A Few Key Issues and Questions Related to Curriculum Transformation ( Local 2364, 11/05/2003 11:54 AM -0500 - Back to Local 2364's Home Page Ver 1.2 )
As discussions about curriculum transformation on the TCNJ campus have taken place, various issues and questions have been raised. Some general answers have been provided but many specifics still need to be resolved. As we have all discovered, many of the items involved with the proposed curriculum change are interrelated and impact each another in major ways.
As we continue defining the final product, we continue to discover matters which had either not been considered previously or hadn’t appeared to be initially problematic. The time is rapidly approaching when all of these matters must be resolved if the new curriculum is to be fully implemented in the fall of 2004 in a fair and equitable way for all involved.
The questions and answers below are an attempt to identify some of the issues most frequently raised in the past few weeks and help move the process toward completion. They not meant to be all inclusive and the answers offered reflect the position and view of the Local on matters which relate to the “terms and conditions of employment” aspect of our work as faculty members at TCNJ, either full-time, part-time or adjunct faculty.
It is the intention of the Local to both discuss and negotiate all relevant aspects of the curriculum transformation under discussion with the Administration, thereby insuring that faculty rights are legally protected. All members of the bargaining unit will have the opportunity to thoroughly discuss the various aspects of this issue and provide feedback on how we should proceed. Please feel free to contact us about any of these items or anything else related to this matter. We hope this information is informative and useful as these discussions continue. This page will be updated as necessary.
Ralph Edelbach, President, TCNJFT, Local 2346 ( AFT )
- Will the provision in the master Agreement between The State and The Council of New Jersey State College Locals stating that the “basic academic year teaching load for full-time faculty shall be twenty-four (24) teaching credit hours” (Article XII.B.1 – Faculty Responsibilities) prove to be problematic in transforming our curriculum?
Answer: Although wording in the Agreement links the “basic academic year teaching load” with “twenty-four teaching credit hours,” it neither states nor implies an expectation that all faculty will in fact teach twenty-four credit or semester hours. On our campus as well as others in our system, the practice for many years has been to reduce a faculty member’s teaching load for a variety of purposes such as administrative responsibilities, scholarship, and service.
As stated in item # 4, the Administration, in consultation with the Local, has the discretion of reducing a faculty member’s teaching load and assigning other non-teaching duties. ( Article XII.B.7 – Faculty Responsibilities )
There is no likelihood that the Council, or any other party with standing will raise an objection on these grounds if the proposed curriculum is agreed to by the Local and Administration before implementation.
- What can be done to prevent a future administration from reverting to the current 24 FWH teaching load at some time from the 18 FWH being proposed for implementation when our curriculum is transformed?
Answer: Local 2364 will propose a Memorandum of Agreement ( MOA ) to the TCNJ Administration which will jointly recognize that the typical teaching load for TCNJ full-time faculty will, in the future, be 18 FWH per year instead of the current 24 FWH and, in recognition of this change, the faculty agree to transform their courses into ones which provide “more powerful learning experiences” to all students. A MOA can only be changed through mutual agreement.
- How will current courses carrying more or less credits than the standard 3 FWH be counted in the new system? Will the calculation of “total teaching load” be calculated in an equitable manner?
Answer: The Local believes that any faculty member now teaching 3 lecture/lab transformed courses will be paid overload for any teaching above 18 FWH per year compared with a faculty member teaching 3 normal lecture-type transformed courses. No one will have their compensation reduced for doing the same amount of work in the future as they are doing now. Article XII.B.4.c.2 of the Agreement states that classes designated as "laboratory or studio" courses shall be "equated on the basis of two-thirds ( 2/3 ) of a teaching credit hour for each such class hour."
- What can the AFT do about any changes the Administration wants to make in the allocation of “alternate assignment" ( AA ) time currently provided to faculty for a myriad of activities such as departmental administration, research, and scholarship?
Answer: As stated in the previous as well as our newly-ratified contract, the “Assignment of non-teaching duties within load for any faculty member, for any purpose, is a matter of academic/managerial judgment of the College/University.” This contractual provision goes on to state that the Administration will “consult” with the Union about such assignments and that any issues of inequitable treatment can result in an administrative review of the matter. Even though the Administration has the right to decide on the amount of load associated with any non-teaching activity as well as assign such a responsibility to a faculty member, the Union has been able to exercise positive influence over this process in the past and we intend to continue doing so in the future as well. This means that while the Administration can propose and make changes to the allocation of AA load, it must be done in consultation with the Union.
The Provost has previously committed to maintaining a specific although reduced level of SOSA funding in the transformed curriculum and there is no reason to doubt his statement. What changes the Administration might propose in other areas of AA time remains to be seen. We will guarantee that any changes proposed are thoroughly discussed and approved by unit members. However, under no circumstances can a faculty member currently receiving AA load be expected to continue fulfilling those responsibilities in the future and not be compensated for doing that work.
- When the curriculum is transformed, will the alternate assignment given to chairs and others for administrative activities be computed in a way which is equivalent to how it is done for regular teaching faculty?
Answer: The Local’s position is that anyone now receiving 6 FWH per year administrative AA and teaching 6 FWH will have her/his teaching load reduced by 2 transformed course or 6 FWH per year when the curriculum is transformed. Chairs and others not now receiving 6 FWH per year AA will receive a comparable adjustment to their teaching load as those who are receiving 6 FWH of AA..
- How will the compensation for part-time, adjunct, and overload faculty teaching transformed courses be calculated when the new curriculum is implemented?
Answer: Based on informal comments by faculty teaching courses this semester which have been transformed as well as responses to the Local’s recent survey of “Faculty and Student Work in Transformed Courses”, there is unanimous agreement with the view that transformed courses require considerably more time and effort to teach as contrasted with “normal” courses. Absent that extra work by all faculty, it is likely that the “transformed” courses will exist in name only and the time and effort required to transform our curriculum will have been for naught.
In order to provide a more challenging learning environment, a considerable portion of the difference between a normal 12 FWH load per semester and the 9 FWH teaching load to be implemented when our curriculum is changed will be consumed preparing for and teaching one’s transformed courses. Since the time necessary for full-time faculty to teach these new-type courses is being recognized by the administration through the reduction in the assigned teaching load, it is logical that a comparable increase in the compensation for doing the same amount of work should be granted to part-time, adjunct, and over-load faculty. To do otherwise will be to deny the expressed goal of having our students engaged in more “powerful learning experiences” and also be an unfair and inequitable working condition.