COCAL IV Papers and Commentary
Importance of the British Columbia Pro-Rata Policies for Advocacy in the US
I think we need to heed Marcia Newfield of CUNY when she wrote <snip>: "Check out what they do in British Columbia..... www.ciea.bc.ca <snip>:
Last Monday, and the day after COCAL IV, I was one of many people testifying at a hearing of the Washington state Senate Higher Education committee. In making a plea for the establishment pro-rata policies for part-time faculty, I described several features of the policies of Vancouver Community College, the largest community college in BC. Quoting from its contract, which is available at http://www3.bc.sympatico.ca/vccfa/, I pointed out that at VCC:
(1) there is a single salary schedule that encompasses all faculty, which means that in terms of salary, being regular or term is inconsequential as term faculty are paid "on the same basis as regular instructors" (5.3.1)
(2) primary and secondary instructional work functions are listed in the VCC contract (6.1.2 and 6.1.3), but the assignment of those functions is not the product of full-time or part-time status as in the U.S. but by the department (6.4) and by the seniority of the individual faculty member,
(3) benefits for part-time faculty are either equal to or proportional with those of full-time faculty, and include
a. Vacations: "Part-time regular instructors shall accrue vacation credit ... at the same rate as full-time regular instructors" (126.96.36.199).
b. Professional development: "For those instructors working less than 100% workload, payment (for professional development) is prorated based on the percentage of scheduled workload maintained during the best accrual months" (188.8.131.52).
c. Seniority. VCC's policy on seniority reads: "all regular instructors, both full-time and part-time, shall accrue 261 full days of service per fiscal year" (10.1.3).
(4) Transition from part-time/term to regular status. Roughly 99 percent of all faculty are either regular or on-track to become regular (which is exactly the system Lantz Simpson of Santa Monica was proposing Sunday in San Jose). This feature of the VCC system is in stark contrast to the situation in the U.S. and elsewhere where many part-time faculty have worked for years yet can't be sure they'll be hired during the next quarter.
As Linda Sperling pointed out during the discussion on Sunday, the British Columbia community colleges are truly a system, where faculty from one institution even have rehire rights within other colleges of the province. In Washington state, by contrast, part-time faculty who may have taught a given course for 10 years at one college are treated as novice faculty if they should teach the same course at a different insitution within our "system."
Chair of the Senate Higher Ed Committee, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who is the Scott Wildman of Washington state, was very interested in the BC system, which gratifies me.
The BC system shows that the aim of pro-rata treatment for part-time faculty is not simply a quixotic dream but a reality.
Jack Longmate firstname.lastname@example.org
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