A high number of low-enrolled classes have been canceled this summer partly because of a recent decision regarding faculty pay, university officials said.
As part of the Knapp arbitration agreement between the CSU and the California Faculty Association, made in several stages beginning in September 2003, professors no longer receive partial salary for teaching low-enrolled summer classes.
Prior to this summer, professors were paid for teaching summer classes according to a sliding pay scale based on the number of students enrolled in the course. In turn, professors would get paid less for teaching a low-enrolled course.
The Knapp arbitration ruled that professors who taught during Summer 2001, 2002 and 2003 were entitled to backpay because of the sliding scale. The sliding scale should not have been used, the decision said, because if summer terms were regular academic terms just like the fall and spring ?’#8209;the central point of the CSU’s transition to Year Round Operations ?’#8209;then summer should not equate to partial salaries for professors.
Because of the Knapp decision, low-enrolled courses have been canceled in higher numbers this summer compared with previous years. For example, the College of Humanities, which had scheduled approximately 100 classes this summer, canceled between 15 and 20 classes prior to the start of session four July 18.
‘?So many things have to do with the arbitration (decision),’ said Arlinda Eaton, associate dean for the College of Education.
Prior to the start of summer term, the College of Education had approximately 45 summer classes threatened by low-enrollment cancellation. College officials said they were able to keep around 30 of those classes on the schedule.
During the fall and spring semesters, classes are typically canceled if a minimum number of students do not enroll ?’#8209; lower-division undergraduate courses need at least 15 students, upper-division courses need 12 students, and graduate-level courses need eight.
Prior to this year, summer courses had similar requirements, but some low-enrolled classes remained on the schedule because professors could be paid using the College of Extended Learning’s summer-only sliding pay scale.
‘?They were trying to get away with paying the professors less in the summer, and the union fought it,’ said Kristyan Kouri, professor of women’s studies and sociology and a member of the CSUN CFA board. ‘?You can’t do that.’
The backpay, which totals nearly $3 million for about 600 CSUN professors, will be issued in September and will make up for the lost pay that professors said they were entitled to during Summer 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Additionally, both parties agreed that the correct model of salary determination ?’#8209;the so-called ‘?1/30 compensation rule’ used during regular semesters ?must be used in future summer terms, with some exceptions. This summer is the first to see this salary model used.
According to Patrick Nichelson, chair of the Religious Studies Department and former CFA statewide president, some professors were content with the sliding pay scale, but others were concerned and chose to not teach in the summer because of it.
‘?While some people got used to it, some of it was just gravel in the machinery of (pay) equity,’ Nichelson said.
Some college administrators said the sliding pay scale worked because departments could schedule the classes they wanted, students could get the classes they needed and faculty were still able to supplement their incomes.
‘?For professors, and for students, it worked out very well,’ said Gordon Nakagawa, associate dean for the College of Humanities.
For union representatives, however, the sliding pay scale was an issue, regardless of whether some professors did not object. Even if some professors are concerned about losing the option of teaching summer classes because of the elimination of the sliding pay scale, the point remains the same, the union said.
CFA statewide President John Travis said the union made it well-known as far back as 2001 that it ‘?was concerned about the sliding pay scale once the CSU moved to Year Round Operations.’
He said the CSU should have known to pay professors using the correct salary model in the first place, prior to the conclusion of third-party arbitration.
‘?If they want (YRO), then they have to do it right,’ Travis said.
Nichelson said the Knapp decision plays an important role in the YRO transition and establishes a sort of new ‘?starting point’ for future faculty salary discussions.
‘?(The Knapp decision) is making things more rational,’ he said. The Knapp decision also produced a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines how future summer terms should operate, starting this summer.
As a result, some department chairs and college administrators said they have changed the way they handle summer classes, taking into account the fact that they can no longer utilize the sliding pay scale to keep low-enrolled courses on the schedule.
Nakagawa said many of the low-enrolled classes canceled in his college this summer would have remained on the schedule under the model that was in place last summer.
‘?Now, we can’t afford to do that,’ Nakagawa said, pointing to the possibility of a fully compensated professor teaching a lower-division undergraduate class with only nine students enrolled. This summer, classes are canceled the same way they are in the fall and spring semesters ? whenever the respective minimum enrollments are not met.
‘?There is far less flexibility (for Summer 2005),’ Nakagawa said.
Nakagawa said departments in the College of Humanities would schedule more high demand courses next summer, as opposed to potentially low-enrolled courses.
‘?Next year, there will be more careful planning,’ he said.
Some college administrators said they did not receive final full-time equivalent student, or FTES, enrollment targets until mid-Spring 2005, which many defined as later than usual. Many administrators said CSUN was waiting to hear the final word on final Knapp arbitration.
Next year, they said, FTES targets should be distributed much
‘?(Without a specific FTES target), we didn’t know how to build our program,’ said Jerry Nader, manager of academic resources for the College of Education.
Contributing to the low-enrolled courses is what some university officials have called ‘?soft enrollment’ for Summer 2005, meaning enrollment is down in several colleges for a variety of reasons. For sessions one, two and the beginning of five, the College of Extended Learning tallied total student enrollment at 7,126, down more than 20 percent compared with similar sessions last year.
Assistant Provost Jerry Luedders said final summer enrollment figures could not be estimated prior to the start of session four.
‘?We don’t know what session four will produce,’ Luedders said.
The scheduling of high-demand courses in the future ?one of many results of the Knapp decision ?’#8209;is contingent on enrollment numbers, and therefore, student interest.
When asked about student interest in summer classes, many university officials and union members answer in much the same way:
The jury’s still out on that.