Wednesday, November 30, 2016

FLRG Update #5: Nov. 21 Meeting Summary

Please see this attached document for the notes from the Nov. 21 meeting of the Faculty Load Review Group.

Of particular interest is a forthcoming recommendation from the ALPHA sub-group, to replace the current lecture-lab grid (that counts labs for only two-thirds of a lecture hour in calculating full-time faculty load) with a 1:1 lecture/lab model. The ALPHA sub-group also is expected to recommend that continuing education contact hours be treated equally to credit contact hours when calculating full-time faculty load.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Update on Chancellor’s Faculty Fellows Task Force

The Chancellors Faculty Fellows Task Force met Oct. 31 to review all of the feedback received regarding the program, to discuss the revisions proposed, and to prepare a formal recommendation to send to Dr. May for review. 

The Task Force concentrated its efforts on crafting recommendations regarding only the recruitment and hiring processes for Chancellor’s Faculty Fellows; a review of the Boot Camp and Mentoring curriculum will take place in the spring of 2017. 

The feedback the Task Force received, in two separate installments, can be seen in this document (from Oct. 9) and this document (from Oct. 30). The formal recommendations are in this document; the cover letter to the Chancellor is here. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

FLRG Update #4: Nov. 7 Meeting Summary


The Faculty Load Review Group (FLRG) met Monday, Nov. 7. The following meeting summary was written and submitted by Chief Talent Officer Susan Hall, at the request of FLRG tri-chairs Ken Alfers, Zarina Blankenbaker, and Matt Hinckley:

During the 3rd meeting of the Faculty Load Review Group meeting on November 7, 14 out of 15 members were in attendance.  Progress reports were provided by the following teams:
  • Alpha - The group held its first meeting, and has a conference call planned for November 18.  Membership will be confirmed.  Goal remains to propose a plan based on contact hours with equal percentage of load assigned to both lecture and lab hours.  External best practice models are being reviewed.  Team expects to make formal recommendations in early December to larger group.
  • Bravo -
    • Team includes Shirley Thompson (NLC), Margo Silva (MVC), Audra Barrett (CVC), Eddie Tealer (NLC), Kathy Yates (RLC), Shazia Ali (EFC), Victor Soto (MVC), Charles Cadenhead (BHC), Gerardo Vega (CVC), Lupita Navarro (CVC),Don Martin (ECC) and Shane Baxter (BHC)
    • Group has been working through the assigned questions from the last meeting, and have accumulated 91 responses from across the District.
    • Will be using information from Discipline Committees to identify appropriate class size by course and modality. 
    • Have requested Schedule 25 report to consider inventory of class rooms by campus, but information available is not consistent among colleges.
    • Next meeting is scheduled for November 16.
  • Charlie -
    • Team includes Shawnda Floyd (NLC), Bill Hammerschlag (BHC), Ruben Johnson (CVC), Lisa Ehrich (BHC), Kim Lowry (EFC), and Michael Bailey (BHC)
    • Current review of faculty coordinator/chair roles being reviewed, internal and external.
    • Researching methods for faculty load monitoring, whether digital or other method; and whether responsibility is managed at VP or Dean level when scheduling decisions are made.
    • Work of this team is dependent on Alpha and Bravo, and then may need discussion with technology representatives.
Other topic discussion included:
  • Data
    • Richard Plott will provide an inventory of systemic reporting available.
    • Example of Data Depot information related to "Top 10 Classes Taken" was provided and discussed.

  • Charge to Discipline Committees
    • Formal charge language draft was reviewed, with request to the full committee to review the updated information electronically and confirm for release
    • Input will be gathered from the AVPs and final charges will be send out by the Office of Educational Affairs to the Discipline/Program Curriculum Committees prior to the Thanksgiving break
    • Specific requests include: review of current policies and practices regarding class size, review of correlation of class size to student success, bench marking with other like institutions, and formal recommendation on section size/enrollment caps by course, by January 25.

  • Communication
    • Continue to share notes widely.
    • Post a blog update via Faculty web and Talent Central.
    • Use the team site on the DCCCD portal.
    • Request a lead story on the work in a future e-newsletter.
    • Encourage continued efforts by Vice Presidents and Presidents to raise awareness of the issues and intent of review.
The next meeting is planned for November 21.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Faculty Council releases agenda for Nov. 11 convention, and menu for the post-convention reception

The Faculty Council has released the agenda for the Nov. 11 DCCFA Convention. The agenda is available at this link.

The convention will begin at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Dallas County Commissioners Court, 411 Elm Street, Dallas. (Please note that the building shows as "Dallas County Administration Building" on the map. Commissioners Court is on the first floor. The Sixth Floor Museum is in the same building; it is the former Texas School Book Depository Building.) Faculty who have paid their $75 annual DCCFA membership dues by the time the convention begins are welcome and invited to attend.

The agenda PDF document includes links to supporting documents including proposed revisions to the DCCFA Bylaws that are described here and here, the proposed budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, and the reports from the five standing committees of the DCCFA.

Chancellor Joe May will be the featured guest speaker, and he is looking forward to answering questions from faculty.

All members attending the convention are then invited to attend a reception hosted by the El Centro College Food and Hospitality Institute, at which this menu will be served:



Shrimp Cocktail
Fresh Fruit and Cheese
Chicken Wings (Honey BBQ, Spicy, and “Really Spicy”)
Tossed Salad
Penne Pasta with Herbed Tomato Sauce and Meatballs
Grilled Seasonal Vegetables
Assorted Breads with Butter
Homemade Chocolate Brownies
Beer and Wine (donated by private individuals – alcohol service exemption has been granted by El Centro College administration as a training opportunity for El Centro FHI students who are TABC certified)

We hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

DCCFA Standing Committee Reports

The DCCFA standing committees gathered on October 7, 2016, and the Bill J. Priest Institute for their annual meeting. Each committee was charged with reviewing the draft of the changes to the DCCFA Bylaws (see this post for more information) and with reviewing the previous year's report, discussing past and current issues, and generating a new report for the Convention on Nov. 11. The reports of each of the committees is provided here for the entire DCCFA membership to review prior to the Convention.

Report from Communications
Report from Membership
Report from Instructional Goals and Academic Freedom

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Faculty Council Releases Proposed Budget for 2016-2017 Fiscal Year

In response to faculty requests for the DCCFA to make its proposed budget available for faculty to review before the annual general convention on Friday, Nov. 11, the Faculty Council has released the proposed budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Please click this link to review the proposed DCCFA budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017.

UPDATE 11/7/2016: Please click this link to review a revised proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017. The revision was necessitated by a correction to the line item for summer compensation.

UPDATE 11/15/2016: Please click this link to review the FY 2016-2017 budget adopted at the Nov. 11 DCCFA Convention.

Please note that it is the DCCFA membership, gathered at the annual general convention, that has the responsibility to approve the budget.

The annual general convention will begin at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Dallas County Commissioners Court, 411 Elm Street, Dallas. (Please note that the building shows as "Dallas County Administration Building" on the map. Commissioners Court is on the first floor. The Sixth Floor Museum is in the same building; it is the former Texas School Book Depository Building.) Faculty who have paid their annual DCCFA membership dues by the time the convention begins are welcome and invited to attend.

Important Differences between TCCTA Professional Liability Insurance, and DCCFA Legal Defense



DCCFA and TCCTA are two independent organizations that serve different but similar and complimentary purposes.

Dr. Fred Newbury, professor of Economics at Richland College, has served multiple terms as DCCFA president, and served in 2010-2011 as TCCTA president.

According to Dr. Newbury, it is important for faculty to join and participate in both DCCFA and TCCTA.

“I hope all DCCCD faculty will join both DCCFA and TCCTA,” Newbury said. “I have seen so many cases where membership in both organizations has helped faculty generally, and many individual faculty who face unique challenges.” 

Through these organizations, two-year college faculty have a voice at the local and the state level.
For instance, through Executive Director Richard Moore and Chief Lobbyist Beaman Floyd, TCCTA provides important counsel for state legislators and their executive staff to advocate for faculty interests at the state level. Those who attended the 2015 DCCFA convention had an opportunity to listen to Moore and Floyd, and learn about their efforts on behalf of all Texas community college teachers. 

At the local level, DCCFA has worked hard to cultivate improved relations with numerous members of the DCCCD Board of Trustees and with the Chancellor and his staff. Better communication has contributed to improved compensation and working conditions. It is important that faculty maintain a “seat at the table” and continue the important work in the shared governance process. 

Likewise, according to Dr. Newbury and TCCTA Executive Director Richard Moore, TCCTA and DCCFA offer different types of professional liability and legal defense.

“The coverage provided by the DCCFA and the TCCTA Professional Educators Liability Insurance Program complement each other in important ways,” Moore said. 

“In my numerous stints on the Faculty Council, I have seen many instances where the DCCFA legal defense fund – and representation in grievance processes by the Council – has helped a member overcome an unfairly poor evaluation, contractual dispute, or academic freedom issue,” Newbury said.  

According to the brochure provided by TCCTA, members can purchase professional liability insurance that offers “protection for your assets if you are named in a lawsuit due to an event arising in the course and scope of your employment,” and “reimbursement of up to $10,000 per claim of attorney fees…if there is an action or proceeding against you involving: supervision, tenure, salary, leave of absence or dismissal; allegations of improper discipline of a student; allegations of improper contact with a student; allegations of sexual harassment; allegation of a violation of civil rights; and certification or licensure” and “up to $1,000 premium of bail bonds.” This coverage is set up for each academic year and is normally renewed in August.  Enrollment for the previous year is not a requirement for coverage.

Through DCCFA, per DCCFA Bylaws, members are eligible to request, and the association keeps funds dedicated to provide, “legal assistance and other necessary help for DCCFA members involved in contractual and/or academic freedom disputes within the Dallas County Community College District.” 

In order to qualify for legal defense funds, the faculty member must have been an active member of the DCCFA “for two consecutive years immediately prior to the year in which they request assistance, or have joined as active members in the first year they are eligible to become active members.” 

Therefore, not joining the DCCFA, or letting one’s DCCFA membership lapse, causes one to forfeit eligibility for possible legal defense funds until two full years after they have re-joined the DCCFA.

Faculty may direct further questions to their college TCCTA rep, and their college faculty association president.

FLRG (Faculty Load Review Group) Update #3: BRAVO Subcommittee Update



The Faculty Load Review Group (FLRG) next meets Monday, Nov. 7. The BRAVO subcommittee co-chair Shirley Thompson has published this report to keep faculty updated on the work of this group:

The BRAVO subcommittee of the Faculty Load Task Force had its first in person meeting this past week and have outlined our next steps to move forward on our task of examining the various teaching modalities.  Our charge is to try to determine the best methods for ensuring student success and equity in teaching responsibilities across the identified modalities (Distance Learning, LGI’s, Small Group Instruction, Dual Credit, Lecture, Lab, CO-OP, etc.)  Our first steps were to outline current practice in terms of what is happening at various campuses in the way of establishing a faculty member’s load and what is in our district documents such as HROGs concerning load for these various modalities.

I’ve linked the current survey we sent out last week with the responses we’ve received so far.  Our survey was built by taking the questions we were charged by the Task Force to answer.

Please send your inquiries, thoughts, comments to your campus representative to be sure your input comes back to our next meeting on Nov. 16th.  Shortly after that meeting you will get another update.

We’ve identified several pieces of information we need from each campus:

1.     How did your campus come up with course section max numbers?  For example at my college the max for history & government is 35 while the max for MATH classes is normally 25.

2.    We also think having a list of rooms, by campus, with fire code capacity and discipline set maxes would be good.  For example, a room might have a fire code capacity of 30, but the set up the subject area wants is 25 due to the layout of the furniture and activities the students are expected to do during class.  We are developing a form for this part of the request and will send that out in a couple of days. Audra is sending a copy of the form used at CVC and Shirley and Eddie are going to pare it down to get only what we need for our purposes.  Once that is completed we will send it out to the committee.  In the meantime it would be good to talk with your institutional research people about a project coming their way.

3.    I’ve linked the spreadsheet created by the responses we have so far from our list of questions assigned to our group by the Faculty Load Task Force.  I’ve arranged the order of responses by campus.  I have several from CVC that are not on this list.  I need to add them to the spreadsheet and will resend when that’s complete.  Without those we have 86 responses so plenty to read in your spare time. The goal here is to start getting the big picture so we can drill down at our next meeting on November 16th from 2 – 4 pm at the District Office.

4.    We discussed having the curriculum committees establish course section maxes. To do so, we need a charge written for them to respond to in January during faculty return week. This would be at the course level not the subject level.  For example some English classes might have a max of 20 others a max of 25 depending on the number of graded papers expected.

5.    Included in the discussion was the DL pay grid and the fact that having this separate practice of paying for extra students, and not letting the class make with full pay for less than 15 is problematic because of the inequities created between lecture and DL compensation .  We are looking for a means to have a simplified assignment of load and extra service.

6.    We looked at the pay/load allocation for Co-Op students and have asked that each of us talk with some Co-Op instructors to see if they think the load/pay assignment is fair.

Our Colleague Specialist on the committee noted how having a grid to determine load % or pay amount is preferable to having a document that can be interpreted multiple ways. Our goal is to try to simplify the guidelines and practices used across the district for load. Included in this discussion was the idea of using contact hours for pay/load whether the course is for load or extra service.

In regard to the question about “significant overloads” affecting teaching quality, a suggestion was made that perhaps we should consider a policy of allowing extra service work to be evaluated instead of regular load classes if the faculty member has more than a two course overload. Not a requirement, just an option if the dean chooses to do so.