By | June 23, 2021
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THE SENATE STANDARD – ISSUE 2.38

ACC Full-Time Faculty Senate Website 

ACC Coronavirus page

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

A fairly full Standard this week for you.  I do want to highlight several items for your attention.  First, as part of our ongoing dialogue with leadership about web conferencing tool selection and support, we received some new information.  I summarize that new information at the top of the Newsworthy section.  Also, please take a look at the Action items below. Under New Action Items, find information for those interested in applying for the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives in Instruction position In the Current Action Items section, you will find invitations to chime in on several issues including input on the proposed revisions of the administrative rule (AR) on the Resolution of an Employee Grievance. You are also invited to give feedback on the new Faculty Handbook draft.  Finally, note that the opportunity to volunteer for Shared Governance councils and committees and the senate’s standing committees is open until July 18th.

Stay safe.  Stay cool.

Wayne

Senate Meetings / Minutes / Agendas

The June 11th meeting minutes are currently in review. They will be posted once approved.

The next Full-Time Faculty Senate meeting will be Friday, July 9th. Click here to add the meeting to your Google Calendar. Email wbutler@austincc.edu to nominate agenda items.

Newsworthy

New Information about Web Conferencing Platforms: As reported in the Senate Standard throughout the last year, faculty and leadership have been discussing the fate of the web conferencing platforms adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic (See 2.362.24 and 2.21). These include WebEx, Google Meet, Zoom, and Collaborate.  During the Web Conference Summit, faculty, TLED, and IT shared perspectives about going forward.  TLED and IT proposed a phase out program in which ACC would eventually narrow the choices from four to two platforms by the end of the 21-22 academic year.  The faculty position included keeping all four platforms, as well as integrating them into Blackboard.  IT resisted the four-platform integration on the grounds that technical issues could degrade the student-user experience. During the summit, AVP for Distance Ed Erasmus Addae revealed it was launching a pilot for a new version of Zoom called Zoom for Class, a customization that promises to offer more features important to educators. Over time, some questions emerged.  Butler shared those questions with leadership and received the following answers from AVP Erasmus Addae and EVP for Finance and Administration Neil Vickers.

Google Meet for Instructional Use

Faculty Question:  Since we already have Google Meet as part of the Google Suite, why would it not be supported for instructional purposes?

Leadership Response: Vicker’s noted that Google has announced new pricing for Google Workspace for Education (the new name for the former Google Suite). It will no longer be free. And, while Google normally charges a fee for storage of recorded videos, it waived the fee during COVID-19 without a commitment to continue doing so.  The new fee structures are expected to be announced during 2022.  As a result, the college will need to evaluate the viability of Google Meet as the financial implications become known.

WebEx: Under TLED’s proposal, WebEx would be phased out over the summer.  However, Vickers extended that on the grounds ACC has paid for WebEx through the 21-22 academic year, and ACC will support WebEx until the license expires.

Web Conferencing Blackboard Integration: Addae reported IT’s position has changed to a degree.  That group has now agreed to integrate Zoom and Meet, in addition to Collaborate, into Blackboard this summer.

Zoom for Class Pilot: Addae reported Zoom for Class, a custom version of Zoom with features making it more suitable for educational purposes, will be installed in July.  Shortly thereafter, professional development will be offered to early adopters and pilot participants.  Details about the pilot project have not yet been shared.

Web Conference Status through 21-22 Academic Year: Vickers reported all four web conferencing tools will be supported for the 21-22 academic year.  During 21-22 new Google Meet pricing structures will be examined and we’ll learn more about Zoom for Class via the pilot.  During 21-22, then, a decision will be made regarding what platforms ACC will support beyond 21-22.

Analysis: As a result of ongoing conversations between college and faculty leaders, and especially the college-wide summit wherein faculty met (virtually) with leadership to share data, perspectives, and positions, we have forged some compromises.  Faculty requested all four web conferencing platforms be supported for instructional purposes and be integrated into Blackboard.  IT was hesitant to integrate additional web conferencing platforms into Blackboard and in tandem with TLED supported phasing out WebEx and Google Meet by the end of AY 21-22. Leadership has now agreed to support all four platforms through AY 21-22 and integrate Zoom and Meet, along with Collaborate, into Blackboard. Additionally, the Full-Time Faculty Senate has proposed and entered into the process a new shared governance committee focused exclusively on Instructional Technology.  Should the new shared governance committee be formed, faculty will then have a stronger voice in deciding if Zoom for Class might be a future solution and examining the financial implications of new Google Meet pricing.

Next Steps: FTFS President Wayne Butler has held a preliminary conversation with AFA President Don Morris to gauge adjuncts’ response to the most recent updates described above. More in-depth conversations with AFA and FTFS leaders are pending.  The FTF position will be a major agenda item at the next meeting of the Full-Time Faculty Senate on July 9th.  The senate could endorse, reject, or offer amendments to leadership’s position. All full-time faculty are invited to the July 9th senate meeting to be part of the conversation.  If you can’t make it and you have ideas you want considered, please contact your senator to share your perspective.  Visit the Full-Time Faculty Senate homepage for a roster of senators by campus.

TLED Updates Web Conference Comparison Table and FAQs: The Faculty Communications team has updated TLED’s web conferencing webpage here: https://tled.austincc.edu/faculty-support/tools/web-conferencing/   The web conferencing page and updated features table result from a collaboration among stakeholders from Distance Education, Academic Technology, Student Affairs, the Full-Time Faculty Senate, and the Adjunct Faculty Association

The updates include:

  • Links to knowledge base “how-to” articles for each of the tools, including Zoom polling, and breakout rooms
  • New FAQ page
  • Clarity note that the chart displays only features that are currently available & supported by ACC
  • Chart update: Added new available feature – video pinning

Access is Everyone’s Responsibility (Panel): Have you ever received a Notice of Approved Accommodations letter from a student and felt lost about what to do next? Are you in need of some tips to make your course more accessible for all students? Participants will learn about the basics of accessibility at ACC, hear what faculty are doing to make their courses more universally designed, and will get a chance to ask questions about providing accommodations to students at ACC.

  • Thursday, June 24, 2021, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • REGISTER HERE
  • Panelists:
  • Ginger Bennett, Director, Interpreter Services
  • Lauren Matthys, Advocate, Student Accessibility Services
  • Dr. Lauren Sebel, Director, Student Accessibility Services

Virtual Awards Celebration on June 24: Each year, Austin Community College District’s (ACC) Chancellor and Board of Trustees honor outstanding ACC faculty and staff who were recognized with our Leadership Awards and Teaching Excellence Awards. All ACC employees are invited to join the Teaching & Learning Excellence Division at the 2021 ACC Awards Celebration online. This event is a wonderful celebration of the hard work and leadership of these dedicated ACC faculty and staff members. RSVP here to get the session link.

Tesla START Manufacturing Program Set to Launch: ACC and Tesla announced a new partnership. Together, we are launching the Tesla START Manufacturing program, a first of its kind in the nation. This program builds on the college’s manufacturing programs and is specifically designed to prepare students for careers at Tesla’s manufacturing facilities. The first cohort is expected to start this summer and by the end of the year, we anticipate training three full cohorts. They’ll work with new and advanced technologies such as robotics to design, build, and maintain cutting-edge machines. Our Riverside Campus will be home to much of this learning. We’re working now with Tesla to revamp portions of the Squires Building to provide state-of-the-art learning spaces.  Here is a link to the Info Hub story for additional information.

New Information Regarding New Family Benefits: P-EBT is a significant economic benefit for any families who qualify for reduced school meals, AND, for all children of those who participated in SNAP for even one month from October 2020-June 2021 (even infants). If these families have not received the benefit on their EBT card yet, they can call for assistance. If a family was new to SNAP in May or June, they will need to apply.

  • It is NOT necessary to provide a SSN – a Student Id is sufficient – please spread the word about this
  • Graduating HS seniors can receive this benefit directly
  • Families should hold onto their EBT cards because Summer P-EBT will be issued later (beginning of fall)
  • Families with non school-aged children who did not participate in SNAP for one month between October 2020 and June 2021 are not eligible for P-EBT

Advanced Child Tax Credit This is an expanded and early monthly distribution program that just kicked off. Benefits will arrive for those who the IRS has info for (through taxes or having submitted info for stimulus checks). If people with children (up to 17) did not file 2020 taxes and do not plan to. They should input their information here.

  • The IRS will pay half the total credit amount in advance monthly payments. You  will claim the other half when you file your 2021 income tax return. We’ll make the first advance payment on July 15, 2021. For a full schedule of payments, see When will the IRS begin issuing the advance Child Tax Credit?
  • There is no minimum income requirement to claim the new CTC. However, the CTC will start to decrease when you make $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples and $112,500 for heads of households). Each $1,000 of income above the phase-out level reduces your CTC amount by $50.

Faculty Communications Archive: Tired of asking yourself “what did that email say again?” Need to catch up on the faculty messages you missed while on break? See an archive of all communications sent to ACC faculty and instructional leadership. Watch this video for more information and email comments or feedback to TLEDcomms@austincc.edu.

Summer Wellness Classes: Our amazing wellness instructors will be back NEXT WEEK with virtual wellness classes available FREE to all ACC employees. We even have a couple of NEW classes (including some 30 minute options) and returning past instructors for this semester.  

Check out the Summer schedule HERE to view and access these classes, and be sure to mark your calendar with your favorite classes to join!  In fact, you can click HERE to add the shared Wellness Calendar to your Google Calendar for easy access.  Click HERE for a description of classes and instructors.  

Please be sure to Register HERE prior to attending any classes. While there is still no attendance requirement, this form is required for participation. You may sign up for as many classes as you plan to attend using one form, and can even edit to add new classes as desired. This form contains the official class waiver and provides us with a way to communicate important information regarding the classes throughout the semester. We hope you will join us, and see you in class soon!

HR Memo on Housing Support Services: The College recognizes that during these times of challenge, employees need support and assistance in a variety of ways. There are a variety of city and county programs that provide assistance. To view the full memo and list of options, click here.

TLED recap of the April 23rd Faculty Evaluation Forum. Check out the recording of the forum at https://instruction.austincc.edu/tledupdates/2021/05/11/faculty-evaluation-forum-outcomes-april-23-2021/

TLED Summer Software Day [Friday, July 23]: Summer Software Day is an annual event that offers workshops for all ACC faculty and staff. The event provides you with an opportunity to keep up to date with your tech skills and learn new ones to implement in your classrooms and day-to-day tasks. This year, Summer Software Day will be delivered entirely online on Friday, July 23, 2021. Click here to get event reminders. More details are available at austincc.edu/softwareday

HR Compensation Announces Annual Educational Adjustment Process for Qualifying Full-Time Faculty [Deadline, July 31, 2021]: The Annual Educational Adjustment Process for Qualifying Full-Time Faculty is now being conducted by HR Compensation. If you have completed a higher degree or completed additional graduate hours (either 24, or 45 or more) in your teaching discipline or in the discipline of Education in this academic year (FY21), those additional hours or degree qualifies your salary to be reviewed for a higher salary level. See attached for more details. Contact Carla Dykstra at carla.dykstra@austincc.edu with questions.

Teaching and Learning Academy (TLA) [Application deadline August 1]: Registration is now open for the Fall 2021-Spring 2022 cohort. Watch Samantha Croft’s short video for her take on why now is the right time to join this program. You have plenty of time before the deadline to apply, but please keep TLA in mind over the summer. Please mark your calendar to submit your application by August 1, 2021. Learn more and apply here.

New Action Items:

Internal Job Posting for Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives in Instruction [Due July 16th]: Faculty can go to the job postings link here, (you’ll see the position highlighted), or you can go directly to the posting with more information here. The deadline to apply is July 16, and details about how to apply are in the posting.

Current Action Items (These are reminders for things I’ve already sent out):

Administrative Rule Open for Comments [Due June 30th ß LAST REMINDER]: The Administrative Services Council (ASC) has reviewed proposed changes to the following Administrative Rule (AR) and Guideline/Procedure and approved the drafts to be posted for comments from ACC employees:

6.08.005 Resolution of an Employee Grievance
Please note:

  • The revision process included collaboration and feedback from the ad hoc committee that was formed for this purpose as well as various ACC stakeholders, and legal counsel.
  • The ad hoc committee, which included representatives from each employee association, re-envisioned the process to create an effective, timely, and understandable process, grounded in fairness and accountability.
  • A singular process that does not distinguish between complaints and grievances is being recommended based on the clarification from board policy DGBA.
  • The creation of a new position, Employee Relations Officer, is being recommended to manage and facilitate the grievance process.
  • The Grievance Review Council was created in order to provide an additional level of oversight for the grievance process.

The drafts are available for viewing and adding comments here:
https://sites.google.com/a/austincc.edu/asc-internal/admin_rules_drafts

Please read the instructions before adding comments. The deadline for comments is June 30, 2021.

ACC Faculty Handbook Open for Comments [Due July 15th]: In 2018, faculty identified the need for significant revision and updates of the ACC Faculty Handbook, and TLED subsequently became process holder for this document. 

With many College changes and shifts throughout the Pathways initiatives, the Faculty Handbook required a significant overhaul, and we convened a small workgroup with representation from faculty and staff in key content areas: Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Administrative Services. We needed to ensure information was updated for such matters as Culturally Responsive Teaching, Areas of Study, Program Maps, Student Support, and changes in Student Affairs processes.  

The workgroup collected updated content and recommended a process for review and maintenance of the Handbook. Other considerations included aligning or merging alternative handbooks for faculty (e.g., Distance Education, Faculty Evaluation, Experiential Learning), clarification of differing faculty resources (e.g., handbooks, guidelines, Administrative Rules) and unique information for faculty librarians and faculty counselors.  

During 2019, the work group members reviewed their respective content areas and submitted updated material for editing and formatting. A DRAFT was submitted in March 2020—just before the pandemic and its subsequent disruption. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed our review process, but we are now ready to share this DRAFT and solicit your input on what might be missing, or how we can make information more clear.

We invite faculty to review and offer feedback on the content by July 15, 2021. The DRAFT Faculty Handbook, feedback form, as well as more detailed information about the Faculty Handbook timeline, can be found on this TLED website –  Faculty Handbook Review Project.

Call for Shared Governance and Senate Standing Committee Volunteers [Deadline: 5:00P Friday, July 18]: ACC’s shared governance structure and various committees are the primary ways ACC Full-Time Faculty can have a significant voice in college policies and procedures, budgets and technology allocations, and all the other decisions that go into running the college.  Here is your chance to let your voice be heard as a volunteer on one or more of the various shared governance and senate committees. Please visit the form here and let us know your preferences by 5PM on Friday, July 18.

Best,

Wayne