Governors State University

1.  What are the rules for class size?

There is no specific language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) about class size.  However, the Credit Hour Guidelines (CHG), which are available on the GSU portal, state: 

Courses with an enrollment of fewer than six may be offered on a tutorial basis with the approval of the dean and after consultation with the faculty member. 

The CHG also state:  

For every one hundred (100) students in a given semester, a teaching faculty member will receive one (1) credit hour.

2.  Should an online class with 50 students be counted as 6 credits work load? What about 40 students?

The CHG is the document that involves class enrollment, both lecture and online.  As stated in the question #1 above:

For every one hundred (100) students in a given semester, a teaching faculty member will receive one (1) credit hour. 

Thus, you must add the number of students together for ALL of your courses in one semester.  If they total more than 100 students, you should receive 1 credit hour.  It is the same for lecture and online courses.  So, no, an online course with 40 or 50 students is not counted as 6 credits work load.

3.  Can we refuse to teach more classes if the workload reaches 24 credits?

According to Article 16.5 on Overload in the CBA:

If program needs exist which cannot be met through voluntary acceptance, Unit A Faculty may be requested or assigned to perform duties in excess of the credit hour limits or work load equivalent specified in Article 16.1.a above. Excess credits under this section shall be compensated at the rate specified in Article 29. Assignment of involuntary overload shall not exceed one three credit hour course per Academic Year beyond the maximum load assignment of 24 credit hours, or a total of 27 credit hours during an Academic Year.

If you are being forced to teach more than 24 credits,  you can only be required to teach one 3 credit hour course.  If you are being forced to teach more than that, you are encouraged to remind your chair of Article 16.5, and if needed, contact the UPI Grievance Officer to help you resolve the situation.

4.  Could the research time off be rejected due to “program needs”?

According to Article 16.3.e. in the CBA:

Application for Reassigned Time

Reassignment of standard credit hour or work plan percentages for all Unit A faculty will comprise the following process and considerations:

(1) Research/Creative Activity: Application for reassigned time for the subsequent Academic Year shall be submitted to the appropriate Division/Department Chair no later than March 1. The application will include a written plan for future scholarly productivity and documentation of prior research/creative accomplishments. For prior research/creative activity, the standard benchmark is measured over a rolling three-year period unless otherwise specified in discipline-specific accreditation criteria and shall include at least one refereed scholarly publication, or its artistic equivalent as specified in the Division/Department criteria, and one other research/creative activity indicated in the Division/Department criteria in that period. (a) Faculty in probationary years 1-3 requesting reassigned time for research/creative activities are required to submit to their Division/Department Chair a written substantive plan for future scholarly productivity as specified in the Division/Department criteria.

(b) For Academic Year 2013-2014 only, Unit A faculty in years four and beyond who apply for reassigned time for Academic Year 2014-2015 may be approved if the standard benchmark described in Section 16.3.e(1) above is not achieved, provided that a substantive research agenda and documentation of significant research/creative activity for the previous three years are submitted to the appropriate Division/Department Chair.

(c) Reassigned time for research/creative activity of more than three credit hours for Teaching faculty or 20 percent workload for Resource Faculty per year will only be considered in consultation with the Dean of the College or Library, supported with evidence of a superior level of professional activity as measured by the Division/Department criteria.
(d) Faculty who have received a major research grant may request to buy teaching reassigned time (if allowed by the grant) to work on research/creative activities connected with the grant. Program need will be considered in the decision process. The number of credit hours (Teaching Faculty) or percent of work plan (Resource Faculty) is negotiable depending on program need, evaluation criteria, grant limitations, and faculty request.
           (i)  For Unit A Teaching Faculty the number of credit hours will be determined by the Dean and Chair in consultation with the faculty member.
          (ii)  For Unit A Resource Faculty the percentage of work plan will be determined by the Dean in consultation with the faculty member.

As long as you submitted a plan and met the criteria for documentation of previous research highlighted above, you should not be denied a course release for research due to “program needs.”  The intent of the contract language is to provide faculty time to conduct research.  There is no limit to the number of course releases for all faculty members, so an application for reassigned time should be approved, regardless of “program needs.”

5.  Could the research time be rejected because I already have credit as a Program Coordinator?

Refer to the language in Article 16.3.e. above in #4.  A request for reassigned time to conduct research should not be denied because a faculty member is already receiving reassigned time for service as a Program Coordinator.  Again, the intent of the language is to provide time for research so that new higher research standards in division criteria can be reached.  Of course, the faculty member would still have to complete all Program Coordinator duties as well, if reassigned time has been received for these duties. 

6.  If a spring class is cancelled can my Chair unilaterally force me to teach over the summer? Or add it to the load of the following year?

According to Article 16.2.a.(3)(a) of the CBA:

(3) Unit A Faculty Contract and Assignment Periods
       (a) Unit A Teaching Faculty shall have a 10-month annual appointment which includes two semesters and they will have eight weeks when they are Off Contract in the summer.
             i. If based on program need and agreement of the faculty member, teaching faculty may be assigned his/her eight weeks off during the fall or spring semester. ii. No Unit A Teaching Faculty member will be assigned to teach in the summer session unless he/she agrees to the assignment. iii. Unit A Teaching Faculty will primarily teach their courses in two semesters (i.e. fall and spring semesters). If necessary, in order to meet minimum credit hour requirements, based on program need, and agreement of the faculty member, the Chair/Dean may assign a faculty member to teach his/her 24 credits over two semesters and the summer session.

As the bold text indicates, a Chair cannot unilaterally force you to teach over the summer.  If program need is such that your classes need to be offered in the summer, you then have the option of not teaching in Fall or Spring semester, as indicated in (a)i. above. You cannot be forced to teach Fall, Spring, and Summer unless you agree to it, as indicated in (a)iii. above.  If your Spring course is cancelled, you can ask your chair to assign you another course that is unassigned or assigned to an adjunct.  The CBA obligates your Chair to find you a way to fulfill your 24 credit teaching assignment, but you must request another course or assignment.  That cancelled course cannot be added to next year’s teaching assignment under any circumstances.  Also, you will be short for this year’s 24 credit teaching assignment if you don’t have another course assigned for you to teach in the Spring.

7.  If I am asked to teach more than 24 credits, can those extra credits be banked for the following year?

Read the answer for #6.  You cannot carry over “extra credits” over 24 credits for the next year.

8.  Can Divisions or Colleges have the authority to create a Research Committee similar to what was in the previous contract to recommend course release to the Chair? It seems that there is tremendous power given to one person who can make decisions on reassigned time not simply on the merits of the research but also based upon program need. I do not know of any other university where faculty are explicitly removed from the research reassigned time process. If there is one that we know about, perhaps someone can inform me on it and I can further explore their process to make sense of this.

Read language from Article 16.3.e. in #3 above.  There is no Research Committee formation in the new CBA.  The intent of the language was that Chairs would not unreasonably deny reassigned time, as long as the faculty member met all of the conditions stated in this article.  We discussed the issue of one person making that decision, and it was the consensus of those at the negotiating table that the language does not give Chairs power to unreasonably deny reassigned time.  If any faculty members are having problems in that regard, they should contact the UPI Grievance Officer.  The previous Research Review Committee also had its problems in denying faculty members course releases, and the new language was meant to simplify the process so that no additional review by committees was needed.

9. Now that “caps” have been eliminated on credit hour times, are we supposed to “exceed” the 24 credit hours?  It is my understanding that if one has 23.5 credit hour equivalents in their duties due to reassigned time and advising, that they are required to teach another 3 credit course (26.5) to make the numbers. This seems counterintuitive and another way to have us teach additional courses and, most likely during the summer without summer salary.

As stated in Article 16.2.a.(1):
Assignment loads are 24 credit hours for Unit A Teaching Faculty.

This does not mean that there are no “caps.”  24 is the maximum assignment without going into overload.  If a faculty member is short 0.5 credits in their 24 credit hour obligation, they are NOT required to teach another 3 credit hour course to make up the difference.  You should be able to find an assignment that is less than 3 credit hours and propose it to your Chair.  Faculty members cannot be forced to teach additional courses or to teach in the summer, as stated in #3 and #6 above.  If you are having this difficulty, contact the UPI Grievance Officer.

10.  If I am asked to develop an online course during the academic year and after I already have a full 24-credit load, what can I ask for in compensation?

See the CHG.  Whether you have reached your 24 credit obligation or not, the language applies.  The CHG state:

7. Online Course Development/Planning 

a. Unit A Faculty and Unit B Lecturers shall receive three credit hours for the developing, creating an approved syllabus for, and offering an online course.
 

If you have never taught an online course at GSU before, the CHG state:

d. Professional Development. For enrolling in and successfully completing “Introduction to Online Teaching for Faculty” offered through the Center for Online Teaching and Learning, one three credit hour course release time will be assigned.

So, you can request to enroll in this course and receive 1 course release to provide the time to complete it.  It is a time-intensive course – you need the course release to complete it.

11.  If a course has already been offered online but I do not get any pre-developed material and I have to develop everything over, do I get any credits for that work?

If you have to develop everything as if a course did not exist, see answer to question #10. The same language from CHG applies.

12.  We no longer have signed AOD. What proof do I now have of the agreed workload?

You can print your class schedule that is listed on the GSU portal.For any reassigned time, you can email your Chair with your understanding of any approved reassigned time for your Chair to confirm (include your teaching assignment in the email as well).

‚Äč13.  What are the guidelines for what constitutes sufficient research for 3 or 6 credits of reassigned time?

According to Article 16.3.e. (refer to #4 above):

(c) Reassigned time for research/creative activity of more than three credit hours for Teaching faculty or 20 percent workload for Resource Faculty per year will only be considered in consultation with the Dean of the College or Library, supported with evidence of a superior level of professional activity as measured by the Division/Department criteria.

To request 3 credits of reassigned time for research or 1 course release, as noted in Article 16.3.e.(1) in #4, you must meet the following:

For prior research/creative activity, the standard benchmark is measured over a rolling three-year period unless otherwise specified in discipline-specific accreditation criteria and shall include at least one refereed scholarly publication, or its artistic equivalent as specified in the Division/Department criteria, and one other research/creative activity indicated in the Division/Department criteria in that period.

To request 6 credits, or 2 course releases, Article 16.3.e.(1)(c) states that you must meet the following:

(c) Reassigned time for research/creative activity of more than three credit hours for Teaching faculty or 20 percent workload for Resource Faculty per year will only be considered in consultation with the Dean of the College or Library, supported with evidence of a superior level of professional activity as measured by the Division/Department criteria.

So, as long as you can document that you have reached a Superior level of research, based on your Division Criteria, in a three-year period prior to your application, you should be able to receive 6 credits or 2 course releases of reassigned time for research.  If you have any difficulties, despite having met these requirements, contact the UPI Grievance Officer.

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