Earlier this month, our AFT and 4Cs unions filed a joint CT State Board of Labor Relations complaint against the Board of Regents for Higher Education for engaging in bad faith bargaining and threatening to unilaterally change the long-standing practice whereby FT faculty elect to perform Additional Responsibilities.
Our unions are sharing this complaint because the threatened attack on faculty by CSCU VP of Human Resources, Andy Kripp, is not aberrant or novel. T**his threatened attack on faculty mirrors and aligns with the actual attacks on shared governance and the removal of faculty control over the curriculum.**The threatened attack is also just the latest example of a system-wide mandate conjured up by CSCU and CSCC managers and later imposed on College Presidents and CEOs. Our unions are sharing this complaint to highlight what consolidation already means for our colleges and why it already is so disastrous. We are also sharing this complaint to explain why community college faculty and staff have zero trust or confidence in CSCU and CSCC management.
Our complaint stems from the Spring 2020 semester, when Community College CEOs and Deans began administering a new policy requiring faculty complete an iTeach certification in order to teach online coursework. This iTeach policy ran counter to decades of past practice whereby Program Coordinators and Department Chairs made recommendations regarding faculty qualifications and preparedness for online teaching. The iTeach policy disregarded the teaching experience of community college faculty, ignored course evaluations and other means of determining online teaching proficiency, and shifted the responsibility for recommending online teaching competency from a bottom-up faculty and department-driven process to a top-down managerial driven process.
Our unions filed grievances to challenge the new iTeach requirement for the reasons above and others. Our unions met with the CSCU Leadership, and we were unable to resolve our grievances. We reached impasse on discussions, and our unions and the Board of Regents prepared to arbitrate the matter.
As detailed in our complaint, following reaching impasse CSCU HR VP Kripp met with us to share a regressive proposal, and then threatened action against our members if we did not come to an agreement. VP Kripp told us that if we did not agree to their regressive proposal, he would direct Academic Deans across the community colleges to force Full Time faculty to revise their Additional Responsibility (AR) proposals and complete iTeach certification as part of their AR.
It is completely unprecedented for a CSCU manager to direct an individual faculty members’ AR activity. AR is elected each Spring by an individual faculty member in consultation with their Department Chair and Academic Dean. AR is means for faculty to select and propose specific, individualized activities the faculty member believes will best contribute to their department and college. Faculty propose the activity to their Academic Dean in a collaborative process.
The fact that the CSCU Vice President of Human Resources feels empowered to direct Academic Deans to break agreements they already made with their faculty, and force faculty to do any activity as part of Additional Responsibilities, says everything one needs to know about the crisis in our CSCU system. It exemplifies the way CSCU and CSCC managers view College CEOs and Academic Deans as little more than functionaries to be directed at will. It portrays the disregard CSCU Leadership has for the faculty that teach in our system and the collaborative relationships and practices that have made our system what it is. It highlights the lie of community colleges retaining our individual identities and epitomizes almost all of what is wrong with the corporate and bureaucratic state of the CSCU system.
Our unions – and all community college faculty and staff - are fighting to preserve a community college system where faculty, staff and local administrators are valued, treated with dignity and respect, and empowered to best serve our students.
Our students, our communities, and all of us deserve nothing less.
An initial hearing for the complaint has been set for September 14th.
Congress of CT Community Colleges (4Cs)
AFT F.T.C.T. 1942