Faculty Council Report on Budget Process, 2017-18

Dear Colleagues,

At Faculty Council’s October 27, 2017 meeting, Vice President of College Services Brian Kelly and Strategic Planning and Budget Officer Jennifer Steele presented on the Administration’s proposed budget timeline for this year. Faculty Council felt the information shared was important enough to pass on in detail to the faculty as a whole in order to:

1) give you a sense of the way the budget process as a whole may be impacted by these changes;

2) share our concerns about the proposed process; and

3) offer you the opportunity to join in this conversation. 

We will synthesize the discussion that takes place here for presentation to the Board during their Thursday, Nov. 9 meeting, so please comment by Tuesday, Nov. 7 at the end of the day. This blog is a publicly accessible document. 

 

We recommend you use the following documents as resources:

Budget Development Calendar: https://www.lanecc.edu/sites/default/files/budget/budget_development_calendar.pdf

Planning and Budget Development Calendar:

https://www.lanecc.edu/sites/default/files/budget/planning_budget_development_calendar_2017-18.pdf

Standard Data Package:

https://www.lanecc.edu/planning/standard-data-package

 

NOTE: The remainder of this document has been edited in response to communication from Jen Steele and Brian Kelly, and hopefully is more thorough in its information and precise in its language than it was originally. All quotations below are taken from that communication.

 

Here are the key aspects of the budget process as presented by Brian Kelly and Jennifer Steele: According to their presentation, based on feedback from last year’s budget process that departments didn’t have enough time to respond to proposed cuts and reductions, the Administration has proposed a new budget process timeline (see above for a simple or more detailed version). According to Brian and Jen, the new timeline is “designed to provide impacted faculty, staff, and students with time and opportunity to engage in impact analysis and consideration of alternatives with administration” as well as to “provide clarity in roles and decision-making responsibilities.”

 

The timeline is structured as follows: In fall term Institutional Research shares a “standard data package” that includes information on enrollment, completion, demographics, etc. for programs and services. (This document has already been circulated; see above for the link.) Institutional Research and planning staff will “provide an orientation to the data for deans, directors, and faculty engaging in program review, hold open ‘drop-in’ sessions, and also provide individual or group consultation and additional data/analysis to departments and program review teams.” In January, if cuts are deemed a necessary consideration, the Administration will circulate a list of potential program and service reductions and investment options. During winter term, time will be set aside to analyze any impacts of cuts/reductions and to gather feedback from campus stakeholders. The Board will make decisions about program/service investments/reductions on March 30.  The first draft of the budget of the Budget Development Subcommittee (which includes faculty, staff, students, and management) will be forwarded to College Council on April 1.  

 

Here are our takeaways. As currently proposed:

  1. The Administration will develop their list of program/service reductions with the promise of conversations with impacted program/service faculty, staff, and students and (as yet undefined) input sessions focused on “impact analysis” throughout winter term.
  2. Decisions about program/service investments and reductions will be made separate from budget decisions.
  3. The Budget Development Subcommittee, which is made up of faculty, staff, student, and management representatives and has in the past forwarded budgets that differed from Administration’s budgets in regards to program/service reductions and cuts will no longer have the ability to give feedback on program/service reductions except in the context of the conversations and input sessions listed above. They will not be able to offer alternatives to decisions made about program/service reductions within the budget they offer. 

 

Faculty Council appreciates the move towards greater transparency as well as the promise of a longer period set aside for feedback, input, and problem-solving in response to potential program reductions. At the same time, many members of Faculty Council have concerns about the new process. 

 

Concerns that emerged during our October 27 Faculty Council meeting:

  1. The sharing of data does not equate to sharing of information. While faculty and staff can access the standard data package, we do not yet have answers to the questions: Beyond departmental program review, how will this information be used for decision-making about program investments and reductions? Will these kinds of decisions be tied to program review? What are the criteria for decision-making? 
  2. Historically, mechanisms for feedback (2-3 minute speeches at Board meetings, College Council forums, and Dean advocacy) have been insufficient. While the new process extends the time for input/feedback on decisions about program/service investments or reductions, it does not yet demarcate the specific nature of the mechanisms that will be used for this kind of input/feedback.
  3. Historically, there has been little to no legitimate or substantial incorporation of or response to input/feedback from faculty/staff/students. The Board usually has taken the Administration’s proposal and adopted it with little revision. The new process does not yet address this issue.
  4. The new process reduces the ability of the Budget Development Subcommittee — as the key collaborative body working on the budget — to offer alternative financial solutions to program (and job) reductions within the context of a proposed budget.

 

In our meeting, Faculty Council members gave the following suggestions to Brian Kelly and Jennifer Steele:  

  1. Provide commentary on data that reflects how it is being understood and used in the context of decision-making about program/service investments and reductions.  
  2. Provide and define legitimate, substantial, and collaborative mechanisms for faculty, staff, and student participation in initial and subsequent discussion of and recommendations for program/service investments and reductions across the year.
  3. Define formal avenues for advocacy by programs and services under threat of reduction with the legitimate possibility of altering the Board’s course of action.

Now we would like to open the floor for discussion. What do you think about the proposed budget process? Do you share the concerns listed above or have other concerns? What suggestions would you offer?

Faculty Council Statement on Decisions Affecting the Library Learning Environment

On March 1, 2016, Faculty Council issued the following statement:

Faculty Council supports the call from Library staff to be included in the decision-making process for actions such as the proposed Library signage featuring donors’ names. Any decisions that affect the learning environment and education process must include those who work in the spaces. This is in alignment with the core value of Learning, and the commitment of the college to “work together to create a learning-centered environment.” If LCC is to demonstrate accessible learning that serves “the educational and linguistic needs of a diverse community,” as stated in the Diversity core value, it must establish and follow a clear and collaborative process that makes a supportive learning environment its top priority.

Faculty Council Statement on Due Process and Institutional Process

On December 8, 2015, Faculty Council issued the following statement:

Lane Community College Administration should immediately halt the hiring process for a Medical Office Assistant (MOA) Program Coordinator until all contractual obligations have been met and institutional processes followed.

The college’s handling of the MOA program, including removal of the current program coordinator, ignores due process as guaranteed by the faculty contract. The Administration’s plan to hire a new program coordinator who will be charged with revising the full curriculum by Fall 2016 is not physically possible unless Curriculum Committee deadlines and the Program Review process are also ignored. The Administration’s claim that the “urgency” of the hiring is due to a promise made by the college president to unnamed employers further disregards the institutional standards outlined in the college’s Core Values.

As stated in May 2015, “Faculty Council strongly condemns any administrative action to remove, supplant, circumvent or bypass the faculty role in reviewing and designing curriculum, an example of which is the college administration’s treatment of the Medical Office Assistant program. Any process involving program restructure at Lane must be led by the program faculty, as well as follow the Program Review process and long-established academic and empirical data standards.”

Student Evaluation Instrument Questions and Discussion

At the Oct. 23 meeting, Faculty Council discussed possible questions for the Student Evaluation Instrument currently under development. Below you will find some links and documents that have informed the discussion.

THE ISSUE:
1. Faculty Council (FC) is responsible for the Student Evaluation Instrument.
2. FC has been apprised that the software supporting the Scantron system (the fill-in-the-bubble sheets used for years) is no longer viable. An online instrument has been developed and piloted. It is a work in progress, and, while there is general support to see it developed, no vote has been taken to mandate its use.
3. There are currently 14 questions (used on the Scantron sheet) that were approved many years ago by FC. These are the default questions until FC votes to change them.
4. It is generally agreed that the current system and questions are not particularly useful.

WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU:
1. The College Online Policy and Procedure System (COPPS) for Student Evaluation of Instruction states that “Evaluations are required of all full- and part-time faculty.” Click here for a full explanation.
2. COPPS also states that “A modification of this system may be arranged through Faculty Council.” This will be the primary topic of discussion at the next FC meeting.
3. Article 13.8 in the LCC Faculty Contract states:
13.8    Use of Regular Student Evaluations.  The regular student evaluations of classes may be used in evaluations of faculty provided:

1. The evaluation instrument was properly used;
2. The faculty member received copies of the complete results of the evaluation within a month of the end of the course in which the evaluation was solicited;
3. Any concerns raised by the evaluation results were given in writing to the faculty member within a month of the end of the course for which it was given;
4. Alternative explanations for the concerns raised through student evaluations will be solicited from the faculty member in writing and the responsible department/division chair/manager will respond with a written assessment of the possible alternative explanations for the concerns; and
5. Anomalous results were discounted.
13.8.1 Timeliness. Faculty members shall receive the complete results of student evaluations no later than thirty (30) working days after the end of the course in which the evaluation was solicited, or sooner when possible.

WHAT WE ARE ASKING OF YOU:
1. Please consider two things: The method of doing student evaluations, and the types of questions you would like to see used. Keep in mind that the purpose of the Student Evaluations is to provide “…one method for evaluating the teaching component of the learning environment.” And also that “Evaluation questions were selected to provide information for a faculty member to create a better learning environment and to become a better teacher.” (Both quotes from COPPS.)
2. Feel free to join the discussion on this blog. To help inform your thinking, click through the links below. Each includes a short identification for context.

LINKS TO RESOURCES AND INFORMATION
Faculty Evaluations Resources Website. Built in 2013 by Bert Pooth. An excellent resource for background and context of the Student Evaluation process at LCC. This is a Moodle page in which everyone can enroll. To do so, log on to your Moodle home page, scroll down to “Programs and Groups” then click on “Faculty Evaluations Resources Website.” This will take you to an “enrollment key” page. Type in “instructor” and you will be enrolled. Thereafter, you will have access to this website through your Moodle page.

List of suggestions for questions, gathered from LCC deans by Administration Executive Team. This is a pdf file that you can download and open.

Scantron sheet with questions adopted in 2001. A pdf file you can download and open.

Portland Community College Course Evaluation Questions. Includes questions for Face to Face and Distance Learning courses. Also includes SAC (Subject Area Committee) Level and Instructor Level questions.

University of Oregon Online Course Evaluations. Adopted as replacement for Scantron paper evaluations.

Oregon State University Standard Questions. Used for all courses, with ability for instructor to add questions specific to a course.

Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. This page has sample questions. Check out the left navigation bar for links to further resources providing background and context.

Thanks for your participation in this important discussion and decision-making process. The final decision will affect all of us, and this is your opportunity to be involved at whatever level you prefer.

Faculty Council Statement on Curriculum Review, Design, and Restructure

Faculty Council strongly condemns any administrative action to remove, supplant, circumvent or bypass the faculty role in reviewing and designing curriculum, an example of which is the college administration’s treatment of the Medical Office Assistant program. Any process involving program restructure at Lane must be led by the program faculty, as well as follow the Program Review process and long-established academic and empirical data standards.

Unlimited Wait Lists

Faculty Council is considering the idea of making all wait lists unlimited in number of slots.

The rationale for this move is to have more data on where student needs are not being met by Lane class offerings.  For example, this type of data may better facilitate a program’s ability to add back classes where wait lists are long and demand is not being met.  At present, all such information on student demand is anecdotal at best.

Please leave a reply to share your thoughts or responses.

 

Purging of the Wait Lists

Faculty Council is considering moving the college wide date for purging class wait lists from the first Monday of the term to the first Tuesday of the term.

The rationale for this is to allow for Tuesday/Thursday classes to meet before purging the wait lists.

Please leave leave a reply to share your thoughts or responses.

Future Work Group and the College’s Continuing No-Show Drop Policy

Faculty Colleagues, as you hopefully read in Dawn DeWolf’s email,  no-show drops for Winter term will be the same as Fall term.  Faculty Council discussed revisions at two different meetings Fall term and were unable to agree on a recommendation for revised language.  Faculty Council will participate in a work group Winter term with the goal of recommending revised language for no show drops for Spring.  If you are interested in participating in that group, please email Faculty Council co-chairs, Brooke Taylor and Joseph Colton.  If you have input regarding no show drops, comments can be recorded in reply to this post here.

Revised Language for First Week Attendance – Version 2

Faculty Council continues to consider new language for first week attendance in order to meet both federal guidelines and recognize diverse instructional needs.  Based on feedback provided to the previous blog post and discussion in Faculty Council on October 24, 2014, Faculty Council revised the proposed language as follows.  Please review the proposed language and share your input by leaving a reply.

  • Students not attending the first class meeting will be dropped.  For online classes, students who do not complete the first online assignment by the stated deadline will be dropped.  Thereafter individual instructor syllabi policies apply.