Administrators developing faculty workload policies without faculty input

September 25th, 2013

Results of a public records request, initiated by the BGSU-FA, confirm that the central administration and deans have been developing faculty workload policies since at least July of 2013 with no input from faculty, the BGSU-FA, or other shared governance institutions such as the Faculty Senate.

There are portions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that do require clarification of workload expectations for faculty. For example, because the contract specifies that faculty members are eligible to teach overloads, it is necessary to know what a standard course load is. Moreover, the contract requires that faculty members be informed of their specific employment duties and assignments.

However, the contract does not indicate the specific distribution of teaching, research/creative work, or service that should be required of each faculty member. BGSU has long maintained a norm that tenured and tenure-track faculty members teaching in Ph.D. granting departments teach four courses per year; colleagues in Master’s granting departments teach five; and, those in Bachelor’s-only departments teach six. The Mazey Administration wants to end this reasonable norm unilaterally, and with no faculty input. The likely outcome is an increase in teaching load for most, if not all, tenured and tenure-track faculty. The documents also suggest that NTTF will be pushed toward a standardized 80/20 teaching/service distribution that would not allow them to count research or creative work as a legitimate part of their work load. Worse yet, these changes may be used as a justification for another round of faculty cuts that would likely target NTTF.

More faculty cuts to come?

In May 2013, the BGSU administration reduced the number of faculty by 72, and based on statements made by President Mazey at the September 10th Faculty Senate meeting, they may be planning more faculty cuts this year as a means to address anticipated budget deficits. These terminations will leave many courses with no one to teach them, and undoubtedly students will be adversely affected by more reductions of faculty ranks. Could increasing teaching loads for the faculty who remain be a means of solving this administration-created problem?

Workload documents available for review

What we believe to be the latest versions of the Provost’s directive on workload policies and policies developed by the college deans are now available on our website.

Please read these documents carefully and ask yourself if they are appropriate for your college, school, department, or program. Is it appropriate that these policies were developed by administrators without faculty input? Aside from the affront to collegiality and the disregard for shared governance that the development of these policies represents, is it even practical to develop such important documents without faculty input? Is this an academically-sound approach?

What can faculty do? Review the documents and then push back against these policies if you believe they are inappropriate for your college, school, department, or program. Insist that the Provost, Deans, Directors, and Chairs speak openly and truthfully about these plans to develop and impose faculty workload policies.

In the meantime, on behalf of the Collective Bargaining Unit, the BGSU-FA will consult our legal counsel to determine what options are available to us. We will pursue every avenue available to make sure that the contract, the law, and shared governance are respected in this process.

We invite you to attend a BGSU-FA members’ meeting on Tuesday, October 8th at 7:30 in Olscamp 111. Workload policy issues will be a significant topic of discussion at this meeting, and we encourage faculty discussion, insight, and input. Please attend.

For more information, please contact the faculty union at:bgsufacultyassociation@gmail.com

Finalized Contract Now Available

May 16th, 2013

The finalized version of the 2013-2016 contract is now available on the Contract page.

More Questions Than Answers on The BGSU 100

May 7th, 2013

On Friday May 3rd, the BGSU administration finally released a public statement that confirmed the number of terminated faculty and eliminated positions at BGSU.

This choice, its timing, and the claims used to justify it damage BGSU’s educational mission and erode trust with faculty at a moment that could have set the stage for improved partnership between faculty and administration.

Coming minutes after the BGSU Board of Trustees ratified the faculty contract and just hours before commencement ceremonies, the press release from Provost Rodney Rogers claims that “The vast majority of cost-savings from the reductions will be reallocated to fund faculty salary increases agreed to in the contract with the BGSU Faculty Association, allowing the University to move toward its goal of ensuring that our faculty are compensated at competitive market rates.”

The underlying assertion is that BGSU cannot afford to keep all of its current faculty. This is untrue.

Actually, BGSU only spends a small percentage — less than one-fifth of its annual expenditures — on faculty salaries.  This is not a necessity:  it is a choice.  The BGSU Board of Trustees has the authority to make faculty compensation a higher priority in its budgeting decisions. It also has the  financial wherewithal.  From fiscal year 2006 through fiscal year 2012, BGSU’s operating cash flow averaged $21.9 million, that is, taking in nearly $22 million more than it spends every year.

The administration offers several other reasons for the reduction in faculty that do not hold  up.  While Roger’s press release notes that “staffing is difficult, “ that is an ongoing administrative challenge, and yet, other universities manage not to reduce their faculty by nearly 9%.  The Provost also notes that the 2012 freshman class will be 200 fewer than last year’s class — overall a total reduction in the student body of approximately 1%, and also does not mention administration efforts to increase the number of graduate students.   He claims that “student success is the top priority of our University,” and yet the administration is intentionally reducing BGSU’s capacity in one of the central measures of academic quality: student-to-faculty ratio.

The press release is also notable in what it does not address.  Although it reports that “forty-three non-tenure track faculty members on one-year contracts did not have their contracts renewed,” it does not indicate that many of these are long-serving faculty, some with more than a decade of employment at BGSU.  The press release suggests that “some … may be rehired,” but does not indicate how many, and whether they will be hired as full-time faculty with benefits or as low-paid adjuncts without benefits.

In addition, in January,  the administration publicly promised that those being terminated would be notified by March 1st.  However, the press release fails to reveal that some faculty were notified of their termination as late as April 29, very likely too late to find employment elsewhere in higher education.

Because this is a serious matter affecting educational quality at BGSU, the BGSU-FA demands accountability and requests clarification on the following questions from President Mazey and Provost Rogers:

  1. What is the actual number of years that each terminated individual was employed as faculty at BGSU?

  2. If any of those 43 terminated non-tenure-track faculty are “re-hired to teach in high demand programs,” will those be full-time positions with health benefits?

  3. Of the 56 faculty not returning presumably of their own choice, how many were non-tenure-track faculty who were strongly encouraged to look elsewhere because the message was telegraphed by their chairs or directors that they would likely not be renewed?

  4. What is the impact on overall class size and course offerings at BGSU Firelands based upon the cuts through retirements and attrition?

  5. What is the impact on overall class size and course offerings on BGSU main campus because of these cuts?

  6. Does the administration plan to continue to reduce the number of full-time faculty since the Provost has talked about achieving a benchmark of TF/TTF-NTTF ratios in line with Miami University, Kent State University, and Ohio University?

  7. How many $100,000+ administrators were non-renewed for Fall 2013?  How many highly compensated administrators were added this past year?

BGSU faculty:  Demand answers from BGSU administrators.

Support the organization that will continue to fight for shared governance and faculty and student rights, and to combat administrative bloat and arbitrary decision-making at Bowling Green State University.

To join your union and help to enforce our collective bargaining agreement, please contact the BGSU-FA at: bgsufacultyassociation@gmail.com

 

Contract Ratified

May 7th, 2013

On Friday, May 3rd, 2013 the BGSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously (8-0) to ratify the contract with the BGSU-FA, the first-ever faculty contract at BGSU.  Faculty had already voted, 97% to 3%, to ratify.

The contract is in effect as of May 1, 2013.

Contract details can be found here

Dues Authorization Card required for continued BGSU-FA Membership

April 22nd, 2013

If you are currently a BGSU-FA member, you must sign a dues authorization card for continued membership.

If you would like to join the organization that has represented faculty to negotiate one of the best faculty contracts in Ohio, signing a dues membership card is how to join.

Please join by April 26.

BGSU-FA members voted 98% to 2% last year to set our dues rate at 0.75% of base 9-month salary, and to adjust it down for 12-month faculty (their rate is 0.61% of salary).  BGSU full-time faculty who are not BGSU-FA members will be paying a Fair Share fee to cover the cost of representation.  That fee will be determined by a CPA based upon costs incurred to represent faculty (collective bargaining, grievances, etc.).  Typically, that cost is over 95% of membership fees.

Your national AAUP dues are included in the dues you pay to the BGSU-FA.  We will work with the AAUP to reimburse the portion of dues continuing members have already paid as a member of the AAUP.

To join or to continue your membership in the BGSU-FA simply fill out and sign the Dues Authorization Form at this link http://bgsu-fa.org/wp/membership/

If you are mailing your form, please do so no later than this Tuesday, April 23, by mailing it to the following address:

BGSU-FA
P.O. Box 425
Bowling Green, OH 43402

You may also turn in the form directly to any BGSU-FA officer, or to BGSU-FA membership director Becky Mancuso of the Dept. of History in Williams Hall by Friday, April 26.  Becky will be in her office in 20 Williams Hall all day on Friday, April 26 should you want to drop it off then.  Should you have any membership questions, please contact Becky at rmancuso70@gmail.com.

No one can be forced to join a union.  However, unions must represent all members of a collective bargaining unit, whether or not they are members.   Those who do not wish to join the BGSU-FA will be assessed a Fair Share fee that only costs them their contribution to the expenses associated with negotiating, implementing and enforcing the contract.  That can include outside legal counsel, payment for fact-finding and contract mediation, fees for the arbitration of grievances, and basic administrative costs necessary for the organization, but not political activities.  The cost will be re-calculated each year.  The Fair Share rate has yet to be determined for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Save the Date!

Come join your colleagues at the BGSU-FA’s end of the year celebration.  May 2, 2013 6-9 pm — more details will be forthcoming.