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  • 18 Jun 2012 9:45 AM | Deleted user
    Collective bargaining has passed a faculty vote at Western Nevada College. The 51 eligible WNC faculty voted 28-15 in favor of joining the NSHE Collective Bargaining unit, with eight ballots not returned. These results were certified by the American Arbitration Association on May 23.The voting was conducted via mail from May 7 to May 20, with two on-campus voting days on May 9 and 10.

    The percentages of yes votes were 54.9 percent of eligible voters, 65.1 percent of those who voted. A simple majority of eligible voters (26) was required to vote yes in order to join the CB Unit.

    The key to victory was educating the faculty without being emotional and without slinging mud at the administration. The intent was to show that CB would allow us to establish true shared governance at WNC via a cooperative relationship with the administration. The goal was to engage as many faculty as possible in the discussion about how faculty could best effect positive change. I would like to thank all my colleagues – both those pro and those con – for engaging in the process in a most professional and dignified manner.

    That relations between the faculty and WNC President Carol Lucey's administration need to more deeply embrace the tenets of shared governance is a widespread sentiment among WNC faculty. The question was whether collective bargaining would facilitate the change.

    "There were concerns about whether collective bargaining would be viewed as overly antagonistic by the administration or viewed negatively by the community," according to past Faculty Senate chair Jeff Downs. "Also there were concerns about WNC autonomy within the bargaining unit, since Truckee Meadows Community College has long been the sole member."

    In addition to a months-long email education campaign, the WNC chapter held two collective bargaining forums at the Carson City campus. NFA state board members Scott Huber and Robert Correales attended the forums, answering questions and clarifying the process. In this sense, it was a statewide effort. The support of the State Board was invaluable.

    Two weeks prior to the vote, a group of five faculty members – acting independently of the Faculty Senate and the NFA chapter – met with President Lucey to explore the possibility of developing a workable and less formal alternative to collective bargaining. The result was an offer by President Lucey to create a faculty advisory board to provide non-binding advice on faculty welfare issues directly to the president. The group of five presented this alternative to the faculty at the second forum prior to the vote. While it is something of a step in the right direction, the chapter pointed out that the Faculty Senate has been operating on an advisory basis for the entirety of the Lucey administration.

    The WNC community is now in a federally mandated 60-day cool off period. The real work has yet to begin. We will be preparing to engage the administration by consulting with the NFA state board and the AAUP national office. It is our hope that the negotiations will be cooperative so we can focus on improving WNC. Our students and constituents deserve this.

    NSHE has had collective bargaining since the early 1990s, with TMCC having been the only member of the collective bargaining unit until the recent vote by WNC faculty. The community college bargaining unit does not bargain for wages or benefits, but adheres to overall NSHE policies in those areas. Rather, it bargains for institutional working conditions such as workload, evaluation, hiring, retrenchment policies, placement on salary schedules and policies concerning stipends for additional responsibilities. Under collective bargaining, both administration and faculty are contractually obligated to the terms of the included policies.
  • 15 Jun 2012 11:07 AM | Anonymous
    This week, on KSNV's program "Inside Nevada," former Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Jim Rogers interviewed NFA President Gregory Brown, chair of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Faculty Senate.

    "We think it's important that this conversation is taking place," Brown said, of the formula Nevada currently uses to determine higher ed funding, which is now being revised. "It's really cost the whole state, in terms of credibility."

    During the interview, Brown also addresses the role of faculty senates and improvements that are being made in the state's undergraduate education.

    Watch Parts 1, 2 and 3 below, or at Clip Syndicate.

  • 05 Jun 2012 3:18 PM | Anonymous
    The Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education re-elected Jason Geddes chairman and Kevin Page vice-chairman of the board of regents. The two begin their terms, which last for one year, on July 1.

    Former Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn appointed Geddes to the board in 2006. He represents District 11, Washoe County, and was re-elected to the post in 2008. He first became chair of the board in 2011.

    Geddes is a native of Winnemucca and attended school in Northern Nevada, from Elementary school in Gabbs, through a B.S. in biochemistry and Ph.D. in environmental sciences from the University of Nevada, Reno. Following a politically active college life, in 2002 he was elected to the State Assembly, where he served on committees for education, judiciary, and natural resources, agriculture and mining.

    Former Governor Jim Gibbons appointed Kevin Page to the board of regents in January 2009. He was re-elected in 2010.

    Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., Page earned a B.S. in business administration in finance in 1986 and his M.B.A. from UNLV in 1987. He was named Outstanding Alumni for the College of Business and Economics in 2000. In 2006, he received awards for both UNLV Alumnus of the Year and NSHE Board of Regents' Distinguished Nevadan Award.

    Since 2000, Page has been managing director and senior relationship manager for Wells Capital Management-Institutional Investment Management Services.
  • 05 Jun 2012 2:58 PM | Anonymous
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas, President Neal Smatresk announced that John Valery White, who has been dean of UNLV's William S. Boyd School of Law since 2007, is the university's new executive vice president and provost. He replaces Michael Bowers, who has served as interim provost since 2009.

    On July 1, 2012, White will assume his new role, which includes oversight of UNLV's academic and budgetary policy and priorities. According to a news release, it is the provost's job to ensure the quality of faculty and to help expand the institution's research enterprise. White will report to Smatresk and act as chief executive in the president's absence.

    Smatresk said: “John White is an innovative leader, who guided the Boyd Law School at UNLV into one of the nation’s best, and I am confident he will help build our national reputation in collaboration with our deans, faculty, student and executive leadership.”

    “I look forward to building upon UNLV’s engagement in the community, and ensuring the university is student centered and focused on research and great instruction,” said White, who is credited with increasing the law school's scholarship funding, first-time bar passage rates and national rankings during his tenure.

    White earned his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1991 and went on to work on prison and human rights practices in Egypt while a fellow at Human Rights Watch in New York. He later joined the law school at Louisiana State University, where for 15 years he wrote and lectured extensively about civil rights law.
  • 18 May 2012 4:56 PM | Anonymous
    Effective this past Wednesday, May 16, a new executive committee has taken office at the Truckee Meadows Community College chapter of the NFA. The new officers are as follows:
    • President: Julia Hammett
    • Vice President: Bill Newhall
    • Secretary: Julie Muhle
    • Treasurer: Jamie Campbell
    Hammett, who is an anthropology professor at TMCC, reported the news to members at the college's chapter meeting the same day. In a message to the state board, she said, "I look forward to working with all of you," and expressed her solidarity with faculty and staff throughout the state.
  • 04 May 2012 11:59 AM | Anonymous
    This list identifies our continuing endorsements, consisting of candidates seeking re-election whom we endorsed in the past; and our first set of early endorsements, consisting primarily of candidates we have endorsed previously in races for other office. Our next set of endorsements will be in selected contested races, based on completed questionnaires and interviews.

    Board of Regents - Continuing
    Cedric Crear (District 1)
    Richard Trachok (10)

    Assembly - Continuing
    Paul Aizley (District 41)
    Elliot Anderson (15)
    Maggie Carlton (14)
    Richard Carrillo (18)
    Marcus Conklin (37)
    Olivia Diaz (11)
    Lucy Flores (28)
    Jason Frierson (8)
    Joe Hogan (10)
    William Horne (34)
    Marilyn Kirkpatrick (1)
    Marilyn Dondero Loop (5)
    April Mastrolucca (29)
    Harvey Munford (6)
    Dina Neal (7)
    James Ohrenschall (12)
    Peggy Pierce (3)
    Lyn Stewart (22)

    Senate - Continuing
    John Lee (District 1)
    David Parks (7)

    Assembly - Early
    Teresa Benitez-Thompson (District 27)
    David Bobzien (24)
    Skip Daly (31)
    Tom Grady (38)
    Pat Hickey (25)
    Randy Kirner (26)
    Andrew Martin (9)
    Ellen Barr Spiegel (20)
    Heidi Swank (16)

    Senate - Early
    Kelvin Atkinson (District 4)
    Pete Goicoechea (Rural)
    Justin Jones (9)
    Sheila Leslie (3)
    Richard Segerblom (3)
    Debbie Smith (1)

  • 02 May 2012 3:42 PM | Anonymous
    Within the past week, the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents has approved the recommendations of president search committees at Great Basin College in Elko, Nevada State College in Las Vegas, and the University of Nevada, Reno.

    Marc JohnsonMarc Johnson , who has served as UNR's interim president since April 2011, assumed the presidency on April 20. He is receiving $246,427 in base pay, plus a $119,997 annual salary supplement provided by the UNR Foundation.

    Bart PattersonBart J. Patterson, who has served as the interim president of NSC since November 2011, assumed the presidency on April 30. He received a three-year contract for $250,000 in base pay, plus an annual housing ($15,000), automobile ($8,000) and hosting ($5,000) allowance.

    Mark A. Curtis, who is currently the vice president of academic and student affairs at Alpena Community College in Alpena, Mich., will assume the GBC presidency on July 1, 2012, with a three-year contract for $180,000 in base pay, plus an annual housing ($12,000), automobile ($8,000) and hosting ($5,000) allowance.

  • 02 May 2012 2:52 PM | Anonymous
    Editor's note: Tracy Sherman, chair of the College of Southern Nevada faculty senate, made the following statement on behalf of the Nevada System of Higher Education Council of Faculty Senate Chairs to the Board of Regents on Friday April 20:

    On the Public Employees' Benefits Program, some small but significant steps have been taken in the last few weeks. The PEBP Board at its rescheduled meeting on March 29 did allocate – as NSHE and UNLV representatives had sought – all its projected excess reserve to reduce out-of-pocket costs for faculty and staff and their families in 2012-2013, primarily by enhancing HSA/HRA employer contributions for next year. 

    While this will bring some monetary benefit to most faculty and staff for next year (though not, unfortunately, those enrolled in the HMO plan), it is heartening as well that the public discussion of PEBP’s excess reserves highlights the point that many faculty and staff believe – and that the NSHE task force continues to study – that competitive health coverage can be made available to NSHE faculty and staff without additional cost to the state.

    The PEBP Board also, at the urging particularly of NSHE faculty and staff, approved state subsidies for domestic partners of state public service workers enrolled in PEBP, on the same basis as spouses. 

    The PEBP Board, however, chose not to alter the basic plan design, as we had sought, to offer participants a “middle tier” (between HMO and the current high-deductible option) that would offer predictable and clearly comprehensible costs for office visits and prescription drugs. All faculty and staff should continue to advocate for such an alternative for NSHE in the 2013-2015 biennium, either from PEBP or from another insurance pool.

    (Sherman was referring to changes approved by the PEBP Board during its March 29 meeting. Pat La Putt, senior manager of benefits and human resource administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, provided the following summary of the meeting.)

    The PEBP Board met to discuss rates for plan year 2013 and decide on options for using the expected unrestricted surplus of $29.4 million as of June 30, 2012 (in addition to the projected 13.8-percent rise in the employer/state/Nevada System of Higher Education contribution to PEBP for fiscal year 2013).

    NSHE and NFA representatives made public comment regarding the difficulties experienced by employees related to the Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP) as well as comments on how to use the unrestricted surplus. These included:
    • Utilizing a majority if not all of the unrestricted surplus to reduce premiums and enhance benefits
    • Support for providing a subsidy to Domestic Partners in the same manner as those provided to spouses
    • Continued concerns regarding the high cost of medical care and prescriptions
    • An appeal for the board to consider adding a middle tier plan with more predictable out-of-pocket costs, but with a reasonable premium, if not for plan year 2013, then for plan year 2014
    The PEBP Board approved taking the following actions:
    • Provide a subsidy to domestic partners in the same manner as those provided to spouses (uses $500,000 of unrestricted surplus).
    • Use approximately $6.9 million of the unrestricted surplus to limit rate increases to half of what they would have been based on information provided by PEBP actuaries.
    • In addition to the contribution to HSA/HRA accounts of $700 for primary participants and $200 for each dependent(maximum of 3 dependents) that employees enrolled in the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) will receive on July 1, use $15.7 million to provide the following one-time additional contributions to HSA/HRA accounts to employees and retirees:
      • $400 contribution to HSA/HRA accounts for employees and retirees enrolled in the HDHP effective July 1, 2012. So for plan year 2013, a participant will receive $1,100 ($700 regular contribution + $400 one-time contribution).
      • $100 contribution to HSA/HRA accounts for each dependent (maximum of 3 dependents) of a primary participant enrolled in the HDHP effective July 1, 2012. So for Plan Year 2013, each dependent to a maximum of 3 dependents will receive $300 ($200 regular contribution + $100 one-time contribution)
      • $200 contribution to HSA/HRA accounts for each active employee age 45 or older as of June 30, 2012, enrolled in the HDHP effective July 1, 2012. The board asserted that this group of employees has been impacted more by the change to the HDHP since it tends to need care more than younger employees and the board wanted to provide some additional relief for this group. So for plan year 2013, a participant age 45 or older will receive $1,300 ($700 regular contribution + $400 one-time contribution + $200 one-time contribution). This one-time contribution will use approximately one-tenth of the restricted surplus.
      • $200 contribution to HSA/HRA for each retiree with more than 20 years of service and enrolled in the HDHP effective July 1, 2012.
      • In addition to the $10 per month, per year of service that retirees in the Medicare exchange receive, a one-time $2 per month, per year of service contribution to HRA accounts will be provided to retirees enrolled in the Medicare Exchange effective July 1, 2012.
    • Use the remaining $6.3 million in unrestricted surplus to ease any rate increases in plan year 2014 effective July 1, 2013.
    • Provide all HSA/HRA contributions to employees on July 1, 2012.

    The PEBP Board also changed the percentage of the premiums that is subsidized by the employer to the following:

    PLAN YEAR 2012
    PLAN YEAR 2013
    Active Primary
    Active Dependent

    Rates for plan year 2013 beginning July 1, 2012 will be:

      Employee only
      Employee plus Spouse/DP
      Employee plus Child(ren)
      Employee plus Family
      Employee only
      Employee plus Spouse/DP
      Employee plus Child(ren)
      Employee plus Family
  • 26 Apr 2012 7:23 AM | Anonymous
    The Committee to Study the Funding of Higher Education met April 25 in Las Vegas, where Chancellor Klaich was questioned about a number of features of the proposal he has submitted for consideration.

    Some of attendees' questions and comments follow:
    • Should an F grade should count as a completion of a course?
    • What would be the method used to recognize and help fund research done at the two universities?
    • Should O & M funding be integrated into the overall proposal instead of treated separately and outside the formula?
    • This appears to be a “one size fits all” approach to costing out courses throughout the System.
    • How would cost ratios among disciplines be calculated?
    • There is a lack of national benchmarks used in the proposed approach. 
    Gregory Brown, NFA president, presented a resolution of the UNLV faculty senate. It argued that any restoration for compensation ought to be included directly in campus base budgets, just as reductions in compensation were taken directly from campus base budgets in 2009.

    This, Brown noted, would not only be consistent with the practice of other states that have implemented funding formulas based on student outcomes, but would also send an important message to students, assuring them that any restoration of competitive compensation would be based upon additional state allocation, not based – as the Board made clear at its December and January meetings – on student fee increments.

    Faculty believe that assuring quality education through recruitment and retention of the best faculty must be paired with a commitment to access and affordability for students. Calculating restoration of salary separately from the formula, they said, supports these two objectives.

    The committee also heard a lengthy report by SRI International, the consultancy assisting the committee, concerning how tuition is treated by legislatures around the country. The report revealed what many have suspected, that Nevada is nearly unique in counting tuition collected against what is due to the institutions from the State general fund.

    The biggest surprise of the meeting came when Chairman Steven Horsford gained approval to appoint two subcommittees, one charged with looking at how local government contribute to community colleges around the country.

    For links to meeting materials, click here.
  • 21 Apr 2012 10:12 AM | Anonymous
    On Friday, April 20, the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents voted to authorize a vote of the Western Nevada College faculty to decide whether it would like to be represented by the Nevada Faculty Alliance for a collective bargaining agreement with WNC.

    The WNC academic faculty participated in a card drive, in which cards returned from 84 percent of the eligible faculty expressed the desire for an official vote for collective bargaining. This level of interest was not lost on the regents, whose own handbook (and federal law) requires only 30 percent of the faculty at an institution to sign cards for a vote to be held.

    According to Jim Strange, president of the WNC chapter of NFA, the only discussion concerned whether the regents' approval could be made by the board at a special meeting. Regent Ron Knect observed that when the rule was initially established that such action could only occur at a regular meeting, the board of regents met monthly.  In an effort to meet the will and interests of the WNC academic faculty, the regents voted swiftly and unanimously to allow the vote to occur prior to the end of the academic year. 
    WNC faculty leaders have been communicating to faculty and answering their questions about the process and impact of selecting to be represented through a collective bargaining agreement. They will conduct an open forum Friday, April 27, from noon to 2 p.m. in Marlett Hall in Carson City, and VRGH 308 in Fallon.

    A collective bargaining agreement for faculty, under state law and NSHE code, cannot address compensation or benefits but could address campus governance issues, including workload policy.

    The vote will be held between May 5 and May 20, 2012.

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