THE SENATE STANDARD – ISSUE 41
Dear Faculty Colleagues,
This week, I’m once again asking for some volunteers for a subcommittee on ACC’s grievance and complaint processes. The goal is to revise our policies so that all employees have an effective and safe way to report issues that affect our workplace. I want to ensure that the faculty voice is heard on this important work. Please look for the section below on improving our workplace culture, and volunteer.
There is also some important information about the budget from yesterday’s Board meeting, along with the most up-to-date videos on our “back to campus” policies and plans.
I hope you are all staying cool in the Texas heat, and staying safe too. Thanks for all you do to serve the ACC community. As always, please reach out if I can help in any way.
Senate Meetings / Minutes / Agendas
7/10/20 Senate Meeting noon -2pm – The agenda for this meeting will be available soon. Details for how to join this meeting online can be found on the Senate Calendar. You can add the event (and online joining details) to your own calendar by clicking the link above. All full-time faculty are welcome to join us and will earn professional development credit for their attendance.
2019-20 Faculty Senate Statement on Board Policy DMC (Local) – In response to updates from the Texas Association of School Boards, the ACC Board of Trustees is editing the policy for “workforce reductions due to financial exigency.” In response, the FTFS held an online vote on this issue, and has now released a statement on the definition of financial exigency, the process of declaring financial exigency, and the request for panel deliberation. You can read the full statement from the Senate here. We shared this with the Board at the July 6th Board meeting. If you want to see a copy of the voting document, with a breakdown of all the votes from the senators, you can see that here.
ACC’s Return to Campus Plans and Protocol – Yesterday ACC began implementing its Return to Campus plan and protocols. In addition to ACC’s COVID-19 website, the Marketing Department has created two videos discussing the transition process, including answered questions from ACC’s leadership team and a summary of health and safety protocols.
1. Virtual Campus Conversation on Returning to Campus— A conversation with Dr. Rhodes and members of the leadership team addressing questions and concerns that have been received through our employee associations and the comments section on the website.
2. ACC’s Protocols Training Video — Now available on our Health & Safety Protocols webpage. It is an overview of the procedures required for those who come to ACC campuses and centers.
July 6, 2020 Board Meeting – This meeting included the vote on the 2020-21 budget. You may wish to watch a recording of it. You can access the recording (starting July 9) by finding the correct date on the Board Meetings page (linked above). I’ve highlighted a few key topics below.
Reports from Associations – Both the AFA and the Faculty Senate reports included information on the expected lack of a raise for employees due to budget concerns. The Senate requested that if raises aren’t possible, that full-time faculty still be given their longevity step to ensure that we progress in our associated job titles. We also requested that the Board consider mid-year corrections to the budget and to award raises if possible. Both suggestions were later accepted by the Board (see “Adoption of FY2021 Budget” item below.)
Student Success Reports to the Board – Vice President Shasta Buchanan gave a report on the excellent work her team has been doing to get our CARES funds to the students who need them. ACC still has funds to help our students, so watch this to learn more and get the word out to folks who can benefit.
Adoption of FY2021 Budget – Neil Vickers gave his final presentation on the budget, and it was adopted by the Board. You can see all the details in the agenda on the Board page at the link above. The now approved budget is taking a “wait and see” approach. It basically is a copy of last year’s budget, with no major additions except for items that were already approved (including IT infrastructure, election fees, and a few others). The goal is to hold off on budget cuts or increases until the college has more robust information about finances from the legislature and property taxes. Once we get that, the expectation is that the budget will be adjusted.
It is important to note that the Board very much recognizes that faculty at ACC have worked harder than ever given the pandemic, and they stated that they were committed to giving raises and / or stipends as soon as they have the information to make that possible. Right now, the goal is to ensure that we have the funds to keep all ACC employees in their jobs rather than giving raises to a subset of employees and terminating others. After an energetic conversation, the board passed the following motion (I did my best to get the meaning here, but may have a few words wrong): The Board moves to adopt the FY2020-21 operating budget which includes a one step un-compensated increase for all full-time faculty. Additionally, administration will work with board off to schedule meetings for September / October, and if needed February / March to review revenue projections and consider any amendments to the budget such as salary increases for employees.
New Action Items [please check due dates below!]
Help Improve our Workplace Culture! [need TWO faculty – due July 15] – This item is not quite new, but I’ve requested help a few times and now we’ve been asked for TWO representatives for the Subcommittee on ACC’s Grievance and Complaint Processes instead of one. Administration has agreed to overhaul the Administrative Rule governing the processes we use to handle employee complaints and grievances. Learn more by reviewing the memo at the link above. Submit your name to the Senate Volunteer Form to be considered for this important work. Please submit your application by July 15.
Current Action Items (These are reminders for things I’ve already sent out):
2020-2021 Committee Service Preferences Form [July 15 @ 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 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 four 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.