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.

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