Bargaining update: 12/2/2016

Attached you’ll find some documents relevant to the new (2017-2018) CBA.

Draft CBA for 2017-2018

FAQs for new CBA

Key points in the new CBA

 

FA News: 12/2/2016

Dear Colleagues,

Last night (Thursday, December 1) the FA’s Departmental Representatives Council unanimously approved the draft of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the administration. Here are the next steps in the ratification process:

On Wednesday, December 7, at 5:00 in Wham 105 we will hold a meeting to discuss the Tentative Agreement.

On Friday, December 9, and Monday, December 12, voting (via secret ballot) will take place to ratify the new agreement. We will announce the exact location and hours for voting next week. If approved by the FA membership and by the SIU Board of Trustees, the Tentative Agreement will formally go into effect as the new binding contract.

Attached to this message you should find three documents. Read more of this post

FA News: 11/30/2016

Dear Colleagues,

Lots going on right now, so pardon the length of this message.

1. Faculty Town Hall this afternoon

The town hall the FA is co-sponsoring with the Faculty Senate will kick off at 4:00 this afternoon in Parkinson 124. Please join us for a conversation about the role of faculty in addressing the budget crisis.

2. DRC to vote on draft contract

The DRC will meet at 5 pm Thursday evening in Parkinson 202 to discuss the new tentative agreement between our bargaining team and the administration team. We anticipate a vote by the DRC on whether to recommend approval of the agreement. All FA members are welcome to attend.

3. Diversity on campus

One of the purposes of the FA is to promote diversity on campus. Here is the relevant goal from our bylaws:

2-G. To promote the attainment of a diverse faculty and student body and to resist any unreasonable discriminatory practices in the hiring, promotion, or retention of faculty because of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, or political affiliation. Read more of this post

FA News: 11/23/2016

I have three announcements for you, two of which can I think be characterized as things to be thankful for.

1. The SIUC Faculty Senate and SIUC Faculty Association are sponsoring a Faculty Town Hall on Wednesday, November 30, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm, in Parkinson 124.  Faculty Senate President Judy Davie, FA President Dave Johnson, NTT-FA President Shannon Lindsay, and NTT Faculty Senator Deborah Burris will be on hand to lead a discussion of the faculty’s role in helping to shape SIUC’s response to the budget crisis. We will make brief opening statements, then open the floor for questions and discussion about the future of SIUC. Please join us if you can.

Read more of this post

FA News: 11/9/2016

Dear colleagues,

This is a somber day. Not everyone on the faculty will have the same reaction to last night’s results, and this is not the place for reflection on the qualifications of our new president. It is, however, undeniable that our state and country are deeply, painfully divided, and that those divides, including divisions along lines of class, educational level, gender, religion, immigration status, and race will play out on a campus which was already facing the greatest fiscal crisis in its history.

Read more of this post

FA News: 11/2/2016

Dear colleagues,

Some good news

I am happy to say that after bargaining session held Monday between our bargaining team and that representing the administration, we have now essentially reached a tentative agreement for a new contract that will last until 2018. We have finalized all the contract language, save for a few sentences that may be required to clear up some ambiguous wording in the new SIU system policy on intellectual property. Once we get that last bit of wordsmithing completed, we will share the full contract with all faculty, and dues-paying FA members will vote on whether or not to approve it.

Thanks again to the members of our bargaining team, who have worked so long and hard negotiating this agreement: Rachel Stocking (chair), Cade Bursell, Anne Fletcher, Judith Green, and David Lightfoot.

Read more of this post

FA News: 10/18/2016

Dear Colleagues,

Sabbaticals

We’ve received a number of troubling reports from faculty regarding sabbaticals. The application process for sabbaticals is outlined in the current contract (section 15.03), and is essentially unchanged in the working draft of the contract under negotiation. We have been told that faculty are being required, if they are to apply for sabbaticals, either to identify other colleagues willing to cover their courses during their leave (with no compensation) or to themselves agree to teach unpaid overloads before or after their sabbaticals. It appears that such requests are particularly prevalent in the case of faculty applying for one-semester sabbaticals, which are generally more expensive for the university, as faculty are paid their full salaries, and thus no money is freed up to cover their teaching.

No requirement of this sort is sanctioned by the contract or university policy. If you have been required to do either of these things in order to apply for a sabbatical, please get in touch. This year’s deadline for applications has passed, but if you’ve been misinformed about the rules by a supervisor it may not be too late for a remedy.

MAP grant postcard campaign

Fund Our Future Illinois, a coalition of unions and other like-minded groups, is gathering postcards to send to state legislators to push for MAP grant funding during the lame duck session after the election. FA members will be staffing tables in the Student Center Wednesday and Thursday. So if you’re in the building, stop by and fill out postcards to send to your State Representative and Senator. If you’d like cards for yourself and/or to distribute to others, drop me a line–I’d be happy to get you some.

In solidarity,

Dave Johnson
President, SIUC-FA

FA News: 9/28/2016

Dear colleagues,

An announcement and then some observations on recent developments on campus.

Announcement: First DRC Meeting

The FA’s Departmental Representative Council (DRC) will hold its first meeting of the fall semester tomorrow evening, Thursday (9/29) at 5:00 in Parkinson 202. At the meeting we will elect new officers for the DRC, get an update on bargaining, and discuss the state of the University and the role the Faculty Association can play in addressing the challenges we face. All members of the FA are welcome to attend.

State of the University

We learned just this morning that SIUC is making plans to cut a further $34 million from its budget, including another 10% from academic affairs. Today’s DE has a fine, in-depth story on cuts already made to academic positions, above all to GA positions. A cut of an additional 10% to academic affairs could result in many additional cuts to graduate assistantships and NTT faculty. And TT faculty are hardly immune: today’s DE reports that SIU has 173 fewer TT faculty than we had ten years ago, and that, according to Interim Vice Chancellor for Research Jim Garvey, cuts to GAs will leave TT faculty teaching more classes, cutting into research.

In his State of the University speech last week, Interim Chancellor Colwell noted the need to reduce administrative costs. We commend him for addressing this issue. Chancellor Colwell noted that $5 million of the $21 million in cuts made in July came in administration. While he did not provide full figures to allow us to judge what percentage of administrative expenses were trimmed, preliminary analysis of the cuts announced in July suggests that administration was cut as much as academics–no more, no less, so on the order of 10%.

And layoffs, non-renewals, and other cuts to personnel were overwhelmingly made in academic areas. Chancellor Colwell called for an additional 5% cut in administrative spending; we commend this initiative as well, but it will need to be judged in terms of cuts made to academic areas. A plan for an additional 5% cut in administration does not seem very steep when we are talking about another 10% cut to academic affairs.

As a target for administrative savings, the Chancellor suggests merging academic units. This, however, would target only a relatively small number of administrative positions. Department chairs make up only a quarter of Executive/Administrative/Managerial positions on this campus (roughly 50 of 200), so departmental mergers will not cut many of those positions. We therefore urge the administration to apply the sort of scrutiny and energy it is giving to cuts in academic areas to cuts in central administrative expenses and in other non-academic areas.

Academic Program Prioritization

We would like to call attention to two vital points made in the report of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on Academic Program Prioritization released last week (attached). The first is that any responsible effort to rank academic programs must rest on analysis of a far wider range of data than is currently available. Here is a passage put in bold in the report itself.

Thus, the JTF believes strongly that this document should not be used as a basis for either short- or long-term program prioritization or modifications until all data for all criteria identified in the document are available.

Sound analysis requires us to count what we believe should count, not just what we can easily count, or what the IBHE tells us to count.

Our colleagues on the JTF also observe that work on non-academic program prioritization has lagged behind work on prioritization among academic programs. Their report closes with the following sentence, which we heartily endorse.

It is the strong recommendation of the JTF that non-academic units be reviewed first, and that they should be the focus of proposed budget cuts (both immediate and long-term) first in order to do the absolute best we can to preserve the academic mission of the University under admittedly difficult circumstances.

SIU must act decisively to face the current crisis, but teaching and research must be the last place we look to make cuts, not the first one.

In solidarity,

Dave Johnson
President, SIUC-FA

jtf-on-academic-prioritization-final-report

FA News: 9/17/2016

Two quick things.

1. I provided a broken link to the FA Facebook page in my last message. Here, together with my apologies for that error, is a link that ought to work:

https://www.facebook.com/SIUC-Faculty-Association-502003483314091/timeline/

2. The following message about the evaluation of President Dunn reached me in an email thread from the College of Liberal Arts. I pass it along as it may not have reached everyone in the most conspicuous manner. You may send the attached survey to a Faculty Senate member from your college or directly to Faculty Senate President Judy Davie.

SENT ON BEHALF OF JUDY DAVIE, Senate President

The following request has been received from the SIU Board of Trustees:

“The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees will meet October 18-19 at the SIUE campus, Birger Hall, Board Room, to review information regarding the triennial performance review for President Randy J. Dunn.  This review is required by Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees Statutes Article II Section 5. 4.  The input of your constituent group is important. Your input will be held closely by the Board members and maintained as confidential to the greatest extent possible.”

Please review the attached interview questions. The interview questions are being distributed to all senators to solicit feedback from faculty.  You can compile comments from the faculty you represent or have faculty respond directly to me. Please e-mail comments regarding the interview questions to Judy Davie (jdavie@siumed.edu) prior to  October 14th.  If you wish to remain anonymous, please indicate that in your response. This will be discussed at the October 18th Senate meeting.

In solidarity,

FA News: 9/15/2016

Dear Colleagues,
Before we turn to enrollment and program cuts, an update on another issue. Our health benefits are set by the contract between AFSCME and the state. Governor Rauner has argued that negotiations are at an impasse, which would allow him to impose the state’s latest offer. This offer would require all state employees, including SIU faculty, to choose either to pay twice our current health care premiums or to select less robust health care coverage. A split decision by an administrative judge held that while the two sides were at impasse on some issues, they were not at impasse regarding health insurance. The final decision on this matter will, however, be made by the Illinois Labor Relations Board, whose members are appointed by the governor. More updates on government and politics, including IEA endorsements and ways to get involved in the political process, can be found on our Facebook page.

Last week SIUC released enrollment figures that must trouble all of us. Our overall enrollment was down 7.6%, with freshmen down a staggering 23.7%. It would be hard to exaggerate the crisis this university faces in the form of declining enrollment and uncertain state funding. The chaos in Springfield is hurting all public universities in Illinois, but Interim Chancellor Colwell was right to say that we at SIUC need to “own” our decline. For this year’s decline is far worse than the declines at most of our peer institutions, and is part of a long-term trend.

In his message to the campus community on September 6, Chancellor Colwell’s most significant response to the enrollment crisis was the following.

Most importantly, we need to make sure we are offering the right mix of strong programs. To do this, we need to eliminate those that are not attracting students, along the lines of a forthcoming review by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, in order to create resources for those in greater demand. We must take immediate steps to prioritize programs starting with the work of the Faculty Senate and Graduate Council program prioritization task force and taken forward under the leadership of our deans.

We do not deny that some reorganization of campus programs may be called for given the present crisis. But it is also undeniable that the elimination of programs will do absolutely nothing, in the short run, to increase enrollment.

Cutting programs will cut enrollment, as we turn away students from eliminated programs. Cutting programs leaves current and potential students uncertain of their program’s future, depressing recruitment and retention. Nor is a university just a collection of individual programs, which can be divided from campus to campus, with physics taught on one campus and poetry on another. To prosper and grow we must offer a comprehensive set of strong programs.

Program cuts could indeed allow resources to be redirected over the long term. But we need to spend our money on the right things. When Governor Rauner first proposed massive cuts in higher education funding, President Dunn developed the analogy of an onion, suggesting SIU should cut spending by peeling off less essential, outer layers in order to protect our core academic mission. Now that cuts are a reality, however, that metaphor has vanished, and cuts have basically been made across the board. In the cuts announced in July, all campus units lost from 9% to 13% of their funding. Academic programs were hardly shielded from cuts, and this resulted in painful cuts to academic staff.

SIU has formed a non-academic prioritization committee, but that committee’s task was not to study the balance of academic and non-academic spending, but to look for ways to make spending on the non-academic side more efficient. This is a worthy goal, but will not in itself make academic programs our first priority.

The latest available figures on staffing from SIU Institutional Research reveal something about SIUC’s priorities.

Enrollment & staffing changes, 2006-2015

Students -17.7%

TT Faculty -20.4%

Executive/Administrative/Professional: Unchanged

Professional Non-Faculty +6.5%

Figures for bargaining unit faculty (which do not include the law and medical schools) are actually down even further, by 23.2%. In short, as SIUC enrollment has declined, tenured and tenure-track faculty numbers have declined even more rapidly. But administrative numbers are steady or growing. These trends need to change.

We recognize the extent of the current budget crisis, and know that it will face us with difficult decisions. The administration has bargained with us in good faith to produce a new contract that assigns faculty a vital role in making those decisions. But our plan for facing the enrollment and fiscal crises should involve not only choices about what academic programs to cut, but a determination to preserve as many high quality academic programs as possible. In our view this is the best way to turn around the decline in enrollment, meet our fiscal challenges, and ensure a bright future for SIUC.

In solidarity,

Dave Johnson
President, SIUC-FA