Contract Clarification Questions

So, I continue to want to honor the request of our Union leadership to maintain discretion and privacy among union members with respect to deliberations and conversations about the contract proposal.

At the same time, I recognize that there are many members who have questions (as here and here)  and wonder if we wouldn’t be able to provide an aggregating service here on the Lounge for question collection, so that we may be able to share the list with the leadership before they come to visit and, when we do meet to discuss the contract, we will have an idea of what each others’ confusions and questions are in advance so we can make sure that we hit all of the major points.

If you happen to see a question to which you KNOW or think you know the answer, please feel free to chime in. Please try to keep speculation (especially about motives) to a minimum. Let’s brainstorm a good list of questions that, upon getting clarified will serve as a sound foundation for evaluative discussion.

Here are my questions so far. What are yours?

Think, Know, Prove–Brainstorming for Fall 2010

So, the Harold Lounge will still be up and available over the summer, but starting Monday, there will be no “official lifeguard on duty” so to speak.

Posts will be random and intermittent, and there will be a general open thread available for commentary and questions and suggestions. I have some ideas for the fall about new features to incorporate and old ones to tweak, but for the most part, the Lounge will be quiet over the summer.

One of the most successful features (in terms of views and comments) this semester was the Think, Know, Prove series. In the interest of making sure that the site (and the features) have broader scopes than my own peeves and interests, I’d like to use this thread as a Meta/evaluative tool. What features worked? Which didn’t? Which should be here? Which should never ever return? What have you learned? How have you used the Lounge? What would motivate you to use it more?

What do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?

Think, Know, Prove–Registration

Think, Know, Prove is a regular Saturday feature, where a topic with both mystery and importance is posted for community discussion. The title is a shortened version of the Investigative Mantra: What do we think, what do we know, what can we prove? and everything from wild speculation to resource referencing fact is welcome here.

UPDATE: Bumped up to try to draw a little more discussion (3/3)

So maybe you saw this article in the Chronicle this week about a school out in Nevada that had “registration challenges:”

A few years ago, officials at the university decided that they had to do more to reduce the hassles of registering for courses. They imagined a kind of registration czar, someone who could communicate well with faculty members but who had the authority of an administrator.

My favorite part was a few sentences later when the article said, “Each semester [the new czar] helps 50 to 60 students solve their scheduling problems.” I mean the University of Nevada at Reno has fifty or so students a semester with scheduling problems, and they hire a registration czar. I was one of about 80 advisors working during registration week, and I must have talked to 10 students, easy, with serious schedule/course completion problems. If my experience was typical, well, you can do the math…

But our lack of a registration czar is not the point. Can you imagine the lines outside that poor sucker’s office? Mercy. No, that is not what I want to talk about here. Last week, we discussed online grading (go here if you haven’t voted yet), but we’re not going to let the Registrar’s office off the hook just yet. I want to talk about faculty duties during registration.

First, a collection of facts. Our current system of advising and registering students (at least the faculty role in the process) dates to the time prior to the availability of online enrollment. Nearly 75% of our students register for classes online.

Our contract says,

“Registration shall last no longer than one week at all Colleges. Faculty who select Saturday or week-end classes shall be present on the days that registration is held for these classes, but will not be required to be
present in registration for more than five days a week. Duties of faculty members during the registration period shall consist of advisement, programming and other professionally related duties. After classes start, registration shall be handled exclusively by the administrative staff and Department Chairpersons. A faculty member shall be assigned to no more than six hours of advisement, programming or other professional activities per day during registration except that a faculty member teaching beyond the normal course load may be assigned an additional six hours per week for each three hour credit course taught above his normal course load. The time of any faculty member during the period of registration not required for registration duties shall be utilized for professional development in the form of academic meetings and conferences, student orientation activities, departmental meetings, inter-departmental meetings and other appropriate professional activities.”

Even after hiring a bunch of new advisors over the last few years, who do heroic work, for the most part, and faculty becoming more familiar with the programs and the process, our students are still frequently mis-advised (for example, my department had 50, as in five zero, students signed up in various sections of one music class without the required co-requisite; an average of 10% of the students in 200 level Humanities classes don’t have the pre-req they need to be successful in the course; horror stories from other departments, no doubt abound).

We have all had the experience of sitting around in 404, while there is a long line of students, without anyone to see–either because the students waiting are new (and so not sent to faculty advisors) or because the number caller didn’t see us or because of the mysteries of the universe.

It would seem that there has to be a better way. What do you think, what do you know, what can you prove?