Efficiency (gasp)

Posted: May 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” –Peter Drucker

We assume you all have read the email from the VPAA’s office on May 13 about “efficiency.” I’m not sure we all can see the ramifications of the “18 or bust” class enrollment minimum. Class cancellations may be widespread and devastating. To whom, primarily? Yes, to our part-time colleagues.

The memo reads:

“Cancellations of low-enrolled courses may begin three weeks prior to the first day of the term. Faculty load will be redistributed as necessary according to Section 5.12 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with CCFT.”

Full-timers will be bumping part-timers who do not have bumping rights. Some part-timers will lose all their classes and their health benefits. And, of course, some of those full-timers who are concerned about their own schedules will be losing overloads. Part-timers and full-timers will be at serious odds.

It will also be interesting to see which classes qualify for “exceptions.”

Workload Committee Membership

Article V, CBA (prior):

“The committee shall be composed of an equal number of unit members appointed by the Federation President and of managers appointed by the Superintendent /President. The chair shall be a unit member chosen by the membership of the committee. Decisions of the committee shall be made by consensus or, if consensus is not possible, by another method as agreed by the committee.”

The brand new article gives away a significant amount of union authority. The committee was originally set up to be a joint committee between union and district with the chair being a faculty member.  Now, the committee is chaired by management. And, the union has given half of its member-appointing power to the senate.

This year’s committee members are below:

Workload Committee

Members (alphabetical):

Greg Baxley, faculty

John Cascamo, Dean

Jason Curtis, Dean

Michael Jacobs, Interim Dean

Brent LaMon, faculty

Cherie Moore, faculty

John Stokes, Division Chair

Deborah Wulff, VPAA

Now, we don’t question the commitment of the above individuals to the process. But, the makeup of the committee is a bit slanted, don’t you think?

Wouldn’t it make sense to have a faculty member from English and/or Math, the two largest divisions on campus, and thus likely the most affected, to have representation in such a weighty decision? And, how about part-time faculty, who individually will be most affected: shouldn’t they have been asked to send a representative? Were all full-timers told there were openings and given the opportunity to be appointed?

Committee Decisions

That number “18” is almost arbitrary. You leave 17 students in an English 201A class (cap 28), and you still have 61% enrollment. You leave 17 students in a class with a course cap of 40, and you end up with 42% enrollment. Not efficient. Why wasn’t this figure a percentage? It helps the large classes because they are likely guaranteed at least 18 students while it penalizes those with lower caps. I understand the long-time, claimed need to have a minimum of 15 students per one faculty member to break even. But, there is a better, a more effective way to meet goals.

Why would classes be cancelled three weeks before the start of the semester? It doesn’t make sense. I don’t know about you, but I often get enough students that first week of classes to create a whole new, full section, enough to fill a lower enrolled class AND add another section. The week right before the start of classes and the first week are prime time for student enrollment.

Further, we must carefully watch where those “exceptions” are made: they must be made for pedagogical, and not for favoritism, reasons.

 

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Comments
  1. Colleen Harmon says:

    I agree that a percentage makes more sense than a specific number–that’s basic math and common sense. And cancelling classes weeks before the term begins just doesn’t make sense. Unfortunately, besides hitting part-time faculty hard, this is also going to impact our students. Fewer sections of classes needed to graduate or transfer will be offered. Pressure to increase student caps for the remaining sections will probably ensue. Eventually, our students who are frustrated with meager class schedules will look elsewhere for their higher education needs. This student threshold does not bode well for anyone.

  2. mimmsy123 says:

    Well said, Colleen. Thanks.

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