CANCELLED! QCC threatens Composition courses for fall 2013 hoping to force faculty’s hand, PSC responds to reprisals

Yesterday, Vice President Karen Steele announced that no composition courses would be scheduled at Queensborough Community College’s (QCC) for fall 2013. This almost-inconceivable move came after faculty in the English department voted overwhelmingly to reject changes imposed by the Pathways program.

As part of the Pathways, QCC faculty were ordered to reduce their composition classes from 4 credits to 3 credits to fit the new, top-down model for general education. A statement of support by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) explains their rationale: “The faculty’s decision was guided by a deep commitment to sustaining a quality education for students. They determined that if English composition classes were reduced to three credits, the integrity of the department’s standards would be profoundly compromised.”

The PSC has come out strongly in support of the faculty—and against Pathways. According to the statement: “PSC legal counsel will file a charge with the Public Employment Relations Board regarding this act of retaliation. The union is also exploring filing a federal lawsuit on First Amendment grounds.”

The email from VP Steele reads:

We will no longer be able to offer EN-101, 102, or 103 in their current configuration (i.e., four contact hours) as of Fall 2013. Since we don’t have in place courses that will meet the Pathways requirements for the Common Core, we can’t put forward a Fall 2013 schedule of classes that includes English Composition courses. Given that fact, and the resultant dramatic drop in enrollment, we will have to take the following actions:

  • All searches for full time faculty in the English Department will be cancelled immediately;
  • The existing EN 101, 102, and 103 will not be included in the common core, and therefore will not be offered in Fall 13;
  • Beginning March 2013 (our Fall 13 advisement cycle), continuing and new students will be advised to take the common core requirement for I A at another CUNY institution, since the courses will not be available at Queensborough;
  • Neither EN 101 or 103, nor EN 102 will be submitted to the University in the QCC list of ‘gateway’ courses for the English Major (we must submit the list of gateway major courses by October 1, 2012);
  • Of necessity, all adjunct faculty in the English department will be sent letters of non-reappointment for Fall 2013;
  • The reappointment of full time faculty in the English Department will be subject to ability to pay and Fall ’13 enrollment in department courses.

For more on this story, see
The GC Advocate

Chronicle of Higher Education

Inside Higher Ed