Frequently Asked Questions

Absences

If I miss a class but I get someone else to cover for me, will he/she be paid?
Not necessarily. Only substitutes approved to be paid by the department chair will be paid. Do I have to record an absence since the class was covered? Yes.

I’m a non-classroom adjunct faculty member. How do I determine the amount of time I am allowed to take for illness before I am docked pay?
The equivalent of one week’s work in a 15 week semester, (e.g. if you work 8 clock hours per week for 15 weeks, you can be absent 8 hours of work before being docked pay).

I’m an adjunct teaching in the 5 week summer session. What’s the absence policy before I’m docked pay? Generally speaking, you’re allowed one absence before you’re docked pay.

Appointments Temporary, Term and Continuing Appointments/Tenure

When do I get tenure?
At SCCC tenure is referred to as “continuing appointment.” If you enter your 6th year at SCCC, you are considered to be on a continuing appointment. Faculty are usually recommended for continuing appointment in their 5th year. All faculty must be notified by December 15th in their 5th year if they are not being recommended for continuing appointment. See FA contract, Article VII, Section A, 3, 4, 5 for faculty who have received tenure at another higher education institution and continuing appointment for faculty who have had a break in full-time service at the College.

What is the difference between a temporary appointment and a term appointment?

Temporary appointments are intended to be temporary in nature. There is no guarantee of renewal beyond the initial appointment period. Term appointments, on the other hand, are unencumbered lines funded in the College budget. Term appointments are considered “tenure track” appointments. A term appointment is intended to be renewed every year (usually for the first five years) until the faculty member receives continuing appointment. Individuals on temporary appointments are, however, eligible to apply for term positions but they have no contractual rights to the appointment. Individuals on temporary appointments earn seniority and may be eligible for promotion.

Does a temporary appointment count towards continuing appointment or seniority?
Yes. If you are subsequently hired for a term appointment, your time in a temporary appointment may count toward both continuing appointment and seniority.

Bumping

Why did I get bumped from my overload/adjunct assignment?
Please see Bumping Process document which indicates the seniority procedures used when class reassignment is necessary.

Changes of Information: Address, Marital Status, Dependents, Etc.

I have moved/changed my phone number. Who should I notify of the change?
You should notify your department, the FA Office, the FA Benefit Fund, SCCC Human Resources and Suffolk County Employee Benefits.

I got married/I have a new child. Do I need to let anyone know? Why?
Yes, you need to inform SCCC Human Resources and Suffolk County Employee Benefits and the
FA Benefit Fund, if you expect to have your spouse/child covered for benefits. You will be expected to provide proof of the marriage or birth. BTW: The FA Benefit Fund provides a benefit of $500 for each newborn. All you have to do is apply for the benefit and provide a birth certificate.

Class size

I think my class is oversubscribed. How do I find out what it should be? Click on class size to search the list of class sizes. 

Evaluations

Do I need a peer in my classroom when I am being evaluated?
Both the FA and the College Administration approve and encourage the presence of a peer in the classroom (or in other work sites) when one is being evaluated. It is absolutely required that a faculty member have a peer observation when one is up for promotion. It is highly recommended that whenever the administrator will be conducting a class interview, either as part of the regular observation or to investigate a student complaint, a peer should be present.

Who is considered my peer?
Your peer is any member of your department/discipline. If your department has a formal Peer Personnel Committee you should choose a member from that committee. If there is no PPC or there are scheduling conflicts, then a peer in your discipline would be appropriate. Does the peer have to be tenured? No. A full professor? No. In my discipline? It is highly recommended that the peer be in the discipline. This is not always possible. In my department? If you can’t find a peer in your discipline, the next best choice would be from the department. From my campus? A campus peer is always preferable. Only in rare circumstances when a campus peer is unavailable should a peer be sought from another campus. In these circumstances, FA advice and assistance should be sought.

How will the student evaluations be conducted? Please see the Memorandum Of Understanding on Student Evaluations which provides the guidelines for student evaluations. Click here to download the Student Evaluation Form.

Grievances & Arbitration

Can anyone file a grievance? Can a grievance be filed at any time? Any member of the bargaining unit, whether he/she is a member of the FA can file a grievance if a provision of the contract is being violated. In order to be timely, the grievance must be filed within 30 days of when the grievant knew or should have known of the violation.

One of my constituents is not an FA member and he believes that he has a grievance. Does he have a right to file a grievance since he is not a member? Yes. The FA is the exclusive bargaining agent for all members of our bargaining unit whether or not they are union members. Under the “duty of fair representation,” the union is required to represent all members of the bargaining unit whether or not they are members. Likewise, all members of the bargaining unit are entitled to all provisions of the contract, including the grievance provision.

Do all grievances go to arbitration? No. Most grievances are settled satisfactorily at the lower levels of the grievance procedure. However, only the Faculty Association, not the grievant, determines which grievances proceed to arbitration.

Health Benefits

I am a new full-time employee. When do my health benefits take effect?
Health benefits begin on the 1st day of the month after the employee has worked two months. For example, if an employee’s is hired on 8/28, his/her health benefits will begin on 11/1; if he/she is hired on 9/3, his/her benefits will begin 12/1. An employee who wishes coverage before the employer coverage begins may choose to pay for such coverage. When do my FA Benefit Fund benefits begin? FA Benefit Fund benefits begin your first day of employment.

If I have been on a temporary appointment for a full academic year and am not reappointed, how long do my health and Benefit Fund benefits last?
If you have been employed on a temporary appointment for a full academic year, your health and Benefit Fund benefits will continue through the end of the month after the end of the academic year, which means until September 30th.

If I resign will I be able to keep my health insurance?
If you resign, are under the age of 55 and have been employed by the College/County for fewer than 10 years, you can continue your health insurance benefits under COBRA, which is a self-pay program. If you leave the College but have been employed for 10 years or more but are under age 55, you may pay premiums to continue the health insurance until you reach the age of 55, at which time the County would cover your health insurance as a retiree. (See “Continuing Coverage for Vested Participants” in the EMHP Benefits Booklet.) In either case, if you choose not to continue to pay the premiums as required, you will not be able to resume health insurance under the County at a later datepage3image27216

If I retire, will I continue to get my health insurance? All full-time faculty who retire, are 55 years of age and have been employed by the College/County for 10 years will continue to have health insurance benefits at the same cost and level of benefit as active employees. (See FA contract, Article V, Section I, d.)

My spouse will turn 65. I am 58 and an active employee. What kind of coverage can he still get through me?
Is he automatically dropped from our health plan for Medicare? Is he still covered under the prescription drug program? As long as you are an active full-time faculty member, your spouse does not and should not register for Medicare. Your spouse continues with the same benefits you have, including prescription drugs and the FA Benefit Fund benefits. If your spouse registers for Medicare before you retire, the spouse’s benefits will be dramatically lower. Once you retire, your spouse must register for Medicare Parts A & B. At that time you will also be given an option to buy into the Benefit Fund benefits for you and for him. The information about Medicare is in the EMHP Benefits Booklet. You can access it online at www.emhp.org. Is he still covered under the FA Benefit Fund? Yes.

Can adjuncts get health insurance benefits?
Yes. An adjunct who has been employed for 2 semesters within 2 years and has earned at least $2,000 in the previous semester may purchase the County health plan at the rate established for adjunct participants.

Do adjuncts get benefits through the FA Benefit Fund?
Yes. The FABF provides a legal benefits program for adjuncts. In addition, the Fund has a panel of dentists who have agreed to accept reduced rates for FA members. Adjuncts should indicate that they are FA members to receive the reduced rates for their dental procedures.

Membership

Is there any financial difference between being a union member and an agency fee payer?
No. Fee payers in the bargaining unit and union members are assessed the same rate for the services of the FA and its affiliated state and national unions.

What’s the difference between being a union member and an agency fee payer?
Union members may actively participate in all activities conducted by the union, including voting on their union representatives and voting on the contract. Agency fee payers do not have any vote. They pay their fees for the services provided by the union, whether they personally approve of the union or the contract the union has negotiated.

I don’t remember filling out a union form. How can I find out if I am an FA member?
You can call the FA office at 451-4151. The office staff will check our records.

If I’m a member at another NYSUT local, do I still have to pay FA union dues?
Yes. Your union dues allow the FA to represent you at SCCC. Your “other NYSUT union” can only represent you there, not at SCCC.

Do I need to become an FA member, even if I am already a NYSUT member at another local/school district?
Yes.

I filled out a FA membership form when I worked as an adjunct. Now that I’ve been appointed to a full-time position, do I have to fill out new forms?
No.

I have not worked as an adjunct for five semesters, do I have to fill out a new FA membership form?
No.

Pay Issues

What is the difference between a credit hour and a contact hour in terms of pay?
Faculty are paid overload/adjunct based on a contact hour. If a course you teach meets for 3 hours/week/semester, you are paid for 3 contact hours. If the course you teach meets for 5 hours/week/semester, you are paid 5 contact hours. Often the credit hours students earn are equal to the contact hours the faculty member teaches/week/semester. Sometimes, though, a student may earn 4 credit hours but will be required to be in class 5 or 6 hours/week/semester. For those courses, faculty are paid based on the actual hours/week/semester he/she teaches, not by the credit hours the students earn for the courses.

How are adjunct/overload contact hours of pay computed for non-classroom faculty?
During the day, counselors/librarians are paid: 20 clock hours = 1 contact hour pay
In the evening, counselors/librarians are paid: 18.5 clock hours = 1 contact hour pay

PA/Specialists are paid: 22.5 clock hours = 1 contact hour of pay
(8 contact hours of pay = 180 clock hours/semester or 12 clock hours/week/15 week semester.)

Laboratory PA/Specialists are paid: 15 clock hours = 1 contact hour of pay

When do I receive my adjunct/overload pay?
Adjunct overload checks pay periods begin the sixth week of the Fall/Spring semester. You will receive a total of seven checks for the semester.

Professional Issues

Is there more than one personnel file on me at the College? No

How long is an office hour?
Office hours are 60 minute hours. Contractually, the minimum amount of time allotted for an office hour is 30 minutes. Only full-time classroom faculty are required to have office hours. Faculty in all disciplines except English are required to hold 5 office hours/week, one of which may be a synchronous online office hour. English faculty are required to have 7 office hours/week, one of which may be a synchronous online office hour.

Full-time clinical nursing faculty may hold one of their office hours at the clinical site, all others will be on campus, unless one is held as a synchronous online office hour.

How long should a faculty member keep his/her grade book?
Neither the contract nor the college handbook cites a specific time frame. Just to be safe, the FA recommends that faculty keep their grade books forever!

Why does the contract cite the 1971-72 Faculty Handbook for the duties of counselors and librarians?
The contents of the Faculty Handbook can be and often are changed by the college without negotiating with the Faculty Association. Since “duties” constitute the working conditions of these classes of faculty, the FA wanted to make sure that any changes in the required duties of librarians and counselors were negotiated. The duties listed in the 1971-72 Faculty Handbook were negotiated.

How do I know what the maximum class size of my course is?
The official class size maximums of all SCCC courses are on the FA website, www.fascc.org/class-size.cfm. Note that class sizes for DE courses are 2/3rds of a traditional class size.

If I only have 18 computer stations in my classroom, is that the course’s class maximum?

No. Obviously, the College cannot enroll any more students in your particular classroom because of the limited work stations. Your particular class may be enrolled below the maximum allowed—and that’s fine. What the College cannot do is to exceed the maximum. In other sections of the course you are teaching, there may be classroom space and work stations that are greater than what you have in your classroom. In those cases, the College may enroll more students in those sections than in yours, as long as the College does not enroll more students in any one of the sections that exceeds the maximum allowed. The maximum allowed is listed on the class size document found on the FA website, www.fascc.org.

Promotion

When am I eligible for promotion?
Minimum years of service are located in (Article VII, E, 3-5) of the contract.

What are the educational requirements for each level of promotion?
The educational requirements for all promotions are listed in Appendix I of the contract.

Who is the CPC representative for my area and what do they do?
Click here for Promotion FAQ that discusses both the duties of the CPC and PPC reps as well as their names and areas of representation.

Release Time/Reassigned Time

Is there any difference between release time and reassigned time?
No. The preferred terminology is “reassigned time” because no one is being released from an assignment; one is being given an alternative assignment in lieu of his/her regular basic load assignment.

If I am given reassigned time, how much time am I required to work in exchange for the reassigned time?
Most reassigned time is given for project-based work. So the answer to the question is that the project must be finished at the end of the reassigned-time period. Some reassigned time requires a specific on-campus commitment. For these purposes, a reassignment of 3 contact hours/semester is considered the equivalent of 7 hours/week for 15 weeks (or 105 hours). Greater or lesser amounts of reassigned time are computed accordingly.

Retirement Issues

What is the difference among the 3 retirement programs?
NYS Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and the NYS Employees Retirement System (ERS) are both public retirement systems. Each has different benefits and provisions based on the type of employees who usually participate in each system.

TRS is usually selected by faculty members who have previously worked for a NY public school or college/university or who plan to work for a NYS public school or college/university for at least 20 years
ERS is usually selected by NYS civil service workers who plan on working in NYS for at least 25 years.

Both TRS and ERS are defined benefit plans.

The Optional Retirement Program (ORP), a.k.a. TIAA-CREF, is usually selected by faculty members who do not plan to work in NYS for an extended period of time or who have worked or plan to work in a private college/university. ORP is portable from state to state & among most colleges and universities whether public or private.

ORP is a defined contribution retirement plan.

Can I open a supplemental retirement plan, a.k.a. 403(b) tax deferred annuity, if I belong to TRS or ERS?
Yes. The supplemental retirement plan is a voluntary participant contributory plan that is tax deferred. It is in addition to the College’s mandatory retirement program.

When should I notify the College that I plan to retire?
Obviously, the earlier you notify the College, the sooner the College can plan for your replacement. Most faculty notify the College at the beginning of the semester after which they plan to retire. If you are in TRS or ERS, you are required to notify the retirement system at least 30 days prior to your retirement date.

Who should I notify if I plan to retire?
Retirement letters are usually addressed to the College President with copies to the Campus Executive Dean and your immediate supervisor. Obviously, you should informally notify your immediate supervisor as soon as you have decided on a date to retire.

Faculty Retraining & Faculty Development

How do I apply for Faculty Retraining?
Click here to to download the Faculty Retraining form.
How do I apply for Faculty Development?
Click here to to download the Faculty Development form.

Sick Leave/Personal Leave/Leaves of Absence

When should I notify my immediate supervisor that I am taking a sick day?
As soon as possible of the onset of the illness or incapacity, a faculty member should notify his/her supervisor that he/she will not be coming to work. In most departments, notifying the departmental secretary is considered sufficient time. Unless one is anticipating non-elective surgery or disability (e.g., pregnancy-related disability), sick leave should not be requested until one is actually sick!

Should I tell my immediate supervisor why I am taking a personal day?
The contract does not require a faculty member to tell an immediate supervisor why he/she is taking a personal day—the issue is personal! The supervisor does not give approval for a personal day. The faculty member shall make the sole determination for the use of the personal day. The FA contract assumes the faculty member is a professional and would not be taking a personal day unless the matters for which he/she is taking a personal day could not be handled at another non- working time. However, the contract does require that a faculty member give prior notification to his/her supervisor that he/she is taking a personal day. If the faculty member does inform his/her supervisor why he/she is taking the day, he/she may be subjected to the informal judgment of the supervisor as to whether the personal day was warranted!

Can I take a Leave of Absence for any reason?
No. Paid leaves of absence are defined in the FA contract, Article V, D. Unpaid leaves of absence (Article V, E) may be granted (that means the college has the right to grant them; it’s not a faculty right) for “purposes of advanced study, exchange teaching, service in professional organizations, political activities or work in the professional area of competence.”

How much notice must I give to request a Leave of Absence? As a general rule of thumb, a request should be made as far in advance of the leave as possible for two reasons: 1.) to allow the college time to consider the request; and 2.) to allow your department time to fill the vacancy or cover the work that your absence would create.

To whom do I request a Leave of Absence?
Requests for a leave of absence should be sent to the Campus Executive Dean with copies to your immediate supervisor and the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.

Where Do I Get Forms/Applications?
ConferenceAttendance: Academic department secretary or Campus Executive Dean’s Office
FA Membership Forms: FA Office or Office of Academic Administrative Services
Faculty Development & Retraining Leaves Form: download from www.fascc.org or Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs’ Office
Promotion “A Form”: download from www.fascc.org or at Campus Executive Dean’s Office
Sabbatical Form: download from www.fascc.org or Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs’ Office
Tuition Reimbursement: Campus Executive Dean’s Office. Be sure to get Campus Dean’s approval BEFORE you sign up for the course.