Editor’s note: A correction was made to properly describe the United Faculty Senate, which is composed of Faculty Senate presidents from the five Alamo Colleges and represents faculty members. A previous version of this article incorrectly described the UFS as the representative body for district staff.
Faculty Senate will meet with college President Robert Vela and Vice President Stella Lovato Oct. 15 on the 40-hour week.
By Rocky Garza Jr.
When questions arose from faculty about the 40-hour workweek policy, Faculty Senate officers planned to meet Sept. 27 with administrators, but the president was unable to attend.
Faculty Senate President Ruby Martinez said she, senate Secretary Robyn McGilloway and Vice President Isabel Garcia met with recently promoted Vice President Stella Lovato who couldn’t provide assistance.
Prior to Martinez finding the policy online Oct. 12 through the college council archives, she said the officers had questions about the policy’s location of the 40-hour breakdown and whether the administration felt the policy was outdated.
Martinez said faculty members have disclosed to her that they felt the workload was imbalanced and the administration doesn’t take into consideration the number of hours that they devote to the classroom.
“They felt overwhelmed because they want to help their students as much they can and the number of hours they were working already felt like an overload,” Martinez said. “And then they were expected by the college to turn around and give service to the college, it’s not realistic.”
The policy, approved by the district in 2009, states “All full-time employees shall work a minimum of 40 hours per week. Because flexibility is critical to the diverse functions of a complex institution, the schedule for a forty-hour work week is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday but may vary between and even within units depending on the needs of the department, the duties and responsibilities of the individual employees or when the Alamo Colleges are operating on a 4-day work-week schedule.”
Martinez said she was confused because it doesn’t give a specific breakdown of how many hours that need to be devoted to their 40-hour workload.
However, when she discovered the policy college council approved in 2017, she saw it stated full-time faculty members are to devote 15 hours devoted to classroom duties, 10 hours to office hours and 15 hours to service to the college, but felt it wasn’t equitable.
English Chair Lennie Irvin said in an interview Oct.12, he agrees with Martinez and faculty members that the college pushes too many hours to the college service.
“I don’t know what an appropriate number of hours would be,” Irvin said, adding that faculty already do so much more than 40 hours and spend a heavy amount of time in the classroom. “I have also heard some faculty members feel they should get compensated for their overtime hours, so there’s that.”
Irvin estimated that most faculty members put in about five hours of service each week, but there are some faculty members who participate in zero hours of service.
“There just needs to be discussion on how we can balance on those hours of service, relook at the policy and figure how it can be fair for everyone,” Irvin said.
Martinez said the United Faculty Senate, which represents faculty members districtwide, plans to send out a faculty quality-of-life survey, which she believes can help show administrators there is a wide range of faculty members who share similar feelings.
“My hope is, when the administration sees the data from the survey, there can be discussions of how we can change, but it’s going to take everyone to do their duty and fill out the survey,” Martinez said. “The survey will be anonymous and will help us gauge the faculty’s morale on issues like this, and we want to see if it’s just our faculty who feel this way or if it is on a district-wide level.”
The survey will be distributed Oct. 20 via email and the deadline for submission is Nov. 5, Martinez said.
To view this college’s policy, visit https://www.alamo.edu/contentassets/c74f51f1d54e45888cd84b3c72b801b6/sac-college-council-office-hours.pdf
To view the district’s policy, visit Hiring Authority, Status, Assignments and Duties (alamo.edu)