July 01, 2022

City East Harbor Mission Pierce Southwest Trade Tech Valley West Emeritus

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Presidents message: With Enrollment Down, We Stay Vigilant
Updated On: Feb 07, 2022

As we approach the beginning of the spring 2022 semester — our third year in this pandemic whirlpool that seems to be surging out of control — we are expecting to start with less than 70% enrollment compared to enrollment in Spring 2020. The Guild remains laser-focused on ensuring safety on campus and protecting faculty jobs. To that end, we held our first joint Guild/Teamster online forum targeted to department chairs and deans on January 20. A few college vice presidents also attended the online session, which drew 140 attendees.

The purpose of the forum was to review language in the Winter/Spring Return-to-Work MOU. In addition, the discussion included Article 13.D.1 (Assignments) and Article 17.D.1 (Department Chairs), highlighting language in our CBA that empowers department chairs as they make difficult staffing decisions. That language emphasizes that management “will rely primarily on the advice and recommendations of the elected department chairs” when making tough decisions due to enrollment declines.

To put a human face on the issues, we emphasized the personal toll that class cuts will cause for our faculty. A review of Article 16.G.3 suggests that full-time faculty who lose one of their full-time assignments should consider taking an underload and/or teaching in an intersession rather than bump.  Guild EVP Bill Elarton-Selig noted, “If we have to start bumping, it will also negatively affect students.”

We grappled with issues such as converting face-to-face classes that are not filling to a remote or online modality. Department chairs will need to find ways to maximize enrollment so that classes aren’t cancelled. In the last round of negotiations in 2020, we won a class cap of 42 for face-to-face classes. In this recent MOU, we were successful in lowering the class cap to 28. We also negotiated language so that classes with fewer than 28 students can’t be cancelled within three weeks of the start of the semester. If there are 12 or more students on the first day, the class will not be cancelled until after the second day of the term.

One more note: If you’re not DL-certified and your class doesn’t fill and you’re eligible to bump, you can bump only an instructor who has a face-to-face or remote synchronous class.

Bottom line for faculty: Stand behind your department chairs so they can stay strong, fight to keep classes open, and advocate for faculty interests!

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