The College’s Board of Trustees pending changes to its Rules of Procedure includes not only violations of the NCCFT CBA, but also violations of time-honored AAUP principles of shared governance articulated in our contract as well as violations of the New York State Open Meetings and Education laws and regulations. Amongst the most egregious is the below proposed change:
The Board may establish an Advisory Commission for each major instructional area of the College curriculum and such Commission or Commissions shall assist the instructional departments, the President and the Board of Trustees in the development and evaluation of curricula, in the development of cooperative training programs and placement of graduates, and in the securing of qualified applicants for positions on the instructional staff. http://www.ncc.edu/aboutncc/ourpeople/board_of_trustees/resources.shtml
The above-proposed change to the BoT’s Rules of Procedure will usher in the end of shared governance and faculty responsibility for curriculum development, faculty hiring and other duties that have historically been within the purview of faculty. This will effectively put curriculum initiatives and content, as well as hiring, in the hands of the Board. Ask yourself, of what import will be our P&T or CWCC? What will remain is a de-professionalized faculty. The below outlines why we believe there are violations of both the NCCFT CBA and NYS Education Laws and Regulations:
What is the legal role of the BoT over curriculum?
NYS Educational Regulations Community College Regulations, sections 604.2, 604.3 (b), and 605.1 sets forth the specific duties and obligations of the BoT. Here are a few of the Board’s legally authorized duties: establish policies to govern the college, delegate responsibility for carrying out those policies, prepare, approve and implements budgets and approves curricula. Note the legislature’s specific limitation on the Board with regards to curriculum.
What is the legal role of the President/Administration over curriculum?
The president of the college, is responsible to the college trustees, is responsible for providing general education leadership and specifically authorized to formulate and present to the college trustees, for their action, recommendations on curriculum.
What is the legal role of the Faculty?
The faculty shall participate in the formulation of
curriculum among many other academic other responsibilities.
What are the implications of these state regulations?
The regulations direct the college president /administration and faculty to work together to formulate curriculum which the president is authorized to present to the BoT for its approval. How do we know this? First, the regulations specifically state this. Second, if the drafters had wanted to give the BoT responsibility to formulate curriculum it would have. Instead it specifically limits the BoT’s powers over curriculum to approval only. Secondly, note that the regulation directs the faculty to “participate” in the formulation of curriculum. Clearly, that refers to participation with the college president.
How is this legislative mandate to be accomplished?
The law does not prescribe the mechanism to accomplish the legislative mandate. Here at Nassau Community College, for over forty years, (e.g. the president, BoT and faculty) have agreed to accomplish these goals via an Academic Senate. This agreement has been memorialized in our contract and binds faculty, college and BoT equally. As such, it is the Academic Senate that provides. “… the College community with voice in general educational goals and policies.” (CBA section 19-1). This includes curriculum and other academic policies and matters (CBA, section 19-1-1.). It is this contractually agreed upon system that forms our system of shared governance.
No one is suggesting there be no change. However, whatever change is instituted must maintain Nassau Community College’s integrity as a vibrant academic institution. This requires genuine shared governance and a faculty that actively participates in the formulation of all aspects of the college’s academic life. The proposed changes are antithetical to this goal. We urge the faculty to stand up for academic integrity.
And the beat goes on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slldMEPvUqA