SBCC faculty petition against policy limiting teaching load

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SBCC faculty petition against policy limiting teaching load

Sydney Antil, News Editor

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A professor has started an online petition that has been signed by over 100 faculty members to protest a college policy that limits how many units full-time faculty can teach.

“We believe it is a solution to a problem that does not exist,” political science chair Manoutchehr Eskandari-Qajar wrote in the petition. He added that the unit limit should be increased and faculty and department chairs should be the primary groups to decide how many units faculty can teach.

The policy, Administrative Procedure 7210, states that full-time faculty may only teach up to 21 units in the fall and spring semesters, but this limit had not been enforced with faculty members teaching up to 33 units per semester. Eskandari-Qajar started the petition after a contentious discussion over the policy at the Academic Senate’s Oct. 24 meeting in which none of the senators appeared to be in favor of it.

Academic Senate President Patricia Stark said at the senate’s Nov. 14 meeting that she is opposed to the petition because the wording keeps changing and some of the requests in the petition, such as a proposal to remove the limit entirely, are not possible.

In a presentation to the senate, Stark said that the teaching limits in the policy are very similar to the limits that 13 other community colleges comparable to City College have. She added that she had requested the state Academic Senate’s assistance in determining whether or not to involve the college’s faculty union, the Faculty Association, to negotiate the dispute the policy has created.

Although the teaching limit is currently determined by the policy, the Faculty Association reserves the right to make the limit a contract-negotiated item.

The service Stark requested from the state’s Academic Senate would cost the college $1,000 per visit. It is used to assist colleges in determining how to best implement regulations and negotiate them between college members.

One part of the policy that had not been discussed until that meeting was about stipends given to faculty for holding certain positions such as a department chair, faculty lab coordinator or coach. If a faculty member is receiving a stipend equivalent of six teaching units for being in one of those positions, Stark said, they should be teaching only 15 units to not go over the 21 unit limit.

The policy was first discussed this semester on Oct. 24 after interim Executive Vice President Pamela Ralston asked the senate to consider exceptions to the policy in a memo Oct. 4. Senators brainstormed possible exceptions to the policy such as extreme student demand, death of a full time faculty member and if the credit amount for a single class is inconsistent with the limit.

Ralston said she encourages people to read the policy in its entirety and the administration is considering whether the teaching limit should be changed.

“I think we’re looking for spaces of consensus and compromise, kind of working together to find our way through,” Ralston said.

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