LCCEA President’s Update: January 24, 2023

LCC Faculty Colleagues,

I hope your term is going well thus far. I’m writing with a number of updates including: bargaining, faculty evaluations, retrenchments (i.e. program reductions and possible layoffs), shared governance, Oregon Legislative Session, LCCEA survey reminders, Winter term LCCEA meeting, and more.

Bargaining

LCCEA is welcoming several new faculty members to the Bargaining Team, including Sarah Erickson (Math), April Myler (Nursing), and Peggy Oberstaller (Health & LCCEA VP for Part-Time Faculty). We are working to finalize an agreement regarding the workload impacts of the transition to Moodle 4. In addition, we will begin bargaining soon over the workload impacts of Common Course Numbering.

Evaluations

Part-time faculty member, Nancy Wood, and I are participating on a joint College-LCCEA team to revise the evaluation handbooks. This will include developmental evaluations, corrective evaluations, and part-time faculty evaluations. Developmental evaluations are required for contracted faculty each year for the first three years and every five years thereafter. Part-time faculty may choose to participate in a developmental evaluation. Otherwise, the default option for part-time faculty is a shorter process that requires a manager observation and faculty self-evaluation. Evaluations for part-time faculty are required their first term, the term before they earn part-time seniority, and every fifth year after that.

Faculty may choose to include student evaluations as a data source for their developmental evaluations. However, student evaluations are no longer required and were removed from the contract in 2019 due to research indicating disparate impact on women and faculty of color.

BCIT Overload Settlement Agreement

Over Winter break, LCCEA reached a settlement agreement with the College that will ensure that faculty members in Business and CIT will be properly compensated for overload courses after some faculty had been paid only for partial courses. The settlement provides retroactive compensation to affected faculty. In addition, some faculty had been overpaid, and as a part of the settlement, they will not need to reimburse the College. Overall, the agreement provides a reasonable framework for assignments going forward, which should help avoid future grievances, ensure that part-time faculty members’ assignment rights are met, and that any overloads for contracted faculty are fully compensated.

Unfair Labor Practice

After a successful arbitration award from August that provided retro pay to Dental Hygiene faculty for uncompensated instructional time, the College unilaterally made changes to Dental Hygiene faculty work in the LCC dental clinic in September without negotiation. Making such a change unilaterally is an unfair labor practice (i.e. ULP). In addition to impacts to faculty, the change negatively impacts the dental clinic operations, the healthcare provided to patients, the instructional time students receive, and the ability of the clinic to meet its obligations to outside partners such as the Oregon Health Plan, potentially impacting dental clinic revenue as well. While LCCEA leaders and several administrators closest to the issue had promising plans for a possible settlement that would better meet student, faculty, and patient needs while also increasing revenue for LCC, a higher-ranking administrator has not permitted the parties to engage in settlement talks. LCCEA filed a ULP complaint, and if no settlement is reached, the matter will go to a hearing in March.

Downtown Campus

The City of Eugene, which has been renting space at LCC’s downtown campus, announced plans to buy the old EWEB building near the Willamette river. This should ultimately provide much needed relief for the ABSE and ESL programs, which rely on space at the downtown campus to serve many of their students.

Shared Governance Update

Due to ongoing concerns related to policies being considered by the Board of Education that overlap or contravene existing college policies (i.e. COPPS) , the College President provided a presentation to the Board of Education last week, which includes a complicated flow chart indicating how Board policies would sometimes engage with the internal shared governance system. While the presentation was ostensibly framed as instructional to Board members about the existing shared governance system, it contains several significant changes to governance. These include a new framing of College Council consensus-based decisions as “recommendations” that would be forwarded to the College President for decision making, and a plan that policies “pulled” by the Board of Ed would be re-routed to shared governance before returning to the Board of Ed. No criteria have been identified to indicate when or why a proposed Board policy is “pulled,” allowing for shared governance input and “recommendations.” Overall, the changes as presented would reduce the role of stakeholder voices within governance, including faculty, classified professionals, and students.

In addition, the controversial proposed Speech restriction policy has been revived. As you may recall,  Faculty Council as well as LCCEA and LCCEF jointly made statements in opposition to the policy, and numerous faculty made public statements at the November Board meeting, urging the Board to discontinue consideration of the policy. However, despite the fact that the Board Chair stated that the inclusion of the policy was an inadvertent mistake and that they did not intend to consider it, it has once again been revived by the Board and sent to College Council.

Because there is an existing COPPS policy that restricts the speech of outside groups using LCC facilities, and public employee unions and their members have additional protected speech rights, the group most impacted by any new policy to restrict speech on campus would be students.

For background on the legality of speech restrictions on campus, please see OEA-appointed attorney, Aruna Masih’s analysis.

Retrenchments

The College provided formal notice to LCCEA on Tuesday of week 1 of plans for retrenchments in Political Science and Sociology. The College first stated that the retrenchments would take effect in Spring term, but that would not be consistent with contractual timelines protecting faculty. The College now plans for the retrenchments to take effect in Summer. Under the College’s plans, the Political Science discipline would be reduced with a partial transfer of one full-time faculty member to another discipline. In addition, Sociology would be reduced by a “minimum” of 1.0 full-time faculty positions, impacting all three of the existing Sociology faculty (currently 2.5 full-time faculty FTE).

These plans are unusual for a number of reasons. The timing of the retrenchments for Spring would be unprecedented. In addition, they were announced suddenly as the outgoing Interim VP for Academic Affairs vacated that position but before the new Vice President for Academic Affairs arrived at Lane. These reductions have been framed as necessary to match full-time faculty FTE to student demand, however, reductions of the magnitude proposed would cut full sections of classes and reduce the number of students served, resulting in lost tuition revenue and state funding.

Oregon Legislative Session

The State legislature began its biennial “long session” this month. This is an especially exciting time for higher education with increases of more than 20% proposed for community college funding as well as tripling of the needs-based Oregon Opportunity grant for students.

LCCEA is hosting local legislators on campus this month. In addition to making the case for funding, we’re advocating for bills to support our members, including the following, which will improve conditions for part-time faculty at community colleges and universities statewide.

·  SB 416 Requires public universities and community colleges to pay part-time faculty at same rate, on per-hour basis, as public university or community college pays full-time faculty to prepare for and teach course. Appropriates moneys to Higher Education Coordinating Commission for purpose of paying for salary equity.

·  HB 2611 Requires that dental and vision are included in health benefits available to part-time faculty members. Requires public institutions of higher education to notify potentially eligible part-time faculty members of eligibility requirements and details of health care benefits available to part-time faculty no later than 30 days before application deadline. Reduces amount of time part-time faculty must work to qualify for health care benefits from 50 percent of full-time equivalent employee to 30 percent of full-time equivalent employee. Requires institution to include noninstructional work when making eligibility determination. 

·  HB 2740 Establishes uniform method for calculating eligibility of part-time faculty member of community college or public university for certain health care, retirement and other benefits.

Thank you to all the faculty members participating in these campus visits, including Michelle Cummins, Leslie Greer, Doug Ford, Rosa Lopez, Jenni Miner, Chuck Nickles, Wendy Simmons, and Nancy Wood!IMG_2072.jpg

Reminder: Three Faculty Surveys Closing This Week

1. Contracted Faculty Retirement / Resignation Survey

If you are a contracted faculty member contemplating retirement or resignation from LCC, please complete this brief form. Your participation will help determine the number of faculty positions posted for the 2023-2024 year. Today is the deadline for completing this survey. Thank you!

2. Faculty Priorities Survey: Campus Climate*

As a follow up after the Gallup campus climate survey*, your Association solicits your priorities for improving campus climate. Please share your priorities, opinions, concerns and suggestions on this survey in order to best inform actions going forward. You will find background info on the Gallup all-campus climate survey results at the end of this update.

3. Search Processes, Recruitment, and Retention Survey

The LCCEA Racial Equity and Social Justice committee welcomes several new members this term and last, including Jessica Alvarado (Student Affairs), Edrees Nawabi (Writing), and Lawrence Rasheed (MCC). The committee is conducting a survey of all faculty on search processes, recruitment, and retention at LCC. Results from the survey will help inform the development of a BIPOC faculty recruitment and retention plan as well as advocacy around recruitment and retention of faculty from historically oppressed groups (e.g. LGBTQiA+ community, women, people with disabilities). You are most cordially invited to participate in the survey.

Save the Date– LCCEA Winter General Membership meeting

All LCCEA members are cordially invited to attend this term’s LCCEA meeting on Thursday, February 16, 3:00-4:30 p.m. More details and a registration link will be available soon. If you are unsure of your membership status, please contact Membership Chair, Wendy Simmons.

LCCEA is Made Up of You – the Members  

Did you know that more than 65 faculty members volunteer on LCCEA committees or in LCCEA roles? This does not even include LCCEA appointments of faculty to serve on councils, college-wide committees, and Faculty Professional Development.

Are you interested in serving on an LCCEA committee? A statewide committee? Committees to which LCCEA makes appointments such as Faculty Professional Development committees, or other college-wide committees or councils? Faculty are most cordially invited to fill out this form.

A Note of Appreciation

I would like to express gratitude and appreciation for faculty member, Christina Howard, who is continuing to serve as LCCEA Grievance Chair while on sabbatical this term and next. Thank you, Christina, for your unwavering advocacy for faculty rights!

Kudos

LCCEA member and Vice President for Learning Advancement, Wendy Simmons, has been accepted to the 2023 cohort of the Oregon Labor Candidate School, which helps prepare candidates to run for public office! Congratulations, Wendy!

Faculty Spotlights

LCCEA highlights faculty work at meetings with the Board of Education, among others. Have your own successes to share or accomplishments of your colleagues? Please submit them here.

My best,

Adrienne

About LCCEA

The Lane Community College Education Association
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