Should every unit in the College of Arts and Sciences have the same teaching load?
No. Of course not. And yet, over the past few weeks, the associate deans in CAS have edited and returned policies, crafted at the departmental level in thoughtful consultation with faculty of all ranks, to establish the professional responsibilities—or workload—for our non-tenure-track colleagues. They show every sign of rolling out a similar plan for tenure track faculty. The deans have disregarded the nuance of faculty input and imposed uniform policies on the departments instead. In particular, the CAS deans have sought to compel all departments and units in the Humanities and Social Sciences divisions to accept a one-size-fits-all, nine-course workload for career non-tenure-track faculty and a ten-course workload for adjunct faculty. For departments and units in the Natural Sciences division, the CAS deans have decreed an across-the-board six-course load for NTT faculty. We do not yet know why the CAS deans think that standard NTT workloads should be higher in some divisions than others.
Nothing in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) requires uniform workloads, either for tenure-track or non-tenure-track faculty. In some of their first discussions about unionization, the members of United Academics agreed on the fundamental principle that any bargaining agreement should honor and respect the rich diversity of disciplines and pedagogies that make any university, including the University of Oregon, an environment of lively intellectual exchange and learning. We recognized at the outset that the content and demands of teaching, as well as it balance with research and service, vary enormously across campus, and that any attempt to enforce a uniform standard would flatten and homogenize that rich diversity. This spirit is what we bargained. The CBA says workload policies should be faculty-developed at the unit level. Unfortunately, it appears that the CAS deans have decided to ignore not only the spirit of the CBA, but also the diversity that makes us the University of Oregon
What can you do?
- Support United Academics’ bargaining team: at the Thursday, February 26, session, your bargaining team will propose new language for the “Salary” article in the CBA, that will require any increase in workload to be matched by a corresponding increase in salary. Bargaining will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Ford Alumni Center, Room 403.
- Express your views to Provost Frances Bronet and to the Vice-Provosts for Academic Affairs, Doug Blandy and Barbara Altman: By undoing the work of implementation and faculty consultation, the interventions by CAS violate basic principles of shared governance—principles that both the administration and the union agreed to in our CBA.
- Get involved! United Academics is only as strong as its members are engaged. As a first step: attend United Academics’ General Membership Meeting on March 3, 2015, in Gerlinger Hall, 5:00-7:00. You can also volunteer to serve as a United Academics steward in your department or unit: call Kristy at 541-686-4714 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: This statement has been revised to reflect new information about workload policies in the Natural Sciences.