Academic Senate

Faculty to Faculty April 2016

Message from the ASCSU Chair
Steven Filling (Stanislaus)

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This Month's Issue
Front Page
Message from the ASCSU Chair
Report of the Faculty Trustee
Reports from Standing Committees

Academic Affairs
 
Academic Preparation &
   Education Programs
Faculty Affairs
Fiscal and Governmental
   Affairs

General Education Advisory Committee (GEAC)
The California State University Emeriti and Retired Faculty Association (CSUERFA)
Capitol Watch
Senator Spotlight
Resolution Summaries
Springtime in the CSU includes a wide array of activities, both on the campuses and at the system level.  This report highlights current issues and provides very brief reports on a wide variety of system level activities.
 
Sustainable Financial Model Task Force Draft Report
The Task Force Report was presented to the Board of Trustees in January 2016 as an information item.  It was slightly revised subsequent to that, although the Task Force has not met since December 2015 and was not asked to comment on or approve the revisions.  The Report as revised was on the Board’s agenda in March 2016, again as an information item. When the report was presented at the System Budget Advisory Committee the following points were made with respect to implementation of the report’s recommendations:

 

  • near v. far term recommendations
    • allocation model changes = near term
    • changes in capital programs = near term
    • medium term, no need for BOT
      • philanthropy and alumni engagement
      • support systems and technology
      • business analytics
      • student applicants
      • research activity
    • longer term, requires BOT approval, stretching into 2018/2019/2020
      • third party partnerships (3 coming to BOT in March 2016)
      • restructuring debt
      • nonresident tuition
      • different tuition model (predictable, stable)
      • health care cost increases
      • K-12 partnerships

 

You may find the final draft  in the ASCSU March 2016 Shared Materials Folder here.  Executive Vice Chancellor Steve Relyea visited the ASCSU plenary in March 2016 to provide further information on the Sustainable Financial Model Task Force Report.

Quantitative Reasoning/GE B4 Task Force
The Task Force met in Sacramento on February 22, 2016.  You will find a listing of the membership of the Task Force and a short statement concerning their charge in the ASCSU January 2016 Shared Materials Folder here.  The majority of the meeting was devoted to developing a shared understanding of the current state of affairs.  You may access the presentations/materials from that meeting in the March 2016 ASCSU Shared Materials Folder here.  The Task Force will be meeting monthly this spring and is hopeful that it will meet the reporting deadline of mid-May 2016.
 
University of California (UC) Articulation Conference
Several ASCSU representatives attended the UC Articulation Conference in Irvine on February 26, 2016.  There was broad representation from the three public higher education segments as well as K-12 and California Department of Education staff.  The event included informational sessions on mathematics articulation and coursework across K-12 and public higher education in California.
 
Committee on Online Education (COE)
The COE met in early February.  A prominent agenda item was discussion of the parameters of CourseMatch course acceptance and whether CourseMatch courses meet the “courses taken in residence” requirements at campuses.  AVC Hanley reported that the ex post analysis of phase I of Cal State Online that ASCSU requested would be completed and made available by the next COE meeting.

Intersegmental Council of Academic Senates (ICAS)
ICAS met in February 2016.  At the top of the agenda was the ASCSU request that the ICAS Capitol Day, which was scheduled for April 14, 2016 be moved because of CFA’s announced strike dates.  We are very pleased to report that after discussion ICAS agreed to shift their Capitol Day to April 5, 2016 so that ASCSU could be represented.

The UC Academic Senate group reported on budget difficulties at Berkeley and plans to shift capital project funding more heavily toward Public Private Partnerships.  They also reported that the UC is on track with the “Pathways” transfer project (the UC version of our Transfer Model Curriculums)

The California Community Colleges (CCC) Senate reported on their efforts to shift accreditation bodies to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior and briefly mentioned their efforts to increase faculty diversity and encourage uptake of Open Educational Resources.  The CCC Senate also noted their continuing interest in increasing transfer units provided from 60 to 65 or 70.  We noted that CSU is concerned about that possibility because of the 120 unit cap imposed by the Board of Trustees and our commitment to provide appropriate curriculum in our programs.  CCC Senate leadership acknowledged our statement.


Campus Senate Chairs
The Council of Campus Senate Chairs gathered in Long Beach for their February 2016 meeting.  VC Lamb visited and reported that faculty hiring was up slightly at 849 new faculty.  She did not have the “net” change in number of faculty; however, Jen Eagan the California Faculty Assocation (CFA) President was also visiting and she reported that the “net” change in faculty was 196.  There was discussion of parameters that need to be looked at with respect to tenure density.  Campuses conducting presidential searches reported on their efforts and the processes in place, and there was continued discussion of the general preference for a more open search process.  The Council will meet next in April 2016.

American Association of University Professors (AAUP) California Conference Annual Meeting
I represented ASCSU at the California Conference of the AAUP Annual meeting at San Diego State in February 2016.  A highlight of the conference was a session on Academic Freedom led by our colleague Senator Mark Wheeler.  The SDSU Academic Senate is currently working on a draft Academic Freedom statement and that draft was a key element of the session.  The keynote address for the conference was delivered by Rudy Fichtenbaum, AAUP President, and focused on the corporatization of higher education.

Legislative Advocacy
I continued monthly conversations with Christian Osmena from the Department of Finance.  Topics of conversation included tenure density and the $11 million targeted funding initiated in the 2015/2016 state allocation to the CSU, implementation of recommendations from the Sustainable Financial Model report, and mechanisms to encourage further formation of faculty networks across campuses and segments to leverage projects such as AB 798 - Open Educational Resources (OER) and instructional practices.  We had further discussion of the uses, limitations and costs of online instruction.

I have also had multiple conversations with Senator Glazer and his staff concerning SB 1450, which mandates that campuses offer four year completion guarantees to qualifying students.  Senator Glazer continues to solicit our counsel on various aspects of the bill and remains open to amending it.

Conversations also continue with Assemblymember Bonilla and her staff on AB 1914 concerning “Access Fees” in the CSU.  This bill is sponsored by the California State Student Association (CSSA).  Both CSSA and the Assemblymember are soliciting our advice on the bill as it moves through committees.

As you’re aware, the Fiscal & Governmental Affairs (FGA) Committee’s annual Legislation Omnibus Resolution was on our agenda for the March 2016 plenary.  Further information on the above bills and a plethora of other pending legislation may be found therein.  Please find time to peruse FGA’s resolution and materials.


Academic Freedom Policy
The Chancellor’s Office (CO) replied to a letter from myself and Jen Eagan (CFA President) concerning the Academic Freedom Task Force.  Both Jen and I confess to some perplexity about the response letter, which largely reads as a request that CFA waive bargaining and meet and confer rights over Academic Freedom before the Task Force is instantiated.  You may peruse the CO letter in the ASCSU March 2016 Shared Materials Folder here. The Executive Committee will be composing a response to the CO letter, as will CFA.

Intellectual Property Policy
We have been informed that a group of CO staff are in the process of drafting an Intellectual Property Policy.  ASCSU firmly believes that this policy is within the purview of ASCSU and also a bargaining issue with CFA; hence, we are puzzled by the lack of inclusion of faculty in the group drafting the policy.  The Executive Committee is pursuing this issue, and we believe that it would best be addressed by a process similar to that proposed for work on the Academic Freedom Policy issue.  We have requested the assistance of Executive Vice Chancellor, Loren Blanchard in making that happen.

Research Scholarship & Creative Activities (RSCA)
I recently sent senators a list of campus allocations of RSCA funding budgeted for the 2016-17 academic year.  Our thanks to Chancellor White and our CO colleagues for accepting our request that RSCA funding be a “baseline” item in the Academic Affairs budget.  I also spoke with Interim AVC for Research Initiatives and Partnerships Zed Mason about the new software package which will be used to submit RSCA proposals and outcomes reports.  I conveyed concerns expressed by the campus Senate Chairs and am pleased to report that in the near future Zed will be sending a brief summary of processes and policies applicable to the new system.

Tenure Density
We continue to encourage administration to focus sharply on the mechanics of increasing tenure density.  I think it is accurate to report that awareness of and acknowledgement of the problem is uniform across the CSU community.  We have been informed that a request for ASCSU representatives on the TT Density Task Force that ASCSU requested is winding its way toward us.  Both our FA and FGA committees have requested and received information that will enable further analysis of the issue and we look forward to continuing the conversation better informed by relevant data.

Included in the 2015/2016 CSU budget allocation from the State was $11 million in funds to be dedicated to faculty hiring.  We asked Executive Vice Chancellor, Loren Blanchard and Vice Chancellor Lamb for information on how those funds were allocated to campuses and how they are being expended. Their response may be found in the ASCSU March 2016 Shared Materials Folder here.


Background Check Policy
Vice Chancellor Lori Lamb has declined to suspend the background check policy as we requested; however, the CO did convene a task force to review problems reported with policy implementation.  Vice Chancellor Lamb reported that the group found no “facts” documenting the reported problems.  We note, however, that the CO has issued multiple “clarifications” of the policy to the campuses.

Open Educational Resources
The California Open Education Resources Council was created and initially funded by SB 1052.  The Council has been quite active since its creation and met the legislative requirement to identify and make available OER for 50 high enrollment courses.  Funding under SB 1052 is exhausted at the end of spring 2016.  The Council will continue in existence funded through CSU under AB 798.  AB 798 provides funding for grants to campuses willing to develop and submit proposals for implementation of OER in multiple courses.  Further information may be found at http://www.cool4ed.org.  Please note that campus proposals must be submitted by June 30, 2016.

Campus visits
In line with our focus on enhancing joint work with campus academic senates, I visited CSU Bakersfield (BA) in January 2016.  My thanks to BA Senate Chair Jackie Kegley and to ASCSU Senators Murphy and Frye for their hospitality and their continuing work on behalf of their campus communities.  The BA Senate had a lively discussion of instruments for use in student evaluation of courses.

Possible Unit 3 Strike
As you’re aware, CFA has announced a possible strike on April 13,14,15,18 & 19, 2016. Please be aware that our staff colleagues in represented units (CSUEU, APC, SETC, UAPD, SUPA, IUOE and UAW) are by contract restricted from engaging in sympathy strike actions; in other words, staff must report for work as they normally would.  As a consequence, Senate offices on the campuses and at the CO will be open although the faculty officers of those bodies will likely not be available.

On behalf of our campuses and our communities, thanks for all that you do.

As always, please feel free to contact me via email (sfilling@mac.com) or phone (209-988-8256) with any questions, concerns or suggestions on these or any other issues.