Unit Policy Process Update

Unit Policy Process and Timeline

Over recent months, units across campus have worked to craft and approve policies for Professional Responsibilities and the Peer Review of Teaching. Faculty have been invited and encouraged by the administration to engage in this revision process, and have done so thoughtfully and in good faith.

The current step in the process is for the respective deans or vice presidents to review these policies and decide whether to make any changes before forwarding their versions (if changed), along with the faculty-approved policies, to the Office of the Provost by June 15.  Final approval by the Provost is slated to be completed this summer so that approved unit policies will be in place for the beginning of the next academic year.

The dean or vice president will inform the unit of any changes that go beyond grammatical edits, and, at the request of the faculty, they will meet with the unit to explain the reasoning for their changes. Faculty should not shy away from holding deans to account at that touchpoint: invite them to have those hard conversations whenever the need arises, especially if your unit’s proposed policy changes are sent back with dean-imposed revisions that don’t suit the goals and values of your department.

By default, deans should be hesitant to override the wisdom and will of the faculty, who are closely attuned to the local needs in their respective units, and we hope deans will seek out exemplars that can be lifted up to the benefit of units across their schools and colleges. Some units have been more thorough in how they propose to assign service more equitably. Others have put forward intriguing ideas on how to conduct peer reviews of teaching more efficaciously. Nothing prevents deans or vice presidents from incorporating positive, constructive suggestions as they make modified versions of unit-approved policies.

We also want to remind you of the other avenue you have to push for changes to your professional responsibilities: by participating in the bargaining process to push for positive campus-wide changes on course loads, professional development time, service equity, and more. Attending bargaining, either in person or on Zoom, demonstrates that faculty are actively engaged in improving their working conditions.

At the bargaining table, the administration’s team has (again) voiced resistance to the idea that we should address issues like course loads (or professional development time for Career instructional faculty) in a top-down way in the CBA, specifically citing this unit-policy revision process now in progress. They have suggested, strongly, that this bottom-up process will result in substantive changes that could render moot our top-down proposals. As the process unfolds we will continue to have conversations, at the bargaining table and elsewhere, encouraging the administration to follow through on their intimations.

Please reach out to us if you have questions about the unit policy process or timeline, and please continue to attend bargaining either in person or on Zoom. Your participation helps, both in department meetings and at bargaining!