Sunday, January 19, 2020

January 19, 2020 Policy Initiative Update


Dear Faculty,

Please take the time to read over the information contained in this post, which is designed to provide you more detailed information about the ongoing work of the Policy Initiative Team (PIT).

First, please re-read the message immediately below, which was published on the DCCFA Advance Blog on Monday, Jan. 13:

The Policy Initiative Steering Team has been working to combine and refine the recommendations of the four task forces under its purview. Specifically, the task forces are working toward a new, more equitable model for calculating faculty load that will be in the best interests of faculty and student success and classroom usage optimization across the District.

Under the present model, there are numerous structural inequities. Among other things: lab instruction is discounted compared to lecture instruction, but only in full-time faculty regular load; faculty are paid extra for additional students in online sections but not in face-to-face classroom sections; and coordination compensation is both inconsistent and inequitable between colleges and even between divisions at the same college.

Per revised Board Policy, lecture and lab will be made equal starting in Fall 2020. While there are numerous details yet to be determined, the new faculty load calculation model will be based on Adjusted Contact Hours (ACH). Most simply, ACH is equal to the number of contact hours for a course as determined by the ACGM or WECM. Under an ACH system, a faculty member’s load is met at 240 ACH each semester or 480 ACH for the academic year. 240 ACH is equivalent to 15 contact hours per week times the 16 weeks in a normal semester. Every additional contact hour above 240 ACH each semester will be paid at the extra service rate.

In addition, faculty will now be compensated for students enrolled above the pedagogically-determined maximum class size in all sections taught, both face-to-face and online. The compensation will be determined by a formula that converts each additional student to an ACH value pertaining to a particular course/discipline/program. Coordination responsibilities, as either “reassigned time” or extra service, will be also compensated based on ACH. The commonly understood present extra service maximum of 14.7 hours will be converted into 235.2 ACH.

Guidelines to define and implement of all of these changes will be developed once conceptual approval is granted by the chancellor. A simple Excel-based calculator will be developed and made available for all faculty, deans, and load management specialists to precisely calculate faculty load and extra service compensation based on the unique combination of sections taught, students enrolled in those sections, and reassigned time/administrative/coordination responsibilities.

The faculty members on PIT, and DCCFA leadership, are working hard to ensure that the move to the new ACH-based model for faculty load calculation will be a net benefit to the greatest possible number of faculty. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your campus Faculty Association President, or one of the faculty members who serve on the PIT Steering Team: Becky Heiskell (MVC), Matt Henry (RLC), Matt Hinckley (EFC), and Angela Nino (RLC).

Now, please read the following, which is new as of Friday, Jan. 17:

1. As noted above, members of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) were developing an Excel-based calculator to precisely calculate faculty load and extra service compensation. A copy of this calculator is now being provided to you to examine and test out. Here is the link to the calculator. If you are not logged into the DCCCD SharePoint, you will be prompted to log in with your authentication credentials.

NOTE: Please be sure to download a copy of the spreadsheet to your own computer for testing. Please DO NOT manipulate any data in the online version, as those changes will be automatically saved, which will cause great confusion. 

Before using the calculator, please carefully read over all of the information below.

The calculator is based upon and incorporates all of the present recommendations from the PIT Steering Team and its four constituent task forces. Specifically, it includes text fields to enter hypothetical combinations of courses taught in one’s load; auto-populated fields for recommended class sizes, based on the Master Course Table; auto-populated fields for WECM or ACGM-derived contact hours values for each course in the DCCCD catalog; and text fields to enter hypothetical “reassigned time” values for coordination or other administrative responsibilities that faculty perform. All of this is then denominated in the Adjusted Contact Hours (ACH) described in the above Jan. 13 message.

Please note that this calculator is still a beta tool, very much in draft form, as policy decisions that impact the programming of the formulas in the calculator have not yet been finalized. The long-term plan is for calculator like this to exist in Colleague, where it will have a more user-friendly interface and be able to link directly to faculty’s teaching and compensation data. Please also note that this version of the calculator uses the existing hourly rate for extra service compensation, although there is an ongoing discussion about a significant increase to this rate (more on this below). The calculator also employs a prototype “portfolio based” model for calculating compensation when additional students above the official Master Course Table class size maximum are enrolled. Whether to compensate faculty for over-enrollment on a section-by-section basis or across the portfolio remains an item of discussion both for the Compensation Practices Task Force, as well as the Steering Team.

Faculty, deans, and load management specialists are encouraged to test the Excel calculator to identify any issues or concerns with how it is programmed, and to report those concerns either to your campus Faculty Association President, or one of the faculty members who serve on the PIT Steering Team: Becky Heiskell (MVC), Matt Henry (RLC), Matt Hinckley (EFC), and Angela Nino (RLC).

2. On Dec. 12, 2019, the co-chairs of the four task forces attended the PIT Leadership Council meeting, which also included the chancellor, vice-chancellor, other district administrators, and representatives from BCG. At that meeting, we were presented with a PDF document detailing various proposals and plans for the implementation of the recommendations coming from the task forces. That PDF has now been made public and is posted on the DCCCD SharePoint site.

One of the key achievements of the past year was the equalization of lecture and lab, which was written into Board Policy, and which will be in effect starting in Fall 2020. As noted above, the new faculty load calculation model will be based on Adjusted Contact Hours (ACH), and as you can see, a significant portion of the PDF document is given over to figuring out how that model will operate and how load and extra service will be calculated. Another of the proposals in the PDF, stemming from the work of the Compensation Practices task force, is to increase the hourly rate for adjunct and extra service pay. The range referenced in the document is $55-$60, although the Compensation Practices Task Force maintains that $62.50 per ACH (which would be $3,000 for a 3 lecture/48 contact hour course) is preferable. This would be a significant benefit to all faculty, both full- and part-time.

That said, it is important to point out that this PDF document contains a few contentious and controversial proposals, ones that did not originate with any of the task forces. Foremost, on Dec. 4 BCG suggested eliminating Premium Pay in exchange for a higher extra service rate. This was quite a surprise to many members of the PIT Steering Team, and many advocated strongly against such a change. In the course of the PIT Leadership Council discussion on Dec. 12, Chancellor May appeared to reject the proposal, noting that Premium Pay is integral to our efforts to have full-time faculty teach classes during non-traditional terms to meet student needs. Subsequent communications to task forces suggest that BCG has withdrawn this suggestion and are now considering the possibility of allowing Premium Pay to be earned during the fall and spring with dean approval and under narrowly-defined conditions, if a particular program does not have sufficient summer enrollment.

BCG also suggested a minimum teaching requirement of 60% (144 ACH) for full time faculty who also receive reassigned time. The minimum teaching requirement proposal was a surprise to everyone because it was not part of the charge to the Reassigned Time committee so this proposal had not been discussed at all. The current recommendations of the Reassigned Time task force place no limit on reassigned time duties, the only limit is the extra service caps. During the Dec. 12 leadership council meeting, significant discussion ensued on this point. Specifically, discussion centered on the role of lead faculty/program coordinators. It was pointed out that for many large programs in the district, 40% would not provide nearly enough time for a faculty member – who is not teaching any extra service – to attend to all of the duties related to those positions. Unfortunately, the members of the Leadership Council were rather strongly divided in their opinions on this point. The task force will discuss this new charge and make a recommendation this month.

In addition, the BCG power point document also proposed a series of options related to extra service limitations. One option suggested retaining the status quo (235.2 ACH, which is the ACH equivalent of the current 14.7 to which many faculty are accustomed) in all six terms. A second option suggested keeping 235.2 as the limit in Fall and Spring and reducing extra service limits to 117.6 in Winter Term, May Term, Summer 1, and Summer 2. A third option suggested keeping 235.2 as the limit in Fall, Spring, Summer 1, and Summer 2, and reducing extra service limits to 117.6 in Winter Term and May Term. None of the four task forces has suggested reducing extra service teaching limits. 

However, when BCG presented these options to the Steering Team on Dec. 4, a majority of members of the Steering Team indicated that while there weren't any problems with current limits for Summer 1 and Summer 2, they believed instructional quality suffers when faculty are teaching as many as four sections of a 48 contact hour course in a Winter Term or May Term, and thus indicated they supported the third option. Other members of the Steering Team cautioned that there are some CTE and allied health/nursing programs whose offerings may span multiple terms, and to reduce extra service limits might negatively affect their ability to serve students and the community. In any case, at the Dec. 12 Leadership Council meeting, none of these three options were discussed in detail. It is clear, however, that appeals based on the argument that “some faculty always teach four extra service classes every term and are accustomed to the resultant extra service earnings” will not drive the chancellor’s decision-making process on this issue.

Please note that nothing is yet settled about any of the above and no final decisions have been made. All of the above topics and concerns will be discussed further at the upcoming Leadership Council meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2020. Please also bear in mind that the chancellor is the person empowered to make the final decisions on these issues.

3. Some faculty may understandably ask about the delay between when these issues were first discussed and the publishing of the documents. Following the December 4 Steering Team meeting, and again following the December 12 Leadership Council meeting, Matt Hinckley, Matt Henry, and Carlos Martinez requested that an updated PDF be posted to the PIT Share Point page so that stakeholders could learn what issues were being discussed. Concerns about the graphics lacking descriptive text to make them ADA compliant delayed the publishing, until on Friday, Jan. 17, Vice Chancellor Justin Lonon prevailed upon the District marketing/communications staff to post the PDF.

Once again, if you have questions or concerns about any of the issues and options presented in the PDF document, please speak with your campus Faculty Association President, or one of the faculty members who serve on the PIT Steering Team: Becky Heiskell (MVC), Matt Henry (RLC), Matt Hinckley (EFC), and Angela Nino (RLC).

Monday, January 13, 2020

Policy Initiative Update


The Policy Initiative Steering Team has been working to combine and refine the recommendations of the four task forces under its purview. Specifically, the task forces are working toward a new, more equitable model for calculating faculty load that will be in the best interests of faculty and student success and classroom usage optimization across the District.

Under the present model, there are numerous structural inequities. Among other things: lab instruction is discounted compared to lecture instruction, but only in full-time faculty regular load; faculty are paid extra for additional students in online sections but not in face-to-face classroom sections; and coordination compensation is both inconsistent and inequitable between colleges and even between divisions at the same college.

Per revised Board Policy, lecture and lab will be made equal starting in Fall 2020. While there are numerous details yet to be determined, the new faculty load calculation model will be based on Adjusted Contact Hours (ACH). Most simply, ACH is equal to the number of contact hours for a course as determined by the ACGM or WECM. Under an ACH system, a faculty member’s load is met at 240 ACH each semester or 480 ACH for the academic year. 240 ACH is equivalent to 15 contact hours per week times the 16 weeks in a normal semester. Every additional contact hour above 240 ACH each semester will be paid at the extra service rate.

In addition, faculty will now be compensated for students enrolled above the pedagogically-determined maximum class size in all sections taught, both face-to-face and online. The compensation will be determined by a formula that converts each additional student to an ACH value pertaining to a particular course/discipline/program. Coordination responsibilities, as either “reassigned time” or extra service, will be also compensated based on ACH. The commonly understood present extra service maximum of 14.7 hours will be converted into 235.2 ACH.

Guidelines to define and implement of all of these changes will be developed once conceptual approval is granted by the chancellor. A simple Excel-based calculator will be developed and made available for all faculty, deans, and load management specialists to precisely calculate faculty load and extra service compensation based on the unique combination of sections taught, students enrolled in those sections, and reassigned time/administrative/coordination responsibilities.

The faculty members on PIT, and DCCFA leadership, are working hard to ensure that the move to the new ACH-based model for faculty load calculation will be a net benefit to the greatest possible number of faculty. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your campus Faculty Association President, or one of the faculty members who serve on the PIT steering team: Becky Heiskell (MVC), Matt Henry (RLC), Matt Hinckley (EFC), and Angela Nino (RLC).