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  Main >  Member Communications > PAnorama > February 2001

PAnorama: February 2001

From the President's Desk
by Bill Perrotti

Just this year, NYSUT has created a Higher Education Council which is composed of leaders (primarily presidents) of NYSUT locals that represent faculty, professional staff, and technical staff employed at public and private higher education institutions and hospitals throughout the state. These locals include United University Professions which represents members at State University campuses and hospitals; the Professional Staff Congress which represents members at City University two- and four-year campuses; SUNY community colleges; and faculty and technical staff at independent colleges and universities.

Council Objectives

This new council has four broad objectives. First, it is intended to provide a forum that will allow this broad representation of local leaders to discuss professional issues facing higher education faculty and professional staff in today’s rapidly changing educational environment. Second, the Council will allow union leaders to share information and ideas about labor relations and collective bargaining in the setting of higher education institutions and teaching hospitals. Third, the Council will develop legislative and/or regulatory goals for higher education generally and communicate these to the leadership of NYSUT. Last, the Higher Education Council will work to identify broad-based education, training, and research needs in areas of particular interest to higher education members.

General Areas of Concern

Earlier in February, I attended the first meeting of the Council in Albany. All areas of higher education in the state (two- year, four-year, public, private) were well represented as was the leadership of NYSUT. Following the mandatory introductions, the meeting quickly shifted to a free exchange of ideas regarding areas most in need of discussion. While several topics quickly emerged from this exchange as focal areas for further discussion, it became clear that, even under the umbrella of higher education, there are special needs, concerns, and perspectives which depend upon where one falls within the spectrum of institutional types. Not surprisingly, funding for higher education, educational quality and assessment, the use and abuse of technology in higher education, intellectual property, and what we here at MVCC call “dual credit” courses are of considerable concern to many (more likely, most) institutions around the state. Each of these issues, and certainly others, will receive attention in the future deliberations of the Council.

Two Issues in Focus

Given that the Representative Assembly in Rochester is coming up in early May, the group decided that the Pre-RA Local Presidents’ Conference would provide an excellent opportunity for a second meeting. The agenda in Rochester will be focused on “dual credit” courses and on- line education, two issues that unquestionably involve and impact us.

1) Dual Credit

Dual credit is a difficult issue everywhere. For several years, it has been the central issue in protracted bargaining strife at Jamestown Community College in western New York. It definitely generates revenue for the higher education institution but at the potential cost of lost jobs and lost control/ownership of the course being offered at a distant site by the sponsoring faculty or department. Attempts to exert more control by the college may be complicated by contractual “exclusivity of work” provisions at the high school site and by other, less definable factors as well. The result is a three-tiered system in the secondary school setting: regular high school courses which provide only high school credit, traditional advanced placement courses which provide both high school credit and (if performance is high enough) college credit, and “dual credit” which seems to lie somewhere in between (providing both high school credit and at least local college credit regardless of performance).

2) On-Line Education

On-line education is an equally difficult issue. All sorts of concerns exist about quality and integrity and student interaction with which each institution and each individual faculty member must grapple in providing this type of educational experience. Issues of funding also arise. For instance, what funding level or formula is needed to insure an up-to-date infrastructure at the sponsoring institution that can deliver instruction in a manner that does not in any way compromise the educational process. Also, often when students from one county are educated at a public institution in a different county, the county of the student’s residence must pay the other county for the cost of providing instruction. Depending on your perspective, these “charge-backs” to pay for residents’ education elsewhere can be seen as an added expense to the county of residence or as found revenue for the “educating” county. The danger, however, is that this system might encourage an institution to develop and justify its on-line program solely or primarily on its ability to generate charge-back revenue, ahead of other, more important educational factors such as need or quality or rigor. The meeting in Albany clearly showed that these are NOT isolated local concerns; they are statewide issues… and they need to be addressed in a global fashion. As you can see elsewhere in this issue (pages 6-7), the PA is co-sponsoring several resolutions that touch on these very issues for the consideration of the entire Representative Assembly. If they pass, they will become part of NYSUT’s focus, generally and legislatively, for the coming year.

Importance of PA Participation

Certainly the gathering in Albany was a meeting of unionists. But the reality is that much of what occupies the attention and energy of union leaders and members is actually work done not only to improve the position of the local union but often rather on behalf of higher education institutions (in general or in specific) and in defense of the larger process of education. I see the Higher Education Council in exactly this way, as a very important vehicle allowing college educators to play a more proactive role in shaping the future of higher education in New York State. I’m glad I was able to attend this Higher Education Council meeting and represent the MVCC PA, adding our particular community college perspective to the overall discourse. And I’m glad that the PA will participate in the upcoming Rochester discussions and beyond.

Save the date for Ted Moore Run/Walk

Mark your calendars for this important community event:

4th Annual
Theodore “Ted” Moore
None for the Road
5k Run/Walk
Sunday April 29, 2001
9 to 11:30 a.m.
MVCC Utica Campus
(pre-register by April 14)

We’d like to see PA members show up in force this year, to support drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment and to honor Ted’s memory. Soon, brochures will be distributed on campus and details on the event will be featured in the next issue of PAnorama. Mark your calendars now!

NYSUT/Cornell Leadership Institute reunion held
by Ellis Gage Searles

The Class of 2000 of the NYSUT/Cornell Leadership Institute participated in a combined workshop and reunion at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs from February 2 to 4. As one of this year’s Institute graduates, I was very pleased to be part of it.

From Friday evening until Sunday noon, we had a variety of opportunities to get reacquainted and to learn about each other’s union activities since last summer’s Institute at Cornell. In addition, through case studies and training sessions, we explored strategic planning and conflict management strategies.

One highlight of the weekend was the inspiring plenary address given by Denis Hughes, the president of the New York State AFL-CIO. As we had last summer, we all came away refreshed and revitalized, with renewed understanding of the characteristics of effective unionism, not the least of which is the ongoing dialogue that Institutes like this make possible.

County funding for MVCC is everybody’s business
by Bill Perrotti

I assume you have read Vice President Alvermann’s remarks in Communitas regarding the College budget and a projected shortfall. No doubt you have also read President Schafer’s call for volunteers to serve on “teams” to visit county legislators and advocate for increased county funding for the College. And I assume that you read my remarks about this in the last issue of PAnorama in which I urged members to step up and get involved.

I have heard comments in response to President Schafer’s email that this effort by the College preempts any similar efforts by the PA. Not so.

Obtaining increased county funding is important for the College. It is definitely an area where the PA’s and the College’s interests converge. So we should do both.

As PA President, I am in the process of arranging meetings with the County Executive and others. I am also trying to reach out to the presidents of K-12 locals in the county to urge them to lobby on the College’s behalf. And I have volunteered to participate, to the extent that my schedule permits, in the College’s “teams” initiative. I hope you will also. The better the participation, the stronger the message.

VOTE/COPE: Give help to public education, give help to yourself
by Bill Perrotti

We, faculty and professional staff at MVCC, are public employees. As such, almost all conditions affecting our working conditions, professional environment, and, for some, pension rights are determined or significantly influenced by the New York State Legislature, the Governor, and the U.S. Congress.

That means, quite simply, that if we hope to have a positive influence in shaping our professional futures and the future of public education, we must participate in the political process. That is where many of the real decisions are made.

It is a given that various special interests out there are active in pursuing an agenda that desires to disparage what educators really do, to limit funding for public education, or to infringe on the educational process in unacceptable ways. You can make your voice heard and at the same time make an investment in your future, by contributing to VOTE/COPE, NYSUT’s completely voluntary political action fund.

VOTE/COPE money is separate from our NYSUT, AFT, and local dues. It comes from voluntary donations by individual union members and not out of the operating budgets of NYSUT locals. Twenty percent of the amount donated by members of a given local is automatically returned to that local in the form of a Local Assistance Rebate, provided only that the entire local donates more than $100 per year. A second twenty percent of the donated total may also be returned in the form of an Educational Issues Rebate if a local applies. We always apply for the additional 20% and plan to utilize these funds to become a more visible and politically active force locally.

The NYSUT political activity and lobbying efforts at the state and regional level are impressive by any measure. NYSUT is in Albany every day lobbying for public education, community college funding, worker rights, retirement benefits, etc. This year, Governor Pataki’s proposed budget contains no increase in community college funding for FY2002. NYSUT is working to achieve a $175/FTE increase. Last year’s success in increasing such funding was in large part due to the work of NYSUT on our behalf. For those of you in the state retirement system, NYSUT has been successful in getting tier reinstatement legislation passed and in obtaining permanent cost of living adjustments for retirees.

Whatever you contribute to VOTE/COPE invariably comes back in some way to help you. Remember, for every $1 you donate, the PA gets back 40 cents to support our own political action activities.

I strongly urge you to contribute to VOTE/COPE. It’s very easy because it’s done by payroll deduction. Start with $1 or $2 per paycheck. You won’t even notice it each week. If you are already giving to VOTE/COPE, consider increasing your donation by $1 or $2 per paycheck. Believe me, this is in our collective self-interest.

As a NON-PARTISAN political force at the state, regional, and local level, NYSUT works for and benefits us all. Some time in the next week or two VOTE/COPE materials will be distributed. Please, when they arrive in your mailbox, give careful thought to a generous donation. And remember that payroll deduction is a painless way to give. Thanks.

Next Community Outreach event: Bowling for Thea Bowman House
by Cynthia Villanti

The Thea Bowman Bowl-A-Thon will be held on Sunday, March 4, from 1 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. We'll meet at the AMF Pin-O-Rama, 1724 Genesee St., Utica.

MEET THE CHALLENGE FROM THE “EXECUTIVE STRIKE FORCE”: President Perrotti’s Executive Board team, the “Executive Strike Force”, challenges any other PA team to just TRY to beat them.

Register your team with Kathleen Salsbury: or 792-5482.

PA cosponsors proposed resolutions for submission to the 2001 NYSUT Representative Assembly

The PA is cosponsoring the following four resolutions to be submitted for consideration by the NYSUT Representative Assembly.

Adopting AFT’s Best Practices for Delivery of On-Line Courses

  • Whereas, electronically delivered courses are a new phenomenon; and
  • Whereas, conflicting procedures and policies concerning electronically delivered courses exist; and
  • Whereas, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has extensively researched the many issues involved in electronically delivered courses; and
  • Whereas, the American Federation of Teachers has made recommendations concerning electronically delivered courses, based on their research; and
  • Whereas, these recommendations are found in a publication entitled Best Practices; and
  • Whereas, NYSUT should avail itself of the research already done; therefore be it

Resolved, NYSUT adopt the AFT’s Best Practices.

Designation of Catalogue Letters for On-line Courses

  • Whereas, there is a dramatic increase in electronically (on-line) delivered courses; and
  • Whereas, these courses usually have the same catalogue listing as conventionally delivered courses; and
  • Whereas, there are significant differences between conventional courses and courses delivered on-line and these differences should be indicated; therefore be it

Resolved, all courses taught on-line receive the letters designation O.L. in all catalogue listings.

Subcontracting College Courses

  • Whereas, Advanced Placement courses, which are collegiate level courses designed to be appropriately taught in the high school and to meet national standards already exist in most high schools in New York State; and
  • Whereas, several SUNY colleges, community colleges, and private colleges are also offering their college credit courses in New York State high schools taught by high school teachers as part of the high school teacher’s regular teaching assignments; and
  • Whereas, many of these college course offerings in the high schools are implemented without the knowledge or consent of the union representing the full- and part-time college faculty; and
  • Whereas, the practice of college courses being taught in high schools by high school teachers as a part of the high school teacher’s regular assignment may constitute sub-contracting of another union’s bargaining unit work; and
  • Whereas, many of these college course offerings in the high schools are also implemented without the knowledge of the full-time college faculty in the departments that have developed and offer the course and, as a result, are not reviewed and monitored to insure the academic quality of the college course; and
  • Whereas, some school district administrators require that in order to offer these college courses, the courses must include both students who are taking the course for college credit as well as students who are only taking the course for high school credit; and
  • Whereas, as a result of these practices, some colleges and universities will not accept the transferability of these courses for college credit, therefore be it

Resolved that NYSUT consider establishing a task force that would include, but not be limited to, representatives from K-12, community colleges, SUNY & CUNY, and private college locals to review the academic standards and subcontracting issues involved in college courses being offered in high schools.

County Charge-backs for Internet Courses

  • Whereas, community colleges are educational, cultural, societal, and technological assets in the communities they serve; and
  • Whereas, the financial stability of community colleges is critically important for such colleges to fulfill their public mission and to assist the local economy; and
  • Whereas, the enrollment of students and the generation of college credit courses provide the foundation for the financial resources that are provided to a college by the State of New York and the college’s local sponsor; and
  • Whereas, the State requires that a student who attends a community college in a county outside of the county in which he or she legally resides obligates the student’s home county to provide an appropriate level of financial resources—“charge back”—to the out-of-county community college; and
  • Whereas, historically, students would physically attend courses at such an out-of-community community college to generate a charge-back obligation, and that such a charge-back is based upon the legitimate cost of providing an education to the out-of-county student, including the cost for the college’s physical plant; and
  • Whereas, modern technology and the application of distance learning through the Internet is fundamentally redefining the traditional manner in which a charge-back should be calculated, and may also provide for some specific cases under which the traditional, dated charge-back methodology should not apply; therefore be it

Resolved that NYSUT should consider working with the Legislature, Governor, and SUNY Administration to review and update as appropriate the county charge-back rules and regulations or statute. Such a review would serve to prevent unintended consequences including but not limited to inappropriate cost shifts and the potential inappropriate diminishment of student enrollment and resources in counties that sponsor community colleges.

Stop unwanted telemarketing calls: Pre-register for peace of mind by Cynthia Villanti

Do you despise annoying telemarketing calls? How do the most aggressive telemarketers just know the worst possible times to call? If you want to stop unwanted telemarketing calls, take this helpful hint from your editor.

On October 12, 2000, Governor George E. Pataki signed the Do Not Call Telemarketing Registry bill into law. The new law will become effective on April 1, 2001. Under the law, it will be illegal for telemarketers to call you once your name appears on the registry. This will eliminate unwanted high-pressure calls in which telemarketers attempt to sell you a product or service over the telephone. Telemarketers who violate the law could be subject to a fine of up to $2,000 per call.

To make it easier for you to participate in the registry, the Consumer Protection Board is offering you an opportunity to pre-register on the Do Not Call list. Once your name appears on the Do Not Call Telemarketing Registry, telemarketers have thirty days to remove your name from their call lists. By pre-registering today, most unwanted telemarketing calls to the number(s) you list on the registry will be illegal after May 1, 2001.

To pre-register for the protections offered by the new Do Not Call law, go to the New York State Consumer Protection Board website at this address: https://www.consumer.state.ny. us/prereg.htm and complete the online Do Not Call Telemarketing Registry form. An informational packet explaining the provisions of the new law will be sent to you. And you can enjoy this peace of mind!

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