Academic Senate

Reports from the Standing Committees:
Faculty Affairs Committee (FA)

Manzar Foroohar (San Luis Obispo), Chair
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Resolution Summaries
Faculty Affairs Committee discussed and revised two second reading resolutions, which were both approved at the ASCSU plenary on November 6, 2015:
  • Call for Suspension of CSU Background Check Policy (HR-2015-08) AS-3223-15/FA (Rev)
  • Addition of an Emeritus or Emerita Faculty Member to the CSU Board of Trustees AS-3228-15/FA (Rev)
We also discussed and drafted two first reading resolutions:
  • Reaffirming the Principle of Shared Governance within the California State University
  • Inclusion of Non-tenure Track Instructional Faculty in Faculty Orientation Programs.

To discuss the resolution on HR-2015-08, the committee met with Vice Chancellor for Human Resources (HR) Lori Lamb and Assistant Vice Chancellor for HR Margy Merryfield. The first issue of discussion was the process of the approval of the policy without any consultation with the Academic Senate CSU (ASCSU). We also conveyed to Vice Chancellor Lamb the problems that implementation of the policy had caused on different campuses. Although Vice Chancellor Lamb acknowledged the shortcomings of the policy and the necessity for further deliberations by a joint faculty-administration taskforce, she said she is not inclined to accept the request for the suspension of the policy until the consultative process is completed. The majority of members of the committee were not satisfied with Vice Chancellor Lamb’s response and decided to continue to work on the resolution and to prepare it for the plenary. The lively plenary discussion on the resolution revealed more problems with the policy, especially its negative impact on the CSU students. We hope that the approval of the resolution by the ASCSU would result in the suspension of the policy until the completion of a thorough study of its impacts and meaningful consultation with the ASCSU. We also hope that the administration recognizes the drawbacks of drafting new policies without proper consultation with faculty’s elected representatives in the ASCSU.

The committee also spent considerable time discussing the issue of intellectual property in the CSU. To help us understand the CSU’s work on this issue, we invited the two co-chairs of a newly formed working group in charge of drafting a CSU policy on Intellectual Property: Zed Mason, Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor of Research Initiatives and Partnerships; and Jennifer Glad, University Counsel. Another member of the working group, John Swarbrick, Associate Vice Chancellor, Senior Labor Relations Advisor & Chief Negotiator, joined the discussion.

The issue of Intellectual Property (IP) has been important for the CSU faculty and the ASCSU and is gaining even more prominence with the growth of on-line instruction and the question of ownership of the material posted on line by the CSU faculty. In 2003, the ASCSU formed a task force to study this issue.  The task force reviewed IP policies at different CSU campuses and other universities and drafted a comprehensive report and made policy recommendations. IP policy was also one of the priorities set for the 2015-16 work of the Faculty Affairs Committee at the ASCSU retreat in August 2015.  Against this background of ongoing ASCSU involvement and interest in IP policies, the ASCSU was not consulted, and not even informed about, the formation of the Chancellor’s IP working group, and we only found out about it by accident in September 2015.

The FA Committee members expressed concerns about the process, and reminded our guests that the principle of shared governance and shared decision-making necessitates faculty involvement from the very beginning of the process, not reporting and gathering feedback at the end. After a long and lively discussion, our guests acknowledged the importance of faculty involvement and meaningful consultation. We are hoping that this acknowledgement would result in a collaborative environment in which the Chancellor’s Office and the ASCSU together draft a new CSU policy on Intellectual Property. The committee also heard reports from the California Faculty Association (CFA) president, Jennifer Eagan; and the CO Liaison and State University Dean Leo Van Cleve.

The committee’s deliberations on the formation of the IP working group without participation of faculty representatives, and drafting and implementing of the HR policy on background check without any consultation with the ASCSU, demonstrated the potential problems created by a flawed and unilateral decision-making process at the Chancellor’s Office. It reinforced committee members’ belief in the necessity of drafting the FA resolution AS-3236-15 Reaffirming the Principle of Shared Governance within the California State University.  This resolution reaffirms the principle of shared governance and shared decision-making contained in HEERA (Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act), and asks the Chancellor to clarify his view on shared governance and shared decision-making in the CSU. This resolution also refers to increasing cases of violation of shared governance both system-wide and on local campuses.

For more information, please contact Academic Affairs Committee ChairManzar Foroohar