Faculty and staff from the four CSUs, state community colleges, Charter Oak State College, and the CSCU Board of Regents joined together recently at Manchester Community College for Hurdles on the Horizon: Governance & Student Success in the Connecticut State College & University System, a conference sponsored by the Faculty Advisory Committee to the CSCU Board of Regents for Higher Education. Keynote speaker was Dr. Henry Reichman, Chair of the AAUP Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. Dr. Reichman spoke on the current hurdles facing academic freedom and shared governance. He said the most dangerous threat to academic freedom is apathy and he urged faculty and staff to take an active role in defending the freedoms that are key to every university and college. Interactive workshops were held throughout the day on topics ranging from students-centered learning to advising and teaching online and on campus to building shared governance. Dr. Gregory Gray, CSCU Board of Regents President, addressed attendees during the lunch break.
CSU faculty are often an overlooked resource for the State of Connecticut. In addition to teaching a four course load per semester, you engage in original research, often providing valuable opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to participate in research. CSU faculty serve as valuable resources in their communities, by performing service and research that assists local organizations and/or governmental entities. Yet, these contributions are often unacknowledged in the public discourse on higher education in our state. Therefore, CSU-AAUP has launched a marketing campaign with Words@Work. The campaign is designed to highlight and promote the work of CSU faculty, librarians, coaches, and counselors. Please visit our new blog, CSU CONNects and like us on Facebook! Help us get the word out about these resources. Share them with your friends!
Do you have interesting research or community service to add to the campaign? Email Meagan Maguire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CSU-AAUP received a number of questions and comments following the announcement that through competitive bidding, Cigna was selected as the sole provider of dental coverage for Connecticut employees and retirees beginning July 1, 2014. The State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) has put together a Q&A document to answer questions about this change.
While the Health Enhancement Program has already begun showing positive results in terms of improving health and lowering costs, there have been many glitches and imperfections in its beginning years of implementation. Many state employees are still listed as non-compliant, and still struggling with the frustrations caused by startup glitches, and we want to be clear about how the process moves forward for those employees. Attached please find a document prepared by SEBAC offering guidance for state employees and dependents for any Health Enhancement Program (HEP) compliance issues.
If you have received information from CMS indicating that you are non-compliant, you should contact them directly ( at 877-687-1448 or www.cthep.com) to ascertain the nature of the non-compliance and attempt to resolve the non-compliance requirements. If you are unsuccessful in resolving the issue(s) of non-compliance, you should email Steve Greatorex at email@example.com detailing the nature of your compliance issue(s).
On January 23, 2014, eleven students and alumni of the four CSU campuses were invited by CSU-AAUP to speak about the impact of a CSU education on their lives. Video of the compelling stories the students and alumni shared can be viewed here (Part 1; Part 2).
- Increases for all members in Tiers 2, 2a & 3 and the Hybrid retiring on or after July 1, 2013
- Change in pension multiplier affects all, but targets lower-paid employees
A recent improvement to the formula used to calculate state employee pensions means that all participants in the State Employee Retirement Systems (SERS) in Tier 2, Tier 2a and Tier 3 who retire on or after July 1, 2013 will be receiving larger pension checks.
On Friday, January 17th, SEBAC unions and the State agreed to adopt a proposal recommended by a rank and file committee to increase the multiplier in the formula that is used to calculate the pensions on the portion of our income that falls below the “Breakpoint.” This change implements the part of the 2011 SEBAC Agreement that required that the State designate .5% of payroll (about $35 million annually) beginning in July of 2013 to address certain problems that developed over time in the pension formula. These problems affect everyone, but have a particularly strong impact on lower-paid employees. The former multiplier (1.33% on the below-Breakpoint portion of our income), has been increased to 1.4%. The effect of this change will be combined with what the Committee — working with the pension plan’s actuaries — found was already likely to occur under current language in the SEBAC agreement, which is that the yearly increase in the Breakpoint will moderate from 6% to 4% in future years. For a longer and more detailed description of the background and the negotiations that led up to this improvement, please click here.
While the change might sound small, the multiplier has a strong effect on the pension calculation. The chart below demonstrates the difference this change, along with the moderation of the yearly increase already in the current agreement, makes for people with different final average earnings at the time they retire.
Are you in the Alternate Retirement Program (ARP) and interested in transferring to the Hybrid Retirement Plan but think you have a “salary anomaly?” Do you already have a “salary anomaly” review case pending? If so, please review the following information, including the definition of “salary anomaly.”
There have been obstacles to getting resolution on individual salary anomaly cases, including (1) the need to get “verification of the facts” from your university HR Office, and (2) the inefficiency of the requests being submitted over a lengthy period of time. SEBAC and the State have agreed to provide the attached form to members that must be completed and signed by staff in the university HR office verifying the facts of your individual case. This will help to expedite the process. In most cases there shouldn’t be any problems, but if staff in the HR office are unwilling to sign the form, please contact Steve Greatorex (firstname.lastname@example.org). Once you have your Salary Anomaly Verification form completed, send a copy to Steve Greatorex (email@example.com) for submission.
If you have a “salary anomaly” review case pending and have not submitted this form, please do so. Once you have your Salary Anomaly Verification form completed, send a copy to Steve Greatorex (firstname.lastname@example.org) for submission. In addition, please sign and submit the Anomaly Request form.
In an attempt to consolidate the many salary anomaly review cases, we would strongly encourage members to get requests in by March 1, 2014, so that the review of these requests can be done in batches and not one at a time.
The definition of salary anomaly is a highly unusual payment which makes it irrational to use the person’s highest year of earnings as a predictor of their final average earnings. For example, there has been the general understanding that things like additional earnings through summer courses are common and can easily occur during the final three years, so they are not an “anomaly” and count towards purchase price. However, a temporary assignment as an acting dean could be considered an anomaly.
As of March 2013, SEBAC Leadership had approved the following guidance for salary anomaly issues:
(1) One time grants do not count towards the purchase of past service (i.e. should be deducted if it’s in the person’s highest year). If the grant is in the person’s actual 3 highest for retirement, it won’t count towards Final Average Earnings (FAE).
(2) For department chairs, current department chairs may not subtract their additional earnings as a “salary anomaly” because they could continue in that role until retirement and therefore it would be in their final pay. However, past department chairs can exclude their pay from their highest year, but if they do so, that pay also would not count towards FAE if that year was in their three highest for FAE purposes.
(3) Summer School Salary is not an “anomaly” (see above).
Please find a copy of the guidelines for the CSU-AAUP Research Grants Spring 2014 Competition here. Applicants for University Research Grants must be full-time members of the faculty and must remain on the faculty of the university originating the proposal for the duration of the grant-supported activity, including the project reporting phase. Faculty planning sabbatical leaves are eligible for a grant. Faculty members on unpaid leave are not eligible to apply.
Proposals are due on Friday January 31, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Please see the guidelines for detailed information.
How will the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affect part-time faculty and staff who work at state colleges and universities? Should some state employees investigate purchasing individual insurance through the ACA? Read the attached memo to find out.
Recent media reports have created some confusion about the impact of the newly created Hybrid Plan – and particularly of employees who exercise their right to move from the ARP to the Hybrid Plan – on the finances of the State Colleges and Universities and the State. Please see the statement from SEBAC about this matter.
Last spring, CSU-AAUP held a conference for part-time faculty from all four campuses to share experiences, ideas and concerns regarding part-time employment and teaching and to encourage part-time faculty involvement in campus activities and the AAUP.
The conference concluded with a discussion of potential solutions and as a result of that discussion, the CSU-AAUP agreed to setup a listserv for our part-time faculty.
To join the listserv, please go here and follow the instructions. Please use a personal, non-campus, email account to sign up.
CSU-AAUP and Management have incorporated the changes from the May 27, 2011 Contract Modification Agreement into the 2007 – 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). There were several reasons for this, including 1) a shortage of printed copies; 2) extension of the Agreement until August 2016; and 3) confusion caused by the need to consult several documents in order to determine minimum and maximum salaries as well as other provisions agreed to by the 5/27/11 Contract Modification Agreement.
The updated version can be found on the CSU-AAUP website here.
The State of Connecticut and ING have teamed up with Morningstar Associates, a provider of investment advisory services for the retirement plan industry, to offer eight blended risk-based investment portfolios through the “Asset Allocation Made Easier” program for employees in the Defined Contribution Plans ( ARP, 403(b), 457). While using asset allocation as part of your investment strategy neither assures nor guarantees better performance and cannot protect against loss in declining markets, it is a well-recognized risk management strategy. However, not everyone may be comfortable, or feel they have the time, to map out a strategy on their own. These “Asset Allocation Made Easier” portfolios are designed to meet a specific risk profile and help make asset allocation easier.
The schedule of presentations is as follows:
Student Center Theatre
The SEBAC 2011 Agreements require that all employees (some employees were required by the SEBAC 2009 Agreement) contribute to the Retiree Health Fund for 10 years or until they retire, whichever comes first, to offset the retiree healthcare costs of individuals contributing to the fund.
This contribution applies to members of the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the Alternate Retirement Program (ARP). Employees in these plans who are currently contributing 3% of compensation to the Retiree Health Fund will continue to do so without modification.
This contribution does not apply to part-time faculty, however, if a part-time faculty member completes sufficient actual service to qualify for retiree health coverage, s/he will be required to pay the required percentage of compensation for the full 10-year period (or such lesser periods as may be required).
For more information, please see Retiree Trust Fund Provisions of SEBAC 2009 and SEBAC 2011 and the Comptroller’s Memo Re: Retiree Health Fund Contributions Starting July 2013.
Recently the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) that effectively barred same-sex married couples from being recognized as “spouses” for purposes of federal law. The purpose of the linked memorandum is to announce a special open enrollment period for state employees and retirees who wish to add a same-sex spouse to the State’s health plan and to explain immediate changes in the federal tax treatment of health benefits provided to same-sex married couples.
The Special Open Enrollment period will occur between July 9, 2013 and September 13, 2013 to give employees the opportunity to enroll a same-sex spouse for health benefit coverage. During this period, enrollment is limited to state employees and retirees who did not previously enroll their same sex spouse. Subscribers who fail to add a same-sex spouse partner during the Special Enrollment Period will not be permitted to add such persons until the annual Open Enrollment period for coverage effective July 1 of each year, or until a Qualifying Event such as a loss of coverage or life status change. The Subscriber must provide a copy of his or her marriage certificate at the time of enrollment.
For employees and retirees currently covering a same sex spouse under the state health plan, the Comptroller’s Office is working on adjusting premium shares from a post-tax to a pre-tax basis and modifying federal income and Social Security taxes year to date.
The IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor are expected to issue guidance concerning how the Supreme Court’s decision will affect the administration of some 1,000 federal laws. It is presently unclear how the ruling will impact federal income tax returns filed in prior years or whether the IRS will establish specific procedures for same-sex couples to seek refunds based on filing status or payment of federal income and Social Security taxes on the imputed value health benefits to a same-sex spouse.
In March 2013, the State Comptroller and university Human Resources departments distributed information to eligible SERS (Tier II & IIA) and Hybrid Plan participants (see “Important Notice”). The letter states that “Beginning July 1, 2022 the Normal Retirement Date will be raised to age 63 with 25 years of service or age 65 with 10 years of service… This letter explains an opportunity for eligible members to make a one-time irrevocable option to retain a normal retirement date of age 60 with 25 years of service or age 62 with 10 years of service.” Please be advised, the deadline to retain the normal retirement date of age 60 with 25 years of service or age 62 with 10 years of service has been extended to September 1, 2013.
CSU-AAUP has received several inquiries from ARP participants who are considering transferring to the Hybrid Plan about their ability to utilize the option after the deadline. Employees transferring to the Hybrid plan after 9/1/13 will have 30 days from the time they submit their documents for the transfer to elect to “grandfather” their normal retirement date.
Thank you to all the members who made the effort to contact legislators about SB 867, An Act Concerning Faculty Representation on the Board of Regents for Higher Education. This bill would not have progressed if it wasn’t clear that it was an important issue to so many faculty. Click here to read Public Act 13-26.
Please find a spreadsheet detailing the results of the CSU-AAUP Officer Election. Congratulations to the candidates who were elected and thank you to all for your willingness to serve your colleagues as an elected officer of the CSU-AAUP. For those elected, the term of office begins on June 1 and is for two years. There were 369 ballots cast (16.23% of eligible voters). The following candidates have been elected:
President – Vijay Nair
Vice President – Elena Tapia
Secretary – Rebecca Wood
Treasurer – Harlan Shakun
On behalf of the CCSU-AAUP Nominating Committee
Paul Petterson, Chr., Kevin Buterbaugh, Kristin Jacobi, Russell Gladstone
Dear CSU-AAUP Member,
The consolidation of the governing boards of CSU and the Community Colleges was offered as a means to identify savings, which would be redirected into the classrooms. The Board of Regents identified over $5 million in savings from the consolidation that was earmarked to hire 47 new full-time faculty, but the positions were withdrawn when the BOR learned of the Governor’s rescission in November 2012. The Higher Education Subcommittee to the Appropriations Committee recognizes the need for more full-time faculty and has generously recommended that funding be added to the state budget for these hires, but we need your assistance in making sure this funding makes it into budget recommended by the Appropriations Committee.
Please contact members of the Appropriations Committee today and urge them to accept the Higher Education Subcommittee’s recommendation to fund 47 new full-time faculty positions at ConnSCU in 2014 and 57 in 2015. (Please note that these 47/57 positions will be spread over the 17 institutions that make up the ConnSCU System). These additional full-time faculty positions are urgently needed. Part-time faculty are an integral part of CSUS, but the lack of growth in full-time faculty over the last ten years has created systemic problems for higher education in areas such as student advising, assessment, curriculum development and university governance. In addition, more full-time faculty are needed to improve graduate and retention rates.
Please call or e-mail the members of the Appropriations Committee today and tell them approved funding for full time faculty at ConnSCU will:
- Lower student/faculty ratios;
- Improve graduation rates by being able to provide required courses for majors in a timely manner; and,
- Increase the number of lower division courses taught by full-time faculty.
Below is the contact information for the Committee and we urge you to e-mail them today. Please take a few minutes out of your day to let legislators know that increasing full-time faculty is vital to the health of the Connecticut State University System and will improve the educational experience of our students – THE STUDENTS WHO ARE CONNECTICUT’S FUTURE.
The State Comptroller and university Human Resources departments recently distributed information to eligible SERS (Tier II & IIA) and Hybrid Plan participants (see here). The letter states that “Beginning July 1, 2022 the Normal Retirement Date will be raised to age 63 with 25 years of service or age 65 with 10 years of service… This letter explains an opportunity for eligible members to make a one-time irrevocable option to retain a normal retirement date of age 60 with 25 years of service or age 62 with 10 years of service… The forms must be completed and signed prior to July 1, 2013.”
CSU-AAUP has received several inquiries from ARP participants who are considering transferring to the Hybrid Plan about their ability to utilize the option after July 1, 2013. SEBAC has revised its Q&A to address these questions from ARP participants. Please see “Q&A Cumulative Revision as of 3/26/13,” specifically questions 27 and 28, for more information.
Dear CSU-AAUP Member,
We are writing to ask you to help CSU-AAUP support the Governor’s Scholarship Program created by SB 844 by writing to the members of the Appropriations Committee listed after the text of this email. The proposed Governor’s Scholarship Program combines the three existing state funded student financial aid programs into a single need-based program with a need-merit award available to high achieving high school students. The three existing state funded programs are Connecticut Independent College Student Grant, Connecticut Aide to Public College Students, and the Capitol Scholarship, and they are only one form of financial aid that institutions may award.
The Governor’s Scholarship Program will correct a major flaw in the need-based programs: the lack of consistency in award amounts students may receive based on their college choice. Currently, the colleges determine the amount of funding an individual student will receive. Therefore, students with the same financial need may receive dramatically different amounts depending on the college they attend. This was not because of any mistakes or improper administration of the awards, but it demonstrates the need for a change.
Under the new proposal, colleges would be required to give the same award amount to students who exhibit similar financial need, based on the federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This change ensures that Connecticut’s neediest students are being treated fairly and equitably no matter which Connecticut college or university they attend. In addition, a major focus of this program is retention and completion. There is an incentive award for any student who completes a required number of credits each year and achieves a required grade point average based on their peers’ performance at all schools. We think this will encourage students to keep on track toward graduation. Finally, the Governor’s Scholarship Program will now provide awards to eligible part-time students and consider the cost of textbooks. These provisions were not part of the original proposal.
The Governor’s Scholarship Program will better assist students and their families to plan and make decisions based on their individual financial situations, because they now will know how much aid they will receive from the state prior to choosing which Connecticut college or university to attend. The Governor’s Scholarship Program is a dramatically improved aid program and a huge step forward for Connecticut’s students and institutions of higher education.
Dear CSU-AAUP Member,
CSU-AAUP is asking for your help in urging legislators to support SB 867, An Act Concerning Faculty Representation on the Board of Regents for Higher Education. The legislation would allow for the chair and vice-chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee to serve as ex-officio, non-voting members of the Board of Regents. Further, and perhaps more important, it would also allow for two members of the Faculty Advisory Committee to serve on all Committees of the Board, except those dealing with personnel matters.
This is an important legislative initiative for us and the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents. The communication structure must get fixed so that the Faculty Advisory Committee has a better voice moving forward and we believe this bill will help achieve this goal, especially if faculty are allowed to serve on Board Committees.
Chairman Robinson submitted testimony opposing the legislation, which can be viewed here, and the Board is actively lobbying against this bill.
The Committees are approaching deadlines to approve bills, so please write to members of the Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee (names and emails found below) as soon as possible asking them to support this legislation. A fact sheet is available on our website to assist you in crafting your message. Please remember that it is best to use a personal email account for any political activity.
Vijay Nair, CSU-AAUP President
Membership of the Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee
Senator Beth Bye, Senate Chair
Representative Roberta Willis, House Chair
Senator Steve Cassano, Senate Vice Chair
Representative Gregory Haddad, House Vice Chair
Senator Toni Boucher, Senate Ranking Member
Representative Timothy LeGeyt, House Ranking Member
Representative Timothy Ackert
Representative Mike Alberts
Representative Penny Bacchiochi
Representative Juan Candelaria
Representative Patricia Dillion
Representative Bryan Hurlburt
Representative Claire Janowski
Representative Gail Lavielle
Representative James Maroney
Representative Douglas McCrory
Representative Robert Sanchez
Representative Pamela Sawyer
Representative Peggy Sayers
Representative Toni Walker
CSU-AAUP leaders met in December to discuss concerns about the Board of Regents (BOR) actions last fall and possible solutions to address our concerns. As one result of that meeting, CSU-AAUP is proposing that the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) be ex-officio, nonvoting members of the BOR. In addition, CSU-AAUP proposes that there be two faculty representatives, appointed by the FAC, on all standing and special committees of the BOR except those responsible for personnel matters. (Read CSU-AAUP’s proposed legislation here).
In the brief history of the BOR, it has been demonstrated that faculty-board collaboration and communication have been extremely constructive. However, the faculty have had to be very assertive to make their voices heard. CSU-AAUP believes that if members of the FAC are given the opportunity to provide their expertise in board and committee discussions and decisions, it will benefit all parties.
Since the membership of the BOR is determined by legislation, this proposal will require legislative approval. The Higher Education Committee met and voted to raise the legislation during the session.
CSU-AAUP is soliciting nominations for the offices of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer
The CSU-AAUP Constitution requires the election of new officers in odd-numbered years. Therefore, CSU-AAUP is soliciting nominations for the offices of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, all to serve two-year terms commencing June 1, 2013.
CSU-AAUP members may nominate themselves or any other member for any of the above positions. The form for nominations prescribed by the Constitution can be found here. Use this form and facsimiles to nominate as many people as you like. Nominees must be CSU-AAUP members. The chair of the Nominations/Elections Committee will accept nominations until 12:00 noon on Monday March 4. The e-Voting will commence on or about April 5 and end at noon on April 19.
The chairperson of the CSU-AAUP Nominating Committee is Paul Petterson (CCSU) and other members of the committee are Kristin Jacobi (ECSU), Kevin Buterbaugh (SCSU), and Russell Gladstone (WCSU).
Click here to view a video of the Hybrid Retirement Plan Discussion with SEBAC Attorney Dan Livingston that took place on 10/23/12 at CCSU.
You must have Windows Media Player to play this content. Click HERE to download the correct player for your operating system.
SEBAC Attorney Dan Livingston presented information and answered questions at each of the four campuses about the Hybrid Retirement Plan. Please find the relevant handouts that were distributed at the meeting here.
The proposal guidelines for the CSU-AAUP Research Grants competition can be found here. Applicants for must be tenure-track, full-time members of the faculty and must remain on the faculty of the university originating the proposal for the duration of the grant-supported activity, including the project reporting phase.
Proposals are due on Friday, February 1, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Please see the guidelines for additional information.