Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Faculty Load Review Group to Study Contact Hour Model to Calculate Faculty Load

The Faculty Load Review Group (FLRG) has begun its work to address questions that have been gathered over the past several months regarding equity in faculty load. This document describes the “Faculty Load Review Group” that is charged to investigate these questions and formulate recommendations.

Please note that the FLRG agreed that any discussions must first focus on obtaining an answer as to whether or not the District can move to a "contact hour model" for calculating faculty load. The DCCFA Faculty Council for years has argued, on behalf of faculty, that the current method of calculating lab instruction within faculty load - where a lab hour counts as two-thirds of a lecture hour - is fundamentally inequitable, makes faculty who teach labs (or practical/studio/etc.) work more for the same compensation compared to faculty who only teach lectures, makes it more difficult for the District to find and hire qualified faculty in this hard-to-fill disciplines, and reduces opportunities for these faculty to participate in institutional service opportunities. Moreover, allowing faculty to teach both credit and noncredit continuing education courses for load, which would be possible with a contact hour model, would increase opportunities for faculty to teach in multiple fields, lead to more faculty being hired to launch new programs that may begin as continuing education before transitioning into credit programs, and increase the ability of the District to meet community educational needs. Consequently, the Faculty Council welcomes this development.

The following notes were taken by Chief Talent Officer Susan Hall, and are republished on the Advance Blog for faculty to review.

It’s Official – “They” really are looking at faculty load…
The Chancellor and Executive Staff have recruited a number of key faculty and administrators to become “they.”  Each of the individuals have a particular experience and/or expertise to bring to 1) a critical review of the current policies, procedures and practices for assigning load percentages; 2) researching best practices, and 3) recommending systemic improvements for consistency and equity.
In the first meeting this week, the group led by Drs. Ken Alfers (MVC), Zarina Blankenbaker (RLC), and Matt Hinckley (EFC), made considerable progress in agreeing that the work needed to begin with a critical evaluation of a contact hour model of load calculation, including both credit and non-credit courses.  

This Contact Hour Model group (with the code name “Alpha”) will be led by Michael Gutierrez (EFC) and Fred Newbury (RLC) with additional task force representation from Greg Morris (ELC) and Vernon Hawkins (BC), as well as Jamie Templeton (DSC) and Margo Silva (MVC).  The Alpha group will be expanding their membership to ensure a broad representation from those involved in the work on the “front lines” from schedule build to course completion.
Other sub-groups to begin their work include:

  • Modality and Class Size (“Bravo”) to be led by Shirley Thompson (NLC) and Eddie Tealer (NLC).  Task Force members Audra Barrett (CVC) and Margo Silva (MVC) will also be working on behalf of this group.  And again, this group is charged with reviewing current requirements, researching best practices and recommending systemic improvements.
  • Load Management: Monitoring, Training, and Technology (“Charlie”) to be led by Shawnda Floyd (NLC) and Bill Hammerschlag (BC), with additional Task Force member Richard Plott (DO) participating as well

A copy of the organization and purpose for the work of the Faculty Load Review Group is linked for your information. A long list of questions to be answered as a part of the process has been developed through discussions about the work with the Chancellor and his executive staff.   A copy is linked.  Susan Hall is the designated accountability lead for the work of the group – providing the link between the group, the Chancellor’s staff, and the final decision-maker, the Chancellor.  The initial executive summary is due to Susan in January, with the understanding that it may be a partial report of on-going progress.  The final recommendations adopted and the timing of the approval of those recommendations will dictate their implementation date, which could be as early as the Fall 2017 for some recommendations and later for others.

The next meeting of the group will occur on October 12 – with the leadership from Alpha, Bravo and Charlie groups already on the look-out for their team “experts” to help in this mammoth process.  Remember this is Texas, and we don’t do “small.”

If you have read this far, then we know that you are interested – and we want to keep you up-to-date and in-the-loop in all ways possible. You can look for items like this to appear after each regular meeting.  You can find Susan blogging about the topic via the Talent Central blog, and Matt using the DCCFA Advance Blog for similar purposes.  A designated space for updates about the work, and an opportunity to post questions or comments, will appear soon on the portal – with open access to any faculty, staff, or administrator throughout the District.   Each member of the group has been tasked to take on the individual task of updating the broadest audience possible about the work, whether councils, president’s staff meetings, constituents at their home location or across the District.

So who is “they?”  It’s really US, and we are all in this together!  Questions, comments, or concerns – let us know. 

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