Dear Adjunct faculty,
I am very grateful that many of you have read the tentative agreement and are voicing your concerns for it! It is very important that we all make an informed decision that affects our employment at Victor Valley College.
It was my privilege to be a part of the negotiations team, and I know that the whole team, and Lynne Glickstein in particular, was tireless in advocating the very best for all our adjunct faculty. Please let me tell you of the strengths of our new contract and address your concerns:
- Firstly, we have made it easier for a new hire to get on the priority list. As I told the administration, we know if a teacher is an asset to the college in two years, and it is not fair to them to wait to know if they will be employed the next semester for longer than that. This is a REALLY big improvement!
- We had had incidents of members being removed from the priority list with no prior notification because they had received one bad evaluation, so we put a system into place that gave the member a chance to improve rather than be taken off the priority list right away. It actually makes it easier to stay on the priority list than before. We have expanded our rights here – not restricted them.
- Many instructors expressed problems with being evaluated by students. If the students had a bad day or even didn’t like the grade the instructor gave them, they retaliated by giving the instructor a bad review. Also, many times the students didn’t take the evaluation seriously and would not even turn in the evaluation. Thus, a teacher was often evaluated by a small percentage of the students in the class – some with possible problems with the teacher. We felt that a teacher who understood the challenge of teaching many different types of students would give a fairer review than a few students. In fact, in many, many other colleges, the instructors are evaluated by their peers.
- The manager is the dean of the discipline for which the adjunct teaches. That has not changed. The dean has always been the person who ultimately gives classes to the teacher and Accreditation standards dictate this fact.
- Being evaluated every two years does not bother me. In fact, I would welcome feedback from a peer.
- The “timely manner” clause of the contract protects you from the District telling you that you need to teach a class without giving you the time to prepare for it. For example, some adjuncts were being told on Friday that they needed to teach a class on Monday. Adjuncts who didn’t feel they could do that would not be punished.
- We are grateful for the released time increase that the district gave us without us asking for it. It shows the District recognizes the time and effort the board puts forth. It does not cover all the time we spend on union issues, but it does help. For example, I did receive $500.00 for the summer months -- for 40 hours of service. At our current rate of pay, that would have been $2,240. As you can see, I actually volunteered most of my hours. That is the way it is with all the board members. Just as an example, Yolanda Austin, the chair of our social committee, has spent many, many hours making the fall event better than it ever has been before. Lynne Glickstein has spent many more hours than I can imagine working to make this campus a better one for all of us. I could name each board member and say the same thing about each one. I have worked under every president this union has had, and I know every one of them had the best interests of the union at heart. I am grateful for the hours every one of them has spent and know the District could not ever afford to pay any of them what they were worth! Most of them were certainly not in it for the money -- Lynne included!!!
- We need to have the quick turnaround so we could get the agreement on the Board of Trustees right away.
- Just for your information, we also have an MOU in place that will give anyone who has taught in spring or fall a $250.00 stipend in consideration of the time spent outside the classroom. This will increase by $50.00 if the District ends the year with enough money to do so. You should receive a copy of the MOU later today when Ian gets into the office.
I hope this has cleared up your concerns. Again, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to clear up some of your issues. If you have more, please let us know!