KFA Update Regarding Policy AC15 Micro-credentials
Dear Kwantlen Faculty Association Members,
A new policy, AC15 Micro-credentials (MCs), is in development and is currently on the KPU Policy Blog. This policy and its procedures deserve fulsome input from faculty who are the educational and subject matter experts at KPU. Many faculty members are excited about the possibilities offered by Micro-credentials. At the same time, we need to ensure that Micro-credentials and the policies surrounding them work to the benefit of faculty and programs rather than against. The KFA has some questions and concerns about the impacts of this policy:
- Unless handled properly, Micro-credentials may result in fragmentation of workload and the curriculum, course offering duplication, as well as competition and disputes between faculty and professional areas.
- Although the constitution of the Senate Micro-Credential Committee (SMC) is broad, its currently proposed workflow is problematic because it does not include all members of the committee, and it may not provide enough time for careful consideration of whether MCs duplicate offerings in other areas. We are also concerned that the members of the SMC may not have the necessary breadth of knowledge or the tools to correctly identify the potential for overlap.
- No process to address disputes about duplication or the “ownership” of course work has been defined. Currently, the KFA is in dispute with the Employer about work being done by Continuing and Professional Studies that, in our view, substantially duplicates bargaining-unit work. The Employer’s position appears to be that coursework that only partially duplicates an area can be treated as non-bargaining unit work. The potential for duplication of offerings is a significant concern.
- AC15 seems to allow for any area of the university to create Micro-Credentials. According to the Collective Agreement, however, faculty are explicitly responsible for developing curriculum at KPU.
- AC15 does not yet explicitly state that MCs need to go through Faculty councils and their curriculum committees. However, the KFA maintains that all curriculum development must be done by faculty and follow established procedures.
- AC15 may allow for “educational offerings” taught by non-faculty. We need to ensure that instruction remains the responsibility of faculty.
- “Disaggregated” or fragmented courses may force faculty to accept numerous course preps for multiple micro courses or micro-credentials. The Collective Agreement states that faculty will be assigned no more than three course preparations in one semester without their consent.
- Compensation, benefits, FTE, workload, vacation time, PD time, and regularization are intrinsically tied to the current credit system. How will the fragmentation of credits affect this system? Do MCs have the potential to increase workload or to increase the number of non-regular faculty at KPU?
- “Micro Course” is identified in the policy, but an insufficient definition is offered. A more thorough explanation of what a Micro Course is and how it relates to micro-credentials is required as such courses will have an effect on workload.
These questions and concerns are not exhaustive. This is new territory, and it is unclear what to expect. If you have concerns or suggestions, we encourage you to share them on the KPU Policy Blog. We thank those who have done so already. If you are not comfortable posting feedback on the policy blog, please share your views with Rachelle Hollaway, Member-at-Large. KFA representatives will be meeting with the Employer about AC15, and we will bring your concerns forward.
Faculty may also provide powerful feedback via Departmental motions, Faculty Council representation, and by reaching out to your Faculty Senators.
The KFA also wishes to recognize Rajiv Jhangiani’s extensive responses to faculty on the policy blog to date; we hope that all faculty feedback will be carefully considered and appropriately reflected in forthcoming revisions to the policies and procedures of AC15.
The KFA strongly supports the potential growth and creative work enabled by Policy AC15 Micro-credentials, but we want to ensure that this work remains the responsibility of KPU faculty and that it aligns with current workload and compensation models as defined in the Collective Agreement. The need to have a policy in place immediately with expedited procedures to create micro-credentials cannot be used as rationale for bypassing established processes or for not conducting a thorough risk assessment.
Your KFA Table Officers