Class Size and You

To: The Academic Senate
From: NAAC (AAUP Chapter)
Re: Understanding Class Size in the Contract

There are two provisions in the CBA, which specifically address aspects of student- faculty “ratios,” CBA sections 11 and 19-1-3. These are two separate and distinct provisions. CBA Section 11 mandates that the college maintain a college wide student-faculty ratio of 21.1:1. It is (simply stated) calculated by considering the number of students against the number of teaching and non-teaching faculty. It has nothing to do with setting class size requirements for either specific classes or for the class sizes of specific departments.
Setting class size maximums is addressed in CBA section 19-1-3 which authorizes the Academic Senate to, “formulate and propose academic college policies …on class size…” Senate Bylaw Article 1 (c ) mirrors and reiterates the powers granted under CBA 19-1-3. Note CBA 19-1-3 and its related Senate Bylaw Article 1 ( c) only contemplate teaching faculty as it addresses the number of students in a class(es).

Here is an example of how to understand these two contractual provisions:

If you had a total of 1000 students and 50 faculty (teaching and non-teaching) you would have a 20:1 college wide student to faculty ratio. However, that does not tell you the class size ratios. Why? Because CBA section 11 sets the college wide and not class size ratio. This means that the Administration could (theoretically) add 100, or 200 or even 1000 students into a single class and the college wide ratio remains unchanged as long as there are 1000 students and 50 teaching and non-teaching faculty on campus. Enter CBA section 19-1-3. This section acknowledges that the NCCFT and the Administration have agreed that formulating class size depends on a number of factors: licensing (example, Nursing) or pedagogical or workload factors requiring class size be determined more individually. The CBA has designated the Senate as the governing body to “formulate and propose academic college policies …on class size…” Consequently, unless the Senate has approved a change to class size no change in class size can be legally implemented.

To summarize the process as agreed to by the NCCFT and the College:

· The CBA and Senate bylaws have placed responsibility for class size in the hands of the Senate.
· It is the Senate that promulgates procedures for determining class size for new and current classes.
· Class size may only be changed by following the procedures established by the Senate.
· No informal memos, letters, unilateral actions by the administration or independent “deals” with department chairs may legally change or alter class size.

To: The Academic Senate
From: NAAC (AAUP Chapter)

The Issue: Can class size be increased by administrative fiat?
Jurisdiction Over Class Size: The Academic Senate exercises jurisdiction over class size. (See: CBA section 19-1-3, Senate Bylaws, Article 1 (c)). Presidents Fanelli, Astrab and Acting President Saunders, all formally concurred with the Senate’s power to “formulate and propose academic college policies …on class size…” (See: CBA section 19-1-3, Senate Bylaws, Article1 (c) ).
Discussion: On May 15, 2012 and April 23, 2013 the Senate passed two resolutions on class size. These established procedures for determining class size. Specifically, the 2013 Resolution created a standing committee on class size that “…shall have the responsibility for…making recommendations for any changes in class size to the Academic Senate.” In an April 25, 2013 memo from Acting President Saunders to Dr. Kimberley Reiser, Academic Senate Chair, Dr. Saunders concurred with the actions of the Senate, which set out the aforesaid procedure for changes in class size.
The relevant facts leading up to the current unilateral action by the administration are as follows:
Upon information and belief, on December 16, 2014, Area Deans informed the Chairs that +4 students would most likely be added to many classes.
Upon information and belief, on December 18,2014, the Chairs held a caucus about this issue and established a Chairs Subcommittee on Class Size.

Upon information and belief, in January 2015, the Chairs Subcommittee on Class Size met over winter session and requested that the administration meet with them to discuss the proposed class size increases.

Upon information and belief on March 17, 2015 at the Area meetings the Chairs were told by their respective deans that many classes will definitely be increased by +4.

No resolution requesting this +4 or any other class size increase was ever presented to the Academic Senate for its consideration and approval.
Conclusion: The CBA and the Senate Bylaws clearly give to the Senate the responsibility for formulating policy regarding class size before any such change may be implemented. While over the years the Senate has adopted various “procedures” to formulate appropriate class size, regardless of the procedure used, any proposed change must be presented to the Senate for its approval. Consequently, the administration’s attempt to impose a unilateral increase of +4 for Fall 2015 is in violation of the applicable CBA provisions and Senate Bylaws and may not be implemented.