Tuesday, December 8, 2015

TCCTA survey shows DCCCD faculty salaries significantly improving compared to other Texas community colleges

The Texas Community College Teachers Association (TCCTA) released the results of its survey of faculty salaries. According to the survey, the DCCCD now has the highest minimum faculty salary among all public Texas community colleges.

At $51,148, the lowest faculty salary in the DCCCD now is higher than the lowest faculty salary at Austin Community College ($46,672), Collin College ($47,729), and Tarrant County College ($48,400).

The faculty council believes the positive working climate established between the Council and Chancellor May and his staff has resulted in this important first step in making faculty compensation in the DCCCD competitive with other large community college districts with whom we compete for faculty talent.

"Over the past 18 months, the faculty council - and by extension, faculty on the whole - have achieved more influence in the shared governance of the District than at any time in the 50-year history of the District," said DCCCD faculty council president Fred Newbury, who has served on the faculty council under each of the long-tenured chancellors in the District.

The next steps in our compensation discussions with the District will involve addressing the compression of faculty salaries. Faculty participation in the Climate Survey (linked below) will help the faculty council represent our interests in this ongoing work.

Climate Survey URL (copy and paste into your browser):

Fall 2016 Registration Frequently Asked Questions

Starting in 2016, Summer and Fall registration will begin concurrently. These Frequently Asked Questions were developed by Anna Mays, Associate Vice Chancellor for Educational Policy and Student Success, to explain the rationale for this departure from previous registration calendars. 

Why is DCCCD starting Fall Registration at the same time Summer registration starts? What is the problem?

In previous years, students enrolled in Spring at DCCCD colleges could not register for Fall until mid-June, after they completed Spring classes and were no longer enrolled.  Competition is increasing from regional colleges and universities who register students during Spring for Fall. DCCCD college enrollment has been relatively flat.  In an effort to increase enrollment and Fall to Spring persistence, students will be given the opportunity to enroll in both Summer and Fall classes starting April, 2016. 

What is the goal?

The goal is to increase continued enrollment from Spring to Fall of currently enrolled students and increase early registration.

What is being planned?

Fall registration will start April 19 and end Saturday, August 20 for classes that start August 29, 2016.   Students who have registered by August 20 can continue to drop and add until their courses start.  Registration for new students for flex term classes that start September 5 or after will continue starting August 21.  This timeline has been discussed and approved by appropriate councils and DCCCD college administrators.

What are the benefits?

·         Students can plan in advance for summer and fall classes in order to better plan for completion of their program of study.

·         Increases in persistence and enrollment will contribute to the success/performance points and tuition that supports the college budgets. 

·         Faculty and instructional administrators will have earlier information about enrollment trends and loads and will have an opportunity to make schedule adjustments.

·         Students receiving financial aid will know earlier how their financial aid award will apply to their classes. Those not receiving aid will have longer to pay for their classes (proposed first payment due date will not be until mid-July).

·         Advisors and faculty will have more time to help students make good decisions.

It is realized that this means earlier deadlines for posting schedules, syllabi, and book orders.  There is a Task Force on Combined Summer and Fall 2016 Registration that has been working on addressing various challenges such as this, obtaining input and gaining administrative approval.    Please send your inquiries or recommendations to Anna Mays at amays@dcccd.edu.  Additional faculty and staff are also welcome to join the Task Force.  Everyone’s support is needed to make this a success.  Continuing discussion and research will be completed to adjust plans as needed.

Monday, December 7, 2015

FAQ on the Chancellor's Faculty Fellows Program

The Faculty Council has formulated the following "Frequently Asked Questions" about the Chancellor's Faculty Fellows Program. Faculty are encouraged to read this Advance Blog post and the attached document from December 7, before reading this FAQ. Questions or concerns not addressed in the FAQ should be directed to your college faculty association president.

Why was the Chancellor's Faculty Fellows Program created?

At present, a significant percentage of faculty in the DCCCD are eligible to retire. Should large numbers of faculty begin to retire, existing recruitment efforts alone may not be sufficient to replace the experience and expertise that would be lost. In addition, Chancellor May has articulated a vision that redefined the role of District Human Resources from one that focused almost exclusively on compliance, to one whose primary mission is to recruit, more aggressively and actively, top talent into the District as a whole. (This also explains why District Human Resources was renamed District Talent Central, and why a Chief Talent Officer was hired, and why faculty pay scales for all three groups were raised to begin to make our District more competitive in the labor market.)

The Chancellor's Faculty Fellows Program succeeds, but does not replace or replicate, the Visiting Scholar Program. In addition, the Visiting Scholar program, while developed to comply with Board of Trustees requests to diversify the faculty ranks, was not established in the Board Policy Manual. In contrast, the Chancellor's Faculty Fellows program was formally approved by the Board of Trustees. Moreover, due to inadequate oversight of the Visiting Scholar program, it was not consistently implemented across the District, and that and other process inconsistencies led to numerous otherwise excellent Visiting Scholars being hired in other college districts before their home DCCCD college could hire them. Effectively, DCCCD was investing in Visiting Scholars who were being hired in neighboring college districts.

The Chancellor's Faculty Fellows Program is first designed to expand the recruitment pipeline to deepen and broaden pools for DCCCD colleges, hiring deans, and search teams, to consider when hiring new faculty. An intentional outcome of this process will be to continue to diversity our faculty ranks, just as the Visiting Scholar program did. It then is designed to provide rigorous and effective professional and professorial development by pairing each Chancellor's Faculty Fellow with an experienced faculty member who has been formally trained to be a mentor to Chancellor's Faculty Fellows. (This professional development and mentoring program is being designed to build upon the many successes of the Visions of Excellence program.)

Will faculty search processes change?

No. The faculty search process will remain the same. Previously, there was ambiguity and often the hiring process for a Visiting Scholar differed from that of a "regular" faculty position. That distinction is now gone. When a college seeks to hire a faculty member, that college will create a notice of vacancy and submit it to District Human Resources according to established process. Previously, a college had to designate a position as "regular" faculty or Visiting Scholar. That will not occur any more. Colleges will hire faculty, just as they always have. Faculty will predominate on first-level search teams, just as they always have, regardless of whether applicants applied through the regular notice of vacancy, or through the Chancellor's Faculty Fellows pool.

How does a Chancellor's Faculty Fellow differ from a "regular" faculty hire?

Chancellors Faculty Fellows are recruited through a new process driven by the District Talent Central office. If District Talent Central has one or more credentialed candidates in the Chancellor's Faculty Fellow pool, when a faculty notice of vacancy is posted, the Vice Chancellor of Talent Central will contact the college president (or vice president or hiring dean) to ask if they also would be interested in reviewing the applications from the Chancellor's Faculty Fellows pool. The college retains the right to categorically reject, or choose to review and consider, those applications. The first level search team, in consultation with the hiring dean, may choose, or choose not, to invite the applicant(s) for a first-level interview with the search team.

Are Chancellors' Faculty Fellows guaranteed to receive three-year contracts?

No. No faculty member is guaranteed to receive a three-year contract. The decision not to renew a faculty contract (or to recommend the offering of a three-year contract after successfully completing three one-year contracts) is governed by the faculty evaluation process (which remains unchanged). This always has been, and remains, a local college decision. The provision that calls for the college president to meet with the Chancellor and/or Vice Chancellor of Talent Central when a Chancellor's Faculty Fellow is to be non-renewed, is to discuss what individual and structural factors may have contributed to the lack of a successful hire. This provision builds in ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of the Chancellors Faculty Fellows program to ensure that Talent Central continuously improves and refines its ongoing recruitment efforts.

Are colleges prohibited from asking applicants to conduct teaching demonstrations?

No. Colleges - and first level search teams on which faculty predominate - must have the opportunity to assess the fitness of all candidates to teach in their discipline. When evaluating candidates, it is hoped that search teams will consider that applicants who entered the interview pool through the Chancellors Faculty Fellows program will likely not have taught in a classroom previously. The "no teaching demonstration" discussion has pertained to the use of language in the recruitment materials that District Talent Central will use to build the pool. This specific issue has been a major point of emphasis within the discussions between the faculty council and Talent Central, and those discussions are ongoing. As of Dec. 7, 2015, the latest iteration of language used in materials to recruit possible Chancellor's Faculty Fellows now reads:

College interviews will include opportunities for the potential Fellow to demonstrate a concept to a diverse group, much as they might experience in one of our classes, – and will include reflective questions requiring the individual to project themselves into the teaching role and make necessary decisions.

How are Chancellor's Faculty Fellows to be determined to be credentialed to teach in a given discipline?

Following a compression planning meeting in which faculty participated, the academic vice presidents charged one among their group to collect the seven independently-accredited colleges' faculty credentialing manuals, and to formulate a single document that would assist District Talent Central to identify prospective Chancellor' Faculty Fellows. This document does not supersede individual college credentialing decisions, which in many disciplines at various DCCCD colleges may be more or less stringent than in the Chancellor' Faculty Fellows credentialing matrix. Moreover, just because a prospective faculty member is pre-credentialed through the Chancellor' Faculty Fellows recruitment process, it does not relieve the college of the responsibility to certify that a candidate is credentialed according to that college's SACS-approved credentialing document. Most significantly, this is not a long-term effort on the part of District Talent Central to assume take over responsibility for all faculty hiring and credentialing decisions.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Documents on Chancellors Faculty Fellows and Performance Pay Incentive - UPDATED 1/13/2016

DCCCD Talent Central released three documents on Tuesday, Dec. 1, that explain the pilot of the Chancellor's Faculty Fellows program and the Faculty Performance Pay Incentive program, and a form for faculty to apply for Performance Pay.

These documents will guide implementation of these new programs for the 2015-2016 year.

The Chancellor's Faculty Fellows program and the Performance Pay Incentive program were authorized by vote of the Board of Trustees on September 1, 2015, and relevant Board policy revisions were shared on the DCCFA Advance Blog on September 2, 2015.

District Talent Central and the Faculty Council collaborated to formulate implementation details, and to draft and edit the following documents that will launch both the Chancellors Faulty Fellows and Performance Pay Incentive programs. To ensure the integrity of this cooperative process, and to honor the request of Talent Central, and given that the Faculty Council is elected and empowered by the Faculty Association to represent faculty in the shared governance of the DCCCD, the Faculty Council unanimously agreed not to share widely the details of the discussions as they occurred.

UPDATE 12/7/2015: This revised description of the Chancellor's Faculty Fellows program was released Dec. 7, 2015, and includes additional clarifications regarding candidates being expected to demonstrate their ability to teach in the discipline. The document explains the process by which Faculty Fellows - who may have one year or less of teaching experience - will be sought, hired, and developed professionally in the DCCCD. The Chancellor's Faculty Fellows program succeeds, but does not replicate, the Visiting Scholar program.

This description of the Chancellor's Faculty Fellows program explains the process by which Faculty Fellows - who may have one year or less of teaching experience - will be sought, hired, and developed professionally in the DCCCD. The Chancellor's Faculty Fellows program replaces, but does not replicate, the Visiting Scholar program.

This description of the pilot program for faculty Performance Pay explains the process by which faculty may apply to be considered for Performance Pay. If a faculty member is approved, Performance Pay results in an increase to the base salary for the faculty member. Completing the
Performance Pay application form is the first step in applying for Performance Pay, followed by a conversation with the dean. UPDATE 1/13/2016 This link is an electronic version of the Performance Pay application form.

Given that both of these programs are in their pilot year, District Talent Central and the Faculty Council will continuously assess these programs and will recommend refinements for subsequent years. Given that the Faculty Council was involved in the process by which these documents were drafted, questions can be directed to your Faculty Association president.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Please participate in the Faculty Climate Survey

Dear Colleagues,

Every two years the District Faculty Association gathers feedback from Faculty Association members through a Climate Survey. The feedback is anonymous. The survey has 25 questions and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

The survey gathers your perception of District Administration, your College Administration, and your College Faculty Association. The results will be shared with you, your College President, and the Chancellor.

In a departure from previous years, the Faculty Council and the DCCFA Communications Committee this year have chosen to conduct the Climate Survey in two parts. Part 1 will be conducted in Fall 2015 to provide information to guide the Faculty Council in its ongoing discussions with the Chancellor on issues of compensation and other urgent matters. Part 2 will be conducted in Spring 2016.

Please take the time to provide your feedback by clicking on the Climate Survey link. Part 1 of the Climate Survey is due Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. Here is the link:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Traditions and Transitions - The November 13, 2015 State of the Faculty Address by Faculty Council President Fred Newbury

Recently, I noticed an article titled, Tradition and Transitions. I can’t remember the source so I can’t give proper credit, but, I started thinking about those two words as they relate to our common experience as teachers. For some that experience spans fifty years, for others it may be measured in months. We all realize the tremendous generational differences that exist within that comparison but there so many traditions that continue to allow us to find common ground. Many of the values that guided us fifty years ago remain intact. The student is still at the center of the process; we still believe in the importance of a strong and supportive professional community; we still believe we serve and nurture a larger community; we still believe what we do is important and valuable.

As an organization celebrating 38 years of service to our colleagues and to our students, we find considerable value in the traditions that have been established. When our Constitution was drafted 38 year ago, we first envisioned the shared values that have come to characterize our organization and have provided the foundation for what have become important traditions.  Our meeting today is a part of that tradition as are the reports that you will be hearing from our standing committees. These committees provide input from the “grass roots” and allow us to incorporate input from all of our faculties and our colleges as we plan for each year.

The work of our committees have been particularly important during the last academic year. Their work provided the foundation for many of the gains that reached fruition over the past few months. More specifically:

1.       We worked closely with District leadership to develop a new compensation program for faculty. This had not been done in nearly 30 years. While there is still much work to be done, we think that the new schedule is a significant improvement with higher salaries (especially for new faculty), longevity increases, and more flexibility.  

2.      Although we were not able to resurrect formula pay, we were able to negotiate “premium pay” which does provide full-time faculty with the option to teach two courses per year in any short semester at a higher rate of pay.

3.      Our leadership has been actively involved in the planning of the Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow program which will be implemented within the next few months. Planning for mentoring and professional development is ongoing.

4.      Planning is also beginning for a performance pay initiative which will soon be a faculty option.

5.      We believe that we have been successful in building a more positive and productive working relationship with District leadership and our Board.

6.   Greatly Improved communication with the development and implementation of the DCCFA blog. This has allowed much more rapid and effective communication.  Thanks to Matt Hinckley for his efforts to make this a reality.

7.    Improvements in our banking, accounting and tax reporting systems that has brought about significant cost reduction. Thanks to Dan Dao for his time and expertise.

Although a great deal has been accomplished this year, there is still much to be done. As you consider the reports from each of these committees this year, I think that conclusion will be evident.

The transitions that have taken place over the past few years are a bit more difficult to describe. We have had a significant transition over the past 18 months with our District leadership. As a council, we were all convinced that it was extremely critical for the future of the DCCCD that our new (then) Chancellor be given every opportunity to establish his leadership and begin to grapple with the many problems that we continue to face.

I think that I speak for all of the members of our Council when I say that we have had a seat at the table in this process. While we may not have been granted all of the considerations that asked for, our voices have been heard. John Williams at BHC has always said that “input without influence, is not really participation.” We have been given the opportunity to provide input and have had influence on the decisions. We continue to firmly believe that this shared governance approach is the most productive and beneficial for the DCCCD.

In my experience with faculty leadership—which began with Dr. Priest and has continued through Dr. May—I think that this year we have achieved the most collaborative approach to problem solving and decision making during my tenure. We have worked hard to hold up our part of the bargain. There will never be 100% agreement on any decision but I feel that we have done our due diligence and worked toward the best course of action within the resources that exist.

Of course, when we consider transitions at the State and National level, things look quite different. As Jacques Barzun stated many years ago, “Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” 

The world has changed in its perception of education. Time and space does not allow for the discourse needed to try to explain this phenomena.  The narrative—for whatever reason—has changed.  The value of education, for the first time in our history, is being questioned. The external challenges coming at us show no sign of abatement.

We all know the litany:  decreasing State support: under-prepared students, increased regulation, growing poverty, completion based funding, and the list goes on.

We also know that challenges provide opportunity. We have faced many challenges in our history and have prevailed. We continue to be very fortunate to be in a community that has always supported our efforts.  For instance, in some rural counties, they must exist on state funding alone. We have a growing and supportive tax base.

If we continue to shape our own destiny—as we have always done-- must stay engaged in the political process. Engaged at the college level, engaged in our local community, and engaged at the State and national level. It has been said that, “Apathy is the self-defense of the powerless.” We must guard against that malady.  

Our organization has an outstanding tradition of active and positive involvement.  We have seen many transitions over our 38 years—we will see many more. We will continue to be involved, at every level, as we meet these challenges and support our colleagues in the important work that we do with our students.