 W. Illinois Ave. Dallas, 75211.

The candidates forum scheduled for Cedar Valley College been rescheduled and located to a different room on campus. It will convene at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 11, in Room M233 at Cedar Valley College, 3030 N. Dallas Avenue, Lancaster, 75134.

The fourth forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in Room C100 at El Centro College, 801 Main St., Dallas, 75202.

All DCCCD faculty, staff, and students, and voters and community members, are encouraged and invited to attend. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Faculty Council to Lead Effort to Engage Faculty in Selecting the Next District-Supported LMS


Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) has been the District-supported environment for online courses since the late 1990s. In addition, many faculty have used other LMS solutions, including those provided by publishers, to support certain courses. The ongoing use of Blackboard as the District-supported LMS has not been reviewed in a comprehensive way in many years, and until recently the District has not in any strategic sense engaged in a conversation about which LMS product might best support the rapidly growing and evolving needs of DCCCD students and faculty.

Bringing a greater sense of urgency to this fundamental issue, increased reliance on the Blackboard Learning Management System – both for online sections as well as to supplement traditional face-to-face sections – has exposed a growing litany of concerns regarding peak usage availability and maintenance down time. Faculty and students have grown increasingly frustrated as a result. When these issues resurfaced in late Fall 2017, District Faculty Council leadership immediately met with Chancellor May, Vice Chancellor Lonon, and Chief Innovation Officer Tim Marshall numerous times starting in December, to discuss these concerns and express our frustrations, which they share.

As a result, the Faculty Council is pleased to announce CIO Marshall has charged the Council to lead an effort to engage faculty in identifying the next LMS for the DCCCD. It is important to note that, whether this process culminates in a recommendation to renew the relationship with Blackboard, or to select another vendor to provide the official District-supported LMS, faculty would still be able to use other LMS environments, including those provided by publishers, to support their courses. 

Of more importance, however, is that other than identifying certain basic technical specifications, District has agreed that faculty will drive the decision to select the product that the District will adopt as the official LMS. As a result, faculty input will be crucial to the next steps in this conversation, both directly, and through the DCCFA Instructional Goals and Academic Freedom Committee, and the DCCCD Instructional Technology Users Committee (ITUC).

Beginning later in April 2018, faculty will be invited to participate in a comprehensive survey to determine what functionalities and features faculty need the DCCCD LMS to provide. That survey is being designed presently, and will be made available as soon as possible. Meanwhile, a Request for Proposal (RFP) is being developed to be sent to all interested LMS providers. It is anticipated that the RFP will be sent to LMS providers in early summer, with their proposals due back later in the summer. Vendors will demonstrate their products in Fall 2018. Finally, faculty would be given an opportunity to test the LMS products from the various vendors during the late summer and early fall. 

Faculty then would be invited to share their thoughts, questions, and concerns, on each of the LMS products under consideration. It is anticipated that a second survey would be sent to all faculty sometime during the fall semester, perhaps in October.

Based on faculty input, the Faculty Council then would make a formal recommendation for a preferred vendor/LMS product, to CIO Marshall in late Fall 2018.

While the membership of the Faculty Council will change June 1, 2018, the current Council is planning to engage significantly during May 2018 with the incoming representatives from Brookhaven, Eastfield, Mountain View, and Richland Colleges, so that the next Council can carry this faculty-driven process to completion.

The Faculty Council encourages all DCCFA members to participate in all facets of this process, beginning with the survey. A subsequent Advance Blog post will announce the survey and provide a link.