Over the course of several months, the FA developed a professional review of our VPAA. The letter was hand delivered on June 3, 2021. A copy of the letter was also delivered to the college president. Below is a copy of the letter along with the response from the college president.
President Drumm’s Response:
Suzanne & Tim: thank you for the very detailed treatise on your concerns with VP Haynes. We need to set aside some time to go over it and to clarify with you much of the misinformation that is in it so we are all working from an accurate baseline, while I agree philosophically with many of the larger, salient points the document tries to make regarding collaboration. However, often we are rebuffed by faculty when trying to do exactly what you are asking.
For example, Penny would like to work regularly with Department Chairs on the issues you raise but then they don’t wish to have her in Department Chair meetings. This makes no sense. They need to meet regularly if they are indeed going to work together through the tough issues you raised.
In the same vein, your entire document argues for more collaboration while concomitantly asking for a faculty-only faculty senate. Again, this makes no sense to me based on the larger point you are trying to make. By definition, collaboration can’t happen in the vacuum that is being proposed.
I also want to clear up another key misunderstanding in your paper. VP Sullivan has shared with Shared Governance, on the record on multiple occasions, that the section ratio targets are “averages” and not a one-size-fits-all number at all, working to inform the conversation in an open and transparent way.
We are of course fully aware that many HS and STEM sections in particular are not very elastic or elastic at all, therefore the average has to be brought up by adding small numbers to a large number of other sections.
We have among the smallest class sizes in the nation, sizes that rival the most expensive small liberal arts colleges in the nation but with a tiny fraction of their resources. And we have classes far smaller than most of our peers, while our stellar faculty ought to be able to handle as many or more students than our peers. I just can’t believe that our faculty aren’t as good or better than our peers who teach larger sections routinely, many much larger. (But we aren’t asking for much larger.)
I will leave this note with the two broader issues above where we have a major disconnect on the reality from our perspective. Once I have an opportunity to review all the baseline information on the other points and examples you raised, we should meet to determine an agreed upon baseline for Penny and all of us to work from. For an example, we support the distance learning language that the committee recommended but CAI did not want to codify it in policy for some reason. That’s just one example of another disconnect we need to address. CAI did not want to put it forward as a policy recommendation, so there it sits.
I will be in touch again soon when I have had the chance to look into each point you so judiciously raised. I respect and appreciate the effort and concern that went into creating the document.
Kevin E Drumm, PhD
SUNY Broome Community College