Posted on Monday, April 7, 2014

by Dr. Charles Errico, CFAC ChairVCCS Blog

ErricoThe Chancellor’s Faculty Advisory Committee (CFAC) consists of elected representatives from each of the twenty-three community colleges. Twice during the academic year, they meet in Richmond with the Chancellor and his administrative staff for a collegial and free-flowing discussion that addresses faculty concerns and issues related to student success. The April 3/4 meeting examined ways to reduce textbook costs and the work of a new strategic planning task force that will focus on improving retention, graduation rates, and preparing students for careers. The Chancellor made a presentation on the Rural Horseshoe Initiative designed to assist students in the smaller and largely rural community colleges. Vice-Chancellor Donna Van Cleave outlined a Benchmarking Study that will help the VCCS spend its resources more wisely. Two faculty members made an interesting presentation on the Developmental English Redesign and provided preliminary data suggesting that some students tested into levels too high to promote success.

The new faculty evaluation policy remained a topic of interest and CFAC discussed various methods that their colleges were implementing the reward and recognition initiatives. With the warm weather approaching, there was an analysis of the summer pay policies within the VCCS. It became clear that there was a wide disparity among the colleges in their summer pay formulas with some faculty earning half as much as others who taught the same number of credit hours. As baby boomers increase in age, CFAC would like to work on a proposal that would permit a phased reduction of workload from 100% to 50%. This would permit senior faculty members to remain in the VCCS, serving as mentors and preserving institutional memory. Their reduced workload would also result in cost savings as junior faculty slowly replaced their higher salaried colleagues.

CFAC reviewed the new guidelines that allowed adjunct faculty to teach as much as 12 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters.  The new associate instructor position allows some adjuncts to earn benefits on a one-year contract. Virginia Western has hired thirteen associate instructors and is pleased with their teaching and contributions to the college. Some CFAC members expressed reservations that this new position might be used at their institutions as a replacement for full-time teaching faculty.

I’ll be leading a session at New Horizons on the significant issues that have been addressed over the past academic year. Fellow CFAC members will request audience members to suggest other important systemwide issues that need attention in the future.'

Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 270,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

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