COVID news from 3/20 (first post)

Two separate newsletters/announcements came out on Friday, 3/20. Here’s the first.

Dear colleagues,
Please carefully read the new update from the Chancellor regarding the latest developments on campus, particularly in response to the state’s “stay at home” order. Such campus messages can be found here:
Locally, there is some good news. I am happy to say that communication and consultation between the administration, unions, and constituency heads has been strong, particularly over the last couple of days. Some of our recommendations have yet to be implemented, and more questions will arise in the days to come, some of which will probably prove controversial, given the range of issues facing us. But so far we are doing a pretty good job of facing the crisis together. 

Here are a few important issues for faculty. 

1. Now that faculty offices will soon be off-limits, low or lacking internet connectivity for faculty will be an issue (in addition to similar problems for students). If you yourself are in this predicament (despite being able to read this message!) or know of colleagues who will be in this predicament, I would advise you to contact your immediate administrative supervisor to help determine what should be done in such situations. If you need assistance securing a satisfactory arrangement with your supervisor, please get in touch with us. 

2. I am happy to say that the administration has determined that the COVID-19 crisis is a “circumstance of exceptional nature” that qualifies faculty for a one-year extension of the tenure clock so long as they meet the other guidelines in the contract. Requests for extensions may be made at any point before the beginning of the last year of the original probationary period. I paste the relevant contractual language at the end of this email. 

3. Faculty colleagues have received confirmation from the Chancellor and others that materials posted to D2L remain the intellectual property of faculty unless they are “works for hire.” The most common case where that exception would apply would be materials produced as the result of university grant funding specifically allocated for that purpose. The reflects the FA’s understanding of the relevant contractual language. The university cannot reuse your intellectual property without your express permission. I paste the relevant contractual language at the end of this message.  
4. The chancellor’s message to students says that “we ask faculty to honor all requests for incomplete grades,” though this message has yet to be sent directly to faculty. We are also aware of conversations underway on campus about the possibility of switching to a P/F grading scheme for this semester, or (more likely) allowing students to choose P/F. There would be complications with universal adoption of P/F grades, including prerequisite grades in many programs on campus, and there is an understanding that students would need to be well-informed about possible consequences of choosing this option. Consultation on this issue continues. 
I think it is worth pointing out that as a campus with a union and a contract we were well positioned to resolve some issues other campuses might have to work out from scratch, or by administrators acting unilaterally. I think we are also demonstrating that unions and administrators can work together in a time of crisis. 
Finally, please do what you can to find a chance to relax a bit over this “weekend”—one of the many concepts that is changing its meaning during this crisis. We are all of us, faculty, staff, and students, anxious and worried right now. As ever, if you have additional concerns that we should be considering, please get in touch. 
In solidarity,
Dave JohnsonPresident, SIUC Faculty Association

– – – –

Tenure extension language

13.03. Extension of Tenure-Track Probationary Period. An untenured Faculty member may apply, in writing, for an extension of her/his tenure-track probationary period due to circumstances of an exceptional nature (e.g., serious health problems requiring in-patient care or treatment of the Faculty member or a member of the Faculty member’s immediate family living in the same household where the Faculty member’s presence is necessary, assumption of parental duties for a new born child or an adopted child, or other exceptional circumstances). 

a.     An application for such an extension must be made by the Faculty member before the last year of his/her probationary period begins, and it must include the reasons for the request and evidence that the Faculty member was making satisfactory progress toward tenure prior to the onset of the exceptional circumstances giving rise to the request for an extension. 

b.    The application shall be submitted to the Chair/Director (or designee).  Following review and consideration by the Chair/Director (or designee) and the Dean, the application shall be submitted to the Provost and Vice Chancellor, who shall have the final authority to approve or disapprove the Faculty member’s extension request, provided that an extension request shall not be unreasonably denied.

Intellectual property language

8.07 d.   Ownership.  The Intellectual Property Policy and Addendum C of this Agreement govern ownership of Intellectual Property, including course materials, developed through Distance Education.

For Distance Education works in which the University has no ownership claim, the University shall not perform, publish, use, display, reproduce, duplicate, or use in a derivative work the Faculty member’s course or course content without the written permission of said Faculty member unless such materials have otherwise been released by the Faculty member.

Courses developed and delivered through the ILP (Individualized Learning Program) process or RFP (Request for Proposals) process are considered Works-Made-for-Hire.  For courses that are not ILP or RFP and are developed for and delivered through Distance Education technologies, the definition for Traditional Academic [or Scholarly] Copyrightable Works (see Addendum C and the University’s Intellectual Property Policy) will apply unless other arrangements are made.


I.          Intellectual Property rights shall be governed by the Board’s Intellectual Property Policy, adopted at its July 2016 meeting except that Section B. Copyrightable Material, of that Policy shall be replaced with the following:

a. Copyrightable Material:

i. Definitions:

1. Work Made for Hire for purposes of subsection on copyrightable material, refers to either:

•       A work, excluding traditional academic copyrightable works as defined below, prepared by a Faculty member within the scope of his/her employment, recognizing that the creation of copyrighted works intended for commercialization is not a specific employment obligation for Faculty; or,

•       A work specially ordered, commissioned, assigned, or directed which, upon request of either party, shall be expressed in writing.

2.     Significant University Support means resources above and beyond, or in addition to, University resources usually and customarily provided.  University resources usually and customarily provided includes but is not limited to office space, library facilities, ordinary access to computers and networks, or salary when determining ownership and license rights in copyrightable works.

Significant university support includes, but is not limited to:  University funding; University-paid time; University staff assistance; substantial use of specialized or unique University facilities and equipment, including telecommunication services, central computing resources, instructional design/media production services and facilities, and research facilities/equipment; and support provided by other public or private organizations when arranged, administered, or controlled by the University.  It also includes use of students receiving financial support from the University or employees as support staff to develop the work, and other special subventions provided by the University unless approved, upon written request to the Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR), as an exception.

3.     Traditional academic copyrightable works are defined as copyrightable works created independently and at the author’s initiative for academic purposes. Examples of traditional academic copyrightable works include but are not limited to:

•       Classroom materials, including syllabi, notes, handouts, tests and other academic assessment devices; 

•       Educational courseware, including web-based and other electronic based materials, used on campus or in distance learning;

•       Theses and dissertations; 

•       Articles, manuscripts, and book chapters; 

•       Books, including textbooks, workbooks, scholarly monographs and anthologies; 

•       works of non-fiction, fiction, poetry; 

•       Educational television/radio programs and other works in audio-visual media; 

•       Musical compositions and performances; 

•       Dramatic works, including any accompanying music, pantomimes and choreographic works;

•       Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; 

•       Technologically based works such as blogs, tweets, and other forms of social media and

•       Other works of art that are not created as an institutional initiative.  

b. Ownership.  

i.       Unless subject to any of the exceptions specified below, creators retain the rights to traditional academic copyrightable works if such works are created independently by the Faculty,  utilizing only University resources usually and customarily provided; made in the course of independent efforts of the Faculty, and the ideas came from the Faculty.  Intellectual property created by the Faculty member in the fulfillment of the Faculty member’s normal duties and responsibilities are presumed to be an independent effort.

ii.     Faculty shall assign and hereby do assign to the Board all rights to copyrightable materials which are created in the following scenarios, or as specified in a separate written agreement: 

1.     Works made for hire as defined in I.A.i.1;

2.     Works created pursuant to the terms of an Agreement with the Board; 

3.     Works created as a specific requirement of employment or as an assigned University duty that may be specified, for example, in a written job description or an employment agreement. Such specification may define the full scope or content of the employee’s University employment duties comprehensively or may be limited to terms applicable to a single copyrightable work;

4.     Works utilizing significant university support; and

5.     Works that are also patentable. The University reserves the right to pursue multiple forms of legal protection concomitantly if available. Computer software, for example, can be protected by copyright, patent, trade secret, and trademark.


About Dave Johnson
I'm an Associate Professor in Classics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Among other things.

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