Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Information on DISD Collegiate Academies being launched at multiple DCCCD Colleges

EDITOR'S NOTE UPDATED 4/23/2016: This blog post was written by Patti Burks, professor of computer technology at Brookhaven College, who is serving as the full-time faculty representative on the DISD Collegiate Academies Steering Committee. For more information on the DISD Collegiate Academies, please see this linked presentation that was shared by DISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa with the DCCCD Board of Trustees at the April 5, 2016 Work Session at District Office. EDIT: Please see this linked PDF for additional information on the DISD Collegiate Academies. EDIT 4/26/2016: Please see this editorial on the Collegiate Academies from The Dallas Morning News.

As the faculty rep on the DISD Collegiate Academies Steering Committee, I have learned quite a bit about what is going on. Here is a summary of some of the information that faculty may find useful. Some of it may already be known, but I will cover it just in case. Please feel free to share it with the faculty throughout the District. 

  • The DISD Collegiate academies will begin in the fall with the 9th grade class. Each year a new class will begin so that we will have our first graduating class in 4 years.
  • 9th and 10th grades will be taught on the high school campus. 11th and 12th grade will be on the college campus and may include high school courses as well as college courses.
  • Ideally, students who are TSI met will graduate in 4 years with a high school diploma and a college AAS degree. Students who are not TSI met will graduate with a high school diploma and a certificate and then will complete their AAS degree at the college in years 5-6.
  • All instructors for college courses will be credentialed by the college. The DISD is hiring for the academies and will try to hire college credentialed instructors for the college courses where they can. If a DISD instructor that is college credentialed is not available for a given course, then the college will be responsible for providing a credentialed instructor for that course.
  • All college courses will follow the college curriculum and meet the college learning outcomes.
  • The mapping of the curriculum has begun. A preliminary mapping for a 4 year plan and a 6 year plan for each pathway was developed and has been sent to faculty in the associated college programs for review and comments. This is a draft at this time and they are soliciting faculty input before any final documents are produced. This is subject to change in subsequent years as courses and curriculum change and as we get more information from our 4-year college and industry partners.
  • The curriculum mapping will be consistent across campuses for a given pathway. In other words, Network Administration is being offered at 5 academies associated with 5 DCCCD colleges, but the courses will be the same for all.
  • We hope to have this finalized by May 1, so we will know what we are teaching at the Collegiate Academies in Fall 2016. 
  • The high schools have received applications from prospective students and are in the selection process at this time.
  • A summer bridge program is being developed for the students to help them with college and TSI readiness. 
Overall, I have been impressed with the amount of thought and planning that has gone into this process. I have passed on the questions from the faculty and they will be addressed formally by the committee very soon, but hopefully this will help fill in the gaps for now. Please feel free to contact me with any questions and I will do my best to answer or pass them on to the committee.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Official DCCFA position on full-time faculty extra service

The District Faculty Council on Friday, April 8, affirmed its official position that full-time faculty should be allowed to teach up to 14.7 hours of extra service per semester, including Fall, Spring, Winter Term, May Term, Summer 1 and Summer 2. The Faculty Council supports the Board of Trustees policy regarding full-time faculty extra service, available at this link.

The Faculty Council believes that:

1. Students benefit more overall from instruction by full-time faculty;

2. Deans and faculty working together can best determine the specific number of extra service sections each individual faculty member should teach within a given term;

3. Maximum flexibility is necessary in order to ensure we have enough sections of a given course to meet student demand, particularly in disciplines where it is difficult to find qualified adjunct instructors;

4. Maximum flexibility allows the District to be as nimble as possible to meet the educational needs of Dallas County.

The Faculty Council is conducting ongoing discussions with District leaders, and officials at each college, with the goal of ensuring our extra service policy remains unchanged.

In keeping with our District's spirit of shared governance, the Faculty Council and Talent Central are planning a meeting on the afternoon of Friday, April 29, to gather faculty input, through compression planning, to develop consistency and equity in faculty workload. Each college faculty association president will nominate four or five of his or her colleagues to populate a pool of faculty who may be asked to participate in this compression planning session. Similar compression planning sessions will be convened to gather perspectives from other stakeholders, including academic deans, vice presidents, and presidents.

EDIT 4/26/2016: The compression planning sessions to discuss faculty workload issues have been canceled. The discussion is expected to resume in Fall 2016. The District Faculty Council will continue to monitor the situation throughout the summer and will update faculty as necessary.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

2017-2020 DCCCD Funding Projections

At the April 5 work session, DCCCD Chief Financial Officer John Robertson presented the DCCCD Board of Trustees with a funding projection outlook for the next three years, that all DCCFA members are encouraged to review.

It is important to note that these are forecasts based on the limited information currently available.

Specifically, two major factors could affect local business and residential property tax revenues. The first is the May 7 election of three new DCCCD board members, which will dramatically change the composition of the Board of Trustees. Even if no candidates win more than 50% of the vote on May 7, a runoff election on June 18 between the first and second place finisher would result in new board members being sworn into office in late June.

The second factor is the amount of funding the District will earn from local residential and business property taxes. Sometime this summer, the Dallas Central Appraisal District will inform all taxing entities in Dallas County - including the DCCCD - of the "Taxable Assessed Value" (TAV) of all real property in Dallas County. Then, in August, the Board of Trustees will conduct a series of public hearings on the proposed tax rate.

Based on the composition of the board, and the hearings, the Board could vote to increase, maintain, or decrease the tax rate. Coupled with the new TAV, a new tax rate could increase, maintain, or decrease the overall DCCCD budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017.

Consequently, all employees should prepare ourselves not to know anything concrete about compensation adjustments until August, as it is likely that the 2016-2017 DCCCD budget – and compensation adjustments, if any – will not be known until shortly before the September board meeting.

Video of the March 30 DCCCD Board of Trustees Candidates Forum at Eastfield College

Video of the March 30 DCCCD Board of Trustees Candidates Forum at Eastfield College is available on YouTube at this link.

Nine candidates participated. From District 2, Richard Morgan, J.C. Osborne, Phil Ritter, and Gene Robinson participated. From District 3, Frank Millsap and Dorothy Zimmermann participated. From District 4, Monica Lira Bravo, Martha Jo Talbot, and Brad Underwood participated. Only Tommy Reed (District 3) was unable to participate.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ten candidates vie for three DCCCD Board of Trustees seats

Ten candidates have filed for three open seats on the DCCCD Board of Trustees. The election will take place Saturday, May 7, 2016.

3/31/16 EDIT: Linked names have submitted replies to the DCCFA questionnaire; clicking the linked name will open their replies in a new window. We hope to receive replies from all ten candidates. 

4/7/16 EDIT: Eight of the ten declared candidates have submitted replies to the DCCFA questionnaire. Candidates Richard Morgan (District 2) and Brad T. Underwood (District 4) have not yet submitted their responses electronically or via USPS mail.

Four candidates - Richard Morgan, Phil Ritter, J.C. Osborne, and Gene Robinson - seek to succeed the retiring Bob Ferguson in District 2, which includes portions of downtown and North Dallas, and the northwest corner of Dallas County.

Three candidates - Dorothy Zimmerman, Frank Millsap, and Tommy Reed - seek to succeed the retiring Jerry Prater in District 3, which includes much of northeast Dallas County.

Three candidates - Martha Jo Talbot, Monica Lira Bravo, and Brad T. Underwood - seek to succeed the retiring Bill Metzger in District 4, which includes much of east and southeast Dallas County.

This map shows all seven DCCCD trustee districts. Trustees are elected to six year terms. Terms for Districts 1 and 7 expire in 2018. Terms for Districts 5 and 6 expire in 2020. Trustees represent the community in the oversight and governance of the DCCCD.

Questionnaires will be sent to all candidates in order to gauge their opinions of a variety of issues. Their answers will be published on the DCCFA Advance Blog for all faculty to peruse. In addition, candidates will be invited to a series of candidate forums at several DCCCD colleges.

Eastfield College will host a candidates forum at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 30, in the Performance Hall.

Brookhaven College will host a candidates forum at 12 noon Thursday, April 14, in the Performance Hall.

Richland College will host a candidates forum at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 19, in the Performance Hall.

North Lake College will host a candidates forum at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, in Room G401.

Faculty, staff, students, and community members are invited and encouraged to attend the candidate forums. Please feel free to invite students to attend the candidate forum at, or nearest, your college. Also, if you reside in a voting district other than where you work, please feel free to attend the candidate forum at the college nearest your residence.

Phil Ritter - District 2 Candidate

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

I am an attorney and I have held executive management roles with Texas Instruments Incorporated (20 years), Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (5 years) and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (2 years). I have a BA with Honors in Urban Studies from the University of Maryland – College Park; a Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law, and a Masters of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs – University of Texas at Austin. More information is available at

During my time with Texas Instruments, which included service on the TI Foundation, I became deeply involved in education policy, with particular emphasis on early childhood education, STEM, and university advancement. This led to my service as chairman of the Alliance for Higher Education (which ran DFW’s first distance education network beginning in the 1960s), the Texas Education Reform Caucus, and my current role as Chairman of the Development Board of the University of Texas at Dallas. I was active for many years in the DCCCD Foundation, focusing on efforts to raise funds for Rising Star Scholarships. In 2004 I chaired the successful $450 million bond campaign for DCCCD.

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?

The Board’s role is to set policy and provide fiduciary oversight, review and approve annual budgets, and hire the Chancellor and hold him/her accountable for defined results.

Trustees come from a variety of backgrounds, and it is important that trustees listen to each other as well as bringing their own perspectives to the board table. No Trustee can act unilaterally on behalf of the district, so the collective ability of the board to forge consensus is vital to the success of the DCCCD.

I have been fortunate to participate on the board of directors and in executive staff roles with two successful public entities: Dallas Area Rapid Transit, and DFW International Airport respectively. These experiences prepare me to serve as a Trustee of DCCCD. I believe my strengths lie in the areas of articulating and advancing strategic goals, creating appropriate metrics and accountability, and being an effective advocate in the community and with state and federal government.

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?

There are four primary roles for DCCCD in the educational marketplace: to serve as a high quality and cost effective option for lower division four-year degree candidates; to deliver training leading to two year degrees and certifications for technical, vocational and allied health professions; and to provide a reentry point for adults who seek to return to higher education for re-training or to seek a degree; and to serve as a contract training resource for employers.

As Trustee I will strive to improve the quality and availability of educational programs by allocating resources to student success initiatives, reducing administrative expenses, and facilitating constructive collaboration and resource development activities with businesses and individuals in the private sector.

4. If elected, how will you advocate for DCCCD students, employees, and colleges, in your dealings with business, the community, other public servants, and voters?

I will be a visible presence in the community on behalf of DCCCD, and I will advocate for the district with the substantial network of elected officials, opinion leaders, educators and business executives that I have established through my 30-year professional career in Dallas, the State of Texas, and nationally. I will participate and seek leadership roles in business, policy, and educational organizations that advance the mission of DCCCD. I will make myself accessible to my constituents and the stakeholders of the district, including students, professors, and staff members.

5. 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 asset of the district is the quality of its vision and mission, and the scale by which it delivers high quality, affordable higher education to the community. The biggest challenge facing the district is balancing revenues and expenditures; and particularly assuring that tuition remains affordable while not overburdening taxpayers in an era of declining state revenue. The biggest opportunity for the district is to innovate new and creative models for designing and delivering education and training to meet the demands of the growing DFW economy. I intend to bring my business experience to the table in the budgeting process, and maximize return on the substantial revenues entrusted to DCCCD by taxpayers, students and their families. I will hone my advocacy skills on behalf of DCCCD, developed through my service on the DCCCD Foundation and as chair of the 2004 Bond Campaign, to drive results that advance the mission of the DCCCD. I will support the Chancellor and assure appropriate accountability by DCCCD administration. I have spent most of my adult life engaged in advocacy for business and education, and I know the audiences and control points that influence the success of DCCCD. I embrace the opportunity to serve as Trustee, and I respectfully ask for your vote.