Staff Development

Variable FLEX

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Current Variable FLEX Form
The Flexible Calendar Program

Definition of Variable FLEX
Examples of Variable FLEX Activities
Other Sources of Variable FLEX Credit
Faculty Association Statement on FLEX
Activities that do not count toward Variable FLEX Credit
My Variable FLEX Obligation
CLPCCD Annual FLEX Reporting
Presenter Information



Current Variable FLEX Form

For the 2016-2017 Academic Year, please use the following form, which is a slightly modified version of an existing FA approved form. Please record all of your Variable FLEX Activities for the 2016-2017 Academic Year, attach all relevant documentation, and submit it to the Professional Development Coordinator by May 15, 2017. Late forms will not be accepted.

Annual Report on Variable FLEX Activities Form (Due May 15, 2017)

The Flexible Calendar Program

  • Section 55720 of California Education Code enables a District to set aside an amount of time each fiscal year for employees to conduct Professional Development Activities. There is a limit on the number of hours that can be allotted to this program (see 55720(b)) so that Flexible Calendar Activities do not interfere with the section 55701 guidelines on the adoption of an effective academic calendar. Section 55722 allows for flexibility in the scheduling of the Academic Calendar in order to allow for the best implementation of a Flexible Calendar Program.

  • The Flexible Calendar Program is intended primarily for faculty and is considered an important component of professional development; however, other college employees (classified staff, administrators, student employees) are encouraged to participate in these activities as well. Section 55724 (5) allows for a shared governance process to determine who are the intended participants in the Flexible Calendar Program.

  • Section 55730 of California Education Code specifies the rules and regulations involving an approved flexible calendar for the academic year. A committee composed of appointed faculty, staff, students, and adminstrators are to meet to make recommendations on staff, student, and instructional improvement activities. A detailed record, including attendance figures, number and type, is to be kept of these activities. Surveys are to be conducted (and updated annually) to both solicit the most critical needs of the campus as well as to reflect upon the effectiveness of the activities after they have occured.
  • In the event an instructor is requested by the district to participate in staff, student, or instructional improvement activities instead of classroom instruction the district and instructor must enter into an agreement that correlates their missed classroom time in a one-to-one relationship with their activity time (Section 55726(a)). For example, if the instructor had three hours of classroom instruction cancelled on a particular day for these purposes then they would need to substitute that with three documented, agreed-upon professional development activities. These agreed-upon activities would not be eligible for Variable FLEX credit since they are acting as a substitute for the unit member's regular teaching assignment.

Definition of Variable FLEX

  • According to Title 5 Ed Code, the specific number of hours that are equivalent to one academic work day are determined through the local collective bargaining and shared governance processes. For our district, a Variable FLEX day is defined as 6 hours and therefore this is the amount of Flexible Calendar Activity time that is equivalent to one complete instructional day. (Article 29B.b)

  • To fulfill a Variable FLEX obligation, a faculty member can complete approved Flexible Calendar Activities at any time during the academic year. The faculty member need not complete activities in six hour blocks of time, but may complete them at any time, so long as the total number of accumulated flexible calendar hours equals the specified annual requirement. For example, if there are two designated Variable FLEX days for the academic year (12 hour obligation), the faculty member may elect to complete 3 hours one day, 1 hour on another day, 4 hours on another day, and then the final 4 hours on another day during the academic year.

  • Section 55724 (3) (4) of Title 5 Ed Code specifies that Flexible Calendar Activities should adhere to only those that serve to improve a college's staff, student, and instructional programs. Variable FLEX Activities should adhere to following criteria (interpretation of Title 5 and FA Contract):
  1. Training related to course instruction and evaluation
  2. Staff development, In-service training, and Instructional Improvement
  3. Training related to Program, Curriculum and Learning Resource Development
  4. Learning Resource Services
  5. Training related to student advising, guidance, orientation, matriculation services, and student, faculty, and staff diversity
  6. Conferences and workshops, institutional research
  7. Other duties as assigned by the district
  8. The necessary supporting activities for the above.

Examples of Variable FLEX Activities

The following list of development and instructional improvement activities are intended as a guide and not intended to be limited to these activities. It should be noted that some activities can address more than one category.

1. STAFF IMPROVEMENT

  • Developing new programs (e.g., a workshop on designing curriculum/programs)

  • Workshops on how to mentor students or how to mentor faculty - Mentoring of students and faculty cannot be used for Variable FLEX credit

  • Orientation/education about the purpose and function of college-related committees and technologies (e.g. role of the academic senates; training students, staff, and faculty to serve on committees; changing role of technology in education) - New Faculty may not apply their orientation or new faculty workshops toward Variable FLEX Credit.

  • Student, faculty, and staff diversity (e.g., sexual harassment workshops, affirmative action conferences, cultural diversity seminars, multicultural activities) - CORA certification is an example of this type of activity.

  • Meetings designed to improve a cohesive working relationship among members of the group (e.g., departments, divisions, committees, mixture of college constituencies) - An example of this type of meeting would be the "Working Together" small group conversations. Regular department/division/committee meetings do not count toward Variable FLEX credit.

  • Workshops on how to write grants

  • Workshops or individually designed activities to improve or enhance a person's skills or knowledge in his/her own discipline - Many of these workshops/activities take place at conferences.

  • Wellness activities that assist individuals to be physically and mentally better able to perform their jobs - These should be workshops or trainings such as Wellness 101, stress reduction workshops, or other approved wellness activities (check with the Professional Development Coordinator for clarification). Exercise at the gym does not count.

  • Learning a second language to better communicate with the diverse student population

  • Disaster preparedness (e.g., district procedures, first aid, review of facilities to determine areas of need)

  • Attending workshops concerning the effective use of technology, software, or social media in the classroom.

2. STUDENT IMPROVEMENT

  • Developing a new program to meet changing student needs

  • Faculty participation in student orientation programs

  • Institutional research focused on meeting the needs of the students (e.g., job market surveys, transfer ratios, ethnicity data on students, gender equity, campus climate)

  • Writing grants aimed to improve services to students - Although grant writing can be used to earn Variable FLEX credit, faculty who are on grant-funded reassigned time may not use grant-related work activities toward Variable FLEX credit.

  • Outreach for special projects (e.g., Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement [MESA] program)

  • Participating in student scholarship evaluations - This is a temporary exception for the 2016-2017 Academic Year

3. INSTRUCTIONAL IMPROVEMENT

  • Attending workshops on teaching methods or techniques (e.g., classroom-based research training; Instructional Skills Workshops (ISW); local, regional, national Great Teachers Seminars)

  • Attending workshops that discuss best practices and techniques in curriculum development - An example of this type of workshop would be something along the lines of "Teaching Men of Color" or "Globalizing the Curriculum." You may not, however, use any type of actual curriculum development toward FLEX credit.

  • Attending eLumen, Canvas, Curricunet, or other educational management system training sessions.

  • Developing student readiness programs specific to course disciplines - An example of this type of program would be the creation of the MathJam program.

  • Grant writing to secure funds for improvement of instruction - Although grant writing can be used to earn Variable FLEX credit, faculty who are on grant-funded reassigned time may not use grant-related work activities toward Variable FLEX credit.

All activities should be linked to the comprehensive plan for professional development and to the goals and objectives of the flexible calendar program. In addition, the staff development plan and the flexible calendar program should be linked to the goals and mission of the college. The flexible calendar program is primarily intended to facilitate faculty improvement of the instructional program. However, any institutionally planned activity should be made available to other college staff as well (Title 5, section 55724 (a)(5)).

Other Sources of Variable FLEX Credit

There are many ways to obtain Variable FLEX credit. Here are some suggestions.

Faculty Association Statement on FLEX

A detailed statement covering the Mandatory FLEX Obligation for Part-Time Faculty, Variable FLEX Obligation for Part-Time Faculty, Mandatory FLEX Day Obligation for Full-Time Faculty Teaching Evening Classes for Load, and Professional Development vs. Professional Responsibility can be found here:

Chabot-Las Positas Faculty Association Faculty Focus Quick Update

Activities that do not count toward Variable FLEX Credit

Any activity that is considered a Professional Responsibility, as defined by the Faculty Contract, cannot be used toward Variable FLEX credit. Variable FLEX activities are intended to better train and prepare you to complete your Professional Responsibilities.

Faculty (Non-Counseling)

The Faculty Contract clearly explains that certain activities cannot be used toward Variable FLEX Credit, as they are considered professional responsibility duties. Section 10D.3.b, 10D.3.c, 14C.5.c, and 15C5.c. clearly spell out what are considered required professional responsibility activities. None of the following may be used toward Variable FLEX credit nor used as a Variable FLEX activity:

  • "College hour" activities including those occuring during Convocation Day, Division Day, Town Hall Meetings, Division Meetings, or any other District or College-wide meetings deemed necessary by the administration.

  • Attendance or participation in Faculty meetings or subdivision and/or task force meetings.

  • Participation in orientation, commencement, and on-campus professional development activities

  • Memberships in the Faculty Senates, and/or College or District committees

  • Participation in program and subject area improvement tasks including Program Review, Accreditation, Creating & Assessing Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), Service Area Outcomes (SAOs), Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs), Program Level Outcomes (PLOs), articulation, revising and developing curricula, and mentoring students, Contract (non-tenured), or Part-time Faculty.

  • Meeting deadlines in the submittal of grades and Census Reports.

  • Special responsibilities that may be appropriate to a particular unit member's assignment, such as attending advisory committee meetings, or maintaining contacts with other educational institutions, organizations, businesses or industry.

  • Advising student clubs or activities, or other student mentoring.

  • Outreach activities to other educational segments and the community

  • Tasks related to the coordination of a program or discipline that are not otherwise compensated through Reassign Time.

  • Meet deadlines and submittal of Discipline Plans, schedules, grades, and Cansus Reports.

  • Routine curriculum updates and modifications.

  • Staff development activities outside of FLEX days that are necessary for Faculty to accumulate their five required professional activity hours for the week or other duties as assigned by the College or District.

  • Employee retirement or investment workshops/seminars

  • Employee celebrations, parties, potlucks, award banquets, or other recognition activities

  • You may not use any activities toward your Variable FLEX Activity requirement that you are compensated for, either via reassigned time, a stipend, grant, or as part of your regular teaching load and/or overload assignment. This stipulation includes conferences that you attend on a regularly scheduled workday, unless conference activities fall outside of your normal work hours. Conferences that you attend that are not on a regularly scheduled workday are eligible for Variable FLEX Credit, even in the event compensation was received. Please consult the Conferences FAQ page for more detailed information.

Counseling Faculty

Counseling faculty should consult Section 10.D.4(a) of the FA Contract, which lists activities that count toward counseling faculty's weekly five (5) hours of Professional Counseling Activities. These activities can not be used toward earning Variable FLEX credit and they are as follows:

  • Additional Preparation
  • Follow-up and electronic mail involving student contact
  • Program Development
  • Professional Development*
  • Counseling workshop preparation
  • Liason with high schools, instructional divisions, and other college groups

*Due to the restrictive nature of "Professional Development" not being included as eligible for Variable FLEX, there are some exceptions that Counseling Faculty may use toward credit that include (but are not necessarily limited to) attendance at certain conferences, training received at certain workshops (such as CORA certification), wellness activities, and other forms of training.

My Variable FLEX Obligation

  • All Faculty (Contract, Regular, Temporary Leave Replacement) are required to complete 1 Variable FLEX day for the 2016-2017 Academic Year. This is equivalent to 6 Flexible Calendar Activity Hours.

  • According to Article 29D of the Faculty Contract, every six (6) hour block of time that is fully accounted for on a Contract, Regular, or Temporary Leave Replacement unit member's individual FLEX Day Report Form shall count toward the completion of one (1) working FLEX Day. For every six (6) hour block of time that is not fully accounted for by June 1 of every Academic Year, there shall be one (1) sick day deducted for that unit member for the appropriate Academic Year.

  • Adjunct (Part-Time) faculty do not have a Variable FLEX requirement. The only exception to this are part-time faculty whose classes are cancelled by a Mandatory FLEX Day. In this case, they are to complete an equivalent number of Flexible Calendar Activities on that particular day only.

  • The "Professional Responsibility Hours" for Adjunct (Part-Time) faculty are not the same as variable FLEX requirements for contract, regular, and temporary leave replacement faculty. Part-time faculty may utilize Flexible Calendar Activities to fulfill their professional responsibilities, however, in accordance with the language in the faculty contract.

  • Classified Professional Staff and Administrators are not required to participate in Variable FLEX activities.

CLPCCD Annual FLEX Reporting

A report, filed jointly by the PDC Coordinator and Vice President, Academic Services, is due to the State on June 1 of each fiscal year. Signatures on this report indicate that the college is in compliance with the following requirements of Title 5, Sections 55726, 55728, and 55730:

  • Agreements and records are maintained for each employee who performs FLEX activities in-lieu-of classroom instruction. The number of hours of FLEX activities is at least equal to the classroom hours from which the employee is released, plus associated hours of out-of-classroom responsibilities (55726).

  • Attendance accounting data as requested, for purposes of calculating the FLEX adjustment, are reported to the Chancellor's Office Fiscal Services Unit (55728).

  • An assessment of needs and a plan of activities are developed annually (55730).

  • Records of participation are maintained and evaluation is conducted annually (55730).

  • A FLEX advisory committee including faculty, students, administrators, and other interested persons meets regularly to make recommendations (55730).
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Presenter Information

Please post your proposed Variable FLEX Activity to the Activity Request Calendar. Once approved by the PDC Coordinator, the events will appear in the Variable FLEX Activity Calendar. For more information on how to subscribe to the calendar, please visit the Calendar link.

If you are hosting an approved Variable FLEX activity, you are strongly encouraged to collect attendance sheets or provide some type of evidence of attendance for attendees such as an email or flyer that they can use in their annual Variable FLEX report.


 

 

Professional Development

Howard Blumenfeld
Professional Development Coordinator
925.424.1342

Greg Daubenmire
Professional Development Coordinator
925.424.1385

 

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Page last modified: March 15, 2017