University of California, San Diego
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: ACADEMIC SENATE
August 9, 2000
MEMBERS OF THE SAN DIEGO DIVISION OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE
SUBJECT: A Letter to the UC Faculty from Lawrence B. Coleman
There is an academic year and then there is an "Academic Senate year," and they are not the same thing. While the academic year concludes with the end of classes, the universitywide Academic Senate year is tied to such events as the signing of the state budget. As the ink on the budget is now dry, I have an opportunity to communicate with you as one UC faculty member to another.
I sent the first of these chair's letters to you in January, apprising you of issues the Senate was taking up this year. In May, I sent a brief message to you, informing you of the agreement the University had signed with the labor union representing UC's teaching assistants. I write now to give you some idea of how Senate issues progressed through the balance of the year and to give you a "heads up" about a couple of issues that may impact you directly.
I say the "employer," rather than UC because faculty working on grants in the summer use these grants as their salary funding source -- in effect, as their employer. And therein lies the heads up: Faculty on grants need to prepare for a 3.5-percent pre-tax deduction from their summer paychecks and for an additional expense charged to their grants equivalent to 3.5 percent of their compensation, beginning next July.
Thousands of UC faculty work in the summer, whether on grants, in teaching, or in summer administrative service. This new benefit will allow them to put away money for retirement in connection with their summer labor. Grants will take a hit in the process, but I think most faculty would agree that the benefit is worth the cost in this case. The Senate's University Committee on Faculty Welfare (UCFW) first proposed and then worked with the administration on the addition of this benefit.
TA Labor Contract
To help faculty understand what is changing and what is not, the statewide Senate has prepared a Q&A for faculty on this issue. At the bottom of this letter, you will find three questions and answers taken from this Q&A, which runs to 26 questions in its full version. The full set can be found on the web at:
The Year in Review
Community Service Graduation Requirement
So, how do you get more students to enroll in the summer? The general answer is: make the summer term equivalent to a regular-year academic term in as many ways as possible. One of the things that needs to change is student fees. On a per-credit basis, summer session has traditionally cost much more than regular session. That will end this coming year, as the state has provided $13.8 million to reduce summer fees on all campuses. (This does not mean that campuses will get more money; it means that students will pay less and the state will make up the difference.) This fee change is but a first step, however, in the process of making summer term a regular term at the University. Other steps will include seeing to it that summer course offerings are increased, and providing more financial aid to students who enroll in summer. All this will take more money, and UC is asking the state to provide it. At present, the plan is to phase in this additional summer funding by campus. Those campuses that are closest to their long-range development plan limits -- Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara -- probably will be first in line for enhanced funding in exchange for increases in summer enrollment.
For rank-and-file faculty, this move to full summer instruction may have several practical consequences. One is that UC hopes to have more of its ladder-rank faculty teaching in the summer. Another is that departments are going to have to make decisions about what kinds of additional courses they will be offering in the summer. Increased summer instruction is potentially a major change for all our general campuses; we need to be planning accordingly.
DANR, Health Sciences Education
--Health Sciences Education
Other Issues, and Year's End
Also, who says the Senate and administration never come to closure on any issue? After only 10 years or so of deliberation, the administration this year issued Academic Personnel Manual Section 075 (APM-075) on dismissal of faculty for incompetent performance. Though it was a long time in the making, APM-075 is a policy that protects faculty rights, while ensuring that the University does not have to provide lifetime employment
to tenured faculty regardless of their performance. APM-075 can be found on the web at:
Finally, I would note that August is the end of the Academic Senate year in more ways than one. Academic Council Chairs serve one-year terms, and mine will be up on September 1. I leave the Senate in the capable hands of Academic Council Vice Chair Michael Cowan of UC Santa Cruz and of Senate Vice Chair-elect Chand Viswanathan of UCLA. In a few months, Michael probably will be sending you a letter similar to this one.
Serving the faculty this year as Senate Chair has been a privilege. One sees the University from an entirely different vantage point in this position, but gains a fresh perspective on the high quality of the University of California.
Questions & Answers for UC Faculty
Regarding UC's Labor Contract
With Its Teaching Assistants
The Academic Senate has prepared a set of 26 questions and answers aimed at helping UC faculty understand how working relationships with TAs stand to change with the advent of union representation for them. Three of these questions and answers appear below. The full set can be found at:
Q. Will provisions in the contract require any major changes in the way faculty interact with TAs and other academic student employees (ASEs)?
A. Despite some significant changes, much that is important to faculty remains the same. Decisions about the content of courses, who teaches them, and how they are taught remain solely under the control of the faculty. With respect to selection of ASEs, the University retains discretion over who is selected for a given position, how that ASE is selected, and who the ASE's faculty member or supervisor is. Campuses may continue to select TAs, Readers, and Tutors on the basis of academic needs. Neither ASEs nor the union have any rights under the contract to participate in or otherwise affect such decisions.
Though these elements of the working relationship remain the same, other aspects of the relationship will change. There will be changes at most campuses in areas such as appointment notification, job posting, training, and workload. [The questions and answers in the full Senate Q&A address issues in a number of these areas.]
Q. Why should most faculty care about this contract? Faculty and TAs often work together informally. Is it likely that student employees will now start instigating formal actions, such as grievance or arbitration procedures?
A. The administration and Academic Senate hope that collegiality will remain at the center of the working relationship between faculty and TAs. The terms of the contract must be adhered to, however, and, setting aside workload issues, the contract allows the union to file grievance actions in a number of areas with or without the participation of individual ASEs. The grievance process may require department chairs to undertake an investigation of the issue at hand; if the grievance is not satisfactorily resolved through this investigation, higher-level university administrators then may become involved. The last step in the process is arbitration, with an outside arbitrator having subpoena powers that can require faculty to participate and provide information as requested.
In general, disagreements over issues covered in the contract can be grieved and arbitrated, meaning that either an ASE, a group of ASEs, or the union may file a grievance. However, the operative phrase here is issues "covered in the contract." There are no articles of the contract covering faculty prerogatives regarding the content of courses, who teaches them, and how they are taught. This same thing is true of the process by which students are selected for ASE positions. Even within the contract, there are sections that are not grievable and arbitrable. Complaints relating to ASE workload go through a complaint resolution process in which the ultimate decision is made by members of the Academic Senate rather than by an outside arbitrator.
Q. Workload assignments usually are made before the academic term begins. Is this an issue faculty should be looking at carefully because of the new contract?
A. Yes. Faculty who will be supervising teaching assistants should evaluate the workload the TAs will be assigned over the course of a term. Under the contract, workload is measured in work assigned -- that is, how many hours UC can reasonably expect it will take a TA to complete an assignment. A 50-percent TA should be assigned a workload of no more than 220 hours per quarter or 340 hours per semester). The workload assigned for any one week should not exceed 40 hours and the number of hours that a TA can be assigned over 20 hours per week cannot exceed 50 hours in a quarter. If a TA is assigned a workload of more than 20 hours in one week, then another week must have a lighter load so that the total does not exceed the 220- or 340-hour limit. Faculty should review their syllabi and map out the expected requirements for the term until they are personally satisfied that the workload they are assigning will fit within these parameters. These workload provisions do not apply to an ASE who is the instructor of record for a course; in such a case one course generally is equivalent to a 50 percent-time position.