Senate NTT Report, 3/26/15: Advocacy for NTT Faculty (Part 2)

Committee on Non-tenure-track Faculty Affairs
2014-2015 Report to Academic Senate
Co-Chairs: Kathy Besinque and Els Collins
3/26/15

This report describes the issues addressed and activities of the NTT Faculty Affairs committee this year thus far, and recommendations for next year’s committee. An Appendix mentions work by other faculty committees and faculty councils on topics important to NTT.

This year we focused on topics the NTT faculty told us were current priorities. Several matters the Committee addressed in prior years – including pay, work profiles, and faculty contracts – were not brought to us by NTT this year, but the Committee will return to them as needed.

Senate committees make semi-annual reports on their work as well as reports on request. Several of our Committee’s past reports, white papers and presentations are available on the Senate website at http://www.usc.edu/academe/acsen/AboutUs/FacultyCommittees/NonTenureTrackFaculty.htm

In our 2012 White Paper the Committee pointed out that our reports have been “influential in bringing about significant changes in a short amount of time.” We welcome the very positive and extensive discussion at the Academic Senate when we summarized this report yesterday, and look forward to further “significant changes in a short amount of time.”

A. Activities and Issues Addressed

1. Collaboration with the Center for Excellence in Teaching (CET):
During the 2014-2015 academic year, the CNTTFA has continued its collaboration with the Center for Excellence in Teaching (CET) to present events of interest to NTT faculty. This collaboration resulted in one event in the spring semester.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Bringing Art to Our Teaching and Teaching to Our Art

The event was well received, had good attendance and the feedback provided by CET was positive. A more thorough description of the event and the panelists is included on the last page of this report.

Committee members also started planning another CET event for NTT faculty, on Bringing the Profession to our Teaching and Teaching to our Profession.

2. Inclusion of Part Time NTT in Faculty Governance:
During the 2014-2015 academic year, the CNTTFA has worked to ensure that schools broaden NTT faculty participation to include Part-Time Faculty in faculty governance.

The CNTTFA recommends that when the Academic Senate President invites Deans and Faculty Council Chairs to recommend future committee members, those nominations continue to include (as they did last spring) Part-Time faculty from all schools for appropriate Academic Senate Committees. Some examples are Work and Family Life Balance, CNTTFA, CDIUP, etc.

In the Committee’s letter on 3/2/15 to all University Faculty, we pointed out that our Committee already includes both part-time and full-time NTT Faculty, and that we would welcome additional part-timers stepping forward to be members of our committee.

3. Inclusion of Full Time NTT in Faculty Governance:
By vote of the Viterbi faculty, this year NTT faculty became voting members of the Engineering Faculty Council, the final school to do so.

It is worth noting that while almost all schools have equal consideration of NTT for faculty council Chairmanship (and many have elected NTT as chair), the EFC still has a provision preventing NTT Faculty being Chair. We strongly endorse continued efforts by the Senate officers to work with EFC to change this, so we have full participation across the University.

We are proud that a former chair of the CNTTFA committee will be President of the Faculty next year.

4. Increase in Awareness of CNTTFA and Better Communication:
CNTTFA is very pleased with the new http://rtpc.usc.edu website. We are working with the Administration to make this site an even more useful resource for NTT faculty. We are glad that the Administration has been so responsive to our suggestions.

CNTTFA issued the letter to all University Faculty mentioned above, in response to Interim Provost Michael Quick’s February 6 letter to the faculty about unionization efforts, to increase awareness of the existing committees that exist to address NTT concerns. This letter is included on the new website as well.

5. Job Security for Long-Serving NTT:
This is a topic brought to us by NTT Faculty on the Dornsife College Faculty Council. The Committee discussed the Dornsife NTT proposal of 90 days notice or a one year terminal year for NTT on a multi-year contract or for NTT who have been there for many years. We will be working on this topic going forward. Also see the appendix on the Engineering Faculty Council proposal, and the Faculty Handbook Committee.

The Committee also began discussion of similar job security for part-time faculty. In some ways their issues are similar to those of full-time faculty but there are also notable differences. The Committee believes the subject of job security for PT faculty is important enough to be considered separately.

In addition, the Committee began discussion on whether tenure might be granted to long-serving NTT whose teaching is outstanding. We understand that changes in the tenure system are by vote of the tenured faculty, and we look forward to collaborative consideration of the relevant issues.

6. Criteria for Evaluation for Promotion:
This is another topic brought to us by Dornsife NTT. Our committee generally agreed that the guidelines for promotion to full professor of teaching should be expanded to include the substantive field of research of the individual faculty member and not be limited to research, papers or conferences “on the pedagogy of one’s field,” (research on teaching).
CNTTFA has also discussed that the “national reputation” of NTT FT Faculty under consideration for promotion from Associate to Full Professor of Teaching might be the wrong measure. Another measure, like “excellence worthy of national stature,” or “excellence equivalent to the top institutions,” could serve as a good benchmark.

Under the Faculty Handbook, faculty councils have a major role on proposing school NTT guidelines, and the Senate Executive Board reviews them. The CNTTFA will give feedback to them on these changes in school guidelines.

7. Severance:
The Committee would like to bring the issue of NTT severance to the attention of the Academic Senate and USC’s administration. USC full-time staff currently receive severance of one weeks’ pay per year, with a minimum of four weeks, whenever their position is eliminated or changed by at least 30% (see https://policy.usc.edu/layoffs/).

USC’s full-time and part-time non-tenure track faculty (NTT) are protected from having their jobs eliminated by a 90-day notice or the end of their current contract, whichever comes first (see USC Faculty Handbook). They do not currently receive severance and this puts USC’s NTT full-time faculty at a significant disadvantage.

We appreciate that the situation is different for tenure-track faculty positions, which are either fixed-term with a notice provision (before tenure) or provide protection for which severance is no longer relevant (if tenure is granted). NTT full-time faculty do not share either condition. The situation is also distinct from administrative assignments.

As a general principle, the committee feels strongly that USC’s NTT full-time faculty contracts or policies should address this issue. This should include modifications to their current contracts to address a severance package commensurate with their role at USC, possibly including time-of-year considerations.

For part-time faculty, there are different kinds of part-time faculty positions and the Committee will address those at a future meeting.

The committee urges the Academic Senate to recommend this change to the administration, and sincerely hope this oversight can be addressed and corrected quickly.

8. Benefits Eligibility and Orientation:
PT faculty who reach the 50% level and become eligible for full benefits, and newly appointed FT faculty, have raised the concern that some schools do not offer a formal orientation with regard to the addition of benefits. CNTTFA encourages every unit (or the Benefits office ) to make sure all newly-eligible faculty are offered an in-person explanation of their benefits, CNTTFA also recommends that every school, or the Provost’s office, have an orientation also focused teaching, research, service, and other university activities, and to invite all new faculty.

9. Sabbaticals, Mentorship, and Other Faculty Development
CNNTF regards it important to have strong faculty development opportunities for both FT and PT NTT. The Committee works with CET to sponsor programs, and works to promote sabbaticals and mentorship. We will return to this subject in the future.

10. What’s in a Name?

We received the suggestion that a more positive name be substituted for “non-tenure-track.” Some suggestions were “professional faculty,” “professors of the practice,” “teaching faculty,” and “contract faculty,” but none of those seemed right. Some non-USC people use “contingent faculty” but we reject that term, as NTT at USC can qualify for multi-year contracts and we do not feel contingent. We invite our colleagues to suggest a replacement term they would substitute for NTT.

B. Actions Relating to CNTTFA’s Work

1. Collaboration with Center for Excellence in Teaching to provide at least one event during the 2014-2015 academic year.
2. Recommendation on changes on Severance for FT NTT Faculty
3. Letter to all University Faculty
4. Suggestions for NTT.USC.EDU website
5. Discussions with Administration on the issues mentioned in Part A.

C. Recommendations for the 2015-2016 CNTTFA

1. Most important, the CNTTFA should continue to listen to the concerns of all NTT faculty, Part-time and Full-time, and advocate on their behalf. The CNTTFA will be an advocate on the issues discussed in Part A and in the appendix, and on issues identified by NTT in the recent Senate survey on Communications.

2. The CNTTFA voted to recommend to the Senate that Els Collins (School of Dramatic Arts) and someone TBD serve as the CNTTFA co-chairs next year.
3. The CNTTFA should continue its work to promote NTT sabbaticals as a path 1) to increase the professional visibility for NTT faculty, 2) to increase interdisciplinary collaboration, and 3) as a recruitment tool for the highest quality new NTT faculty.

4. The CNTTFA should continue its work to identify and recommend the implementation of effective strategies for mentorship of the NTT faculty.

5. The CNTTFA should continue its efforts to include NTT faculty from all campuses among its members so all faculty can better understand the similarities and differences between the issues that arise on the different campuses and at different schools.

6. The CNTTFA recommends that the size of the committee be expanded to include at least three to five additional Part-Time Faculty members, so as to better represent that large constituency.

7. The CNTTFA recommends continuing to develop presentations in collaboration with the Center for Excellence in Teaching that are targeted to the NTT at the university.

Appendix: Other Advocacy for NTT Faculty

1. Listening to NTT Faculty
The Senate Executive Board surveyed all faculty on Communications and received suggestions of additional topics on which faculty members want the Senate to represent them. We are awaiting the analysis of the survey responses to identify suggestions from NTT faculty, Part-Time and Full-Time, on what is important to them, so that we can address those issues.

2. Reappointment
The Engineering Faculty Council recommended (on the suggestion of NTT in VSOE) that there be a contract option that an NTT faculty contract automatically roll over, unless there is an affirmative decision to not reappoint, and that any non-reappointment require 90 days notice or pay in lieu. The Provost agreed to this option, university-wide. The Faculty Handbook already requires faculty committee review and recommendation before a decision not to reappoint. This contract language is phrased more positively than current wording, and adds the 90 day notice if unfortunately there is a need to not reappoint.

Also, Faculty Handbook amendments have been submitted to the Handbook Committee to write this new option into policy, including both the roll-over clause and 90 day notice.

In addition, the amendments reemphasize the existing Handbook rule that decisions on NTT faculty non-reappointment require a faculty committee, and write into the Handbook the existing practice that the Provost’s office reviews the adequacy of the process in non-reappointments.

3. Promotions and Appointments
Another amendment would write into the Handbook the existing practice that NTT faculty vote, along with tenured faculty, on NTT appointments and promotions.

A further amendment would require that at intervals of 3 to 5 years both full-time and part-time NTT be considered as to whether promotion is appropriate.

4. Appeals and Hearings
Another Faculty Handbook amendment would create a university committee on NTT faculty promotion appeals, so that if a dean overrules a department faculty vote on NTT promotion there is independent review by a faculty committee outside that school.

Additionally, a Handbook amendment specifies that NTT as well as tenured faculty sit on the university panel that provides a due process hearing if there is a dismissal for cause of NTT under Handbook chapter 8.

5. Faculty Development
While CNTTFA continues its attention to faculty development, we note what is currently being done. The Research Committee has proposed additional mentoring activities and we will work with the Executive Board on inclusiveness of NTT. Several NTT have been awarded sabbaticals. The CET has PT and FT NTT fellows, and made clear in its recent call for nominations that both are eligible. There is a useful website at http://mentor.usc.edu. School-based programs are listed at http://faculty.usc.edu/mentoring/schoolunit-mentoring/. The Mellon Mentoring Forum recognizes both full and part-time faculty, http://faculty.usc.edu/mentoring/mellon-awards/, as does the Parents Association Award for Teaching and Mentoring.

2013-14 Collaborative CET and CNTTFA Events

Bringing Our Art to Our Teaching and Our Teaching to Our Art
Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 (12:00 – 1:00pm) Doheney Memorial Library (DML) 233
Moderated by:
-Elsbeth M. Collins, Associate Professor of Practice, Director of Production, USC School of Dramatic Arts
Panel Members:
-Barnet Kellman, Ph.D., Professor of Cinematic Arts, USC School of Cinematic Arts
-Tom Ontiveros, Assistant Professor of Lighting Design, USC School of Dramatic Arts
– Stephen C. Child, Assistant Professor of Design, USC Roski School of Art and Design/ Iovine Academy