Policy Board Minutes
April 11, 2018
PB members: Nola Agha, Brandon Brown, Robin Buccheri, Jen Dever, Doreen Ewert, Joe Garity, Candace Harrison, EJ Jung, Dorothy Kidd, Gabe Maxson, Elliot Neaman, Mary Jane Niles, Meera Nosek, Julia Orri, Sonja Poole, Christina Purpora, Steve Roddy, Claire Sharifi, Brian Weiner, Annick Wibben
USFFA-FT members: Hwaji Shin, Stephanie Vandrick, Kathy Nasstrom, Rebecca Mason, Jonathan Hunt, Lilian Dube
USFFA-PT member: Sue Bae
Minutes from the General Membership meetings were approved online
A. Invitations for the Annual Retirement and Awards dinner have been sent out via Evite. There are 13 retirees. Dinner at the Hotel Shattuck in Berkeley.
B. Weiner recognized Agha, Dever, Maxson sand Sharifi for their time and effort for their work on the post-sabbatical award committee. Sharifi thanked Weiner.
C. Eric Ewen, who served the PB and EB for many years has stage IV cancer. Weiner asked the PB for a donation for a cleaning service to assist his family with their household cleaning. We asked budget committee to consider $500.
D. Ewert announced that Camperi plans to create a committee to engage in long-range planning for the future of CAS. This is not a reactivation of the “academic prioritization” plan of Fall 2017.
II. Open Forum
A. Sue Bae said that the USFFA-PT heard that they are being asked to use their own laptops in the classroom and that all classroom computers will be removed from the current consoles. The PT faculty are not issued computers. She asked for the PB assistance. Neaman asked the PB by quick straw poll if we use our own computers in the class (majority said yes) and if this is the classroom computer or their own (most use the classroom computer). Poole asked about a computer lending program for PT. Bae said that there may not be enough (650) for all PT. Buccheri said that this is not feasible, due to issues with Zoom. When you have students in the classroom as well as students Zooming into the class, you need two laptops–the one in the classroom and your own. Nasstrom asked if the provost consulted with ITS. Hunt added that he is on the technology committee—the idea is to look for a better solution. He said that this is in the data-gathering stage. Neaman asked what needs to be fixed? Hunt said that there is a lot of hardware that is not being used. Dever commented that the faculty do use the computers regularly and that the faculty have not been consulted regarding this important decision. She went on to comment that the loss of these computers would significantly impact our ability to effectively teach.
B. Neaman said that Shirley McGuire requested that she meet with chairs of the Peer-Review committees to ask for feedback about anything that could be improved with procedures having to do with the interactions between the administration and the peer review committee. Since the visit by Heller and McGuire to the peer review committees last time was controversial, Neaman told McGuire he would ask for permission first from PB this time. Wibben suggested such a meeting should only happen with several of the chairs to gather historical knowledge. Kidd asked what McGuire wanted to know. Neaman read from McGuire’s email and said that she wants to help improve and streamline procedures in the future and would like feedback from the chairs. Wibben suggested that, given that the PRCs are our committees, we need a “union conversation” first. Dever said that we should have control and power of the situation and that since the PRC is a union committee it is ours to assess. Buccheri suggested each school and college form a list of concerns. She mentioned that last year one School did not provide the summary of Blue scores for the applicants from their School. This made it very difficult for those on the college-wide and university-wide peer review committees who had to go through Blue scores for each class for those applicants. Kidd asked about McGuire’s real agenda. Neaman said that he thought McGuire was only interested in getting feedback, and had no hidden agenda, but if the PB so wishes, then the discussion should take place among us first before anyone from peer review talks to Shirley .
C. Rebecca Mason asked for support for the striking teachers in Oklahoma. She read a statement of solidarity. Kidd made a motion to have the USFFA-FT support the teachers and have the statement entered into the minutes. The motion was approved 17-0-0.
The statement reads:
Supporting Oklahoma Educators and Students
Whereas, public school teachers in Oklahoma have not received a raise in over ten years, and are among the lowest paid teachers in the country, and
Whereas, many public school teachers in Oklahoma must work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet, and
Whereas, per-pupil funding in Oklahoma has been cut by 28 percent since 2008, devastating Oklahoma’s public education system, and
Whereas, educators in Oklahoma deserve a living wage, and students deserve a high-quality public education,
Whereas, on March 29, the Oklahoma state legislature passed a revenue bill that falls well short of the justifiable demands of Oklahoma educators, and
Whereas, thousands of educators across Oklahoma remain on strike, and
Whereas, these Oklahoma educators are taking a stand for themselves, their communities, and the students of Oklahoma, and
Whereas, a victory for Oklahoma educators would be a victory for workers across the United States,
Be it resolved, the University of San Francisco Faculty Association (USFFA-FT) stands in solidarity with striking Oklahoma educators, and their students.
D. Agha added that Arts Council had originally asked her to create an org chart because of a concern about communication. One realization has been that minutes from each Division are usually kept on a server but not accessible by all members. Also minutes are generally not emailed to those members (like Policy Board minutes are). She suggested that each Division discuss emailing their minutes to members and that we think about creating a uniform platform to post minutes.
E. Wibben will report on the CFT meeting on the next PB meeting (2 May).
III. Old Business
A. Finish the rules for Bylaws subcommittee—Neaman. Neaman said that the motion of 7 March 2018 did not pass due to abstentions, which count as no by Robert’s Rules. The composition of the committee was in question. Neaman explained that we need to revisit the membership of the committee, not its mandate. Agha said that we did pass in the original motion that all divisions are represented. Neaman asked what is then left to be decided? Agha said that the motion was passed on Nov. 8, 2017. She said that all schools were represented and that they need to fill the committee. Wibben asked if we were going back to the Nov 8 version. Neaman clarified that one member from each school is clearly mandated in those minutes. Neaman suggested we have no further discussion and move to staff the committee with PB members. Poole asked for volunteers (Harrison, Sharifi and Poole). SONHP will determine their members. Nosek asked how often they will meet. Wibben said that previous minutes had talked about a meeting at the beginning of each academic year. Like the budget committee, the exact details of how often to meet will be worked out in the course of undertaking the work.
B. Unresolved issues for Tenure and Promotion Peer Review Committees—Neaman. Neaman noted that the issue of whether or not a USFFA member can ask for a recusal of a peer review member through the offices of the USFFA has not been resolved. Last year we did a temporary fix by determining that a USFFA member could not use the offices of the USFFA to request a recusal.
Do we make this permanent?
Wibben made a motion to make the temporary policy for 2017-2018 permanent. This is the language from the email sent last fall to the USFFA:
As the deadline approaches for applicants for tenure and/or promotion to submit their applications, the USFFA Executive Board would like to reiterate the policy stated in our June 27, 2017 memo in regard to all requests for recusals by applicants. In that memo we stated, “for the year 2017-2018, as far as peer review committees are concerned, no official procedure exists whereby an applicant for tenure and or promotion can request through the USFFA a recusal from any member of the peer review committees.” We would like to stress that this is a new written policy, which explicitly formulates a rule that did not exist before this year. Last year, there were two recusal requests that were treated on the basis of past unwritten precedent, whereby requests for recusal were handled on a case-by-case basis by the USFFA Executive Board. For the upcoming academic year no requests will be considered for review by the Executive Board. In the spring of 2017 the Policy Board tried on several occasions to formulate a new and permanent written policy, but was unable to come to a consensus or final decision. We have every intention to finalize a recusal policy as soon as possible, hopefully in this fall semester.
Dube asked for clarification. Brown said that if adopted the PB and EB would not entertain any requests. The question was discussed, what is an applicant asks anyway. Neaman said that we can not stop someone from asking for a recusal, but if the motion is adopted to extend the fix from last year, then the USFFA would not respond to such requests. Brown does not see this as a question of rights: Do we want to address the future incidences of requests? He also asked if we want to create a policy that encourages trust, and if we want to give guidelines to future PBs on this matter?
Maxson added that recusal is a voluntary act. Harrison said that she was concerned that anyone could be allowed to request a recusal? What is the mechanism? What is already in place in the by-laws to administer disputes among USFFA members? Neaman said that the Appeals Board (USFFA By-Laws 1.J.3) has the responsibility to “resolve disputes among members of the USFFA.” A request for recusal is not necessarily a dispute among members, but the by-laws could be rewritten to include such requests. Dube said that we have already acknowledged the basis for recusals, since the peer review committee members receive a disclosure form at the beginning of deliberations, on which they sign off on not knowingly having any conflicts of interest. She was disappointed with the delay on deciding this issue. Do we want to neglect the vulnerable, she asked? Agha said that the issues have to be resolved before the peer review committees meet, not after.
Dever said that it makes sense to deal with potential issues afterward, since we have a good contractual grievance process. This process could be undermined with recusal requests. Dube said grievances are between the administration and the union whereas the original problem is one between members within the union. Neaman said again that we could expand the role of the Appeals Board to deal with recusals if PB wishes and the membership approves.
Neaman called for the question—to extend the 2017-18 language. Wibben re-read the motion:
No official procedure exists whereby an applicant for tenure and or promotion can request through the USFFA a recusal from any member of the peer review committees
The motion was approved 12-3-2.
Agha made a motion to begin exploring the possibility of using the Appeals Board and any other means to address the recusal issue. Brian asked if this could start with the by-laws committee? Agha amended her motion that the by-laws committee has this task. The vote 14-0-2.
IV. New Business
A. Arts Council Proposal: USFFA General Meetings and USFFA President-Provost meetings—Neaman. Arts Council had recommended that minutes be taken and distributed for the meetings between the USFFA President and the Provost, which take place normally around twice a month. He noted that the next USFFA President will have to take this up, but he would advise against taking minutes. He said that an analogy would be the Zoom recordings that we make of PB meetings. PB members do not want those made public, even on a restricted basis, because they feel that the discussion at PB would change if every statement were recorded. The same applies to the meetings with the Provost. There are sometimes personal matters discussed, such as retirement contracts, and sometimes the Provost will open up about his thoughts on matters, about which he does not yet want to go public. If someone were taking minutes, the discussion would be much more restricted and less open. Roddy asked if at least PB could hear about what was said afterwards. Neaman said that is is in fact the current practice. He usually brings back relevant matters both to the EB and the PB for discussion. Ewert said that there was maybe a middle ground, that an agenda could be written up by the USFFA President and distributed beforehand. Neaman said that was a different matter than minutes, but could be considered.
The Arts Council also suggested that more USFFA General Membership meetings should be held. Neaman said the new Executive Board should consider having as many as it feels necessary.
B. Faculty Development Funding shortfall—Shin. Shin said that there was a shortfall in the CAS FDF awards. This is due to the new practice of re-distribution (per recent changes in the CBA). CAS lost $118K due to this. Shin explained that CAS had the largest amount of unused funds ($300K). Why? Shin said that (1) dormant funds due to cancelled trips or overestimation of needs; (2) unspent funds at the end of the year—150 hours for RA, for example. Shin added that there was no distinction (all was assumed to be dormant). CAS lost $118K from this year’s fund. There is a $120K shortfall this year. Given the shortfall, the committee this year prioritized junior faculty over full professors for awards. Shin added that funds will not disappear on 31 Aug (as rumor had it).
Neaman said that we really need to get the FDF Task Force up and running. He asked for point persons from PB (Jung and Dever volunteered). Neaman said that a lot of the funds were not being used in the past, and so he changes we negotiated made sense, but there are always unintended consequences that need to be addressed. He said that Hamrick is open to suggestions and ideas for how to fix the problems. CAS would like streamlining and flexibility for each of the schools. Shin would like to serve as the advisor (currently CAS FDF co-chair). Poole wanted representation from each of the schools. Shin asked for people who served on the FDF previously. Poole asked for the list of people who had already volunteered (by email last week). Shin suggested that the August 31st “ sweep” of the funds should stop, as a first order of business. Shin added that junior faculty are most affected. They tried to be as fair as possible. Shin said that CAS has always had a higher demand ($200-300K) than the funds can satisfy. The previous CBA allowed a roll-over of unused funds. She said that there will still be a shortfall this year again. Purpora said that this needs to be fixed by August 31st. Jung suggested having every division represented (1 ea = 6 total + Shin in advisory capacity).
The meeting was adjourned at 16:56
Submitted by Julia Orri