CAWT Program Closure

President's Message

Dear Colleagues:

On February 8, PCC administration announced plans to close the Computer Applications and Web Technologies (CAWT) program. This decision leads to the potential lay off up to 14 full time (FT) faculty and 61 part time (PT) faculty, not to mention causing stress and uncertainty for many other programs that include CAWT courses as part of their degree and certificate requirements.

This decision was made at the highest levels of the college, behind closed doors, without the knowledge of or input from faculty, students, or union leadership.

In an email to the PCC community, Vice President of Academic Affairs Katy Ho said the decision was based on “thoughtful recommendation” from college leaders, that it comes with a “strong recognition” that the college needs to continue teaching computer literacy and software applications, and that next steps “are being determined.” Incredibly, she even cited the college’s commitment to YESS.

In notifying PCC Federation of Faculty and Academic Professionals (FFAP) representatives just prior to the announcement, administration stated they would hold a meeting with the department’s FT faculty but admitted they had no plan to communicate the decision to the affected PT faculty, with one administrator saying “I’m sure they’ll hear about it,” presumably from the FT faculty. When asked if there would be an opportunity to transfer current, qualified instructors to the new program, administration refused to commit to any accommodations, saying “The only decision that has been made is program closure.”

The decision-making process and the lack of care taken in the roll-out makes a mockery of the institution’s mission professing a “collaboration culture,” not to mention the value statement that cites “collaboration predicated upon a foundation of mutual trust and support.”

The upshot for administration is that they can now potentially redesign the CAWT program free from consideration of the people and the livelihoods who will be affected by the changes, free from the decades of expertise and on-the-ground teaching experience of existing faculty. They can pick and choose which (if any) of them gets jobs in the reimagined program, without factoring in seniority, assignment rights, or Multi-Year Contract-holder status.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

If the PCC administration can eliminate a successful program, and then resurrect it with entirely new faculty of their choosing, it sets an alarming precedent. For that reason, I hope you will stand in solidarity with our CAWT colleagues to tell the PCC administration and the Board of Directors that this is unacceptable.

Please come to the PCC Board Meeting on Thursday April 18, 6:30pm, at Sylvania. I will be there along with several faculty and Federation leaders. Let’s tell the college to live up to its mission and values of collaboration, reverse the decision to close the program, and engage with current faculty to redesign the program to better meet the needs of students.

In solidarity,

Frank Goulard
PCCFFAP President

What Do We Want with That Equal Pay?

PCC administration did not completely accept our proposal for equal pay for equal work for PCC faculty in our 2017 wage re-opener — though it was a happy surprise that they were willing to explore it! And they agreed to add two new pay steps, so that “part-time” faculty will have 11 steps in the 2018-19 year (instead of 9.) This compares to 17 pay steps for “full-time” faculty.

Before agreeing to full pay parity, the administration members of the bargaining team suggested we create a joint Administration/Federation committee to study the issues ahead of the next full bargaining in 2019, with the hope we could work out a next phase of movement toward pay parity in those upcoming sessions.

We need your input to help craft a Federation position. Here is a summary of some of the issues we expect to discuss.

  • Using national data as well as results from past PCC surveys, the Federation estimates that 80% of “full-time” faculty work is instructional and 20% is service to the college and community. This is what the Federation has used to determine what “equal pay for equal work” would mean. “Part-time” instructor pay should be based on 80% of “full-time” pay, divided by teaching load. But is this the right ratio? Over the past 10 to 15 years, faculty have been tasked with additional quasi-administrative tasks, including program review and program assessment. While some funds have been made available to pay “part-time” faculty to participate, it has not been much. Members of the administration have explained that these responsibilities are expected to fall into “full-time” faculty job expectations, without additional pay. Has that  practice changed the allocation of time spent on direct instructional labor for “full-timers”, or has it just added to the number of hours in a “full-time” instructor’s work week? What ratio should we use?

 In previous surveys and conversations with “part-time” instructors at PCC, we identified 3 separate categories of concerns:

  1. Unequal pay for equal work!
  2. No clear career paths – no way for a “part-timer” to move up.
  3.  Marginalization of “part-timers” who often are made to feel they are not welcome as equal participants in SAC tasks, are shut out of many opportunities for professional development, have low representation in faculty governance (compared to our numbers), and have incredible skills and experience that remain under-utilized – foolish, given the current pressures on Higher Ed and a need for “all hands on deck” to meet them. This will be exacerbated with the goals of the YESS initiative.

Should we try to address some of these other concerns along with equal pay? So, for example, would we be willing to agree to equal pay if it came with increased requirements for participation in SAC work, or to serve on various committees? These are complex trade-offs, and the Federation will need your input in deciding what to agree to.

  • Currently, full-time faculty tend to complain that there are no uniform expectations for full-timers to participate in non-instructional work across the district. As a result, a few full-timers tend to do LOTS of committee work, and a larger number tend to do very little. This is increasingly felt to be unfair, and an ongoing source of resentment and bitterness. Our contract specifies that committee work (etc.) is to be delegated by the Division Dean. (See article 5.2). If we change any expectations for “part-time” faculty participation, as part of a move to pay parity, the current inconsistent practice for “full-timers” will come under new pressures. What are the benefits and drawbacks of creating more uniform expectations and enforcement for faculty participation in committees, mentorship, governance, etc?

It is heartening that administrators are willing to talk in detail about what pay parity would mean here at PCC. This is an exciting opportunity! We need to engage as many of our bargaining unit members in thinking about what would be best for each of us, our work relationships, and the students we hope to serve. Will you share your thoughts?

You can leave comments on this blog OR email your ideas to shirlee.geiger@pccffap.org OR frank.goulard@pccffap.org.

THANKS for all you do for all our students!