Reports from the Standing Committees:
Faculty Affairs Committee (FA)
Manzar Foroohar (San Luis Obispo), Chair
Much of our meeting was devoted to a discussion of the need for reinstatement of funding for faculty Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities (RSCA). Jim Till, Interim Assistant Vice-Chancellor, joined us for an informative, productive discussion of the historical context of the RSCA funds and the reasons for its termination in 2008.
RSCA was established as a response to a 1987 draft report by the Commission for the Review of the Master Plan for Higher Education, which pointed to the necessity of state funding for research, scholarship, and creativity in support of the undergraduate and graduate instruction mission in the California State University. This language ultimately became part of the state education code 66010.4 (b). The commission recommended about $14.5 million to support faculty research in 1987. Between 1988 and 2008, the CSU allocated $2.5 million annually for RSCA, which was distributed to campuses based on Full-Time Equivalent Faculty (FTES). In 2008-09 and 2009-10, as a result of budget cutbacks, RSCA was not funded. The reinstatement of RSCA in 2010-11 was only for one year, and the program was terminated and not funded thereafter. Although there has been some movement in the Office of the Chancellor to set aside funds for faculty research, the program is not finalized yet and campuses have not received funding for the current academic year. Our committee reached the decision to send a draft resolution to the ASCSU in support of "Reinstatement of Faculty Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Fund."
Another issue of concern to the committee is the status of lecturer faculty in the CSU. Considering that lecturers play an increasingly important role in the system (at present more than 54% of faculty are lecturers), we believe it is of outmost importance that our campuses develop policies for the integration of lecturer faculty into the life of their institutions and to attempt to achieve equity among academic colleagues. We noted that many of our campuses have already taken steps toward achieving more equity for lecturer faculty. Sixteen campuses, for example, currently have in place policies that include emeritus status opportunities for non tenure-track employees. FA members agreed that this is one step toward parity extended to faculty currently appointed to contingent and non-contingent lecturer positions and that we should recommend that other campuses consider developing similar policies. The draft resolution FA submitted to the ASCSU plenary, “Recommendation on the Eligibility of Lecturers for Emeritus Status,” was the result of this discussion.
The committee has two more important issues pending on its agenda for future discussion/action. The first one, our ongoing effort to draft recommendations for a CSU policy on academic freedom, is on hold until the appointment of the new General Counsel, who - we hope - will make time for a meeting with FA to discuss this issue. The second pending discussion/action is that of faculty’s rights of intellectual property of both their research and teaching materials. The faculty intellectual property issue is gaining importance within the context of burgeoning online instruction.