On October 23rd, Provost Coll shared a letter titled “Academic Affairs Return 2024” which laid out WOU’s expectations for staff and faculty to limit remote work whenever possible.
In this letter, Provost Coll stated that NTT faculty “who do not have service or advising responsibilities” would be exempt from the requirement of holding one hour per week of scheduled office hours in-person and on-campus, but changing any WOU faculty’s workload in this manner is likely to be a violation of the CBA.
While WOUFT appreciates and shares Provost Coll’s focus on student success, and feels this violation was accidental, the CBA defines scheduled office hours as a part of teaching for all covered faculty—not as part of service or advising. We are also leery of a stopgap measure that might have unintended impacts on faculty’s ability to connect with students over instruction-related questions, making it harder for students to succeed academically.
Ultimately, WOUFT wanted to approach the issue of office hours and fair compensation for faculty more holistically—all faculty teach students and support student success and contact hours are one way we do that. Our CBA has always defined contact hours as what is outlined in Article 7, Section 4.A.5.
We want to move towards a contact hours policy that is student-driven and supports equitable faculty workload, taking advantage of the range of modalities and technologies that are afforded to us now. So we landed on the LOA signed above, which provides greater flexibility for all instructors based on student need connected to course modality.
We hope to refine this further during bargaining, and we’re committed to making workload and compensation for all faculty, including those classified as NTT faculty, a priority during bargaining. We also hope this LOA provides faculty more flexibility in the meantime in working with and supporting students.
Please reach out if you have any questions.
Thank you! Your WOUFT Executive Council