Article 16 Primer
effective beginning fall semester 2015

Amended on October 6, 2017

Because Article 16 is long and has numerous provisions—and because it was significantly revised just two years ago—faculty members may appreciate this easy-to-read Primer. This most recent version of our Article 16 Primer, which we send out every semester, also addresses revised provisions described in the MOUs signed during the 2016-17 academic year. If you have questions that are not covered here—or if any of the following information needs further clarification—don’t hesitate to contact the AFA office.

1. What is the adjunct faculty pool? The pool includes two groups of adjunct faculty members: those who have recently been hired and have not yet earned offer rights and those who had offer rights but, subsequent to a break in service of three full consecutive semesters, have lost offer rights and are again placed in the pool. Faculty members in the pool may receive an assignment offer if all faculty members with offer rights have received the offers to which they are contractually entitled. Load performed by adjunct faculty members in the probationary period does not count toward established load.

2. How do I earn offer rights? Adjunct faculty members earn offer rights and a position on the length-of-service list by successfully completing their probationary period and performing an assignment in a sixth semester. Semesters in which an adjunct faculty member performs only substitute, temporary, and ancillary activity assignments do not count as one of the six semesters required to earn offer rights. Regular (tenured) faculty and probationary faculty in years 2, 3, and 4 of tenure review also have offer rights. Probationary faculty members in their first year of tenure review must request approval to perform an hourly assignment from the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

3. I noticed that there are new qualifications that more narrowly define which semesters count toward earning offer rights and which don't. Why is this? The old article did not qualify the type of paid service required for a semester to count toward advancement from the pool to the length-of-service list, so any type of paid assignment—for example, attending a two-hour training session—meant that the semester counted as one of the six. Such instances provided no opportunity to conduct an evaluation. The purpose of this adjustment to Article 16 is to ensure that adjunct faculty members are evaluated during the probationary period and before earning offer rights.

4. Why do some assignments not count toward established load? There are three types of assignments that do not count toward established load: substitute assignments, temporary assignments, and professional ancillary activities. The load attached to substitute and temporary assignments “belongs” to another faculty member (the instructor of record on sick leave, or the faculty member on sabbatical whose classes must be covered by someone else), and the District cannot incur an obligation to two faculty members for the same load. Load from professional ancillary activities can be unpredictable and fluctuate widely over time, so AFA and the District have agreed that such assignments will not be included when calculating established load.

5. If I am subbing for another faculty member, does the subbing load count toward increasing my established load? No, it does not. When you work as a substitute, that assignment is still the basis of a contractual obligation to another faculty member—in this case, the person on sick leave. The District cannot make an obligation to two different people based on the same load.

6. How do I hold on to my offer rights once I have them? Once you have offer rights, you need to perform an assignment at least once in every three consecutive semesters, from the first day of the first semester to the last day of the third consecutive semester. In other words, if you have no assignments in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, and the intervening summers, you would lose your offer rights. Performing any type of paid assignment during that time serves to re-set the count.

7. If I lose my offer rights due to a break in service, how do I get them back? If you have a break in service of three full consecutive semesters, you will be returned to the adjunct faculty pool. You can go for a total of four years without an assignment before losing your employment status in the department. If, before the full four years has elapsed, you perform a new assignment of any type, that assignment will determine a new date of hire. You will have a new position on the length-of-service list, and your offer rights will be restored. New assignments will determine new established loads for each like term.

8. How is my position on the length-of-service list determined? Position on the length-of-service (LOS) list is determined by the date that someone first performs paid service in a department. Each department—not discipline—will maintain a LOS list. Faculty members who work in more than one department may have different dates of first paid service in the two departments. If a faculty member with offer rights is returned to the pool, performing a new assignment establishes the date of return to paid service, which determines the faculty member's new position on the length-of-service list.

9. What is "load"? Load is a measure of work and is expressed as a percentage of a full-time load. For example, in a traditional department that offers 20 percent classes, a full-time teaching load is five 20 percent classes. Article 32 of the Contract includes a load factor table that you can use to calculate the load for each of your assignments. (To see the load factor table in Article 32.02.B.1, click here.)

10. How is established load calculated? With the exception of load from subbing, temporary assignments, and professional ancillary activities, the cumulative load that a faculty member performs in a given term determines established load for like terms (fall for fall, spring for spring, and unless the Department-Specified Provisions state otherwise, summer for summer). If the load performed goes up, the established load will increase. As long as a faculty member maintains his or her position on the length-of-service list, an established load cannot go down, even if the load actually performed in a given term goes down.

11. In the past, I had "like load." What's the relationship between my like load and established load? As we transition into the first three terms (Fall 2015, Spring 2016, and Summer 2016) under the new provisions, your established load will be whatever your like load would have been under the old provisions. Your like load is protected as the new article is implemented.

12. How do I build a higher established load? Instructional and allied assignments in the schedule may remain after all contract faculty loads have been met and all faculty members with offer rights have received the offers they’re entitled to. Remaining assignments are called “new or increased assignments.” A faculty member with offer rights who receives and performs a new or increased assignment will see his or her established load increase as a result, unless the load is identified as “temporary” at the time of the offer or is a substitute assignment or professional ancillary activity.

13. If new or increased assignments become available, my department chair is required to solicit faculty interest only if the assignments have become available more than six weeks before the start of the new term. Why is this? And why do faculty have only 48 hours to respond? Under the new provisions, faculty members with offer rights will have an additional opportunity to receive offers of new or increased assignments. The time constraints are due to the logistics of the scheduling timeline, the timing of winter break, and the chairs’ workload at the end of each semester. This timing gives faculty members an opportunity to express an interest in the assignment, and it gives the chair time to resolve the staffing issue before leaving for winter break. Of necessity, department chairs have discretion and flexibility in making assignments that become available six weeks or less before the start of a new term.

14. How high can my established load go? Per Ed Code, an adjunct faculty member’s established load can go as high as 67 percent. A contract faculty member’s established load is limited to 40 percent unless the Vice President of Academic Affairs approves a higher hourly load.

15. What happens to my established load if one of my classes or allied assignments is cancelled? Your established load based on previously performed load remains intact, but if the assignment that is cancelled is a “new or increased” one, your established load going forward would not include the load from the cancelled assignment. In other words, if your established load had been 20 percent and you accepted an additional 20 percent assignment due to new or increased assignments available in your department, if one of these assignments is cancelled, your established load for future like semesters is 20 percent. Provisions pertaining to break in service would apply.

16. What happens to my established load if I take a semester off? Your established load remains intact unless this is your third consecutive semester without performing an assignment. In this case, you would lose your offer rights and your established load. You would be placed back in the pool.

17. If I take off a semester or two, does the reason for taking time off matter in terms of protecting my position on the length-of-service list and my established load? No. As long as your break in service does not exceed three full consecutive semesters, you hold on to your position on the length-of-service list and your established load. The reason for not having an assignment no longer matters, giving faculty members greater load protection and flexibility in managing their lives.

18. I plan to retire next year and continue working part-time. I've heard that pension reform prohibits me from working during the first 180 days after retirement, and I am concerned about preserving my offer rights and load. Faculty members are not actually prohibited from STRS-related work during the first 180 days after retirement. The new CalSTRS regulations state that if a new retiree does perform STRS-related work during this period, each dollar earned reduces retirement benefits by one dollar. This rule applies to all people—both adjunct and contract faculty members—who trigger their STRS retirement and return to work on an hourly basis.

With the implementation of the revised Article 16, in Fall 2015, faculty members with offer rights can retire, sit out the 180 days, and then return to faculty work with their offer rights and established loads intact. The exception to this would be if sitting out for 180 days results in a third consecutive semester of not performing an assignment, in which case the faculty member would be returned to the pool.

19. Can my established load ever decrease? The only way that your established load can decrease is if you lose your position on the length-of-service list due to a lengthy break in service. In any given semester, the actual offer you receive or the load you perform might be less than your established load—for example, if the schedule is cut during a future recession or if one of your classes is cancelled. However, your established load would not decrease as a result, and in future like terms you will be offered your established load if it is available to offer you, based on your position on the LOS list.

20. I work in two departments. If my load goes down in one of my departments, does the other department have to make up the loss if there's available load? No. Established load is calculated separately in each department, and your entitlement to load is separate in each department. Note that the District monitors adjunct faculty load to make sure that no one exceeds the 67-percent limit imposed by Ed Code. To do this, the District tracks cumulative load from multiple departments for those faculty members who work in more than one department.

21. How does my department determine which faculty members get which hourly assignments? Faculty members with offer rights have no right to particular assignments, locations, days of the week, or times of day—only a certain amount of load. That said, while departments are not required to consider faculty preferences, many of them do; in these departments, faculty members are asked to fill out a “preferences” form that helps the chair match assignments with faculty availability. Other departments use a sign-up procedure, giving faculty members the opportunity to choose the assignments they want.

22. If I get an “Improvement Needed” on my evaluation, will I receive an assignment for a future semester or term so that I have an opportunity to demonstrate improvement? Yes, if you have offer rights, you maintain your position on the LOS list and your established load into the next semester, and the follow-up evaluation will be conducted during that subsequent semester. Adjunct faculty members who are in their probationary period have no right to an assignment, but if an adjunct faculty member in probation did receive an “Improvement Needed” and was given an assignment in a subsequent semester, the improvement plan designed by the evaluation team would be implemented during that subsequent semester. An adjunct faculty member who receives an “Unsatisfactory” evaluation rating is effectively terminated in the department.

23. What's the process by which each department distributes available load? First, the department will assign classes and services that have Special Expertise and District Needs designations. Your department will then go down the length-of-service list, in ranked order, and make “initial allocations” of established load up to 40 percent (for exceptions to the 40-percent initial allocation, see question 29). People refer to this part of the process as the “first pass.” In other words, if your established load is 20 percent, you’ll receive an offer of 20 percent; if your established load is 40 percent, you’ll receive an offer of 40 percent; and if your established load is 60 percent, you’ll receive an offer of 40 percent. If it’s not possible for the department to hit your established load up to 40 percent exactly, then the offer will be higher than but as close as possible to 40 percent.

If load remains after everyone has received the offers described above, then the department will go back down the list, making additional offers to meet established loads that are higher than 40 percent. Some people refer to this as the “second pass,” and this is when the person with the 60 percent established load would get an additional offer of 20 percent. On the second pass, if it’s not possible to hit the established load exactly, the department will make an offer that is as close as possible to the established load.

24. What are "District Needs"? As with Special Expertise, the designation of District Needs allows certain courses and services to be filled only by those faculty members who have special training, education, or experience or who commit to additional responsibilities associated with those assignments. For example, learning communities may be designated as meeting District Needs because they require faculty collaboration beyond the usual requirements of teaching, prep, assessment, and office hours. The District has an interest in staffing learning communities and other District Needs assignments with faculty members who have agreed to these additional responsibilities or possess the requisite education or experience.

25. Why is there special language for "departments that routinely schedule courses and allied services after the schedule for that term has been electronically published"? Most departments do their scheduling for each term during the preceding semester, thereby determining assignments well before the deadline required for offering established load to faculty members with offer rights. However, there are several departments that schedule classes and services on an as-needed basis, long after the deadlines that provide load and length-of-service protections have passed. The Contract recognizes the fairness of protecting the established load and offer rights of hourly faculty members who happen to work in departments with unusual scheduling timelines.

26. How can I be certain that my department is following the Contract? The new Article 16 includes two key components that support transparency in making hourly assignments. One, each department’s updated length-of-service list will now be posted on AFA’s web site so that faculty members can see that their placement on the list is correct, where they are relative to others on the list, and what each person’s established load is. Two, as soon as recommended offers have been confirmed but before the schedule of classes is published on the Web, a draft of the schedule will be electronically available for review. The District will notify all faculty members when the draft of the schedule has been posted, and all faculty members should check their recommended offers to make sure they’re accurate.

It’s possible that the Contract hasn’t been followed if these conditions apply: you responded to the solicitation of interest letter by the deadline; you haven’t received an offer of established load; and someone below you on the length-of-service list received an offer that you’re qualified for. In this case, contact the AFA office right away.

27. What if someone makes a mistake and I don't get the offer I'm entitled to? If this happens—or even if you simply wonder whether it has happened—contact someone right away. You may contact your chair, the AFA office, or the Conciliation/Grievance Officer. It’s easier to correct errors that are caught early—ideally, before the schedule of classes is officially published on the Web. But even if the error comes to light later, the AFA Conciliation/Grievance Officer can work with the District to effect a remedy. You should inform AFA and/or the District of the error in a timely manner as the deadline for filing a grievance is thirty working days after a faculty member could reasonably have known about the error. If an error has occurred, the likely remedy is that the District will offer you compensatory load in a future semester.

28. Once I've received an offer for an hourly assignment, is it possible to lose it? First, it’s important to note that electronic publication of the schedule constitutes the offer. Prior to that, assignments are “recommended.” After the schedule of classes is published on the College’s web site, you may lose your assignment for a limited number of reasons, which are identified in the Contract and Ed Code. Most of these reasons for cancelling hourly assignments “rolled” from the old Article 16. New reasons for canceling hourly assignments include contractual remedies, faculty evaluations resulting in an “Unsatisfactory” rating, and break in service. These new provisions close loopholes and formalize agreed-upon past practice.

29. What are "professional ancillary activities"? These are assignments that are loaded and for which faculty members are paid but that differ from teaching and allied services. For example, writing curriculum, doing student learning outcome (SLO) assessments, serving on the Senate or AFA, and attending required meetings are all examples of professional ancillary activities. Load from professional ancillary activities does not count toward the Ed Code’s 67-percent cap, which means that someone could have a teaching or allied load of 67 percent plus additional load from professional ancillary activities. If you have a question about whether part of your load is considered a professional ancillary activity, contact AFA and/or the District.

30. What are Department-Specified Provisions (DSPs)? In making hourly assignments, departments have discretion in four areas: 1) Special Expertise requirements; 2) summer procedures; 3) initial allocations of load exceeding 40 percent; and 4) the amount of an offer for faculty members with offer rights but no established load. Department provisions in any of these four areas are entered on the DSPs form.

If a department has no posted DSPs for any of these four areas, then these default provisions apply: 1) all faculty who meet the minimum qualifications in the department or discipline may teach all courses or provide all services offered; 2) the Hourly Assignment provisions for fall and spring semesters apply to summer terms; 3) initial allocations of load (load offered on the “first pass”) will be 40 percent; and 4) a faculty member with offer rights but no established load will receive an offer of 20 percent.

31. Article 16 states that its provisions apply to departments, but I see that some provisions apply to disciplines within a department. Under what circumstances is Article 16 specific to disciplines? All provisions of Article 16 apply to departments, not disciplines, except for the four provisions in the Department-Specified Provisions (DSPs), described in 16.05: Special Expertise language for specific courses or services; summer procedures; initial allocation of established load; and the amount of an offer to which someone with offer rights but no established load is entitled. The DSPs may be determined by the faculty in the whole department or in a discipline within a department. If determined by the department, the DSPs apply to the faculty and courses/services in the department; if determined by the faculty in a discipline, the DSPs apply to the faculty and courses/services in the discipline.

32. How does a department go about creating or changing its Department-Specified Provisions?
This is an inclusive, faculty-driven process that is built into a department’s structures. The chair, or a committee formed by the chair, drafts proposed language based on department input; the draft is discussed at a department meeting to which all faculty are invited; two-thirds of faculty members present at the department meeting must vote to send the proposal forward for a vote of the department electorate; and the supervising administrator conducts the vote. Two-thirds of votes cast carries the motion.

33. What are Special Expertise requirements, and do they apply to contract faculty members as well as adjunct faculty members? Departments or disciplines—or, in some cases, state or licensing entities—may determine that specific types of education or experience beyond Minimum Qualifications are required for a faculty member to teach certain courses and perform certain services. Most Special Expertise requirements must be “relevant, objective, verifiable, and reasonable” and may not include any evaluative or subjective processes. The exception applies to courses that teach creative or fine arts; departments may use evaluative processes to determine whether a faculty member demonstrates the level of skill that, in the judgment of the department’s faculty, an instructor should have in order to teach that course. Once approved by a two-thirds vote of the department electorate, the Special Expertise requirements must be entered on the DSPs form, reviewed by AFA for contract compliance, and approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Approved DSPs forms are posted on the AFA web site (see Posted DSPs ).

As for whether Special Expertise requirements apply to all faculty members, that gets us into a bit of a gray zone. Special Expertise is one of the few provisions in the Contract in which the District cedes its “right of assignment,” which is established in Ed Code; and as Special Expertise provisions are included in Article 16, they technically apply to hourly assignments only. The District maintains right of assignment for all contract faculty members’ contract load and cedes that right narrowly in the making of hourly assignments. The District would clearly be within its legal rights to assign a contract faculty member to teach a course or provide an allied service that the faculty member does not meet the Special Expertise requirements for, as long as the faculty member meets the Minimum Qualifications for the assignment. A contract faculty member performing an hourly (overload or banked) assignment, on the other hand, is subject to the provisions of Article 16 and would need to satisfy any applicable Special Expertise requirements. All of that said, if disparate application of the Special Expertise provision were to result in harm—for example, loss of load—to an hourly faculty member and if that faculty member were to grieve or sue over the disparate treatment, AFA suspects that the disparate application of the provision might not stand.

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