EWU agreement allows absences

EWU agreement allows absences

By Jake Kershinar

staff writer

[email protected]

Just as the university expects students to attend class, the university also expects its professors to be there.

It seems every quarter a professor misses at least one day, but under some circumstances, they may be gone for an extended period of time.

Jolynn Rodgers, who is the director of human resources, explained that all the rules regarding teachers taking leave can be found in EWU’s collective bargaining agreement for faculty members.

Rodgers also added a minor detail that is not found in that document.

“There isn’t anything in the collective bargaining agreement that says how many days a teacher has to be in the classroom.”

Eastern Washington’s collective bargaining agreement does, however, give teachers the opportunity to take leave for multiple reasons as long as it is approved by their department.

The collective bargaining agreement recognizes  a leave of absence for medical, professional, and personal reasons or a grievance procedure.

The most common leave for professors is usually personal leave and the collective bargaining agreement addresses the absence without pay in article 11, section 6.

The article states that: “Faculty members may request, through their chair and dean, personal leave without pay for periods of one quarter or more.”

It is noted that such leaves will not be granted for more than one year at a time and that each leave will be detailed with the specific conditions in writing for approval by the dean in consultation and is sent to be approved by the chief academic adviser.

Professors also have been known to take extended time off for professional leave when they wish to take time

to study and research subjects in their personal field.

In article 5 of section 1, the collective bargaining agreement can allow a professor a full year off if they have been a full-time employee for three years or more, but must be approved by the board of trustees and cannot leave to work on an advanced degree.

Section 11.5.1 states that professional leave may be taken to pursue: “Research. Scholarly and Creative activity, including the scholarship of teaching.”

Whenever professors violate these rules they can be disciplined for their actions.

While the discipline section in article 13 does not specifically address wrongdoings, the article gives details about the disciplinary procedures and begins the article with a statement that explains that no faculty member can be disciplined without just cause.

The collective bargaining agreement states that “the University shall apply principles of progressive discipline. which include: verbal warning, written warning, suspension without pay and, finally, discharge.”

The collective bargaining agreement also gives faculty members the opportunity to respond to complaints that could lead to discipline.

Rodgers said that medical leave is taken care of the same way many businesses take care of medical needs.

“If a teacher is going away on medical leave, then they have to have permission to do so from their doctor,” Rodgers said. “We treat that situation just like any business would do with an employee. If a doctor says they can’t work, then that’s that and there’s nothing that can be done as far as having that professor here until they are cleared to work again.”

She also said that when it comes to finding a substitute, it is up to whatever department that particular professor is in to find a substitute for that period he or she is gone.

“We always want to have [substitutes] available,” Rodgers said. “Kids are paying for their education, so they need to get educated.”

Dr. Logan Greene, who is the chair of the english department, has overseen many professors’ application process and says that they are held to the same standard of being in the classroom as the students.

“I don’t think teachers should be allowed to leave in less it is an emergency,” said Greene. “But I have never been in any place where the teachers are not committed to the students, the students are central here. If a teacher is gone, we are quick to find a sub so the student does not miss on their education experience.”

The rest of Eastern’s collective bargaining agreement can be found on the schools website in the human resources section.