Restoring the proper role of faculty in the governance of your unit: What you need to know

The development of new Internal Governance policies—the formal procedures by which units make decisions and set policies–is in full swing across campus.
 
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between United Academics (UA) and University administration gives faculty a stronger, unit-specific, and more formalized voice in governance at the unit level. The CBA requires that faculty be afforded a substantive role in the development of these governance policies.
 
We encourage all faculty to be proactive in their involvement in this process.
 
In most units, everything is proceeding relatively smoothly – we hope this is the case in your unit.
 
The Internal Governance policy in the CBA is intended to preserve, and in some cases restore, the proper role of faculty in the governance of the University. It is the first step toward developing a series of polices that provide all bargaining unit faculty an opportunity for their voice to be heard on academic and employment matters in their department or unit.
                                  
If unit administrators develop the governance framework on their own and then present it to faculty for comment and approval, they are not following the spirit and expectations of the CBA.

If you’d like to set up a meeting with a United Academics representative to understand how best to engage in this process, or if top-down governance models are being presented without avenues for substantive faculty participation and influence, or if you are not being included in discussions about your unit’s Internal Governance policy, please contact Ron Bramhall, VP for Instructional NTTF – bramhall at uauoregon dot org or Gina Psaki, VP for Tenure-Track Faculty psaki at uauoregon dot org.
 
WHAT GOES INTO AN INTERNAL GOVERNANCE POLICY?
 
There are many potential components within an Internal Governance policy. While all the provisions below are not required by the CBA, we believe units should consider these components:

  • Establishing guidelines for how a meeting agenda is set, approved or modified. A simple rule allowing approval of prior minutes, additions to agenda, and approval of agenda may be considered.
  • Rather than tasking work or decisions to the faculty as a whole, some departments or units may want to consider developing a system of elected committees charged to work with the head or director in making decisions on departmental duties, such as evaluation and promotion, merit raises and workload.
  • The policy should contain a list of committees with their charges, powers and responsibilities. The list should also include how committees are constituted – including makeup by membership, which members are elected or appointed, and how they are elected or appointed.
  • The policy should describe how decisions are made – including notice of motions, voting procedures, categories of decisions that require full faculty vote versus those that can be made at the committee level, and the organizational structure that outlines the flow of decisions between committees or other constituencies.
  • The policy should describe how decisions are to be documented and communicated.
  • The policy should describe how policies that have been approved ­– including the internal governance policy itself – could be modified.

Each unit should also ensure their governance policy can easily incorporate specific policies on the following issues in the near term:

  • Internal Governance (CBA Article 4)
  • Workload Definition (CBA Article 17)
  • NTTF Review and Promotion (CBA Article 19)
  • TTF Review and Promotion (CBA Article 20)
  • Merit Raises (CBA Article 26)
  • Summer Session Appointments (CBA Article 18)
  • Professional Development Fund Distribution (CBA Article 35)
  • At our request, Academic Affairs has posted sample pre-CBA governance documents from various departments: https://academicaffairs.uoregon.edu/example-governance-policies. Past unit policies, the CBA, and these guidelines from Academic Affairs should all be considered as reference points in developing internal governance policies in your unit.

 
As you craft or revise your internal governance policy, please anticipate the longer timeline of policy development expected of departments and units.
 
EQUITY POLICIES

In addition to those specifically directed by the implementation of the CBA, we encourage all units to develop an equity protocol or policy for their department or unit. Such a policy would specify procedures for identifying issues of internal and external equity and methods to fund from department, college or university sources any appropriately determined equity adjustments, including any future resources negotiated between United Academics and University administration.
 

DEVELOPING INTERNAL GOVERNANCE POLICIES IN YOUR UNIT

One of the underlying principles in the Collective Bargaining Agreement is the creation of meaningful participation for faculty in the governance of their unit. All departments and units are beginning the process of developing internal governance policies.

The first task for all faculty (including NTTs) is to develop a governance policy for your unit or department. This policy should describe the committee structure of the unit, which will lay the groundwork for future policy development by non-tenure track and tenure related faculty, including criteria for review and promotion of both NTTF and TTF, as well as criteria for merit raises, the use of professional development funds and other policies.

United Academics recognizes that it will take a significant amount of time to develop these governance policies. Our implementation team has been working with university administrators to make the process as smooth as possible. To help you think about ways in which your unit might develop an effective internal governance policy, we have produced a handout (see below) to guide your unit int the process.  You should also feel free to contact the UA Executive Committee member who represents your classification:

Nathan Dunn – Vice President for Non-Tenure-Track Research Faculty Affairs dunn@uauoregon.org

Ron Bramhall – Vice President for Non-Tenure-Track Instructional Faculty bramhall@uauoregon.org

Gina Psaki – Vice President for Tenure-Track Faculty Affairs  psaki@uauoregon.org

UPDATE–Faculty Raises and Grievance

Your January paycheck should have had a 1.5% increase to your base salary. This is the second of three 1.5% raises that we negotiated. You might also have received a merit raise, depending on the process established in your unit. United Academics has received reports from several faculty members that they have not heard any information from their department or unit as to how much, if any, merit increase was in their check this month.  

We recommend that you talk with your department head, supervisor, or office manager about how much of a merit increase you received, if any. We are also encouraging the university administration to send out a notice to faculty about the amount of their merit increase, which is common practice in many units at the university.

On a related note, we are still trying to work with the university administration to resolve issues about the first raise. The contract language is clear: “All bargaining unit faculty members hired on or before June 30, 2012 will receive a salary increase equal to 1.5% of salary effective January 1, 2013.” 

The university administration, however, has effectively denied this raise to many faculty members. Our efforts to resolve this issue informally have not worked, so we filed a grievance on behalf of all faculty who did not receive that increase to their base salary. This will be the first test of our new grievance process. We are confident that United Academics will be able to compel the administration to honor the contract and grant faculty the raises that were negotiated.

QUESTION: Does our CBA place a new restriction on faculty leave, engagement, or reporting responsibilities between fall and winter terms?

ANSWER: ABSOLUTELY NOT. The new CBA does formalize a paid leave for most bargaining unit members for the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. But there are no new campus-wide policies regarding expectations for faculty engagement in research, service and teaching between fall and winter terms that supersede existing practices and expectations within units. As in the past, bargaining unit members should consult with their respective unit heads or supervisors if they have questions about their expected engagement during this period.

A memo sent by the Office of the General Counsel to department heads and some faculty during the week of December 11 inaccurately implied that the CBA instituted new campus-wide changes to such policies. The CBA does not institute such changes, and it does not grant the General Counsel the authority to dictate such policy to individual units.

If you have been incorrectly told that the CBA has mandated a new campus wide change to faculty reporting and engagement responsibilities between fall and winter terms, please contact United Academics immediately at 541 636-4714 or info@uauoregon.org.

QUESTION: Does our new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) prohibit the administration from granting raises to individual faculty above the levels required in the agreement?

ANSWER: ABSOLUTELY NOT. There is no language in the CBA that prohibits the administration from offering raises above the levels required by the contract (e.g. in a retention effort when the UO grants a raise to a faculty member who has received an outside offer). As long as such raises do not diminish the contractually guaranteed pools allotted for equity and merit raises, are disclosed to United Academics, and are implemented through a transparent and fair process, the Administration retains the authority to grant such raises at its discretion.

Please click below to see a copy of the memo sent to Interim Provost Scott Coltrane on behalf of United Academics reaffirming the Union’s position that there are no objections to such extra-contractual raises.

If you have been incorrectly told by an administrator or unit head that they are prevented from granting such extra-contractual raises because of the CBA or the union, please contact United Academics immediately at 541 636 4714 or info@uauoregon.org.