Monday, January 23, 2017

FLRG Update #7: January 2017 FLRG Status Report

The Faculty Load Review Group (FLRG) would like to provide an update to all DCCCD constituents on the work it has completed to date. To do that, it is important that we restate the purpose of our work, including the charge we received.


  • To identify opportunities to improve student success through consistent processes for the assignment of faculty load;
  • To document current DCCCD procedures, to research best practices, and to recommend systemic improvements;
  • While compensation methods are inherent in this review, careful consideration should be directed to the time/effort required in the instructional delivery, the formulas for calculation of load, and not to the amount of that compensation.

Tri-chairs: Ken Alfers (MVC faculty), Zarina Blankenbaker (RLC VP), Matt Hinckley (EFC, DCCFA president)

Members: Audra Barrett (CVC VP), Shawnda Floyd (NLC dean), Michael Gutierrez (EFC VP), Bill Hammerschlag (BHC faculty, BHCFA president), Vernon Hawkins (BHC dean), Greg Morris (ECC VP), Fred Newbury (RLC faculty), Richard Plott (DO, data analytics), Jamie Templeton (DO, Colleague/IT), Margo Silva (MVC faculty, MVCFA president), Eddie Tealer (NLC VP), Shirley Thompson (NLC faculty, NLCFA president).

FLRG members unanimously agreed that the largest and most systemic improvements in faculty load could be gained by addressing how lab instruction is calculated relative to lecture instruction. Current practice counts each lab hour as 2/3rds of a lecture hour in full-time faculty load, even though lecture and lab hours are considered equal in both premium pay and extra service/adjunct pay. Therefore, faculty who teach labs must spend more hours teaching within their 30 hour work week than faculty who do not teach labs. Faculty Climate Survey data, and information gathered by the DCCFA Welfare and Benefits Committee, further supports the claim that the lecture/lab inequity is one of the most prevalent and persistent concerns of faculty. In addition, the current lecture/lab calculation negatively impacts faculty who teach in the STEM and CTE fields where it can be most difficult to find qualified faculty. Finally, FLRG determined that the lecture/lab disparity was both cleanly different from, and yet logically the first step that needed to be addressed before considering, other aspects of faculty load such as class size and modality issues.

Consequently, FLRG developed three-sub groups: ALPHA, BRAVO, and CHARLIE. ALPHA Group, co-chaired by Fred Newbury and Michael Gutierrez, was charged to investigate and recommend possible solutions to the lecture/lab inequity. After much benchmarking and study, ALPHA Group is bringing forward a recommendation to treat lecture and lab instruction the same – one lab hour is equal to one lecture hour. In addition, the ALHPA Group is bringing forward a corollary recommendation to allow Continuing Education contact hours to count toward full-time faculty load. BRAVO Group, co-chaired by Shirley Thompson and Eddie Tealer, is learning more about our modality and class size practices across the District. Based on data BRAVO is gathering from stakeholders, and student success and other relevant data to be gathered by the CHARLIE group, co-chaired by Shawnda Floyd and Bill Hammerschlag, FLRG hopes to make additional recommendations to Chief Talent Officer (CTO) Susan Hall and Chancellor May.

In addition to FLRG, Chancellor May and Talent Central commissioned other task forces to review other areas where inequities may exist across the District. The work of the Chancellors Faculty Fellows Task Force (which was comprised of faculty and instructional leaders across the District) was submitted to CTO Hall and Chancellor May in November. Chancellor May has agreed with most recommendations from the Task Force, and has directed CTO Hall to develop policy and procedure guidelines to implement them. The Chancellors Faculty Fellows Program will be paused temporarily to allow these recommendations to be operationalized. Similarly, the Performance Pay Incentive Task Force (which likewise was comprised of faculty and instructional leaders across the District) submitted recommendations to CTO Hall and Chancellor May, who has agreed with all of the recommendations and has directed them to be operationalized immediately. The work of the Faculty Hiring Process Task Force is ongoing, and a task force to undertake the periodic scheduled review of the Faculty Evaluation Process will launch in early Spring 2017. Both of these task forces also will be led and populated by faculty and instructional leaders.

It is important to understand that the Board of Trustees is the only entity which makes policy, and it is the role of the Chancellor both to recommend policies to the Board, and to enforce them by establishing and enacting guidelines and processes. In that regard, FLRG is an advisory task force, not a decision-making task force. Nevertheless, FLRG neither has suggested, nor been directed to consider, any proposals not within the scope of our work or documented in our reports and updates. There are no suggestions that faculty be required to teach more sections to make load. There are no suggestions that faculty be required to teach more students in each section. There are no suggestions that large group instruction – or any other modality – should be eliminated. There are no suggestions that extra service limits be changed. Lending credence to other possibilities not mentioned in our charges, reports, and updates may undermine the careful work that faculty and instructional leaders are doing to make recommendations that would increase equity, fairness, and transparency, in faculty load.

UPDATE: Please see this link for notes taken during the FLRG meetings of Dec. 9, 2016, and Jan. 20, 2017.