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:firstname.lastname@example.org