Thursday, February 15, 2018

KERA: ICE officials make more arrests in Dallas than any other US city

According to KERA, officials from the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) made more arrests in the Dallas area than any other municipality in the country in 2017.

See this linked story for more information.

The Faculty Council has encouraged the DCCCD legal office to send specific instructions to all DCCCD employees, including faculty, regarding what to do in the event that ICE attempts to arrest DCCCD students on our campuses or in our classrooms.

2018 BOARD OF TRUSTEES ELECTION UPDATE #1 - Filing deadline looms for candidates to file for DCCCD Board of Trustees seats in District 1 and District 7

The deadline for candidates to file to seek election to the Board of Trustees in DCCCD Distict 1 and District 7 is this Friday, Feb. 16.

This map shows the locations of all seven DCCCD Board Districts. This link can be used to find voting precinct information, and DCCCD District, for all residents of Dallas County.

District 1 has been represented by JL Sonny Williams since 2006.

District 7 has been represented by Charletta Rogers Compton since 2000. Trustee Compton also has served as Chair of the Board since June 2014.

Provided more than one candidate files to run, elections will be conducted Saturday, May 5, 2018. Should no candidate win a majority in the regular election, a runoff election would be conducted on Saturday, June 16.

Drawing for ballot position occurs at 10 a.m., Friday, Feb. 23.

Monday, April 23 is the first day of early voting. Tuesday, May 1, is the last day of early voting.

Tuesday, April 24, is the last day applications for early voting by mail are accepted by the Dallas County elections department.

You can obtain a voter registration application at this link.

The DCCFA Political Information Committee will provide all members with election information via the Advance Blog, much as was done during the 2016 Board elections.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Faculty Council working with District Talent Development to offer new “Academic Dean Academy”

For several years, the Faculty Council has encouraged Chancellor May and other District officials to re-inaugurate a “dean training academy,” given the ongoing turnover in the instructional dean positions at some colleges, as well as the increasing number of retirements or promotions of experienced deans at other colleges.

The Council is pleased to report that District Talent Development has heard our concerns, and following a May 2017 Compression Planning session on the topic, in recent weeks has invited DCCFA President Bill Hammerschlag, in consultation with the Faculty Council, to be involved in the writing of a training curriculum for new and prospective instructional deans.

It is envisioned that the training program, titled "Academic Dean Academy," will include elements from the “Instructional Administration Career Institute” program that the District offered some years ago, including and especially training in how properly to conduct the faculty evaluation process.

DCCFA members who wish to provide input are encouraged to contact their respective college faculty association president.

Monday, February 12, 2018

FLRG Report #9: Faculty Council meets with Boston Consulting Group to discuss May 2017 FLRG report and additional context

The Faculty Council met Friday, Feb. 9, with members of the Boston Consulting Group, to discuss recommendations generated from the Faculty Load Review Group (FLRG) during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Recall from previous Advance Blog posts that faculty predominated both on FLRG and on the three FLRG sub-groups (ALPHA, BRAVO, and CHARLIE), and FLRG ordered its work on the basis of both longstanding faculty concerns about inequities in the calculation of full-time faculty load, and solicited and incorporated robust faculty input on those issues.

Summarized briefly, FLRG made three broad recommendations to increase equity and consistency in faculty load. First, lab and lecture instruction should be compensated equally in full-time load calculation. Second, discipline committee recommendations on class sizes should be adopted District-wide. Third, compensation for coordinator/chair duties should be made more equitable across the District. The Faculty Council agreed with these priorities based on repeated, consistent input from members. Upon receiving the FLRG recommendations, Chancellor May said he agreed that the recommendations would enhance equity and consistency. However, the recommendations would also increase costs to the District. Therefore, the chancellor sought and secured approval from the Board of Trustees in Fall 2017 for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to study the FLRG recommendations (as well as other recommendations pertinent to faculty hiring processes and diversity concerns) and issue its own independent recommendations to the District. The Council asked, and Dr. May agreed, that the Council should meet with BCG representatives during their study

Four representatives from BCG, all of whom are based at their Dallas office, on Feb. 9, 2018, met with the seven members of the Faculty Council. Rather than giving a report of their unfinished work, the BCG team directly solicited the Council’s feedback with open-ended questions and seemed genuinely interested in what the Council had to say. They asked about what was working well in the DCCCD, as well as what needed improvement.

A robust, wide-ranging discussion ensued, in which the Council provided both ample broad philosophical justification and poignant specific examples to support the adoption of the FLRG recommendations. The Council also explained in detail why the current Board policy regarding extra service teaching works well in giving the colleges and programs flexibility to meet student and community educational needs.

The Council also explained that the DCCFA endorses the hiring of additional full-time faculty throughout the District, particularly to meet currently unmet community educational needs given recent and projected growth in enrollment and program diversity and complexity, including and especially the dual credit collegiate academies.

Finally, the Council articulated that the DCCFA wants to diversify faculty ranks, but that structural issues like salary compression for those hired between 1981 and 2012, and lack of a coordinated recruitment effort, have prevented the District from significantly increasing the percentage of faculty from historically underrepresented groups. (Specifically, the Council shared with BCG that both the Chancellor’s Faculty Fellows Task Force, and the Faculty Hiring Process Task Force, in 2017 recommended that District Talent Central hire a full-time recruiter to help recruit candidates from historically underrepresented backgrounds to apply for DCCCD faculty vacancies.)

The BCG team members took copious notes throughout the conversation, and asked thoughtful follow-up questions both to clarify their understanding of the issues and to gather additional supporting information. As a result, the Council remains hopeful that the conversations with BCG were productive and will culminate in BCG recommending the District adopt all of the FLRG recommendations as soon as possible.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Clarification on Conflict of Interest Board Policy

Faculty throughout the District recently have expressed concern and asked questions about DCCCD Board Policy DBD(LOCAL), which was updated on 12/20/2017, upon approval by the Board of Trustees on 12/5/2017. The policy generally speaks to issues related to conflict of interest and conflict of commitment.

The most recent changes were sparked to respond to instances of District employees using District resources, such as computers and email, to do work for other entities or run businesses, on District time either on District premises or while at home on a purported telecommuting arrangement.

Chancellor May has repeatedly assured faculty that the policy language is not designed to prohibit employees from teaching as adjunct faculty for other colleges, or to prohibit employees from working in the private sector. Indeed, the Chancellor even said that it is beneficial for faculty to teach at transfer institutions or work in industry as a means to help them stay current in their respective teaching fields.

After a number of DCCFA members raised concerns, members of the Faculty Council met Friday, Jan. 26, with Frank Hill, of Hill-Gilstrap, who has represented many DCCFA members over the years, and is unmatched in higher education labor law. He advised us as follows:

  • The District indeed can prohibit faculty (or any employee) from simultaneously holding two full-time positions at two separate educational institutions. 
  • Some of the language regarding conflict of commitment may be problematic, given its vagueness.

Regarding the second item, DCCFA President Bill Hammerschlag asked Mr. Hill to join us in reaching out to District officials in an effort to correct problematic and confusing language, both in DBD(LOCAL) and other DCCCD Board Policy documents.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Survey Available Feb. 1-15, 2018, for Faculty to Provide Input on Progress Reporting System to Take Effect Fall 2018

Dear Faculty,

Responding to a variety of concerns regarding both student success and completion, the DCCCD administration has charged our instructional leaders to create a consistent, district-wide systematic approach for all faculty to report on student progress in courses during each academic term, beginning in Fall 2018.  This effort at student progress reporting is intended to help students better understand their status in a given course early enough for students to take action to improve that status and for intrusive interventions to be provided, if needed, in order to improve retention and completion. Further background information on the evolution of this process is available at this January 18 post on the DCCFA Advance Blog.

Instructional leaders, including the academic vice presidents and the DCCFA faculty council, believe that it is crucial to gather faculty input, so as to guide the design of a student progress reporting system approach. At present, the plan is to use the eConnect interface for progress reporting.  Specific elements of the design will be determined later, taking into consideration feedback obtained from faculty in a variety of ways, beginning here.

We respect your academic freedom and the institutional responsibility to provide quality teaching and learning experiences for our students, so rest assured that:

  • No aspect of this reporting system will expect, encourage or require you to change or adjust any aspect of your teaching, evaluation or assessment strategies,
  • The design of this system will take into account our many and diverse types of courses, and
  • A primary goal of this system is to provide effective reporting while not being a burdensome or time-consuming activity.

All faculty – full-time and adjunct faculty – are invested in student success and therefore are invited and encouraged to participate in this survey. The survey is being made available between Feb. 1 and Feb. 15, 2018. Please review this “Supplemental Information” document and then complete the survey at this link:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

DCCFA Offers Two Upcoming Opportunities for Faculty to Provide Input

The Faculty Council plans two initiatives specifically designed to gather input from faculty. 

Student Progress Reporting Survey
From Feb. 1 through Feb. 15, a survey will be made available for faculty to provide both structured and open-ended input on the issue of student progress reporting. Details about that evolving conversation can be found in this post from Jan. 18. All faculty are invited and encouraged to provide input. Messages will be sent by each college’s faculty association president, and academic vice president, when this survey is live. Results gathered from this survey – which will be completely anonymous – will be analyzed in detail by the Faculty Council in order to craft the best possible student progress reporting system to serve our diverse student population while not imposing excessive and unproductive labor burdens on the faculty. These findings will then be shared with The Instructional Leadership Team, which includes the district and college instructional leaders, for implementation.

Part 2, Biennial Faculty Climate Survey
From Feb. 19 through March 2, Part 2 of the biennial Faculty Climate Survey will be administered. Part 1 was administered in Fall 2017, and a selection of results are available at this post on the Advance Blog, in which are links to raw data from each of the seven colleges. Whereas Part 1 of the Faculty Climate Survey gathered faculty input on issues of compensation and shared governance, Part 2 includes questions that are designed to gauge faculty attitudes on the overall climate within the various college chapters of DCCFA, the colleges, and the District. Results gathered from this survey also will be completely individually anonymous, and only aggregated results by college will be reported and shared with the college presidents.

The Faculty Council encourages all members to participate in both the Student Progress Reporting survey, and the DCCFA Biennial Faculty Climate Survey.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

DCCFA Legal Assistance Philosophy and Statement of Purpose

Note: This statement of DCCFA Legal Assistance Philosophy and Statement of Purposes was updated April 4, 2017. More information on DCCFA Legal Assistance can be found on the Legal Assistance page on the DCCFA web site.

The DCCFA is committed to the principles of academic freedom and the right of due process in the settlement of any dispute. If any member of the DCCFA feels that he or she has been dealt with in an unlawful or unfair manner, the member will be provided access to the best information available concerning available avenues for assistance. It continues to be the expressed intent of the DCCFA to provide counsel and assistance to the membership to help work toward a reconciliation of any dispute and to do so (if possible) in a non-adversarial manner. 

Although most disputes can and should be settled with simple collaboration and thoughtful conversation, it is sometimes necessary to seek other remedies. In matters that involve contractual disputes or academic freedom, full time faculty may request—through the Faculty Council—legal counsel and possible representation for unresolved issues. Payment for these services will come from the DCCFA legal defense fund as specified by our Constitution.

When legal assistance is requested it begins with the Faculty Council’s review of the dispute to determine appropriate actions. If it is approved for further consideration, outside legal counsel will be asked to review the details and will probably want to schedule a visit with the faculty member. The attorney will recommend to the Council a course of action.

During the forty-year history of the DCCFA there have been numerous disputes and grievances-- which is not surprising for system as large as the DCCCD. Given the finite resources of the organization it is important that all pertinent information be considered in a given case. It is also important that each member requesting assistance understands both the Association’s philosophy on legal assistance and the manner in which individual cases are evaluated and processed. Most grievance cases can—and should—be resolved without resorting to formal legal action. The Faculty Council has long assisted in these efforts by serving as a detached, “third party” to resolve disputes and to assist all concerned in establishing the facts, clarifying legal principles, generally accepted practices, and offering informal advice regarding possible resolution of issues in conflict. The faculty member should realize, however, that many grievance cases involve issues, which may be seen as unfair or unreasonable, but are not unlawful. The Faculty Council will rely on legal counsel for recommendations for further action on these issues. 

The DCCFA has earned a reputation for fairness, discretion, and effectiveness in assisting its members in grievance matters. Consistent with the philosophy and procedures outlined above, the Association stands ready to provide its members with informed counsel and advice about their specific circumstances while maintaining needed discretion and helping to safeguard the integrity of the academic process.

The necessary forms needed to request legal assistance are found on the DCCFA site which willalso detail the procedures which will be followed.

Friday, January 19, 2018

New Task Forces Succeed DELT to Address Distance Learning

The pace and scope of change across all levels of the DCCCD has accelerated, even as we respond to events and circumstances that are outside of our control. Over the past few years, the District has increasingly taken a strategic approach to Distance Learning, as various stakeholders have negotiated differences in philosophy and practice. Among the positive changes has been Chancellor May and Chief Innovation Officer Tim Marshall developing a model where users – faculty and colleges – are empowered at the strategic level, and entities such as District IT and LeCroy Center evolve to support student learning regardless of modality. As part of this ongoing evolution, the Faculty Council engaged with instructional leaders from all seven colleges and with the LeCroy Center on a Quality Scorecard initiative, which identified areas of good practice as well as areas where improvement is needed, in distance learning.

Among the recommendations to arise from this ongoing conversation was the decision to sunset the Distance Education and Learning Technologies committee (DELT). Because of its composition and the fact that it had been commissioned by the Vice Presidents Council, DELT focused on a wide variety of issues related to technology and learning, but tended to focus its reporting upward, and often to LeCroy Center. Over time, DELT was not able to devote necessary attention to certain vital operational issues, and in those cases where solutions were developed, they were not sufficiently or equitably communicated to faculty at the colleges. In addition, strategic issues often were not addressed, and thus strategic decisions were made by LeCroy Center leadership without significant or broad faculty input. In short, the all-encompassing increase in Distance Learning, and the use of DL technologies in campus-based instruction, proved too massive for DELT alone comprehensively to address.

In response, the Quality Scorecard project recommended that a Quality Scorecard Steering Committee be constituted, to include representation from faculty, instructional leaders, student services, IT, and LeCroy leadership, specifically to address improvement in a wide variety of areas related to distance learning and the use of DL technologies for campus-based instruction, at the strategic level. Among the types of issues to be addressed by this group would be identifying and promulgating best practices in course navigation, online orientation, training, and success measures.

Meanwhile, to address the user-level issues, the Quality Scorecard project recommended, and the Faculty Council and Academic Vice Presidents also endorsed, creating the Information Technology Users Group (ITUC). This group has two charges:

1.       To advocate for the users of instructional technology;

2.       To reconcile the suggestions/needs of various stakeholders including instructional leadership (including faculty), technology leadership, and those helping to advance the outcomes of the Quality Scorecard project.

Among other stakeholders, ITUC will include a faculty member from each college. ITUC also will communicate consistent messages regarding learning technology to stakeholders, including and especially faculty, at each college. Among the types of issues for ITUC to address are how to use specific technologies to solve specific problems, such as when a feature in Blackboard isn’t working properly, or identifying building block solutions that might help numerous users.

Having played a role in the process that created both the Quality Scorecard Steering Team, and ITUC, the Faculty Council is hopeful that both groups will be of benefit to faculty as we continue to improve how we serve our students.