Faculty Work Discussion                                                                Return to Local 2364's Faculty Work Page

I prepared and distributed this via e-mail to all Senators Tuesday morning before the Faculty Senate's meeting at 2 pm to continue the discussion on the Senate's draft document "Faculty Work" distributed at the Sep 26 Senate meeting. It has been revised based on changes made to the draft document, before it was passed by the Senate on a vote of 22 in favor, 1 opposed, and 1 abstention.  "TCNJ Faculty Work - A Redefinition"   Your comments are invited.  Ralph Edelbach


Tuesday, Oct 2, 2001 -  8:30 am

Dear Senate Colleague:

I apologize for any errors or fuzzy thinking which may be in my comments below but I wanted to get this out early this morning before our 2 pm meeting. So much to do and so little time!

Many documents related to the issue of faculty work have been produced by the administration and faculty over the past few months. After reading and re-reading most of them, I have a number of concerns concerning the operation of the much mentioned "3-3" system were it to be implemented on our campus. The majority of the issues listed below are directly related to the undated "Faculty Work" document produced by the Faculty Senate Executive Board and circulated at the Faculty Senate meeting on Sep 26, 2001 I am using the term  "3-3" to refer to the proposed normal faculty load of three 3-credit courses for the fall and spring semesters as opposed to the "4-4", 12-credit per semester system which exists now and is specified in our contract.

I believe it is essential that specific answers to the following items be forthcoming before any new system can be identified as superior to our current one.

1. Future levels of SOSA-type institutional support -

What is the likely level of the number of semester hours of "alternate assignment (AA)" time available for scholarship and research under a 3-3 system compared with the current level?

2. Distribution of "alternate assignment" time under 3-3 system

Will a new distribution system for "AA" time be the same as the current SOSA process except that the amount of "AA" time available will be reduced. If different, in what ways?

3. Upgraded quality of student work

To what extent are we certain that students will, as suggested by some, be better prepared for class and produce more thoughtful papers under a 3-3 system of "more intensive" courses without extra work each semester required on the part of faculty? What has been the experience at other institutions which have made such a change?

4. Expectations of a "faculty presence on campus during the work week"

Although it may have been the norm at some time during the evolution of the modern institution of higher education in America, there has been no attempt in recent years to insure that faculty are regularly on campus during those times when they have no specific job-related responsibilities. If that is to change under a 3-3 system as stated in the Faculty Senate document, what will the expectations be, how will they be developed, who will monitor how faculty adhere to them and how will faculty be expected to provide evidence that they have fulfilled these new responsibilities?

5. Evaluation of  scholarship,  research, and service activities -

Appendix II of the current Agreement between The Council of New Jersey State College Locals and the State of New Jersey, details how the 5-year review process for faculty and librarians, which has been in place for at least 12 years, operates. The idea of a "multi-year plan" has been mentioned in a few previous documents as part of a possible new 3-3 system although it is not mentioned in the Senate resolution. It is implied in some documents and stated in some from Provost Briggs that a faculty member's activities in the area of scholarship,  research or service would determine whether they would have a "3-3" teaching load ( 3 courses per semester) or be assigned a "4-4" load. How often and by whom this assessment would be done has not been explained anywhere yet. However, since it seem clear that a teaching load of 4 of the new " intensified" (see item 6 ) courses per semester would greater than the current 4 course per semester load, such a change would have to be negotiated with our Local BEFORE it could be implemented.

Our current 5-year review process can only be changed by negotiations at the state-wide level and we should think very carefully about the potential costs or benefits of another review process in addition to the current contractually-mandated one.

6. Nature of revised courses in a 3-3 system

Although it has been suggested ( see item 2 ) that the quality of student work will improve under a 3-3 system of "more intensive" courses, serious questions have been raised concerning the amount of work, both effort and time, which would be required of faculty under a 3-3 system. It seem nave to believe that there will be no extra work required for faculty to teach these "new and improved" courses nor plausible that the effort would only be required when the new courses are designed and first implemented. It is more likely that extra work will be necessary on a continuing basis in order to insure that the out-of-class work done by students is of the caliber desired.

7. Contact hours for courses under a 3-3 system

The Senate document mentions that "In most cases, the number of contact hours per course will remain at current levels." Under what conditions might the number of contact hours for a course deviate from what is presently the case for the same course? What will determine the number of contact hours under any new system?

8. Others???? I ran out of time!

I look forward to the discussion at our meeting today and in the near future.

Ralph Edelbach