Dear Pratt Faculty Colleague,
Many of you have written me privately inquiring about this year’s Academic Calendar and so-called “studio-days”.
To be clear: No faculty member is obligated to teach more than fifteen (15) sessions per course / per semester, as we are contracted; thus, paid for 15 sessions per course, per semester. Therefore, at base, I take the new implementation of ‘studio-days’ to mean that a faculty member either works during the studio-days week (for their final 15th class), OR works during ‘exam’ week (for their final 15th class). If teaching ‘studio’, your final critiques will fall within the studio-days week, if teaching ‘lecture’ then exams fall within finals week.
Moreover, the fall 2014 semester is not any longer in duration than usual, it beginning on: Monday 8/25 (the first day of the semester), and ending: Friday 12/19 (the last day of the semester). This period encompasses some seventeen calendar weeks, which is par-for-the-‘course’ (pun intended) to accommodate some twenty-plus individual and independent undergraduate, graduate, studio, and lecture department/area(s).
As example, for myself, I teach Wednesdays (my first class: 8/27th), and other than a missed Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving), I am for the most part holding class on consecutive Wednesdays week-by-week; thus, my last or 15th class (I teach undergraduate studio, the last class no more than a final in class critique…) is held on Wednesday, 12/10th.
Which is to say, the 15th class for studio courses will fall within the week of 12/8th…, and for or liberal arts courses, during the week of 12/15th…
Further, determining when a semester begins, ends, and/or when there will be semester breaks and/or days-off in between, are all administrative prerogatives; not withstanding their having to accommodate national and religious holidays. And, although ‘service’ on committees, etc, is certainly a part of faculty work (outside of teaching), particularly for full-time and CCE adjuncts, being invited to, or attending a faculty colleague’s critique or student review, is not, and will never be, recognized as a form of required faculty “service”. In a word, no faculty member is now being required to attend anything they do not wish to.
To reiterate, there is no added week or 16th class-session now being required of any faculty member institute-wide, thus no violation of a[ny] faculty term and condition of employment. Moreover, no ‘new’ faculty member is now required to teach beyond 15 sessions per semester.
Were this calendar change however, as many thought or feared, a surreptitious means for expanding faculty teaching hours without due compensation, the matter would have had to have been negotiated w/the Union. It was not, as it is not the case that in said changes to Pratt’s academic-calendar, and now with the memorization of ‘studio-days’, faculty are now being required to teach an ‘additional’ week.
That said, the implementation of ‘studio-days’ is actually an outgrowth of the unfortunate reality of [faculty] “poaching”, wherein a faculty colleague schedules his/her final student presentations or reviews, on days-or-times outside or beyond his/her regular scheduled class time(s):
‘Imaginary’ Example: ‘Design Studio’ meets Wednesdays 2:00-5:00, but final reviews are (incredulously) scheduled for Thursday at 9:30-12:30 [?], which is when you, I, or another professor teaches the same student, or section of students, but for another course. This ‘design’ professor In this example, is effectively ‘poaching’ on your time, my time, or another professor’s class-time.
The Administration did not have a hand in “poaching”. Yet, I wholeheartedly agree, the Pratt “roll-out” for “studio days” is clumsy at best, which unfortunately is too often the case w/such Pratt administrative initiatives, wherein a needless sense of insecurity is created for no good reason.
Alas, rest assured, there is no threat to our teaching.
Wishing all members an amazing fall 2014 semester