Davis Faculty Association

Archive for November, 2013

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/

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