Our college continues to have flex days despite the lack of funding from the state. We are pleased to have professional development opportunities but also worry about compliance. Faculty want to count almost any activity for flex credit, and we need some guidance on how to make the flex activities work for faculty and the regulations. What do we need to do?
In fits over flex
Congratulations on your continued commitment to quality flex activities for your faculty. Title 5 is very instructive on this topic, and two sections are especially important: §55720 and §55724. The first gives a college the ability to have a flexible calendar with a specified maximum amount of time allotted for flex activities each year. The second provides the list of categories that flex activities must fit in order for your college to be compliant when it chooses to have a flexible calendar. With or without professional development funds, any district that chooses a flexible calendar with flex days must be compliant with §55724.
The categories for “designated staff, student and instructional improvement days” are as follows: course instruction and evaluation; staff development, in-service training and instructional improvement; program and course curriculum or learning resource development and evaluation; student personnel services; learning resource services; related activities, such as student advising, guidance, orientation, matriculation services, and student, faculty, and staff diversity; departmental or division meetings, conferences, workshops, and institutional research; other duties assigned by the district; and the necessary supporting activities for the above. Your college should track faculty participation in the activities that qualify for flex credit.
Your senate may want to define the final area, “necessary supporting activities for the above,” so that there is an understanding of what does and does not qualify for flex credit. Some faculty have questioned the inclusion of meetings in flex activities, but since they are allowed, your senate may want to limit the number of hours required for meetings or minimize the time that meetings take away from other activities intended to improve cultural competence or instruction or direct service to students. Don’t forget that all flex activities must be certified by your local administration to meet the requirements in the regulations, and a certification form must be submitted to the Chancellor’s Office every July 1.