By Lauren Handley.
I want to address two issues today. The first relates to dual enrollment. MPCTA has reached out to the District because we very, very strongly believe that for dual enrollment to be successful, to be something that we are doing in the best possible way, we need a MOU– as it relates to the working conditions of faculty will be teaching in the high schools.
We’ve identified a series of topics that are particularly important for our members. I want to make the Board aware because I’m hoping that we will be able to get a MOU written before all the agreements have been made with the high school district and before these classes that are being taught in Seaside High, Marina High, and Monterey High, etc.
We feel it’s really very important that for the faculty that are employed by MPC that these positions be voluntary. Right now, according to our contract district has a right of assignment, and this needs to be an exception to that. That is a position that’s beneficial for the students, and also a protection for our faculty.
We feel very strongly that we need to take a look at the evaluation procedure and that we need to make sure that our evaluation tools are appropriate for the high school environment. We also need to make sure that insofar as student evaluations from high schools are being used that they are used in faculty evaluations with some thoughtfulness. Because it is, in fact, a different thing to ask students in high school to evaluate faculty– because of the setting, and particularly because of the role that faculty will play in student discipline. That is not something that we do in classrooms here at MPC, to the same extent. We want to make sure that this is being done in an equitable way and that the evaluation committees have consistent guidelines for using student evaluations coming out of the high schools.
We also want to make sure that there are clear protections for faculty going to the high schools to conduct evaluations and is at this point a little bit unclear what role faculty will need to play. I’ve talked to the president of the Monterey Bay Teachers Association which represents MPUSD faculty it is essential to make sure that that we know who is being evaluated, by whom, and also how faculty are supposed to evaluate teachers that are not, in fact, employed by MPC. The issue of evaluations is very important in a future MOU.
An MOU needs to include provisions related to grievances because of the change in venue. MPC faculty will be teaching in the high schools. There is the potential for events we cannot anticipate right now. Because our contract does not allow members to file a grievance against somebody who is not employed by Monterey Peninsula College. Our contract only provides protection within the context of this College. So some type of clear grievance procedure is needed, should a contract violation occur and implicate a teacher or administrator of MPUSD. This is very, very important for just ensuring that we have a smooth process going forward. And should something arise, there’s already a process in place so we will not have to struggle over the process. This way we don’t. in the moment, need to create a process that may be more trouble than it’s worth, with the potential to provoke tension between the District and the teacher’s union groups.
Fourth, it is very important that we have a provision that requires the district and the union to look at the consequences of these dual enrollment programs for parttime faculty, particularly, and faculty employment generally, on an annual basis. As we grow dual enrollment programs are there a consequences for the number of faculty and the types of faculty being employed on the MPC campus? The chancellor’s guideline on AB 288 are clear that the intent of this program is not to affect employment of either college faculty or high school teachers. We need a routine meeting to ensure there are no negative consequences.
We believe an annual check-in on this topic makes sense, and for that reason we’d like to see an annual MOU to be signed as MPC reviews it’s agreements with local high schools. For that reason we are seeking an annual MOU that would sunset after one year. This would ensure that at the same time that the college is communicating with the high schools, going through the process of setting up an agreement identifying courses and identifying the number of students to be instructed, they would also have to come back and interact with the union make sure that the procedures that we’ve outlined are going well and to make sure that this is not having a negative consequence on faculty in any particular department. That there are no fewer faculty positions because of dual enrollment. None of these are extreme requests we believe that it should be a priority for the college to get this MOU in place.
As for the second thing I would like to address: Yesterday I was in Presidents Advisory Group and I heard an argument about faculty salaries which is incredibly problematic. I wanted to address it here because my guess is that if faculty and staff are hearing this argument at Presidents Advisory Group, the board may be hearing it too. Yesterday the suggestion was made that step and column increases are cost-of-living adjustments for faculty. That at MPC the way cost-of-living adjustments are provided is through a step increase which faculty receive in some years based on the salary schedule outlined in our contract. This is not a good argument and is not a factual argument.
Step increases are in increase in pay based on greater experience. Each year that our faculty teach at MPC they had taught more students, they may have taught more classes, they have been involved in more committees, and they may have participated in more of the challenging processes of the state of California outlines for community colleges. As a result they are more valuable to the college. Faculty who have been here for a year know more about being an instructor at MPC. Faculty who have been here for six years have almost certainly, by that time, had the opportunity to participate in program review, which is a taxing process. They are, therefore, more valuable to MPC. Faculty who have been here 10 years, again, have been through these processes more than once they have even more knowledge to share.
When each faculty member arrived at MPC we benefited from more senior faculty being able to provide us with clear guidance about how to do our jobs well. That knowledge is what is being paid for with step increases. Each year MPC faculty are more valuable to the institution that they were earlier before- what step increases are not is a compensation for cost-of-living increases living in Monterey County or surrounding Counties in coastal California.
We all observe that the cost of living is increasing at an accelerated rate and the idea that a salary schedule that was set in 2007 and has been adjusted by only 4% in recent years can account for cost-of-living increases is a ridiculous argument. However, our contract offers even more evidence that the salary rate is the step increases are not designed to compensate the increase in the cost of living. Our contract describes how you are placed on the salary schedule. You are not placed on the salary schedule at step one if you have a wealth of experience because you have experience which is valuable so you are placed anywhere from step one to step six. Depending on the amount of education you have, which is valuable, you are placed in a column. And all that reflects the reality that our salary schedule is designed to pay for experience to compensate faculty for the wealth of information that they have– that they can provide to students but also that makes the college stronger.
So the argument that I heard in Presidents Advisory Group yesterday was not a good explanation of the step and column increases that MPC faculty receive. It is an argument that makes it easy to suggest that perhaps we don’t need to provide faculty with raises. It’s an argument that makes it easy to suggest that perhaps the cost-of-living adjustment that the state is providing can simply into the general fund, without there being any discussion about the need for cost-of-living increases for faculty.
I wanted to provide a counter argument to demonstrate that the attention to the step increase– which I know the board as it has express some concern about the cost of those step increases– that the value of them is in faculty experience. Every year that a faculty member works at MPC they are more valuable to you, and you should honor that with step and column increases. But so long as California economy grows at the rate it has and the cost of living in this area increases, you should also be concerned that our earnings keep pace. It is the only way to ensure we can recruit and retain excellent faculty, and as I have said before that is becoming increasingly difficult here.