Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Faculty Association Update

Dear colleagues,

Thanks to your continued participation in the Dallas Community College Faculty Association (DCCFA) – 92% of DCCCD faculty joined during the 2015-2016 academic year – we are practicing shared governance in advancing the academic freedom and welfare of our faculty.

The Faculty Council is pleased to report to you that our solidarity and our advocacy continues to bring positive change to the DCCCD and our organizational climate. For instance, in a courageous move, our Board of Trustees is poised to vote Sept. 6 to keep our local property tax rates constant, in order to bring in additional tax revenues that a growth in the total assessed value of residential and commercial property in Dallas County allows. This will fund numerous important initiatives, including much-needed technology and security upgrades, increases in faculty base salaries, and a much needed base salary increase for those faculty – hired between 10 and 35 years ago – most harmed by “compression.” In explaining this to the Board, Chancellor May echoed many of the talking points and rationales our Faculty Council has shared with him during our monthly meetings over the past three years.

Likewise, DCCFA advocacy has proven instrumental in improving relations with the Board of Trustees. In fact, several trustees have come to trust, and routinely seek, our input on a wide variety of issues. Similarly, we continue to cultivate positive and pro-active relationships with the various vice chancellors, and our college leaders, which amounts to an increase in the influence we faculty have.

Going back to 1965, our founding chancellor, Dr. Bill J. Priest, reserved a seat at the table for faculty to be involved in decisions that affect the strategic direction of the DCCCD. Our forward-thinking founding faculty – some of whom celebrate their 50th anniversary this year – launched DCCFA (and our constituent college faculty associations) further to represent faculty interests at all seven colleges and at the District level. Now our growth is less focused on building colleges, and more on leveraging technology to serve more students and a growing number of “non-consumers” who need our teaching and training to prepare to work the jobs available in our rapidly changing local economy.

Consequently, our input and influence as subject matter experts and as experts in the art and science of teaching and learning, is even more important today than it was 50 years ago. Therefore, joining DCCFA is a crucial means to remain engaged in the strategic direction of our District.

Thank you in advance for your membership.

Matt Hinckley, DCCFA President

Monday, August 22, 2016

DISD Academies Update

From Patti Burks, 8/22/16:

Professional Development
A professional development seminar was held on August 10th with over 120 participants. 

An eCampus community site has been created that includes the presentations from the professional development, DCCCD and DISD policies and procedures for all dual credit faculty, checklists and contact information.

To access the information: 
    1. Login to eCampus
         If you do not have an eCampus login, use the guest login username: dcccd-echs password: guest2016
    2. Click on the Community Tab
    3. Enter “dual credit” into the Organization Search box
    4. Click on the DCCCD-ECHS-DUAL-CREDIT community 
You will have the opportunity to self-enroll to see all of the information.
Please share this with all DISD Academy, ECHS and dual credit adjunct faculty.
The budget includes funding for professional development in future semesters.

Curriculum committee charges will include DISD Academy curriculum review for course alignments and pathways. These will be presented at the Curriculum Workshop on August 24th.

Community Partners
Industry partners have been identified for all of the academies. Agreements and next steps are in progress.
Additional meetings have been scheduled with 4 year colleges and universities to discuss articulation of the AAS degrees to BAAS degrees.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Patti Burks
Professor, Computer Technology
Brookhaven College

Friday, August 12, 2016

DCCFA Seeks Member to serve as Bursar

After many years of outstanding performance, Benja Allen has decided to lay down her accounting pen and resign from the Bursar position for the DCCFA.  She has done a fabulous job, for which we will always be grateful.

In light of Benja’s resignation any faculty member, who is an ongoing DCCFA member, that is interested in taking on the role of bursar should contact their campus faculty president by August 24, 2016. The full DCCFA council will meet to determine who to offer the position to once all the names of interested people have been collected.  Do not nominate someone without their permission.  It is perfectly fine to nominate/volunteer yourself.

Shirley M Thompson
Faculty President, North Lake College
Treasurer, DCCFA

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August 2 Board of Trustees Work Session Update

At the August 2 work session of the DCCCD Board of Trustees,  Chief Financial Officer John Robertson reported that the District leadership is recommending that the Board of Trustees adopt no changes to the current maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate, and a slight reduction to the interest and sinking (I&S) tax rate, which, coupled with rising property assessments, would result in a $1.45 per month increase in the property tax bill for an average valued home in Dallas County ($218,000).

Such a tax rate and resultant revenues would allow DCCCD to fund $40.4 million in necessary initiatives. Among those recommended initiatives would be $11.7 million in salary and benefits increases, $1.2 million to provide DART passes to all DCCCD students, $3.8 million for dual credit partnerships, $3.6 million for information technology upgrades, $9.0 million for police and public safety upgrades, $10.3 for student pathways augmentation, and $0.8 million for Title IX compliance.

Within the faculty salary increases, Chief Talent Officer Susan Hall provided additional details on proposed faculty compensation adjustments, which include:

1. A $50 increase in the extra service/adjunct rate to $2,324 per 3-credit hour course;

2. Add an additional "milestone increase" at 25 years of full-time service in Range 3 and 4;

3. Fully fund the 3, 10, 15, and 20 year "milestone increases" approved in September 2015 (benefiting 48 faculty this year);

4. Fully fund approved successful Pay for Performance projects from Spring 2016 PPI pilot (benefiting 61 faculty this year);

5. Base salary increase of $1,600 for all full-time faculty hired before June 1, 2016;

6. Additional base salary increase of $795 for those approximately 322 full-time faculty hired between 9/1/1981 and 9/1/2006, to alleviate compression of salaries of faculty hired during that time.

It should be noted that all recommended salary increases - along with the entire proposed 2016-2017 budget and tax rate, are subject to approval by the Board of Trustees on Sept. 6, 2016.

The Faculty Council believes that while much work remains to offset 30 years of salary compression, this proposal represents a good start. More importantly, this demonstrates a good faith effort by District Talent Central and Chancellor May to respond to the concerns that DCCFA consistently have brought forward regarding the issue of faculty salary compression.

Faculty Load and Extra Service update

During the July 22 work session of the Board of Trustees, one trustee asked numerous questions about faculty extra service and expressed concern that a faculty member had earned $77,000 per year in extra service pay. As evidenced in Board meeting agendas and minutes going back to 2006, some trustees have expressed concerns about inequity in faculty load and extra service. In addition, the July 22 work session discussion was a continuation of a conversation started during Spring 2016 in response to a request from Talent Central to discuss equity in faculty load and extra service (which some faculty took to be an effort to reduce the amount of extra service teaching that full time faculty could perform).

Given the concerns raised at the July 22 Board work session, the Faculty Council requested a special meeting with Chancellor May and Chief Talent Officer Susan Hall on July 27, at which time we shared with the Chancellor our perspectives on faculty extra service teaching, which affirm in more detail our previously articulated position of April 8, 2016 that the current guidelines for full-time faculty teaching extra service are working well.

Each DCCCD college takes steps to ensure faculty who are teaching extra service do not perform that extra service during designated office hours or during hours when they perform their contractually obligated institutional service. Some locations do not allow daytime extra service teaching at all unless the dean, vice president, and president approve, and then only when qualified adjuncts are not available to meet student demand for daytime sections. In addition, any faculty teaching daytime extra service must keep an updated schedule posted in the division office and outside his/her office door to indicate when office hours are kept and institutional service is performed.

Rather than resort to policy changes, instructional leaders throughout the District – including the faculty council and the academic vice presidents – have reiterated that deans and faculty collaborating closely are best able to determine the number of extra service sections an individual faculty member successfully can teach. From a student learning and student success perspective, current extra service practice – within existing policy – is working well.

To respond to concerns expressed by the Board of Trustees on July 22, Chancellor May asked the Faculty Council to convene a diverse group of instructional leaders to study the equity of current practices in determining faculty load across the District and to recommend solutions to situations where inequity currently exists. The Council will recommend convening a task force consisting of Council members, the academic vice presidents, and instructional deans to discuss these issues and make recommendations. The group also will call upon leaders of critical support functions, such as Susan Hall (who leads Human Resources) and Chief Innovation Officer Tim Marshall (who leads District IT, which runs our software infrastructure) to provide technical and operational input, and the seven faculty members of the DCCFA Welfare and Benefits committee (which is chaired by DCCFA Vice President Tommy Thompson).

Monday, August 1, 2016

Faculty Compensation adjustments for 2016-2017

The Faculty Council has been actively engaged with Chancellor May and Talent Central regarding proposed compensation adjustments for 2016-2017.

As noted in the post from June 21, 2016, three new members were elected to the Board of Trustees in May and June of 2016. Each race was competitive and two races went to runoffs. Two of the winning candidates ran against opponents who promised to cut spending in order to cut taxes. One of the winning candidates has promised to continue fighting to cut spending and reduce taxes. Taxpayers throughout the county who are unhappy with rising property tax bills are pressuring – and will continue to pressure – their elected officials to reduce taxes, even though DCCCD taxes only comprise 4-5% of the average homeowner’s property tax bill, as noted in the DCCCD Multi Year Planning and Outlook (FY2017-2020), presented at the Board Work Session on April 5, 2016.
The Faculty Council has worked diligently this spring and summer to counter the strident anti-tax mood among many voters and to provide opportunities for Dallas County voters to learn more about the candidates: it published a voters guide and helped to organize and conduct four candidate forums before the elections; it has engaged discussions with the Chancellor and the executive team at a level unprecedented in the recent past; and it has reached out to the new trustees directly, to share faculty perspectives on the important roles our colleges play in our communities.

Property value assessments in Dallas County have risen significantly, but our colleges’ needs remain great. Our District has been run with fiscal conservatism for decades, often at the expense of necessary maintenance and infrastructure updates to some of our facilities that are over 40 years old. Moreover, salaries for many employees – particularly faculty hired between 1981 and 2006 – have not grown adequately to meet the District’s goal of “employee success,” or even to match the salary growth that benefited faculty hired as our colleges opened in the 1960s and 1970s.

Chancellor May and Talent Central have been working hard within tight budgets to win Board approval to raise entering salaries to be competitive in the marketplace and to create structures to allow faculty salaries to rise. The one remaining challenge is one 30 years in the making – the compression of faculty salaries – which is particularly acute for those faculty hired between between 1981 and 2006. Faculty should be encouraged that Chancellor May is taking steps unprecedented in the last two decades to present the Board of Trustees with a comprehensive list of District needs, including compensation adjustments that would promote employee success.

During the work sessions for the Board of Trustees on July 21 and 22 that covered a wide variety of District and college operations and priorities, Chief Talent Officer Susan Hall presented an expense summary that included $1.566 million for adjustments to faculty salaries in 2016-17. The Faculty Council will continue to engage with both Susan Hall and the Chancellor to refine her recommendations in order to better address the problem of salary compression. The Board will continue to balance its fiduciary responsibility with the many priorities our colleges need to serve our communities. A final budget is to be adopted at the regular monthly Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Until then, we can look forward to the following milestones, each of which will further crystalize the 2016-2017 budget and compensation adjustments to be included therein:

Tuesday, August 2: Board of Trustees Work Session to include Budget Presentation; 
Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees with an agenda item to discuss the proposed tax rate. The Board is required to take a record vote and schedule public hearings if the proposed tax rate will exceed the effective tax rate.

Tuesday, August 16: First of two public hearings on the tax rate, if required.

Tuesday, August 23: Second of two public hearings on the tax rate, if required.