A dispute over instruction requirements at Tallahassee Community College is prompting friction between faculty and the administration.
Tuesday afternoon faculty members filtered into a large classroom on the Tallahassee community College campus. By the time the almost two hour long meeting began it was standing room only. Faculty Senate chair and history professor Frank Baglione describes the stakes.
“I am not exaggerating when I say that in my 25 years this is the biggest and the most significant change that I have ever seen attempted,” Baglione says.
“And hopefully it will only be an attempt.”
He explains that change has to do with how many courses faculty members teach. “The biggest issue we have is the change in our workload formula, which has allowed about 75 percent of the faculty to teach four courses per semester instead of the five specified at most community colleges, and specified by the statute that you’ve all seen probably several times by now.”
Baglione says the reduced workload helps professors remain effective with class sizes in the neighborhood of 40 students. But not all the programs have that kind of class load, and Provost Feleccia Moore-Davis says that’s part of the reason she wants a new system.
“In many of the cases our classes are hands-on,” Moore-Davis says, “we’re actually teaching a skill so the workload calculation is actually created for classes that are purely lecture for the most part.”
“And when you look at AS programs they’re programs are going to be smaller and won’t ascribe to the current calculation,” she says.
Those Associate in Science programs are for fields like nursing, computer technology and advanced manufacturing.
But some faculty members argue simplifying workloads shouldn’t mean increasing the number of courses professors teach.
Moore-Davis admits her proposal hasn’t gone over well, and she accepts responsibility for the negative reaction. The administration is setting up a task force to study the issue, and she hopes its findings will vindicate her position.
“I think they will understand more of the problems when they see the scope,” Moore-Davis says. “Quite frankly faculty really they see their own workload and how it impacts them. They may see to the extent of their department but they don’t see how these things impact other departments. So for me as provost I’m looking at all the data I’m not looking at one department.”
That task force is slated to produce results this fall. But there are already murmurs among some to begin the process of forming a union.