Report to the College Board – September 28th, 2022 – oral report
- Welcome back – trust everyone had a restorative and fun summer!
- Funding review – It was heartening that all the stakeholder groups at the college were aligned in our presentations to the funding review. While we wait to hear what comes of the review, we will contend with the symptoms of the structural problems we face. This, I am sure, will be a common theme for all of us this year.
- When I presented at the June meeting, as well as at many previous meetings, my focus was on avoiding layoffs and negative effects on programs that stem from decisions made around budgets. At that time, 10 EAL faculty members were on notice of layoff. We advocated strenuously for measures to be taken by the RO and by marketing to mitigate effects of layoffs.
- I am pleased to report that although the layoffs were to take effect September 19th, all of the faculty in question have work at this point, most of it more than at a 50% workload. I don’t want to minimize the impact on these individuals because they went through months of insecurity, they may be getting way less work than feeds their family, and January work is still uncertain. But the outcome is much better than it could have been and it is because we all worked collaboratively to get bums in seats.
I want to counter a few narratives now because as I said at the beginning, I fear our financial problems are here for the foreseeable future and we will be faced with more layoff situations again.
1. We were told, over and over at many different tables, “there just are not any students.” We countered with, “the students are there, we just need to reach them.” I hope we can remember that through the departments working closely with the RO and marketing, and the RO and marketing being enthusiastic about the work, enrolment increased for the fall intake by a significant margin. We must get better at seeing problems of enrolment down the road and then actively working to fix them. It seems obvious, but traditionally it has not been what we do.
2. At this college, for many years, we have gone straight to cuts before exploring other cost-saving measures. As I mentioned to Kate and David the other day, it is always galling for faculty on layoff to see spending going ahead as normal in other areas of the college when they are losing their jobs for financial reasons. What else could we do, next time around, to save money without cutting faculty? Can we commit to exploring what else could be done? Can we put our money where our mouths are and use the relative wealth in other areas of the college to support the areas, usually ABE and EAL, who structurally will always need extra support?
3. Finally, can we expect the next round of layoffs is coming and work now to prevent it? We know the situation. We know the damage that these cyclical cuts (every two to three years) have on faculty morale and student confidence in the institution. Let’s see what is around the corner and start the marketing now. Let’s start the recruiting now. Let’s connect at risk departments to Karen Wilson, Dave McMullen and Reba Noel and begin the work now to prevent cuts.
My sincere thanks to the RO and Marketing staff, as well, of course, to all the EAL faculty who have worked to minimize impacts on faculty on lay-off notice. We have a model that works – let’s run with it.