Davis Faculty Association

Archive for 2013

How Much Would It Cost to Restore California’s Public Higher Ed? (December, 2013 update)

Raising revenue has become such a taboo subject in California politics, but restoring quality public higher education in California can be done. For the median California tax payer, restoring the entire system while rolling back student fees to what they were a decade ago would cost $50 next April 15. Read “Financial Options for Restoring Quality and Access to Public Higher Education in California: 2013-14” at the Keep California’s Promise website.

Call for Nash Prize Nominations

The Davis Faculty Association, Davis Division of the Academic Senate, the Academic Federation and the Nash family invite nominations of candidates for The Charles P. Nash Prize for the academic year 2013-2014.

The Charles P. Nash Prize is designed to reward exceptional achievement and commitment in promoting shared governance and advocacy for faculty interests and welfare.

The Prize is awarded annually to a member of the UC Davis Academic Senate, the Davis Faculty Association, or the Academic Federation whose actions demonstrate an exceptional and extended commitment to shared governance and/or promoting faculty interests by ensuring equitable treatment of faculty. In the spirit of Charlie Nash, such activity must be above and beyond normal committee assignments or academic obligations, typically, spanning a period of time or one’s career.

Nominations are sought from any member of the academic community: students, faculty, staff , alumni, departments or units. Eligibility: All members of the Academic Federation, Academic Senate and Davis Faculty Association who have not previously won the award are eligible. Previous nominees who have not received the award may be renominated. Current Nash Prize Selection Committee Members are ineligible for nomination.

The Charles P. Nash Prize is designed to reward exceptional achievement in the spirit of Charlie Nash. Examples of Charlie Nash’s achievements included:

* Using the machinery of the faculty governance process, often invoking the mechanisms of Academic Senate committees, to achieve equity for individual faculty members.

* Making certain that the machinery of shared governance works well, both structurally and functionally.

* Contributing to analysis of shared governance, such as the Mending the Wall report.

* Working with others to craft the Nash-Goldman report which made recommendations for changes in the personnel policy for Academic Federation employees

* Supporting legislation that allows faculty to assign their own texts and protect their intellectual property rights

* Mentoring and advising faculty to guide them in finding their way thru the merit and promotion briar patch, as well as assisting them with their personnel cases within their departments and with the Academic Senate Committee on Academic Personnel

* Serving for many years in a leadership capacity on faculty committees to advocate for faculty interests, including:

* Chair of the Davis Faculty Association board

* Vice President of External A airs on the CUCFA board

*Chair of the Davis Division Academic Senate (2 terms)

The annual prize will be awarded in a public ceremony and will include a monetary honorarium. There is no restriction on the prize recipient with regard to the use of the prize.

Nominations should be addressed to: The Nash Prize Selection Committee. Letters of nomination accompanied by a one-page list of relevant accomplishments must be submitted electronically. Send your nomination materials to: nashprize@ucdavis.edu.

Deadline for Nominations: All nominations must be received electronically by 5:00 PM, Friday, February 1, 2014. Questions may be addressed to the committee chair (scalettar@physics.ucdavis.edu).

The Committee will rely upon material presented to it; therefore it is important that the letter and list make the best case possible within the space limitation. The Nash Prize Selection Committee will review the nominations and will select a recipient from the original slate of candidates. The Committee is permitted to select one recipient for each academic year.

Sincerely,
2013-2014 Nash Prize Selection Committee
Richard Scalettar (Chair)
Daniel L Simmons
Zeljka Smit-Mcbride
Krishnan Nambiar

Petition in support of graduate student workers

On September 16th, the chairs of 33 departments at UC Berkeley signed a letter to their Dean of the Graduate Division, Andrew Szeri, to express their concern about the uncompetitively low graduate student stipends UC offers. On October 3rd, departmental chairs at UCSD sent a similar letter to their Graduate Studies Dean, Kim Barett.

The Board of the Davis Faculty Association (DFA) agrees that academic student employee wages are inadequate. According to UCOP’s own survey, these stipends lag at least $2,697 behind comparator institutions. Academic student employees are currently negotiating with UC for a pay increase, but UC’s latest offer of a 2% raise still leaves a wage-deficit in excess of $2,000 (and considerably more when compared to the programs of elite private institutions with which UC competes.)

The DFA’s sister chapter, BFA, has launched a petition to be sent to UCOP labor relations in support of the graduate student contract negotiations. (The current contract expired at the end of September). The DFA board endorses this petition and asks you to please sign it and spread the word amongst your colleagues.

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/uc-faculty-in-support

Additionally, the academic student employee union’s next bargaining session for a new contract will be taking place at UC Davis this Monday and Tuesday, November 18th and 19th. Faculty are welcome to attend and give testimony in favor of increasing support for graduate student workers. The sign-up sheet.

Turkey Trot team

Dear DFA Member,

The DFA is organizing a Davis Faculty Association team in the Yolo Food Bank (YFB) “Running of the Turkeys”, Thursday, November 28, 2013. This is one of the major fund-raisers for the YFB. The starting gun goes off at 8:00 am.

We hope this might be a mechanism for DFA members to get together and get to know each other better in a fun environment.  And, of course, support a worthy cause.

The sign-up procedure is to go to http://www.yolofoodbank.org/ and click on Events and scroll down to “The Running of the Turkeys”.

Alternately, a direct link is here:

https://register.bazumedia.com/reg/form?eventID=5190

Towards the end of the registration process, after entering your personal information, you will be able to enter team information (Team Captain:  Richard Scalettar and Team Name:  Davis Faculty Association).

Consider encouraging your family/friends to sign up for the DFA team.

Please fire off an email to scalettar@physics.ucdavis.edu so we can keep track of our team.

Best Regards,
Your DFA Board

What has the DFA been up to lately?

The DFA uses a variety of advocacy strategies: we meet with and write letters to campus and system-wide administrators and to Academic Senate leaders; we organize with other faculty, staff union and student groups on this campus and in other higher education sectors around issues of shared concern; as an affiliate of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA), we also lobby in Sacramento, where we meet regularly with legislators and their staff and where we have helped fund and organize “Educate the State” rallies; we speak at teach-ins and educate at workshops.

Here is a brief reminder of some of the things the DFA has been up to in the past year:

• The DFA endorsed Proposition 30 (a tax increase to fund public education) and opposed proposition 38 (a conflicting tax proposal) and distributed information that explained these positions.

• The DFA, through CUCFA, was a vital part of the opposition to SB 520, Senator Steinberg’s bill that could have at one point required UC to purchase MOOCs through private companies such as Coursera and Udacity. CUCFA President Bob Meister participated in a number of panel discussions about MOOCs that spring – usually the main opponent on those panels to Coursera founder Daphne Koller and Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun – with a message of support for faculty led innovation in the effective use of information technology, online materials, and hybrid approaches to enhance undergraduate teaching; with an emphasis on the importance of a campus and classroom-based vision of learning and intellectual exchange for all students, including the most disadvantaged; and with a message of concern about the ability of outsourced MOOCs to meet the needs of students for a quality education.

• CUCFA, through its unionized Santa Cruz chapter, challenged UC’s Coursera contract, which asked faculty to sign over all intellectual property rights to their lectures when Coursera did not require this. The DFA has a long history of defending against attempts by UC to take ownership of their lectures from faculty.

• UC planned to cut central funding of campus healthcare facilitators. The DFA opposed this, along with other FA chapters and other campus groups. UC agreed to continue funding the healthcare facilitators. We work to preserve UC benefits and pension.

• The DFA rejected the draft campuswide freedom of expression policy and asked that it be recast to more accurately reflect the rights and protections for free expression which are so valued on a university campus, as well as the history that UCD students have in the responsible and safe voicing of their opinions. The DFA is always concerned with safeguarding rights of academic freedom and political speech.

• The DFA noted the lack of assistance from the Student Disability Center in finding space to accommodate student exams. While instructors have an obligation to provide recommended academic accommodations, it is required of the University, not the instructor, to identify space or personnel to monitor accomodative examinations.

• Last fall, the DFA co-sponsored a series of multi-campus gatherings of faculty to discuss actions and interventions in defense of the public nature of the University.

• The restructuring of the university has led to a massive and costly expansion of senior administrative positions on campus. System wide, there are now more management positions than regular teaching faculty. Increasingly, significant policy decisions are made by administrators with inadequate direct experience and insufficient faculty input. We seek to reverse this process and make Davis again a faculty-led campus. We support the merit and promotion system and equitable salaries.

For more information on our activities, browse the rest of this website. If you have colleagues who are not current members of the DFA who you think support the ideals of the organization, please encourage them to join at http://ucdfa.org/join/

Letter expressing concern over the draft UC Davis Freedom of Expression Policy

The UC Davis Blue Ribbon Freedom of Expression Committee has drafted a campuswide freedom of expression policy and is soliciting input. The draft policy is available online at:

http://manuals.ucdavis.edu/200-75draft.htm

(The above page also lists methods for members of the community to provide feedback, including a series of forums.)

In response, the DFA board has submitted the following letter:

———————————–

Dear members of the Blue Ribbon Freedom of Expression Committee:

The Davis Faculty Association has grave reservations concerning the draft UC Davis Freedom of Expression Policy. While the DFA recognizes the importance of maintaining an environment in which the core educational and research missions of the campus can flourish without undue disruption, this must be balanced against the equally important goal of encouraging and protecting open discussion and debate. Indeed, this is an absolutely essential part of the functioning of the university as a crucible for the development and testing of new ideas. The current document fails to properly balance these two considerations, nor does it follow recommendations from both the Senate Special Committee on Freedom of Expression Report and the Robinson-Edley Report to discuss civil disobedience as a particular category that has brought about beneficial changes.

Specifically, the draft UC Davis Freedom of Expression Policy (i) opens by paying lip service to the right of free expression, but fails adequately to follow up and affirm those rights in a positive way in its subsequent articles; (ii) contains a disturbingly long litany of restrictions on free speech. Of the seven subsections, A-G, in the “Policy” section (section II), five explain and defend *restrictions* on freedom of expression. So does the entire content of section III. Many of these restrictions are so vaguely worded that they seem likely to apply to virtually any sort of campus gathering.

That this document unduly emphasizes the restriction of freedom of expression strikes the DFA as especially inappropriate and ironic given the Pepper Spray Incident of November 2011. In that event, and its emotional aftermath, UCD students exercised their rights to freedom of expression with a truly amazing dignity and concern for safety of others. Given that history of responsible student conduct, the tone and content of this document are puzzling.

The DFA urges that this document not be adopted, and, instead, be recast in a way which more accurately reflects the rights and protections for free expression which are so valued on a university campus, as well as the history that UCD students have in the responsible and safe voicing of their opinions.

Important Changes to Health Care Plans in 2014

This is a post to alert you to an issue that will affect all members of the UCD faculty and staff. As you may have seen in an email from UCOP, UC has shifted the health insurance structures for all UC employees. While these changes are part of a cost-reduction scheme, some of the details of the plans may well leave employees in complicated circumstances as some insurance plans are dropped or current providers no longer covered at the same level. For an initial look at the planned changes, please see:

http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/oe/

While the At Your Service website now has some details of the upcoming plans, some details will not be released until mid- to late- October. UCOP is planning to hold Town Hall-style meetings at UCD to try to inform employees of the details of coverage in time for the November Open Enrollment period. UCD’s Health Care Facilitator Program and Employee Benefits offices will also be presenting on this, but the dates for these presentations will not be set until early October. This will not leave people with much time to discover all the information necessary to make sound decisions on this crucial issue.

The DFA Board is making the following recommendations to members to try to ensure that as many employees as possible receive the information they need in time for Open Enrollment:

* request that department chairs publicize the fact of the upcoming changes in insurance policy at full faculty and department meetings

* at these meetings, suggest that all employees attend the town hall or healthcare facilitator meetings held by the campus

* prior to the town halls, employees should think about what their likely individual or family health care needs will be for the next five years, and come to the town halls with questions about which plans will best suit those needs. Your doctor might have specific recommendations on this point, so you might consider asking for a wellness visit in advance of open enrollment to discover these needs

* if you or someone you know has particularly complicated health care needs that may be imperiled by a shift in insurer or provider, and the health care plans themselves have been unhelpful, please contact the UC Davis health care facilitator (http://www.hr.ucdavis.edu/benefits/1hw/hcf). The more details UCOP has about the potential impact of the new insurance scheme, the better the chances that we can try to get everyone’s needs met. The Academic Senate is working hard to pressure UCOP to structure the new insurance scheme in ways that meet the needs of as many faculty as possible, but it needs as much information as possible for that to happen.

In short, please inform yourself as deeply and as far in advance as possible as to the impact of the upcoming changes, and try to use departmental channels to ensure that your colleagues and staff do as well.

The DFA is deeply concerned that faculty have been so poorly and lately informed of these changes that could have major implications for their healthcare. The task now is to ensure that its members are alerted to these changes and that Senate leaders are informed of the difficulties they may generate for faculty.

DFA Board Nominations

It is time to renew the DFA board. In accordance with DFA bylaws, a nominating committee has selected a slate of candidates to fill DFA board positions as listed below with the following code: C – continuing; R – renewing for another 2-year term; N – newly elected. I want to thank the nominating committee for their work and the outgoing board members for their past service on the DFA board.

Chair: Richard Scalettar (Physics) [N]
Daniel Cox (Physics) [C]
Naomi Janowitz (Religious Studies) [C]
Ian Kennedy (Mech. and Aero. Engineering) [R]
Marjorie Longo (Chem. Eng. and Mat. Sci.) [C]
Susette Min (Asian American Studies) [R]
Robert Ostertag (Technocultural Studies) [N]
Scott Shershow (English) [C]
Julia Simon (French & Italian) [N]
Ex-Officio: Joe Kiskis (Physics)

All nominees have agreed to serve. Newly elected members serve a two-year term of office that will run through September, 2015. Further nominations may be made upon petition of 5% of the membership in good standing. Such petitions must be delivered on or before September 19, 2013, to the DFA Executive Director at 1270 Farragut Circle, Davis, CA 95618. If no nominations are submitted, the slate shall be accepted as elected.

New CUCFA Officers

The Council of UC Faculty Associations is the systemwide coordinating agency for the DFA and the FA chapters at the other UC campuses. CUCFA has just completed its annual election of officers. The new officers are:

President: Prof. Patricia Morton (UCR)

Vice President – External Affairs: Prof. Joe Kiskis (UCD)

Vice President – Health Sciences: Prof. Stan Glantz (UCSF)

Secretary: Prof. Christine Rosen (UCB)

Treasurer: Prof. Luis Martin-Cabrera (UCSD)

Provost Hexter’s Response

The Provost responded to the DFA’s letter regarding the accommodation of students with special needs for examinations (available online at http://ucdfa.org/2013/07/dfa-board-letter-to-provost-hexter):

*From: *Ralph J Hexter
*Date: *July 13, 2013 10:41:02 AM PDT
*Subject: **responding to your email*

Dear Professor Shershow,

Thank you for your letter regarding the need to develop more robust  strategies for accommodating students with special needs.  I assure  you that I am well aware of this problem, and, most importantly, that  planning is already underway, coordinated by Interim Vice Provost for  Undergraduate Education Carolyn de la Peña, to develop a comprehensive  strategy for dealing with the challenges we face. Resolving the issue  may involve both physical space and additional personnel, as well as a  need to identify the funding sources that will support a sustainable  solution.

Carolyn and I intend to address this matter as expeditiously as  possible, and we look forward to additional input from the faculty as
our planning proceeds.

Sincerely,
Ralph
Provost Ralph J. Hexter

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