Sunday, October 16, 2011

Overload update: The FS and the FA on the same page

Vero Maisier of the FA bargaining team notes that SIUC has a new overload policy. And one of our more indefatigable commentators, "paranoid", has well noted that the Faculty Senate proposed changes very close to the bargaining position of the FA, and even linked to the relevant FS minutes for December 14, 2010.  Scroll down to the Faculty Status and Welfare committee, and click on the pdf attached there for details. 

If one studies the pdf, which shows the original proposed policy and suggested changes, and compares and the overload policy now posted on the SIUC website, one can see that the administration did indeed respond to some of the concerns raised by the FS. It did not, however, alter its original compensation proposal (half to one month's salary). Among the many other changes the administration did not accept were proposals by the FS to change various clauses indicated that overload compensation "may" be paid to clauses saying that overload compensation "will" be paid.

1. The FS and the FA both take seriously their roles of representing faculty. The position of the two bodies here is essentially the same (whether through coordination or not I frankly don't know). It is not necessary to play one body off of the other, as some on both side too often do (FA members characterizing the FS as a group of lackeys, and Professor Eichholz of the "Faculty for Sensible Negotiations" characterizing the FA as a bunch of uncivil louts).

2. The FS can only advise. The administration, to its credit, did make some changes in its original policy. But on the bottom line issue of funding, it gave no ground. Without the collective bargaining rights of the FA, that would be the end of the story. Unless or until the Sensibles call for converting the Faculty Senate into a faculty union, that is all the FS will be able to do. This advisory role is important, but it is obviously limited.


  1. Given the diversity of activities identified in the overload policy you link to in your post, isn't it necessary to have variation in compensation? That is, sections 3a to 3d address activities including teaching a course, a short presentation, and non-credit classes (maybe an academic year camp)? Should all of these be compensated the same or should, as the policy suggests, it vary based on the activity? Maybe it would be better to propose compensation for each of 3a to 3d separately than a one size fits all policy for ALL overloads.

  2. Sure. But the real debate is over how to compensate an overload class. It's far harder to see why the administration should have the ability to pay Professor Y half a month's pay and Professor X a full month's pay.

  3. As with a poster on a different thread, I do not see the reason for fighting for 1.125 months when colleagues at other universities earn far less. You make the case that a person should not have to teach a course for half the pay they would earn otherwise. Similarly, why should they get 12.5% more than they would earn during the summer for the same course. These are voluntary assignments and I would welcome the opportunity to earn as much as I do in the summer. Fighting for additional seems unnecessary.

  4. Dave- argue by issue then. A month for a course, half month for the short presentation, something in between for non-credit courses. Surely these are different activities.

  5. 1:41, The relevant section of the FA supposal, 8.07, only mentions overload pay for courses. I'm not sure the FA has a fixed position on extra pay for other matters, and frankly I don't see why the FA would object to some overload pay for other things--like course development, etc. So, to be frank again, I think the issue you raise is a red herring.

    1:39. Let the administration offer a full month's pay rather than half to a full month, then. I suspect if one side offers 1.0 and the other is at 1.125 we can bridge that gap quickly enough.

  6. Section 8.07 says:

    "Overload assignments consist of additional duties undertaken voluntarily and performed over and above the Faculty member’s regular workload assignment..."

    This does not seem to be limited to courses only. If that is the definition, then the statement "Faculty members who receive financial compensation for overloads shall be paid 37.5% (3/8) of their monthly base salary for the equivalent of each credit hour of teaching" would seem to apply to all manner of overloads defined in the current overload policy. The WHAT being compensated is just as important as HOW MUCH the compensation actually is. Unless I am naive, there is nothing in the supposal that restricts the what to courses only. Consequently, it is not unreasonable at this point for there to be a range of compensation levels until precise levels can be attached to specific work.

  7. You've read 8.07 more carefully than I did. But I still don't see why we shouldn't agree on the most significant and readily defined sort of overload work--an extra class--and then proceed from there. That seems to be what the FA supposal is doing (as you've helped me understand).

    Maybe I am being too cynical, but I suspect you are preparing the way for this sort of argument: Given the vast range of possible forms of overload work, no precise contractual language is going to be acceptable to both sides. Best therefore to simply leave some sort of range in place and let the faculty member and relevant administrator work things out on a case by case basis.

    I'd tend to agree with that argument for the sorts of overload work known to me *outside of overload teaching*. The FA supposal would give the rule of thumb based on a course, and individual cases could be worked out on that basis. But in the case of the overload class--particularly overloads presumably coming our way via DL--I think the .5-1.0 range is pernicious, for reasons I explained in the initial post.


I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.