LCC Faculty Colleagues,
I hope your winter term is going as smoothly as possible, thus far.
I’m writing with a number of important, brief updates for all faculty regarding: COVID safety this term, concealed weapons prohibition on campus, Minimum Qualifications and Instructor Certification procedures, bargaining, contracted faculty searches, program suspension recommendations, college budget, LCC strategic plan, All Faculty Survey results, and the new Lane County Education Workers alliance.
COVID Safety and Student Attendance This Term
It is likely that there will be an opportunity for faculty to choose to move courses to remote format (with dean approval) due to high rates of student absences and the current COVID surge. Please keep an eye on email for updates.
Concerns or Safety Issues Reporting Form — Given both the increase in on campus instruction and the surge in COVID cases, please use this form to report to LCCEA: questions, concerns, or COVID-safety issues related to the Winter 2022 classes and services on campus. Please also use this form to share student attendance patterns in your in-person classes that may be impacted by the current COVID surge and/or stories related to challenges to your faculty work, workload, and impacts to student learning. LCCEA is collecting this information in order to support and advocate on behalf of faculty. Faculty are also encouraged to submit requests for resolution of safety issues by email to the LCC COVID compliance manager, Dawn Barth at: email@example.com. In addition, faculty are advised to ask their dean for locations of needed supplies (e.g. masks, sanitizer, disinfectant spray, etc.)
Concealed Weapons Prohibited on Campus
The Board of Education adopted a new policy that expands the prohibition of firearms on campus such that concealed weapons are now also prohibited even if a person has a concealed weapons permit. The policy, now possible after legislation coming out of the 2021 session that allows school boards to ban concealed weapons, replaces the longstanding policy prohibiting firearms on campus but which still allowed concealed weapons in the past.
Minimum Qualifications and Instructor Certification Procedures
As previously reported, Academic and Student Affairs (ASA) published new procedures for Minimum Qualifications and Instructor Certification in late September. These procedures are inconsistent with the faculty contract and also represent unilateral changes to mandatory subjects of bargaining (issues about which negotiations are legally required). An analysis of the procedures by the LCCEA Executive Council and Grievance Team as well as legal counsel indicates that the procedures: reduce the role of faculty in determining the minimum qualifications for their discipline and also interfere with existing contract language protecting job security and assignment rights for both part-time and contracted faculty. After several months of communications by OEA-appointed legal counsel, the College has agreed to meet to negotiate and to follow the contractual grievance procedure for any outstanding contractual issues after bargaining is complete. In the meantime, please notify LCCEA immediately if your certifications are under review and/or if any certifications for course(s) or other faculty work are removed.
New Agreement Reached in December
In case you missed it at the very end of finals week in Fall, your LCCEA Bargaining Team reached an agreement over the impacts of SB 551. The new MOA provides substantial gains for faculty, including: increases to college contributions for part-time faculty family insurance (i.e. any tier above employee only), updates to expand eligibility for part-time faculty insurance so that faculty do not unnecessarily lose insurance for one term, paid non-instructional time for both contracted and part-time faculty, a new Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Faculty Fellowship with at least two contracted positions each year, as well as funding for FPD for a new BIPOC faculty mentorship program and curriculum development funding to build student understanding of equity, inclusion, and systemic oppression. LCCEA is working collaboratively with HR to implement numerous provisions of the MOA.
Part-time Faculty with Insurance from Two Oregon Public Institutions of Higher Education
Part-time faculty who also teach at other public institutions of higher education in Oregon and receive insurance both at LCC and the other institution will have the opportunity to opt-out of designating LCC as their home institution for the purpose of insurance. Because LCC-provided insurance for part-time faculty is excellent, and our contract provides that the College pays 100% of insurance for eligible part-time faculty with employee-only insurance, we anticipate few, if any, faculty will wish to opt-out. Opting-out is not relevant for faculty who do not teach at other public colleges or universities in Oregon. More communications from HR will be forthcoming. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact LCCEA with questions.
Negotiations are scheduled to begin by the end of this month for the economic reopener of our contract, which will cover the 2022-2024 years. In addition to economics, each party may bring up to three non-economics. Please join me in thanking LCCEA Bargaining Team members, Kelly Collins, Joseph Colton, and Nancy Wood, for their dedication and commitment to representing faculty interests as we move from one negotiation to the next!
Contracted Faculty Searches
In addition to filling eight extra contracted faculty positions (no less than sixteen total) for the 2022-2023 year, one outcome of the grievance resolution over insufficient hiring of full-time faculty positions for this year is public posting of the status of all contracted searches. You will find current searches and details about their status posted publicly on the HR website and linked from the HR “Employment” page. This College will maintain and update this list this year and into the future so that information regarding the status of all contracted faculty positions will be available publicly.
Program Suspension and Modification Recommendations Go to Board This Wednesday
Programs Under Review
As reported last term, Academic and Student Affairs (ASA) has been reviewing three programs: Culinary, Manufacturing, and Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management (HRTM) and is now recommending that the Board of Education take the following actions this Wednesday, January 12.
Replace the current Associate’s degree with two career pathways certificates housed within an “umbrella” one-year certificate. LCCEA greatly appreciates the leadership of the administration in working collaboratively with faculty in both Culinary and Career Pathways to ensure that, through these changes, the college will maintain access and promote equity for the diverse student population served by the program.
Replace the current Associate’s degrees with two short-term certificates and develop an advanced manufacturing/ mechatronics/ automation technology AAS.
Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management (HRTM)
Eliminate the program entirely. The HRTM program was recently redesigned with a new two-year degree approved last Spring. However, the Administration asked the program during summer to create a one-year certificate to replace the newly approved two-year degree. Since that time, however, ASA has advised the program that they are disallowed from presenting a new one-year certificate proposal to the Curriculum Committee. Industry leaders from Travel Lane County, the Eugene Hilton, the Graduate Hotel, and the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association have advocated to maintain the program, citing, for example, the 11,000 jobs in the tourism industry in Lane County as of 2019 and the high demand for LCC program graduates.
If the Board proceeds with the Administration’s recommended actions, it is likely that one faculty member will be impacted.
College Budget and Disinvestment in the College Mission
The College’s FY21 (Fiscal Year 2021: July 2020-June 2021) budget audit was published and indicates much better fiscal stability. Federal pandemic relief funding was applied retroactively to account for lost revenue and pandemic-related expenses from FY21. This resulted in increases to the ending fund balances of several funds. In particular, Fund I (the General Fund) now has an ending balance of nearly $8M, an increase of more than $5M, ensuring that the College is much more stable than a year ago. Please see summary of ending fund balances (dollars remaining in each fund at the end of the fiscal year) below.
However, persistent issues remain, including the lack of sufficient investment in the instructional and student services mission. Please see graph below, which is copied and pasted from the official budget audit document. Instruction, which includes all expenses related to instructional departments (i.e. faculty, management, classified, materials and services) comprises only 34% of total annual expenses. Furthermore, instruction, together with student services at 12%, comprise only 46% of total expenses.
The Board of Education approved the new LCC strategic plan at their December 15 meeting. However, the Administration presented the strategic plan draft to the Board of Education without a vote or approval by College Council, which is required by the College Council charter and the LCC shared governance system. Instead, College Council had been asked to forward feedback on the plan to the Board, compiling input from multiple shared governance councils and constituencies, some of which called an extra meeting the day before Thanksgiving or dedicated substantial meeting time to formulate thoughtful feedback. None of the feedback, including College Council’s own approved feedback, was incorporated into the draft forwarded to the Board. Hence, the plan has not been vetted through LCC’s shared governance system and does not account for the voluminous feedback provided by stakeholder groups including: Faculty Council, Infrastructure Council, College Council, LCCEA, among others.
All Faculty Survey Brief Results
Thank you to the 249 faculty who participated in the All-Faculty Survey in November. Your LCCEA Bargaining Team has been analyzing results in preparation for the upcoming negotiations in order to best represent faculty interests. In the meantime, please find below a summary of some of the results about faculty working and student learning conditions on campus.
Workload and Uncompensated Time
- 74.1% of faculty respondents work more than their assigned and compensated FTE with 34.3% working 21% or more over their assigned and compensated FTE
- 96.7% work some evenings or weekends (outside of regularly assigned times) with 84.2% working evenings and/or weekends at least half of the weeks each term.
Necessity and basic needs
- 36% of part-time faculty who are not retired and 8.3% of full-time faculty reported having relied on government assistance while working as faculty at LCC.
- 10.2% of part-time faculty who are not retired experienced food insecurity, 2.8% of contracted faculty experienced food insecurity during the last year.
- One faculty member reported experiencing houselessness during the last year.
Impacts on Faculty Working and Student Learning Conditions
- 97.6% strongly agree or agree that they are committed to serving students.
- 62% of full-time faculty and 55% of part-time faculty who are not retired report that stress from their job affects their life outside of work.
- 41% of full-time faculty and 29% of part-time faculty have considered seeking a job elsewhere due to working conditions at LCC.
- 19.1% report not having office space at LCC that allows them to meet privately with students.
- 20.6% report not having access to the technology needed to do their job.
- 19.4% report that classrooms and instructional spaces do not allow them to serve students well.
Faculty Morale, Appreciation, and College Leadership
- 31% of full-time faculty rate their morale high while 39% rate their morale low with 31% neutral.
- 73.1% of full-time faculty feel valued by their faculty colleagues while only 29.9% feel valued by administrators.
- 68% of full-time faculty have low or lowest confidence in the administration’s inclusive decision making that values stakeholder input with only 11% reporting high or highest confidence and 21% neutral.
- 69% of full-time faculty have low or lowest confidence in the administration’s budget allocations to fulfill the college mission with 11% reporting high or highest confidence and 20% neutral.
- 54% of full-time faculty disagree or strongly disagree that senior leadership at LCC cares about their concerns with 32% neutral and 14% agreeing.
- Results indicate similar patterns of concerns among faculty regarding: staffing of faculty positions, administration’s transparent and accurate communication, among others.
Lane County Education Workers
LCCEA is proud to stand in solidarity with our colleagues across the education continuum as a founding member of the new Lane County Education Workers – an alliance of unions representing education workers in Lane County from pre-K through university. We are committed to providing students at all levels with a rich, vibrant learning experience. To achieve this objective, Lane County Education Workers (LCEW) intends to be a strong, unified, and active voice on behalf of public education, our students, and our communities. We pledge to work with others who share these commitments and plan to advance them through mutual support, coordinated advocacy, and collective action. Members include: Eugene Education Association, Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, Lane Community College Education Association, Lane Community College Employees Federation, Oregon School Employees Association Eugene Chapter 1, Service Employees International Union Local 503, Springfield Education Association (Springfield School District), and United Academics (University of Oregon). Please see this announcement for more details.
Dates for Your Calendar
February 18-19, OEA-PAC Convention (Virtual) Individuals who contribute to OEA-PAC may register to attend this important event where delegates will vote to select political candidates that OEA will endorse for US Congress, Oregon Governor, and more. (As a reminder, OEA member union dues do not support political contributions, only education policies. For this reason the OEA-PAC Convention is only open to individuals who contribute directly to the PAC.)
April 29-30, OEA Representative Assembly is the event where delegates from OEA-affiliated local unions vote to help formulate the directions for OEA for the next year, including legislative objectives, by-laws changes, and budget adoption. Faculty who are LCCEA members are invited to consider nominating themselves and/or a colleague to attend as a delegate. More information on the nomination process will be provided by LCCEA Secretary, Aryn Bartley, after the end of this month.
OEA Workshops and Events are free to members, including a workshop on Public Service Loan Forgiveness on February 22 as well as professional development on such topics as the Grading for Equity book study or a Becoming a Trauma Responsive Educator course.
Best wishes that the rest of the week goes as smoothly as possible, especially given the dramatic COVID surge and impacts to in-person instruction and services.