Faculty Association Constitution

Preamble

The faculty of Valencia College are committed to the philosophy that the faculty play a vital role in the success of the College and should be provided with a formal voice in the development of the College. Our mutual expectation of one another is that the faculty will desire to contribute their skills, knowledge, and expertise to the overall success of the Valencia College-wide Faculty Association and of the College.


Article I: Name

This organization shall be known as the Valencia College-wide Faculty Association (hereinafter VCFA).


Article II: VCFA Membership

VCFA members are tenured, tenure-track, and annually appointed professors, counselors, and librarians who are classified as faculty by the Office of Organizational Development and Human Resources. If an employee’s status is unclear, his or her status will be determined by a majority vote of the Faculty Council.

Members of the VCFA maintain a deep level of accountability toward one another. They will contribute their skills, knowledge, and expertise on various committees, both college-wide and campus-based, within their divisions and disciplines and outside of them. Their appointments and participation on these committees provide the entire VCFA with a voice for the life and direction of the College; therefore, the work of individual members should be undertaken with the utmost effort. If an appointment to represent the VCFA proves too demanding, leading to missed meetings or failure to provide necessary communication, members may be removed from a position by a majority vote of the Faculty Council.


Article III: VCFA Purpose

The VCFA exists to:

  • advise the president of the College on matters of faculty-related interest and faculty welfare,
  • promote communication and mutual understanding within the faculty and between the faculty and other groups, and
  • provide a collaborative means of formulating questions, articulating problems, and contributing solutions.

The VCFA as a whole attends to and speaks to policy-level decisions regarding compensation, member benefits, and workload conditions. Members also vote on the selection of VCFA leadership and revisions to this constitution.


Article IV: VCFA Decision Making

In cases where the entire membership is called to make a decision or offer a recommendation, the VCFA will usually hold an electronic vote or survey.

All members shall be notified in writing of the purpose and any appropriate information relevant to making a decision or recommendation. The VCFA leadership should allow for a reasonable amount of time (generally at least two weeks) for reading, reflection, and discussion before a vote is taken.

Any decision demanding a vote of the VCFA will require a quorum of thirty (30) percent of the VCFA membership, except on any vote regarding changes to this constitution (see Article VII).

Decisions of the VCFA are obtained by majority vote of members who vote, where quorum is present, whether attending a special meeting or responding to an electronic ballot or questionnaire distributed by the VCFA President. Proxy voting is prohibited.

On matters of recommendation, no quorum is required. The recommendation of the VCFA is the option selected by the majority of responding members.

In the rare event that a face-to-face meeting is necessary, the VCFA may choose to meet by the call of the VCFA Leadership Team, the Faculty Council, or the members of the VCFA. Twenty-five (25) percent of the members of the VCFA is required, in writing or through electronic ballot, to direct the VCFA Leadership Team to call a special meeting.


Article V: VCFA Leadership

A two-person Leadership Team comprised of a President and a Vice President leads the VCFA. A Faculty Council, along with the Past President, assists this Leadership Team in the College’s collaborative decision-making process.


Section I: VCFA Leadership Team

The two members of the VCFA Leadership Team will each serve for one year in the consecutive roles of Vice-President and President. The Past President will also serve for one year in the role of advisor. A time period of two years must elapse before a member of the Leadership Team may be reelected to the Leadership Team or to the Faculty Council; for a person who has served as a member of the Leadership Team, the two-year period begins after the term of service as Past President. The “year” for serving the Association runs from August through July.

The VFCA Leadership Team is designed to work collaboratively, with both leaders actively involved in decision-making for the VCFA. Both members of the Leadership Team attend major meetings, including but not limited to meetings with the College president and any senior leadership teams led by the College president where he or she seeks faculty representation.

The President will be fully reassigned for the one-year term (Fall, Spring, Summer). The Vice President will receive reassigned time equivalent to two 3-hour courses for all three semesters of the one-year term (Fall, Spring, Summer). The Past President will receive reassigned time equivalent to one 3-hour course for all three semesters of the one-year term (Fall, Spring, Summer).

The President is the chief executive officer and is first among equals on the VCFA Leadership Team and Faculty Council. He or she will:

  • preside at all meetings of the VCFA;
  • chair the Faculty Council;
  • serve as spokesperson for the VCFA on all matters pertaining to the concerns of the VCFA (in/after consultation with the Vice President);
  • communicate directly to the VCFA;
  • serve on the College’s other governing councils, plus the Council Officers’ Coordination Team;
  • represent the Association with voice at meetings of the Valencia College District Board of Trustees; and
  • perform such other duties as pertain to the office of President.

The Vice President will serve as the principal assistant for the President. He or she will actively participate at Faculty Council meetings as well as on the College president’s Leadership Forum and other governing councils as assigned. The Vice President will also participate on the College Senior Team, on the Council Officers’ Coordination Team, and in the Campus President meetings; and serve as the Faculty Council representative on the College Curriculum Committee. The Vice President will assume the role of President at the conclusion of the one-year vice-presidential term.

The Past President will provide aid and counsel to the VCFA Leadership Team as requested, ensuring a smooth transition in leadership. The Past President will serve on Faculty Council as a non-voting member, on the Council Officers’ Coordination Team, and as co-chair of the Learning Council.

Neither member of the VCFA Leadership Team nor the Past President may take a sabbatical, nor may he or she hold a Campus Assembly leadership position, while maintaining the role of service to the Association.

Each year, any eligible member of the VCFA can submit his or her name as a candidate for the office of Vice President. The Vice President must have signed a continuing contract before taking office. Procedures for this election are found in Article V, Section 3.A.

Either VCFA Leadership Team member may be removed from office by a vote of two-thirds of the members at a special meeting (face-to-face or by electronic ballot; quorum required). Removal may be with or without cause. The person under consideration for removal shall be given an opportunity to be heard at the meeting; sufficient notice of two weeks to the proposed removal is required. On a vote of removal for the President, the Vice President shall preside at the meeting.

In the event the office of President of the VCFA becomes vacant or the President is removed from office, the Vice President of the VCFA shall temporarily assume the office of President. If the remainder of the term assumed by the Vice President is less than six months, the Vice President shall assume the office of President and then continue as President for the following year. If the remainder of the term is longer than 6 months, the presidency of the VCFA shall be filled at the earliest convenience of the Faculty Council in a special election with full vote of all VCFA members on all candidates nominated by VCFA members. The current Vice President may choose to run in this special election, but if elected, will serve as President for the remainder of the current term. In that event, a second special election for a new Vice President would be held as soon as possible.

If the office of Vice President becomes vacant or the Vice President is removed from office, the President will call for a special election to replace the Vice President.


Section II: Faculty Council

The Faculty Council provides leadership for and to the VCFA by convening conversations of over-riding interest to the faculty and their professional practice, representing faculty views on College leadership teams, speaking directly to concerns about the welfare of the faculty, and actively working to engage the VCFA in the College’s strategies for improvement. Because of its central role for faculty communication and collaboration, the Faculty Council shall serve as the official voice of the faculty as a governing council of the College.

The Faculty Council may represent faculty views directly, through their own actions as outlined below, while at other times, faculty are represented by the members of the VCFA selected by the Faculty Council who sit on councils, committees, and work teams.


A: Membership of Faculty Council

Faculty Council will comprise the VCFA President, the VCFA Vice President, the VCFA Past President, each campus Leadership Team (the Campus Assembly President and Vice-President) and one at-large Representative from each campus. A campus may choose not to send a third representative from the campus. All Faculty Council representatives will be elected from all voting VCFA members on that campus.

A "campus" is defined as a place of instruction where members of the Association are assigned. Any campus with less than five (5) Association members is not required to organize with a Campus Assembly Leadership Team, and shall be represented on the Faculty Council by the Association Vice President.

The year of service on the Faculty Council runs from August to July. Elections for all campus representatives will occur in April, with first Council meeting occurring the following September. All members will begin their service by attending the annual Governance Retreat.

The At-Large Representatives shall serve two-year terms, to a maximum of four (4) years consecutively. A time period of two years must elapse before a member may be reelected to the Faculty Council. A current Faculty Council member may choose to stand for election for Vice President of VCFA, regardless of years served currently in the Faculty Council; if elected, his or her position becomes vacant and the campus will hold a special election to replace the member.

If a member of the Faculty Council should choose to step down, the vacancy shall be filled immediately by election on the campus of the vacancy.


B: Mission of Faculty Council

The Faculty Council will be the official voice for the VCFA in the College’s collaborative decision-making process. The Council takes actions for the VCFA, with the exception of decisions reserved for the VCFA as a whole. The Faculty Council engages the collaborative governance model in several ways. Generally, the President of the VCFA is given direct access to the Board of Trustees, the president of the College, and the Leadership Forum to effectively represent and engage the voice of the faculty in College governance. Other faculty leaders, such as the Vice President and, at times, the Past President, are also engaged in the larger governance process.

Generally, the Council is responsible for organizing strategic conversations about long-term and/or important concerns of the faculty.

Members of the Faculty Council subscribe to the following actions:

  • value and attend all meetings of the Faculty Council and VCFA.
  • present accurate and timely information to the VCFA members and bring their ideas, questions, and concerns back to the Faculty Council.
  • be active and collegial in all dealings with the Leadership Team, other Representatives, and VCFA members.
  • contribute time to the business of the VCFA, committees and events.
  • organize, enlist aid, and direct work in the VCFA

The Faculty Council will:

  • represent the VCFA in all matters of faculty interest and faculty welfare;
  • speak to the VCFA as the leaders of the VCFA on various matters;
  • commission conversations among VCFA members on strategic issues related to the future development of the College;
  • review and express its opinion on all College policy changes before they are presented to the Board of Trustees through either a vote of the Council or by seeking the opinion of the entire VCFA;
  • make appointments of members who have volunteered to councils, work teams, and committees;
  • hear and disseminate reports from councils, work teams, and committees;
  • discuss, coordinate, and recommend action on the various reports presented;
  • disseminate to the members of the VCFA appropriate information regarding issues affecting all members of the VCFA;
  • advise the president of the College on all matters of College improvement or other matters of faculty interest that may affect the operation of the College;
  • determine via majority vote an VCFA member’s status as a member, if the status is in question; and
  • act on all other matters of business which are not specifically reserved for the VCFA members and which are necessary and proper in order to carry out the foregoing duties and functions.

On occasion, a major initiative may be commissioned from the Faculty Council. When commissioning a major initiative, as with the other councils, the work will be given to a collaborative work team developed for each major project that represents both the key stakeholders and the best expertise for the work of collaborative design.

Every commissioned project will have an executive sponsor, a member of the College president’s Senior Team or his or her designee, who partners with the work team to facilitate the work and guide it through the governance process, and a Faculty Council sponsor. In addition, every project will have a work plan approved by the Faculty Council that will include the process, participants, design principles, and intended outcomes, as well as a rough schedule of their work. Every project will be supported by project management tools to track the work and keep the efforts as transparent to the rest of the College as possible.

The Faculty Council has the right to defer decisions to the VCFA when it deems appropriate, as explained in Article IV.

The work of the Council shall be governed by a set of by-laws.


Section III: Elections for Leadership

A: Normal Election for Vice President

By the date of the March meeting of the Faculty Council, members of the VCFA must send names of any VCFA members they wish to nominate for Vice President to the VCFA Leadership Team or to any member of the Faculty Council. Nominations may be sent electronically, or members of the Faculty Council may announce nominees at the March meeting. Nominees must have signed a continuing contract before taking office in August.

Within two weeks of being nominated at the March meeting, each nominee will prepare a one-page statement explaining his or her experience at the College, experience in governance, and other pertinent information, and send it electronically to the President, who will share the statements with the members of the VCFA, either in advance of the election or with the secure electronic ballot.

All VCFA members will be eligible to vote for one Vice President from the slate of nominees. The election period shall be two weeks in length. The nominee receiving the most votes will assume the position of Vice President of the VCFA in August; he or she must be able to attend the July College-wide Governance retreat.


B: Special Elections

Upon the need for a special election of the President or Vice President, the VCFA shall direct the lead presiding officer to begin proceedings for a special election within one week of needing a replacement.

The members of the VCFA will be notified of the change and be requested to submit nominations for the post. Each nominee will prepare a one-page statement explaining his or her experience at the College, experience in governance, and other pertinent information, and send it electronically to the President, who will share the statements with the members of the VCFA, either in advance of the election or with the secure electronic ballot.

All VCFA members will be eligible to vote in the special election for the vacant position from the slate of nominees. The election period shall be two weeks in length. The nominee receiving the most votes will assume the vacated position.

If a Campus Assembly President, Vice-President, or At-Large Representative resigns or is removed from the Council, the appropriate Campus Assembly will be tasked with replacing the member within one month of the vacancy.


Article VI: Campus Assembly

Members of the VCFA on each campus will organize in order to aid in fulfilling the VCFA’s purpose in Article III, as well as to advise the chief administrative officer of that campus. The membership of the campus faculty organization may include representatives of faculty who are not members of the VCFA as specified in the by-laws of the campus faculty organization.

To fulfill the VCFA’s purpose on each campus, a Campus Assembly will be formed, led by the campus Leadership Team of a President and Vice President. Thus, the leader will be the “President of the [campus name] Assembly.”

A Campus Assembly President shall serve for one year in that role; this person will receive reassigned time equivalent to one 3-hour course for all three semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer) of his or her term.

Each respective campus shall form their Assembly’s structure; the VCFA members on that campus shall determine the best structure for their campus. Options include gatherings with representatives from all academic divisions, a structure with at-large representatives, or broad-based gatherings that all VCFA members attend.

The Campus Assembly President presides over whatever type structure that campus has chosen, as well as participates in the Campus Leadership Forum led by the campus’s chief administrative officer. The Campus Assembly President will serve as primary contact between the campuses and the VCFA Leadership Team, typically via electronic communication.

Campus Assemblies shall meet on the third Thursday of the month to avoid conflicts with Faculty Council meetings as described in the Faculty Council bylaws, Section II.

Members of any Campus Assembly, whether on the Leadership Team or serving as representatives, subscribe to the following actions:

  • value and attend all meetings of the Campus Assembly
  • present accurate and timely information to the Campus Assembly, including any division or discipline one may represent and bring their ideas, questions and concerns back to the Campus Assembly.
  • be active and collegial in all dealings with the campus Leadership Team, other Representatives, and those one may represent.
  • contribute time to the business of the Assembly, committees, and events.
  • organize, enlist aid, and direct work in the Assembly and within any division or discipline one may represent.

Campus elections for the Assembly leadership team as well as the At-Large Representative from the campus to Faculty Council will occur in the same time period as the VCFA elections for the Association’s Vice-President. Campus leaders will take office starting in August.

The by-laws of a Campus Assembly may contain such additional or implementing matters of internal organization as are deemed appropriate to that campus provided they are not in conflict with this Constitution.


Article VII: Changes to Constitution

This Constitution may be amended by majority vote of the members present and voting, providing that any proposed amendment shall be presented, in writing, to the membership at least two (2) weeks prior to the special meeting or responding to an electronic ballot or questionnaire distributed by the VCFA President., where such amendments shall be considered. Quorum for voting on changes to the Constitution is fifty (50) percent of members of the VCFA. Proxy voting is prohibited.


Faculty Council By-Laws

Section I: Membership

The Faculty Council will comprise the VCFA President, the VCFA Vice President, the VCFA Past President, each campus Leadership Team (a campus Assembly President and Vice-President) and one at-large Representative from each campus. A campus may choose not to send a third representative from the campus.

Members of the Faculty Council subscribe to the following actions:

  • value and attend all meetings of the Faculty Council and VCFA.
  • present accurate and timely information to the VCFA members and bring their ideas, questions, and concerns back to the Faculty Council.
  • be active and collegial in all dealings with the Leadership Team, other Representatives, and VCFA members.
  • contribute time to the business of the VCFA, committees, and events.
  • organize, enlist aid, and direct work in the VCFA.

At the start of the Council year as described in Article V, Section II.A, each member of the Council will verbally state his or her acceptance of the five statements above.


Section II: Meetings

A quorum for any meeting or electronic voting of the Council shall be a majority of the members.

The Council shall meet once a month on the second Thursday of the month except for the month of August. These meetings shall take place at a location chosen by the VCFA President in consultation with the Council. Additional meetings may be scheduled according to the availability of the Council. Some months the meeting may be moved to accommodate scheduling issues, such as the start of term, end of term, or a holiday such as Spring Break.

Meetings shall begin at 2:00 p.m. unless prior notice has been given by the President prior to the scheduled meeting date. A time change may not be made in the 24 hours preceding a meeting. Most meetings shall last till 5:00.

If a representative is unable to attend a meeting, the representative shall notify the VCFA President or Vice President. There are no alternates for Faculty Council members nor may any member, including the VCFA Leadership Team, vote by proxy.

All members are expected to attend the annual Governance retreat, to be held in July of each year.


Section III: Duties and Responsibilities

Members represent and share the perspectives of the VCFA during Faculty Council meetings. All Council Representatives are available to all members of the VCFA.

Members shall aid the President in communicating and gathering information from VCFA members regarding issues affecting or of interest to the VCFA.

Because a core purpose of Faculty Council is convening conversations of over-riding interest to the faculty and their professional practice, members should expect to aid in the planning, promotion, and execution of these conversations, including but not limited to hosting discussions on various campuses (including campuses beyond any campus of prime responsibility).

The President or representative shall produce and distribute electronically the agenda and any related documents for Council meetings at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. The agenda shall be placed on the VCFA’s website by the Faculty Council’s administrative assistant.

Many decisions will be made by consensus. Other decisions will be made by a formal vote. The decisions on all votes will be made by majority vote of members who are voting where quorum is present. The President may vote on any matter where his or her vote can affect the outcome of the vote. Proxy voting is prohibited.

Voting is a privilege and a responsibility. However, members cannot be compelled to vote and should not vote on a question to which they have a direct personal or financial interest. In that event, members may prefer to abstain from voting. Abstentions are not recorded in the Meeting Summary.

The Faculty Council places members of the VCFA on councils, committees, and work teams. The President may choose to communicate directly with the entire VCFA requesting volunteers, or the Faculty Council may choose to nominate specific members based on knowledge and expertise said members could provide to the assignment, or the President and Council may choose to solicit campus-based representation, in which case the Assembly on each campus will be tasked with providing a certain number of volunteers. In this latter case, the decision of the Campus Assembly will be binding for the appointment.

Meetings are open unless a majority of the Council vote to discuss a matter confidentially, in which case they may reserve a part of their regular meeting for that business or conduct a special meeting as a closed session.

A representative from the Academic Affairs & Planning Division will take meeting notes at Faculty Council meetings. The President will review and edit where necessary the notes; those meeting notes will subsequently be posted on the Association’s website.


Section IV: Amendments

These By-Laws may be amended by a majority vote of the members of the Faculty Council present and voting, provided that written or printed notice of the proposed amendment(s) is given to all members of the Faculty Council at least two weeks prior to the balloting.

College-wide Faculty Association Definitions

A mutual understanding of key words or concepts is critical for any organization or civic entity. During the summer of 2013, representatives from each Valencia campus and employee group met to develop design options for the College’s shared governance system. As a part of that work, key terms were defined and are useful for our work in the VCFA.

Vision for Shared Governance: Shared governance at Valencia is the collaborative process of the college making courageous, wise choices that moves our work forward. Using the strengths of diverse individuals and giving a voice to various constituencies, everyone contributes with good faith and effort, transparency and integrity. The process articulates clear expectations, includes a timeframe, provides a communication plan, and allows for meaningful and efficient participation. The conclusions are trusted, accepted, and respected by the entire College as the work of good people making the best decision possible at the time.

Accountability is the establishment of individual and mutual ownership, responsibility, and obligation including partners and constituents who are willing and able to make decisions, take actions, and then convey and justify those decisions/actions.

Collaboration is a process of working together and embracing different perspectives that includes appropriate representatives or stakeholders to achieve a clear goal.

Principles of collaboration:

  • The process by which the work proceeds should be clearly defined, including how participation will be encouraged and how communication will be accomplished.
  • Representatives or stakeholders should be a diverse group with a broad view of college functions, specialized expertise, or closeness to the work.
  • All participants should share their best ideas, but they must realize that the work is shared and all will advocate for the outcome that evolves from the work.

Effective communication is the exchange of ideas, messages, and information between individuals and/or a group that considers not only the audience and purpose but also leads to understanding although not necessarily agreement. The sender and the receiver are both responsible for listening.

Representation is the valued expression of the perspectives or interests of constituents through a trustee model where the representative is charged to make the best decision given the information he or she has.

Faculty Opinion on College Policy is the way that the College president hears the VCFA’s thoughts on policy matters or changes. The VCFA does not vote on policy, but uses voting as a means to express its opinion to the College president and the College’s Board of Trustees. At times, the Faculty Council will express the opinion of the VCFA without a direct voting mechanism unless clearly directed by the Constitution.

Consensus is a process of continued discussion until all members honestly agree to one decision.

Integrity is the expectation of a consistent adherence to ethical principles, methods, and actions, which lead all constituents to feel decision-making is honest, open and inclusive. The Valencia College shared governance system should create a policy creation implementation tool that creates real solutions to actual problems that face a forward-looking college.

Courage is the strength and determination to venture in new directions to achieve the goals of the college and to persevere in the face of discouragement. The Valencia College shared governance system not only serves as an important institution for designing and implementing policy but also serves as a source of innovation at the college.

Wisdom is the accumulation of knowledge, insight, and judgment needed to determine a course of action when making decisions and the realization that uncertainty plays a role in making difficult decisions. The Valencia College shared governance system encourages a wide range of talent, interests and ideas that draws from the real strength of the college – the collective teaching and learning experiences of faculty, administration, and staff.

Trust is the assurance that all constituencies can rely on each other to demonstrate integrity when decisions need to be made at the college. The Valencia College shared governance model implies that decisions made are transparent and reflective of the input of college-wide interests. The system is not a vehicle for implementing policies that are narrowly supported by a small cadre of interests.

Effectiveness is the ability to use our best wisdom, talent, and creativity to achieve the goals of the college in an efficient and timely manner. The Valencia College shared governance system is a reliable structure for tackling a wide variety of interests and policy needs. The system should not be unable to manage strategic policy implementation.

Creativity/Innovation is the ability of the College to join in bringing forth new solutions and ideas to campus and college-wide concerns and needs. The Valencia College shared governance system encourages creativity and innovation by allowing for a wide range of perspectives to converge on policy creation.

Annual Governance Retreat was first planned during the 2013-2014 redesign of Valencia College’s governance model. This retreat shall occur in July of each year and is required for all members of all governing councils. The purpose of the retreat is to allow for better coordination between the three governing councils and to help both new and old members maintain clarity as to roles and purpose of the councils and the governance system.

Revised: December, 1994
Revised: January, 1998
Revised: October, 2004
Revised: May, 2011
Final Revision Adopted: March, 2015