Performance Based Funding and Contingency

Performance-based funding (also called outcomes-based funding) is used by 26 states, according to a new piece put out by PEW charitable trusts, 7/28 2015. Tennessee has gone to 100% outcomes-based state funding for public colleges and universities. Oregon has flirted with partial funding based on indicators like degree completion, through the HECC (Higher Education Coordinating Commission)

I have heard many colleagues condemn this move, for many interesting reasons. Prominent among them is the idea that it is a further way in which higher education is becoming “corporate” or adopting an inappropriate and badly fitting business model. But there is a way in which this trend could help improve the poor (indeed shameful) treatment of contingent faculty.

In a business, success can be tracked by the bottom line of profit. When profit is decreased through bad treatment of employees, there is a feedback loop…profit goes down. Progressive employment practices — including professional development, credible and meaningful performance reviews, transparent hiring and promotion process, family leave and flex time — all make sense NOT as issues of justice in a for-profit business, but because they increase employee satisfaction which results in higher productivity. (Which then results in more profit.)

Colleges and universities provide services to students. Through these benefits to individual students, we bring a host of benefits to our broader community. But all PCC services depend on informed and committed employees — faculty, APs, staff and administrators. Not surprisingly, treating staff well makes a difference from the standpoint of student outcomes. Students do better, for example, when they have teachers who are supported, respected, and included in the organizational life of the educational community. The slogan, in this case, has outcomes-based evidence in its favor: faculty work conditions are student learning conditions. It is not just the teachers who suffer when instructors don’t know what (if anything!) they will be teaching from term to term (because they have no job security), have no idea who to call in an emergency in the evening during a night class (because they never got that basic orientation), do not know who the advisers and councilors are, or who might be teaching the next class in the sequence (because they are too busy driving from one college to the next to form relationships with colleagues….) etc etc etc. A move to tracking OUTCOMES of shabby treatment of instructors in the lives of students could help make visible all the “hidden costs” of the cheap contingent labor.

Should pccffap resist or embrace a funding model in Oregon that takes at least partial count of outcomes like student success? I am among the instructors here at PCC who can’t wait for our administration to start counting the “hits” to the bottom line of student well-being of the bad treatment of loyal, hard-working and dedicated adjuncts.

respectfully submitted by Shirlee G

Negotiations Update July 2015

The two members for the negotiations team for “part-time” faculty are Minoo M and Corrinne C. Here is their report:

This is an update on what has happened in the conversations we’ve been a part of: meetings with the Federation bargaining team, the joint negotiations with the administration bargaining team, and the subcommittee on part-time faculty and workload issues. There have been additional conversations between Ed, our lead negotiator, and the lead negotiator for the administration team.

We have had much discussion of the job security issues faced by part-time faculty and of the proposal we presented: giving a significant portion of part-time faculty a multi-year contract that would guarantee a minimum 1.5 FTE each year, enough to qualify for health insurance benefits. At this point, our proposal does not have support from the administration.

There is currently a proposal on the table to send the multi-year contract idea to a committee to continue discussing it and to consider it again in a reopener in two years. This means that we would not achieve this goal in this year’s contract.

Our position (coming from the Vice Presidents who represent part-time faculty on the Federation Executive Council) is that

  • The current Assignment Rights system is valuable. We will continue to work toward an improved system that provides more job security for our members.
  • We have given the administration specific proposals to address their concerns about flexibility in administering the multi-year contracts.
  • We need to make progress on other proposals to increase job security for our members, such as a substantial payment for cancelled classes.

The concerns we have heard from the administration team that make them reluctant to accept the multi-year contract idea are that

  • It would hamper flexibility in dealing with declining enrollment.
  • It creates a bigger and more complex workload for deans and faculty department chairs, who would have to assess the current part-time faculty members (through some as-yet-to-be-determined process) to determine who would get these contracts, and that it would be more difficult for chairs to have to make these multi-year assignments.
  • They don’t know what the process would be to determine who gets these contracts.
  • They don’t know what to do about our current system of assignment rights and that it would be difficult to administer two different systems: multi-year contracts for some and assignment rights for those who don’t get the multi-year contracts.
  • This would create anxiety and morale problems among faculty and would disrupt relationships by creating “winners” and “losers,” since not everyone would have a multi-year contract.
  • Finally, it’s important to note that Ed has reported resistance from some department chairs (who are also members of our union) to this proposal.
  • This is where we need your support. We need to show the administration that we have many members who want more job security, not just for our benefit as employees, but also because it would allow us to better serve our students. Watch for emails from the Federation and from your campus coordinator regarding future events, such as attending bargaining sessions, board meetings, and rallies to show our solidarity. Talk to your part-time colleagues, and be sure they have signed a Federation membership form so they can receive our email updates and vote on the contract. If you want increased job security, you will need to step up, give some of your time and energy, and help us create the necessary pressure to enact changes that will benefit faculty, students, and the college as a community. Remember that the union isn’t a separate entity–it’s you and your colleagues, working together.

    If you have any questions or comments about this information, please contact one of us, your two part-time faculty representatives on the Federation bargaining team.

Corrinne Crawford, corrinne.crawford@pccffap.org
Minoo Marashi, minoo.marashi@pccffap.org

An Adjunct Manifesto

by sg

Here is a wonderful piece from an adjunct blog I recently found. I am pasting in the beginning of the manifesto, but invite you to go read the rest, and explore the archives!

The crisis of identity for adjunct faculty takes different forms, at different times, in different places, but is an undercurrent that flows through their lives. Adjunct faculty, a de facto underclass, carry the institution of higher education on their backs for just above poverty wages. Some [of us] are simply so busy maintaining a professional practice, and trying to make ends meet, under oppressive conditions, [we] hardly have time, between campuses, to consider [our] dismal fate. Rationalization is the dominant coping mechanism.

http://adjunctcrisis.com/about/

Record YOUR work experience with Organizing for Action!

Organizing For Action, President Obama’s nonprofit, recently began outreach to generate support for new rules on pay for overtime. This (of course) is great BUT won’t help any of the term-by-term contingent workers in the academic labor force. You can add comments describing YOUR work reality, by clicking on the link below. (See an example below that!)

Last week, President Obama moved to update our nation’s overtime rules —
a step that will extend overtime eligibility to nearly five million workers
and help ensure that their paychecks reflect the hard work they are already
>doing.

*OFA is collecting comments on the path forward to fixing overtime
protections. Add your voice today.

https://www.barackobama.com/news/Overtime-Protections/
&l

************************

From: David Milroy
Date: Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 4:01 PM
Subject: Re: [adj-l] Add your voice to the fight to improve overtime rules
To: info@barackobama.com

Dear Mr President..

Millions of my contingent faculty colleagues and I are totally in favor of
fair employment and pay regulations. However for those of us who are
contingent faculty in higher education..(we are the VAST majority!!)
“over-time” means that FT faculty who are already generously paid for a
full 40-hour week..have the option of adding on 2-3-4-5-6 extra classes to
their regular approved teaching load of 15-units per week.

These are classes which would normally go to under-paid contingent faculty
who live month to month on the low pay we receive for our excellent
service. Students are short-changed when they get a FTer who “phones-it-in”
to hundreds of students per semester just to build their income up to $120K
to $200K+ per year..while contingent faculty try to survive on $10-$20K for
teaching a full load on several campuses.

Fairness needs to be fair to ALL!!!

Thank you Mr. President.

David Milroy
Part-time French Faculty
Grossmont College
San Diego, CA
858-204-7915