November, 2014 Newsletter

The Faculty Association Membership Committee will be hosting an end-of-the-semester eat/drink/meet/greet/bargaining update event on DECEMBER 5. The party will be held at the Banquet Room of Hunan Restaurant in Carbondale from 5 to 7:30. The IEA will be providing appetizers and a free drink to all guests.  Please come and bring your colleagues!
As you know, our previous contract covered the period from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2014. The terms remain in force until a new agreement is reached, and bargaining on that agreement has begun.  The following joint statement was issued this past week by the Faculty and Association and Administration bargaining teams:
The SIUC Faculty Association and University Administrative teams have been meeting throughout the summer and fall in the initial phases of negotiating the newest version of the collective bargaining agreement between the Association and the Board of Trustees. The teams have agreed to work as one group—a joint Bargaining Team—using a different approach for this round of negotiations. We will set aside the traditional adversarial bargaining style for what is known as “Interest Based Bargaining,” or IBB. This approach begins by identifying interests of mutual concern, working to understand them from each others’ perspectives, and exploring options for reaching a mutually beneficial solution. In keeping with this philosophy, the joint team has agreed to share information releases to our constituencies and the public periodically throughout the bargaining process. To aid in the facilitation of our discussions, we have sought the guidance of a facilitator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.  At the time of this release, the team has begun the process of identifying and understanding common issues in three full-day sessions.
In recent years, our campus has undergone significant decreases in tenured/tenure track (T/TT) faculty lines.  As hiring has become increasingly restricted, the problems this causes have increased.  Our collective bargaining agreement mandates a full time tenured/tenure-track Faculty to Student (FTE) ratio of 26 to one (Article 9, Section 9.07).  Each October, the SIUC Administration provides the Faculty Association with the T/TT faculty headcount, student FTEs, and the resulting ratio.  Unfortunately, this October the report from the Administration indicates that the ratio for this year is around 27.8 to 1, with 550 T/TT faculty in active status and 15,326 FTE students.  The current T/TT faculty headcount reflects a drop of 34 from last October.  Moreover, the report includes a significantly lower anticipated headcount for next year: 517 (based on 38 approved searches and a 5-year average for separations).  If this prediction is realized, T/TT faculty numbers on our campus will have dropped from 584 to 517, a loss of 67 T/TT Faculty (approximately 11.5%) in two years, while enrollment numbers have stabilized.
This report is cause for great concern.  If this sharply downward trend in T/TT faculty numbers isn’t addressed, it will have serious consequences for our campus in terms of program quality, campus-wide research productivity, and faculty workloads.  Our collective bargaining agreement requires that the Board “make a good faith effort to assure that the ratio . . . is not more than 26 to 1,” and that “if the number of Faculty is less than one for every twenty-six (26) students (FTE), the Board shall initiate good faith searches to hire prior to August 15 of the following fiscal year the number of additional Faculty necessary to achieve the 26:1 ratio.”  It is clear that the current number of searches (38), even if they all were successful, would not bring the number of T/TT faculty back in compliance with the contract.
The Executive Committee of the Faculty Association has contacted President Dunn to request information as to the steps taken by the Board to implement the “good-faith effort” to increase the number of Faculty in order to comply with the contractual requirements.  We have also proposed a meeting with President Dunn, preferably before the end of the semester, to discuss the problem of diminishing T/TT Faculty numbers and its effects on the quality of research and education at our institution.
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