Davis Faculty Association

Furlough Implementation Survey Results

Original Survey Introduction:

The Administration is moving ahead on plans to implement the furloughs without faculty input at this stage. We need constructive ideas about how best to handle the implementation. We do not want the furloughs to have zero impact on any of the mission of the University – the logical conclusion would be that more furloughs and extended furloughs and other cuts will have no effect. On the other hand, we need to be sensitive to the way that a significant impact on teaching will be portrayed in the media. The Faculty Association wants your ideas. Please post them anonymously here for everyone to read. We will send these ideas onto the campus Senate leadership, the campus Administration, and to our affiliated Faculty Associations.

Responses:

I endorse the idea that there should be campus wide furlough days for instruction. The UCSC plan seems the most workable. This plan would cancel classes Mon through Wed of the Thanksgiving holiday, extend the Xmas break for several days and the Winter Spring break as well. Extra days off during these periods promote greater opportunities to be with family. This is a benefit that many studies suggest workers value highly, especially those with young children. However, I also think the campus needs to engage in something positive to enhance the quality of teaching at UC. This is the main function supported by state funds. Faculty and administrators at the very high end of the income stream are contributing more days. Why not dedicate some of those funds to provide grants to faculty to develop and examine new instructional approaches and innovative ways of supporting undergraduate education.
I support the idea of coordinated furloughs as the best way to make visible to the wider community the effects of our pay cuts on quality of education. Taking coordinated furloughs adjacent to holidays {for example during the week of Thanksgiving or immediately preceding dead day/exams} will save costs, and will make our case visible to students and legislators, while minimally disrupting the flow of instruction. The UCSC Academic Senate Letter dated July 17, 2009 provides an excellent plan for common furlough days (it includes Thanksgiving week and delays in the start of the Winter and Spring quarters). I disagree with suggestions to make furloughs based on either individuals or departments, as this would lead us to appear fragmented and self-serving. One way to offset the negative media presentation of this issue would be to connect the furloughs to a broader understanding of social justice and quality of education– the larger trend towards the privatization of public universities. If we include the increase of student fees as part of our disagreement with how the current crisis is being dealt with by the administration, then we can garner broader public support. If we include the question of the mistreatment of staff, clerical and other workers (e.g. food service and janitorial) who can barely survive as it is–then we can garner a broader base of support as well. Now is the time, if ever there was one, for collective action.
A simple message needs to be sent: not good enough. A ten percent pay cut and a non-viable retirement system are not good enough. We can all send that message individually by getting other jobs and leaving, or we can try to save the institution. Ultimately we will have to raise fees sufficiently to replace all state funding. We need to find a way to respond to this “crisis” that helps prepare all UC stakeholders for that outcome.
As for many UC clinical faculty, I will take the required “unpaid days” but not “furlough days” because of my numerous professional committments to patients and colleagues. I am one of two faculty on a UC campus and its affiliated hospitals with Board-Certified expertise in a vital medical specialty-yes we are already spread that thin. Therefore, we cannot simply walk out without the possibility of serious injury to patients who depend on us. True furloughs rather than unpaid work days are not allowable for us. I and many in my position are actively seeking jobs elsewhere for this and other reasons- I have in fact already secured such a clinical faculty job for 2010 in a more rational environment. It’s not the salary amount directly– I want to work where faculty are seen as part of the solution and not the problem (other survey).
As per the suggestions of the UCSC Senate executive committee, furloughs should be synchronized (everyone, as far as possible, should take them on the same days); and, furlough days should be taken on days of instruction effectively shortening the number of days of instruction provided by the University for students.
Campus should close one day a week until furlough days are made up. Start on a Monday on the first week, then Tuesday the second week, and so on. Spread the days over three quarters. Five days closure per quarter — so it could be done every second week. Remaining days at xmas. This will spread the impact on teaching randomly across classes, and distribute the impact across classes. Closing for furlough days will save on energy and related operating costs. Those with less furlough days to be paid even though campus is closed.
Certainly some, if not all, of the furlough days should come out of teaching days. Sacramento needs to see that ultimately gutting funding for the university undermines instruction. I can think of no better way to convey that message than to eliminate instructional days commensurate with furlough days. Any other course of action sends the message that the state can expect the same education with less funding. Perhaps the furlough days taken from instructional days could be done in conjunction with some kind of lecture series on the underlying causes of the current situation, the immediate and long-term consequences of continuing down this path, and some potential solutions to them. Obviously, this lecture series should be handled by our most distinguished lecturers who should coordinate their contributions to make most sense.
Faculty should be able to do consulting or any other work that they see fit on the furlough days. Currently, faculty are restricted in the number of days during the AY that they can consult for pay. Furlough days should be added to this number of consulting days. This will at least allow some faculty to regain some of their lost wages.
furlough days must be teaching days
Furlough should be from some teaching days/some research days- otherwise this sends a message that the university’s dual teaching and education missions have not been affected by cuts. We need to show that cuts affect teaching. As junior faculty, I have to work all non teaching days anyway- so cutting non teaching days is meaningless.
Furloughs in other state agencies/institutions have reduced services, defined as time on the clock. In the three areas that faculty provide “services”, most approaches would impact merit reviews. Time allocated to research affects the university but mostly impacts the individual faculty member. The only two possible functions that we could address in furloughs are teaching and service One essential function of teaching is advising students during office hours and through email. One proposal might be that as appropriate to each unit, faculty would not respond to email on certain days, indicating that those are furlough days. One approach to service might be that as appropriate to each unit, faculty agree to meet less frequently. Whatever the response, it should be at least at the unit/program level. Otherwise, junior faculty might feel too vulnerable to participate in the furlough policy.
Furloughs should be carried out on instructional days so that their impact is clearly visible.
Furloughs should be coordinated university-wide and should comprise the median number of days (15 I think) between the highest and lowest paid staff. They should cut into the instructional calender and should be the equivalent of weekends: no one should be expected to come onto campus, available for meetings or phone calls, email, etc. If they violate the minimum number of required days in an academic term, so much the better. They are probably best clumped into 2-3 day periods, producing several 4-day weekends (with a Mon-Tues or Thurs-Fri off ) and could also be used to turn Thanksgiving into a week-long closure.
Given that the job of a professor at a research university has three main areas of emphasis (teaching, research and service), it seems clear that the furlough should impact all three of these activities. Any plan that does not allow faculty to be on furlough on the days they are scheduled to lecture minimizes the impact on teaching at the expense of the other three areas. I believe that at least one third of the furlough days should be taken on days faculty are scheduled to be in class giving lectures.
Given the budget problems, I am not sure that the UC has a choice but to cut salaries. The real problem seems to be the legislators. 38 of the 50 states have financial problems. 49 of the states have passed budgets that include cuts and raised taxes to cover the deficit. Only California cant seem to pass a budget or realize that to reduce a deficit, more money is needed. Our efforts might be better spent trying to get california legislators and voters to understand that well spent taxes (meaning on the UC) are not bad. Property taxes in CA need to be based on the current value of the property, not on the purchase price. Any action by the faculty, like a one day teaching strike would only be effective in 100% of the faculty participate. I dont see us as an organized group with consistent opinions, yet???
have faculty count days away from campus for professional meetings, speaking engagements, NIH meetings etc. as “furlough” days. This would decrease impact on teaching. Increased class size is a likely result of the cuts and furloughs – these data can be tracked. Time to graduation may also be impacted, and can be tracked.
I am not in support of the “need to be sensitive to the way that a significant impact on teaching will be portrayed in the media.” The furloughs are fundamentally wrong; they should be contested in the courts and the media; the government has a responsibility to raise taxes and funds — not unfairly tax state workers and public employees instead of the state as a whole. The furloughs should thus be visible. For faculty, they do need to “impact teaching.” That is what we do and are paid for — I am not paid for my research. I am paid to teach at the University of California. Either faculty should have discretion to shorten classes as they wish over the course of the year, or collectively decisions should be made to shorten the number of teaching days. For a lecture course in a 10 week quarter, there are 20 classes. In a seminar, there are 10 class meetings. Some agreed upon number of classes will need to be cut from this norm.
I am very opposed to the faculty taking furlough days on the days when they have regularly scheduled classes. This would have very negative repercussions for the university and could potentially be subject to legal challenge by students’ families, since we are promising a high quality curriculum and then not delivering it if we do not meet our teaching obligations. Moreover, in refusing to meet scheduled classes, faculty will be punishing the wrong people. The students are already paying almost 10% more tuition this year; it is not their fault that the legislature is recalcitrant, nor is it their parents’ fault (most parents probably already vote for legislators who support the university). A much better course of action is to highlight the damage being done to the university’s teaching program in the form of cancelled classes, larger class size, and more difficulty in meeting graduation requirements.
I believe that faculty furlough days should not simply all be taken in the summer. As others have mentioned, to have them all be in the summer would suggest that teaching is more sacred than research. On the contrary, research, service, and teaching should all be affected similarly.
I completely agree that furlough days should impact the # of days of instruction. The loss of TAs, research funding, and staff, will have a substantial effect on faculty workload and research. But it won’t be visible to the public.
I favor 2 campuswide furloughs on teaching days per quarter, scheduled around holidays or end of term. Further furlough days would be optional for faculty who are entitled to them, with the scheduling to be arranged individually with the department chair or appropriate committee.
I favor visible furloughs, with furlough days affecting all important activities proportionally. It is fine if the media comments on them, favorably or not.
i like the proposal set forth by the UCSC Academic Senate, of longer closures between quarters. And, for faculty that have a few furlough days over after that, they could, with their department chair’s permission, take them to attend professional conferences or for their research collection visits or days, given that it is usually so complicated to schedule around class schedules for both of these, particularly when one is teaching courses with no TAs or one’s TAs are also attending the professional conference or collecting the data alongside us.
I liked the ideas contained in the UCSC faculty senate proposal. 10 of the furlough days should be during instruction. We should delay the beginning of the quarters. We should use furlough days to give us a full week of Thanksgiving. By giving us longer breaks, and by not cutting into the flow of a course once it is already in progress, I believe we make the most out of this situation, even turning lemons into lemonade. The Thanksgiving furlough days (Monday-Wednesday) and the furloughs on the first two days of the Spring quarter are especially brilliant ideas, since we always feel a terrible crush around those times. In each case, the fact that we will be teaching fewer actual classes for each course will make a strong statement.
I prefer one of two options for implementing the furloughs (1) Give faculty and staff total freedom to choose when they take a day off, including on teaching days; (2) Close the whole campus on a specific number of days (corresponding to the minimum number of furlough days for lower-paid employees) and then give the faculty/staff the option to take off any day for the additional furlough days (including on teaching days).
I suggest that we look seriously at cutting down on faculty committee work. Since this is part of the faculty governance process, it seems quite appropriate for faculty to decide which committees need to meet less frequently, limit their scope of activities for this yr., or just be “furloughed” for the whole academic year.
I support coordinated furlough days, so that the public notices, with the firm assertion that the furloughs are not our idea. It might even be less disruptive to effectively close the university for a few days each quarter than to suffer random, debilitating absences. Of course the furloughs are a stupid idea in the first place, but we seem to be stuck with them at present.
I think furloughs ought to be implemented as days of closure for the university. This could be done by extending the breaks between quarters. Without some impact on university operations, I fear the furloughs will go unreversed and un-noted, which is to say that faculty will simply have taken a significant pay cut. Same for staff. Another option would be to close campus operations for several days each quarter before exams. This would at least have the benefit of giving students time to study, which they have gradually lost as the quarter system has tightened their schedules.
I think the only way the furlough proposal will be effective is if we allow the furlough days to OBVIOUSLY affect the quality of education offered. Part of the misconception shared not just by the public but also by UC faculty is that we’re just going to absorb the furlough days without any change in our pedagogical relationship to students. I support Lakoff et al’s suggestion that we make our unease visible such that it disturbs life at UC. My concern initially was that my advisees and students (mostly folks of color) would be disproportionately hit by such measures (first the fee hikes and now their faculty abandon them as well!) but I now believe that in the short run we have no choice. So, two concrete suggestions: Shut down the university one whole day of the week—that will seriously hinder services offered to students, alumni et al. Second, ask that faculty take their furlough days at prime dates in the quarter —during alumni week, advising week and pre-exam week– when students will be most hit by our absences.
I think we should take a teaching day off.
I would favor every faculty choosing a weekday in which there is no teaching nor faculty meetings (e.g., Friday, or Thursday) and adopting a simple regular schedule such as “every second Thursday, for the first 8 weeks of each quarter”. In reality, as faculty work is dominated by deadlines, rather than fixed hours, these furloughs would not matter much to the affected faculty person, but done this way, they would at least have symbolic value. Moreover, a “do not disturb” day may be actually useful.
If there is an 8% furlough, I think it important that all areas be reduced by 8%. Thus there should be 8% fewer teaching days over the course of the year, 8% less service done, and 8% less research expected for personnel actions. As for teaching furloughs, these days should not be the day before Thanksgiving break (when little is done anyway) or on advising days (when there is little student contact, as was proposed at UCSC. They should be legitimate normal teaching days. And I think we should make it clear that we are not expecting as much service or as much research out of faculty for personnel actions; if this is not done, I suggest a greater than 8% of the furlough be taken in other areas (such as teaching). In other words, if faculty are not allowed/asked to do less work in one area (either teaching, service, or research), they should do significantly less work in some other area.
In general, I support the proposal given by the first Anonymous, to select regular work days of each quarter for furloughs; obviously this proposal would have to be fine tuned, e.g., to accommodate the biology lab issue, but the principle is one we should endorse. Otherwise, there is no reduction in workload, and the “furlough” is in fact a speedup. Unless we stand for the principle that we are being paid for work that we do (and most people I know work long hours, including many hours outside the normal work week), we are indeed on a slippery slope. Perhaps for the higher paid among us, this issue doesn’t matter. But it matters that the University as a whole take a stand, and it matters all the more to less well paid faculty and staff. Indeed, the whole scenario as it is unfolding already is creating serious morale problems, and I fear that these will only deepen if we fail to take a collective position about a reasonable and fair way to implement the policy.
Is it true that all state agencies which are furloughing workers actually have official furlough days when they “close down”? If yes, UC should just follow that “standard practice”. We will need to alternate Fridays and Thursdays to balance the cuts in instruction between MWF and TuTh classes.
Just cut instructional days. We’re at the way high end of instructional days of major institutions, anyway. And, if done strategically (e.g., five days off at Thanksgiving), the students will be delighted. It also will save more money, since campus closures save more money than willy-nilly furloughs.
Must we simply sit back and take this, without any push back at all? Why must faculty take less money for the same amount of work, when staff and other personnel have reduced workloads concomitant with reduced salary? Possible suggestions: Perhaps a visible faculty walk out on 7% of lectures? Or a single, university-wide no teaching/lecture day/week per quarter to make a symbolic point? Reduction in service activities in some visible way? CAP reducing expectations for merits by 7%? I agree that we need to be careful about how this is implemented. Faculty solidarity and clear explanations to students and taxpaying public must accompany any response we make. We all realize that there is a serious budget problem (although as many have noted, “crisis” and “emergency” seem a misnomers, as much of what has happened clearly could have been anticipated), and action needs to be taken. Faculty should not be immune. And, our solvency ultimately depends on support of the legislature and CA voters, and actions such as faculty not teaching are unlikely to be popular in the voting public. However, some push back must occur on our end.
On “furlough” days I will of course teach if scheduled to do so, but I will not make appointments with students for advising, hold office hours, or respond to my normal deluge of random emails unrelated to ongoing projects that are of importance to me. I will do what I currently have time to do only at night or on weekends: research-related activities. (I’ve worked seven days a week, 52 weeks a year for thirty-three years at this place, for a nine-month salary, which is about to be reduced to an 8 and 1/4 month salary. So no whining.) Actually, I’ll most likely get more done that can potentially benefit the University financially than I do now!
Recommendation from UCSC Senate Executive Committee: SANTA CRUZ: OFFICE OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE July 17, 2009 CPEVC David Kliger Chancellor’s Office RE: Furlough Plan Implementation Dear Dave: The Senate Executive Committee (SEC) met to discuss implementation of the furlough plan that was passed by the Regents yesterday. The plan allows for considerable campus discretion in the implementation of ‘furloughs.’ SEC offers the following recommendations for creating the furlough calendar for UCSC. SEC was unanimous in endorsing the principle that, like state employees, the impact of furlough days must be highly visible. For UC this means furloughs must be taken from instructional days. Tucking furlough days entirely into non-instructional periods would give the false impression that business is normal at UC. Given that this is truly an ‘emergency’ situation, as demonstrated by President Yudof’s declaration of a fiscal emergency, then business-as-usual is not warranted—and highly visible furloughs coupled with campus closures are a fully logical response to our current emergency. Additionally, cost savings are likely to be maximized for campus closure on days of instruction, as opposed to piecemeal furloughs. The administration of “common” furlough days is also far more straightforward, as these would be centrally mandated and would not require piecemeal approval by individual managers. Thus, we endorse highly visible campus closure during periods of instruction to achieve significant portions of our allocated furloughs as both recognition of our current fiscal emergency, and as the most fiscally responsible means for achieving cost savings to the campus. The period of activity that is most common to the greatest number of employees is the academic quarter. With respect to faculty, confining furloughs to non-instructional days is an explicit acceptance that teaching has priority over the faculty’s other duties– research and service. Hence, we also view that furloughs during the quarter are the most opportune way of ensuring that research and service expectations for faculty are not impacted in a more fundamental manner than their teaching expectations. Therefore in order to honor the spirit of the furlough, which is to reciprocate reduction in pay with time off, furlough days should most effectively be taken during the academic quarters. Indeed, budgetary reductions of this scale necessarily impact the instructional mission, so to implement a furlough plan without clear recognition of the effects on instruction of these reductions threatens the University’s ability to advocate for the long term resources required to educate the state’s population. We understand that you will need to request an exception to the standard University of California academic calendar since this reduction will cause UCSC to fall below the minimum of 146 instruction days for the academic year. The President’s authority (SRO 100.4(g)) to grant this exception is delegated to the Provost and Executive Vice President (DA 0556). Given that we are in SEC- Furlough Implementation Recommendation 7/17/09 Page 2 of 3 an emergency situation, we believe that there is every rationale to grant this exception. Moreover, we note that our current days of instruction lie at the high end of our comparison institutions1 . The proposed reduction we describe below would put UCSC in precise accord with the instructional days of the University of Virginia and the University of Minnesota, and still in excess of those of the University of Michigan and most of the major private institutions. Table 2(A) of the furlough plan as it appears in Regent’s item J2 from their July 2009 meeting delineates seven salary bands with the number of furlough days increasing corresponding to annual compensation. We have been advised by the Academic Personnel Office that academic year faculty salaries begin in band three ($46,001 –60,000) with 10 furlough days designated and SEC recommends that this minimum number of 10 days be implemented through campus closures during academic quarters. As we detail below, these 10 days include two non-instructional “student contact” days, and eight days of instruction. More highly paid faculty will still be required to take a larger number of days of furlough, which will be arrived at by agreement. Specifically, we recommend common instructional furloughs on the following days for the 2009-10 academic year: Proposed furlough days for 2009-10 Fall quarter: September 21* November 23, 24, 25 (Thanksgiving week) Winter quarter: January 4*, 5 (delay start of winter quarter) February 12 Spring quarter: March 29, 30 (delay start of spring quarter) May 28 *September 21 and January 4 are student contact days, not instruction days This plan spreads the furlough roughly evenly across the three academic year quarters and approximately equivalently between MWF and TTH classes. For those in higher salary bands that require furlough days in addition to this minimum, SEC believes that days outside the quarter would be acceptable, such as beginning the winter campus closure early, on approximately December 21st. SEC hopes that the furlough plan will be only a single year in duration. However, we must look beyond this immediate crisis so that the University is strongly positioned to advocate for adequate resources in the future. In all communication on furloughs, the message must be that lack of resources means degradation of UC education in the form of 1See: http://www.math.toronto.edu/karshon/Length_of_semesters.html#days SEC- Furlough Implementation Recommendation 7/17/09 Page 3 of 3 reduced instruction of students. Without such publicly visible messages, it is likely that the legislature will also conduct its business as usual, systematically reducing UC’s per student funding, and thus further reducing resources to higher education. Because the budget cuts that produced these furloughs are so damaging to the educational/instructional mission of the university, their impact must be obvious and visible. Yet, at the same time, we recognize the obligation to provide as high quality instruction to our students as is feasible. In this context, the key question is whether the fewer days of instruction will reduce the amount of material covered in the class: if the amount of material covered remains constant, the onus will be on students to conduct more out-of-class work. This is, in many instances, a likely outcome of the proposed cuts in instruction. While we firmly believe that student-faculty contact is difficult to replicate, we also note that faculty and students have become accustomed to fewer TAs and less instructional assistance in their courses. As such, while we recognize that curtailing instructional hours is not optimal, we view this as yet another negative outcome of the current fiscal circumstances of the state and the University. Sincerely, Quentin Williams, Chair Senate Executive Committee Cc: Chancellor Blumenthal VC Meredith Michaels AVC Pamela Peterson
Right now everyone is focused on what days to furlough and so forth. However, the bottom line is this: there are 11 or more non-work days and that means less time to do the work. What work should we not be doing? This question is even more critical given that more students are being added to our classes, and we have less work days. So, what work should we not do — should we stop writing narratives, student letters of recommendation, answering student emails (or perhaps charge to answer them as my doctor does), start cutting assignments, cut efforts to get grants, etc. Similarly, what work should staff not do — only enroll a certain number of students, quit typing narratives, don’t answer phones, etc. Without an answer to this question then furlough days are not just meaningless — they are another hassle. In other words, we still have the same (or more work to do), just less days to do it in and if we try to do things on furlough days (like copying syllabi), then we can’t even do that. The administration in consultation with faculty should make it clear what work is being cut from our load. This should be announced and made clear to relevant audiences (students, etc.) so that they don’t ask us to do that work. If the work isn’t going to be cut to match the furlough days, then they aren’t furlough days — just another hassle.
So long as the discussion is about the furloughs, UC and state officials are winning. With the discussion there, it takes just a tiny amount of re-emphasis to make it about faculty and our unwillingness to do our part to get through this crisis. Even after furloughs, we are among the most privileged and financially secure people in the state. Instead of talking about furloughs, we should change the subject to the welfare of the University and especially its students. Furloughs are just a symptom of the state’s inability to fund its obligations to the university, whose mission is to provide quality, access, and affordability to students. In my view, we do not want to make the discussion to be about furloughs, i.e. us. That’s political suicide. Having said that, I am OK with with the general idea of furloughs having some tangible consequences, but I am not in favor of furloughs impacting teaching negatively. I realize that most rational arguments are on the other side. However, this is essentially a PR issue. One of the main arguments in favor of a negative impact on teaching is to dramatize the consequences furloughs and to lay the blame on the underfunding of the University. I am skeptical that we can control the message well enough to make that work. If we voluntarily choose to use the furloughs to disadvantage students when we could easily have done otherwise, then we are choosing a protest method that hurts the weakest group in the university—the one that it is most dedicated to serve. The story will be about tenured, well-paid faculty refusing to teach and not about the state’s failure to meet its obligations. We lose.
Subtract seven days from the teaching calendar for each semester; or five teaching days from each quarter.
TERENCE M MURPHY re the two options of the UCD administration: Option 1 (six to nine furlough days on days of instruction) and Option 2 (furlough days on non-instructional days). Comment: I strongly object to Option 1 and prefer Option 2, with some additional comments. Why I am against Option 1: 1. The students at UCD, and in general their parents, are not responsible for the budgetary problems of the state. They are already feeling the pain with higher fees. It is not fair, and certainly not good public relations, to transfer more burden to them. 2. Option 1 does not make my job easier—it makes it harder. I teach large lecture classes with high content density. Losing up to three lecture days could be as much as 10% of class time. Deciding what to cut and how will be difficult. I don’t mind working as much for less in an emergency; I resent working more and harder for less. 3. When it comes to curricular issues (and assuming that changes last more than one year), I foresee major problems of faculty acceptance of slimmed-down courses as being satisfactory for our majors. That doesn’t mean a good argument for less instruction could not be made. But I get exhausted thinking about it. Additional comments: 1. While I want to maintain full instructional schedules, I see no reason why most business functions and certain support functions of the campus could not have furlough days during instructional days. 2. I like the idea of furlough days as dead days before final exams. That could help the students, even as it provides some notice of the university’s problems to students who must postpone vacations. However, I recognize that many nine-month faculty members—who would also have to postpone vacations—may prefer furlough days after exams to furlough days before exams.
The best way I could use my furlough is as vacation days and then build up my leave days for if and when I get sick and use my reular leave in the future for illness or disability. UC does not offer faculty sick leave!!!! I find this incredible in the great State of California. I should be able to use the furlough days as leave as and when I choose to. I will not take extra days off in the year and this way, I will have the least impact on clinical and teaching responsibilities.
The furloughs should be spread evenly across the calendar, affecting non-instructional and instructional days proportionately. That will demonstrate the impact of the cuts without exaggerating it. I believe that is the most defensible approach. An even more appealing approach would be to simply shorten the academic calendar by the number of furlough days (perhaps the maximum number contemplated by the policy). That would make visible the impact and would really allow people to use the furlough time for other things. The result would be a foreshortened, but full functional academic calendar equivalent to those at some other universities (Pitt, for example, has an 8 month academic year).
The magnitude of the cuts demands visible action. I believe that the furloughs should be implemented in as visible a fashion as possible. To do otherwise renders them equivalent to a pay cut, as faculty workload remains the same. I also believe that steps must be taken to allow faculty additional consulting days equivalent to the number of furlough days. This will help some faculty offset the salary reductions and to do otherwise truly renders the furlough days meaningless for faculty.
The Social Sciences and Humanities Divisions should be merged, with one dean and staff. While this means some staff will be laid off; however, the university will recoup the dean’s extra salary and there will be more economies of scale. It would also make it easier to transfer faculty between departments since growth through new recruitments will not be possible for some time.
The UC system provides a service to the children of California’s taxpayers at below cost (maybe below marginal cost, certainly below average total cost). It has been able to do so because of subsidies taxpayers have paid into the UC system. In May, California taxpayers voted to sharply curtail these subsidies, in effect, telling us that they are no longer interested in funding publicly subsidized higher education in California at the level it has been funded in the past. Our most rational response, because it gives the voters what they voted for, would be to raise tuition to recover the loss of subsidies. Instead, UC administration proposes that UC employees sacrifice 8% of their wages to make up for these lost subsidies, asking a very small group, in effect, to shoulder a disproportionately large portion of a burden that California taxpayers have told us they are not willing to bear. In the light of this, I have two questions: 1.) If we agree to this, what incentive will California taxpayers have to ever reconsider their decision? If they can get the employees of the UC system to pay for their children’s education, why ever attempt to pay for it themselves? 2.) Some have suggested that UC employees are being selfish in resisting paycuts. But why should UC employees be held to a higher standard of altruism than California taxpayers? Why should UC employees be required to subsidize public higher education at higher rates than California taxpayers at large? -A UC Employee
The UCs might collectively adopt the British model of having a “reading week” 2-3 weeks prior to the end of each term, thereby absorbing the furlough days and also providing students, faculty and support staff a respite in the course of the term wherein they can catch up on their grading, assignments, and other work. This might be scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving (giving everyone a week off), and in late February and late May. In this scenario, faculty might actually be able to expect *more* of students as they have time to catch up on their work, thereby not impacting the overall teaching mission of the university. It would also allow faculty more time free of institutional hullabaloo to get through grading, exam writing, etc.
The UCSC faculty senate has put together a proposal that I fully support. Some of the furlough days are taken as teaching days (If I recall, 6 in total). This would include the M-Tu-W of Thanksgiving week, and starting Winter and Spring quarters one day later. I think this is a common-sense approach, which shows the impact on teaching, but spreads it out in ways that shouldn’t place too much of a burden on any one quarter.
The worst outcome for the faculty is if there are no visible impacts of the furloughs. If we accept them without any impact on the only activity that has any impact beyond our walls – undergraduate teaching – then we invite further cuts down the road. However, the response needs to be politically astute so that we are not perceived to be shirking our duties to our students and simply whining as well-paid, secure (for the most part) professors. There are some guiding principles to respond: 1. Ideally any responses and action should be coordinated system-wide for maximum publicity 2. Our actions should be publicized widely and explained to highlight our concern with the future of the University and the education of our students 3. Given that our appointments are predicated on a split between research and teaching, it is reasonable to allocate the furlough impact evenly between teaching and research. For those faculty with near full commitments to research, taking 21 days off would be a questionable cut to research effort on grants, despite the fact that the percentage effort may or may not be the same. 4. Some of the teaching days that are affected may be substituted with a class on the history of the University and the latest cuts. We could also cancel lectures and opt for an office hour instead on other furlough days.
This is a catch 22. We have these furloughs and some of the days will have an impact on teaching. Are we are still supposed to work as much for less pay?
To counterbalance any bad PR about impacts on teaching, maybe we need to enlist sympathetic reporters to cover “what we do in our spare time”… i.e. the value of our research for the economy, the environment, society, etc., and how this will be affected by rising teaching loads ?
To have any cost saving effect at the institutional level, beyond the salary saving, the furloughs need to be implemented in a uniform manner across the campus. To be understandable to the public, the implementation should be simple, analogous to the furlough days implemented by the State government. Clearly there will be exceptions, where special circumstances require them in such a complex institution. One possibility would be to close the campus for one week in each quarter (15 furlough days). This affects all classes equally regardless of schedule, allows significant savings (lighting, heating, facility, etc.), is relatively easy to plan for, and provides an approximate reflection of the consequences of the reductions in state support over the last years.
We must demonstrate that business will not go on as usual next year. Aside from essential services (i.e., those which take place on normal university holidays) the campus should essentially shut down on 11 pre-planned, work days (equivalent to the 4% furlough) throughout the 2009-2010 academic year, including some days – perhaps two per quarter? – during each academic term. If we don’t do this, we are just asking for our furloughs to become permanent pay cuts.
We should ensure that furloughs have an effect on instruction. I am in favor of setting Week 10 of each quarter aside for furloughs and teach-ins, as is under discussion on other on-line venues.
We should take control of our sound bites. We could perhaps call them “Teaching Furlough” days, reminding the media that the people who imposed the furlough were the same people who are costing Californian students their education. Or perhaps “RAT Furloughs” — Research and Teaching Furlough Days. They aren’t ordinary furloughs, where work still gets done, but at a slower pace because people aren’t working Fridays anymore (as happened with the administration in our town). It’s not just slower education, it’s missing education.
Without having discussed it with anyone, I tend to favor the plan developed by the SEC, eliminating 8 instructional days. I would tend to justify it as follows, which would not be justified by any calculation of faculty time saving, but instead designed to present a politically defensible position. Eight days is perhaps about half of what the average faculty member will be asked to miss due to furlough. So, we argue that faculty time is split roughly 50/50 between research and instruction, so half of the furlough days are instructional days. I think that, if professors get furloughed, it’s justified that they be relieved of some teaching burden, and this seems quite fair: the state furloughs X% of our time, but only loses 1/2of X% of teaching. How could the public complain about that, given that other state employees will be reducing their workload by the full percentage of their furlough?. Plus we get to make the point that we also do research for the State. Bruce Schumm