By Bea Herrera & Jenny Redding
The Tenure process is in full-swing this Fall once again!
Article 11 of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) deals with the tenure process. In the last round of negotiations, several areas of the Tenure Article changed. Some areas were revised to clarify both the intent and the process. Additionally, other areas were revised and will have an impact on the process. We encourage you to review this article in your contract, especially if you have participated on previous Tenure Review Committees.
Here are some of the highlights of the article that could have an impact on your tenure process:
Composition of the Tenure Committee
Article 11.1, Section (D) pertains to the selection process for the committee members. Under the previous CBA, subsection (b) of was too broad, leaving too much discretion as to how the third member of the committee was selected. Specifically, as previously worded, the third member of the committee simply needed to be “from another discipline.”¹
Under the current CBA, subsection (b), now requires one faculty evaluator to be selected by a “Department Chair from another discipline.”² Although this is a subtle difference, this specificity could substantially effect the composition of the tenure review committee, and is arguably more favorable to the candidate.
The second major change we want to focus on is the process for selecting replacement committee members. The process for replacing committee members in the middle of the tenure review process is defined in Article 11.1 (D)(2)(c).³ Under the previous CBA, replacements would be chosen simply by “the committee.”⁴ Currently, however, should there be a need to replace committee members mid-process, the replacement will be selected by the committee co-chairs.⁵ Just like in subsection (b), the more specific language works in the faculty member’s favor.
Maybe more importantly, additional language was added to this subsection to ensure that the replacement faculty members would be chosen from “the lost appropriate and logical areas. . .”⁶
Lastly, in subsection (d) language was added to clarify the candidate’s right to remove one committee member during the probationary period. More specifically, the addition of the phrase “other than the committee co-chairs,” to the subsection, makes it clearer as to the process through which a candidate can remove committee members and provides for to ability to remove co-chairs as well.⁷ Unlike in the previous CBA, candidates are given specific authority under this subsection to petition for the removal of a co-chair. Obviously, this is a major improvement from the perspective of the candidate.
As defined by the subsection, the petition for removal of a co-chair must provide justification, in writing, submitted to the college president. The college president will then have the responsibility of deciding whether the removal should be confirmed or reject— likewise in writing.⁸
Evaluation Process Timeline
Article 11.2 of the CBA establishes the timeline by which the tenure process will be administered.
Of particular importance is the language that was added to the introductory section of 11.2. This language requires that any delay in the evaluation process must be documented and may only occur at the mutual agreement of the committee and the candidate.⁹
Unlike under previous CBAs, unnecessary and unjustified delays in the process can be the grounds for a grievance. This is clearly a win for full-time faculty who had previously been at that whim of the committee.
Additionally, Section (A)(6) was added to Article 11.2. This section requires that upon receipt of the candidate’s portfolio and the committee’s recommendation, the college president will have until January 15th, to communicate a recommendation to the committee.¹⁰ Just as in the language in the introduction, this addition gives the candidate more assurance that their tenure review will be processed in a timely way.
Consideration of Outside Material
Article 11.3 allows for the committee to consider material outside the formal evaluation process. In other words, complaints against faculty candidates. Section (A) was re-written in the current CBA, to clarify what material the committee could consider. Under the previous contract, the committee could consider complaints that were “thoroughly documented and substantiated through written and signed instruments.”¹¹ Under the current contract, the committee is permitted to consider “[o]nly written and substantiated complaints.”¹² Even though this is a subtle difference in language, the interpretation could be huge.
As you can see, the language changes from the 2013- 2016 agreement to our current agreement are subtle; however, all represent an improvement in the tenure review process from the perspective of the faculty. Hopefully, this short article will help you better understand the parameters of Article 11 and your path to tenure. If you have any questions about this contract article, or any other contract interpretation matter, please feel free to contact Bea Herrera, AFT Grievance Chair, or Jenny Redding, AFT Assistant Grievance Chair. We are here to help! Please note that all inquiries to the union should be sent from your personal email, not the VCCCD email system.
You can contact Bea Herrera at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can contact Jenny Redding at email@example.com
1 Collective Bargaining Agreement between Ventura County Community College District and the AFT Local 1828, July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2016, 55-56.
2 Collective Bargaining Agreement between Ventura County Community College District and the AFT Local 1828, July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2019, 70-71.
4 CBA, July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2016.
5 CBA, July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2019
6 Ibid., 71.
7 Ibid., 71-72.
8 Ibid., 73.
10 Ibid., 74.
11 CBA, July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2016., 56.
12 CBA, July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2019., 75