THE SENATE STANDARD – ISSUE 39
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
This week’s Standard is LONG and has a lot of important information. I want to be sure you are all aware of issues discussed at yesterday’s board meeting because they could have a major impact on ACC’s finances and work for the next several years.
There are also two important committees forming soon and the Senate has been asked to nominate members to represent the faculty voice. I would very much appreciate your reviewing these opportunities and volunteering to serve if they match with your interests.
Lastly, you’ll find new details about online test proctoring options and ways that we can support children who have been in the foster care system.
I recognize that your time is valuable, and I hope you will find this issue worth your attention. Please remember that you can always reach out to me if you have concerns. I’m working reduced hours this summer, so I might be slower to reply than usual, but I will respond!
Senate Meetings / Minutes / Agendas
7/10/20 Senate Meeting noon -2pm – This is the second call for agenda items for our July meeting. Please send items for consideration to me at email@example.com or to your campus senator by Friday, July 3. Details for how to join this meeting online can be found on the Senate Calendar. You can also add the event (and online joining details) to your own calendar by clicking the link above.
June 22, 2020 Special Board Meeting – Several important topics were covered at this meeting. You may wish to watch a recording of it. You can access the recording (starting June 25) by finding the correct date on the Board Meetings page (linked above). I’ve highlighted a few key topics below. Please note that every board meeting has time for citizen’s communication, so you can sign up to speak at any board meeting if you wish to share your perspectives.
Student Success Reports to the Board – Provost Cook reviewed professional development opportunities for faculty and student affairs staff. See the agenda for details surrounding opportunities for training to help everyone in our new online environment. Many sessions offer stipends.
Covid 19 Safety Update – Also during the student success report item, board member Julie Nitsch shared her concerns about masking requirements upon our return to campuses in July. If you are interested in safety while on campus, you may wish to listen to this section of the recording.
Budget Study – Neil Vickers continued to discuss his budget plan for 2020-21. He focused on the importance of taxing to keep ACC’s budget balanced. Taxes account for 60% of our funding, and if income levels off for the next few years, we could be looking at a rather large budget shortfall. He provided additional calculations regarding raises, and while no decisions were made, it is looking like the board will support the plan to not offer raises next year. Board members requested that finances be assessed in the September and January board meetings to see if some sort of raise or stipend package could be authorized once we have better information about tax income. If you are concerned about raises, I’d encourage you to attend the July 6 Board Meeting, when decisions about the budget will be further discussed.
Reducing Workforce due to Financial Exigency Policy Discussion – Agenda Item 7C 9885 – Policy DMC (Local) – It is clear that the pandemic is causing economic challenges across the country, and higher education is not exempt. ACC administration has shared their intent to keep all ACC faculty and staff employed. That said, the board reviewed this policy which determines how financial exigency is declared and how the board and the administration would terminate employees if financially required to do so. There was also discussion during this item that our AR 6.08.001 (Termination of Annual Contract Employees) is sorely out of date. It was last reviewed in 1986. I expect that this AR will be reviewed and updated, and will let you all know if that happens. If you want to stay abreast of developments on this issue, I’d urge you to attend / participate in the July 6 Board meeting, when the changes to this policy will be discussed again. You can see the actual proposed updates to the policy document in the board agenda, available at the link above.
Online Test Proctoring Options – With the majority of courses being delivered online, our colleagues in Distance Education would like to help faculty understand all their options for online testing. Please review the Guide to Online Tests and Proctoring for ACC Faculty to ensure you know preferred options and how they work with the tech your students are using.
2020 Luggage Drive for Foster Care – Donations are now being accepted for Austin Community College District’s (ACC) annual luggage drive. This program supports youth who are preparing to transition out of foster care.
This year, 78 Austin area youth will graduate from High School and transition out of Foster Care. Without your help, youth will leave foster care carrying their belongings in trash bags. A $20 donation will buy one carry-on rolling bag to assist youth transition with dignity.
Donations accepted through Thursday July 2, 2020 at ACC’s Marketplace Foster Care Luggage Drive.
If you have any questions please contact Sandi Saathoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Action Items [please check due dates below!]
Call for Volunteers for College-Wide Service – There are two important groups being formed, and the Senate has been asked to provide representatives. Please review the options below, and then enter your name for consideration by filling in our Senate Volunteer Form. Deadlines and details for each option are listed below.
Committee on ACC Policing [need 3 faculty – due June 28] – At the June 22 Board Meeting, it was announced that there are two board policies [CHA (Local) and FLC (Local)] that are undergoing review. These polices focus on how the ACC Police Department may do student searches and investigations, and more. President Rhodes is creating a committee to help update these policies and the ACC PD General Orders Manual, to ensure that our police have clear guidance in their work.
I’ve been asked to submit the names of three Faculty Senate Representatives by June 30 for consideration by administration to serve on this committee. Administration will choose one person from our three, and the work is expected to start in early July. Each association will have one representative, and stakeholders from across the college will also participate. If you would like to serve on this important committee, please use the volunteer form above to submit your application by June 28.
Committee on ACC’s Grievance and Complaint Processes [need 1 faculty – due July 2] – The Senate and many others have been working to get a thorough revision of the processes we use to handle employee complaints and grievances. I’m pleased to announce that Administration has agreed to overhaul our Administrative Rule governing this process. This will be a subcommittee of the Administrative Services Council, and each employee association will have one representative. The group will be helped by Charlene Buckley, Director of the Compliance Office, and Amanda Dean, Ombudsperson. If you would like to collaborate on this important work, please use the volunteer form above to submit your application by July 2.
Current Action Items (These are reminders for things I’ve already sent out):
TCCTA Conference Leading from the Middle [July 7-8] – This conference will offer insight into recent legislative updates, suggestions on how to meet SACSCOC requirements, a broad overview of current legal issues in regards to public employment, and how to transition into the fall semester. Leading from the Middle offers information and updates we are all looking for during a time of unknown. For more information about the Leading from the Middle conference, visit the event page.
2020-2021 Committee Service Preferences Form [July 15th @ 5:00pm] – Submit your preferences to serve on crucial 2020-2021 committees and councils! Your service will ensure faculty members are heard in many policy-making meetings throughout the year. Please visit ACC Shared Governance for details about our role in shaping ACC policies and procedures. For more information about the councils/committees, and to express your interest to serve on one or more of them, please complete THIS FORM by July 15, 2020.
Annual Educational Level Adjustment [due July 31] – Human Resources is now going through the process of updating faculty education levels. If you received a new degree this year, please review the announcement and the form for more details.
Teaching and Learning Academy [←APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO AUGUST 3RD] – You might want to consider participating in the 2020-2021 Teaching and Learning Academy. Anchored in the ACC Faculty Values and developed by twenty-five faculty for faculty, the Teaching and Learning Academy (TLA) contributes to student success by expanding faculty teaching practices. Essential to the Teaching and Learning Academy is the creation of a cohort of faculty who will learn from each other by exploring the scholarship, art, and passion of teaching.
The Teaching and Learning Academy offers faculty 4 courses. Each course is 15 hours that includes 12 hours of asynchronous online coursework. The remaining 3 hours are completed in a Cohort Meeting the last Friday of each course from 8:30 to 11:30 AM. Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2020.