A deal between the City University of New York and the union that represents CUNY’s faculty and staff would allow full-time faculty to restructure their time.

CUNY and the Professional Staff Congress have agreed on restructuring of the workload of teaching faculty to give professors more time to work with students individually, advise, hold more office hours and conduct more academic research.

The agreement also reduces the annual contractual undergraduate teaching workload of faculty by three credit hours, which will be phased in over three years, one credit hour per year, starting with the 2018-19 academic year.

The agreement covers the senior and community colleges of CUNY, along with all full-time classroom teaching faculty.

“This is a breakthrough for the University, its faculty—and above all, its students,” said PSC-CUNY President Barbara Bowen in a statement. “Multiple studies show that the single most important academic factor in student success is time spent individually with faculty. The agreement will give us that time. CUNY faculty members will embrace the opportunity to provide the support students need, contribute to important research and offer an education worthy of our students’ aspirations.”

“This agreement recognizes that faculty work encompasses critical elements in addition to classroom teaching, better positioning our faculty to address critical responsibilities such as student advising and mentoring,” added CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken in a statement. “This important step not only aligns faculty work to achieve CUNY’s ambitious strategic goals, it reflects peer and best practice nationally and will strengthen the University’s competitiveness in attracting and retaining talented faculty.”

In June 2016, CUNY and PSC-CUNY settled the last collective bargaining agreement that included an agreement to convene a joint labor-management committee designed to addressed faculty’s teaching workload. The next step for both parties is negotiations for a new contract.

“By moving CUNY closer to a teaching workload that is in line with those in place at other quality universities and colleges, this agreement further strengthens our ability to compete in the recruitment of top-tier faculty,” said Dr. Vita Rabinowtiz, CUNY’s executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and provost, in a statement. “Just as important is the additional time faculty will now spend meeting and advising students, as well as on their research and scholarship. This time invested outside the classroom will provide critical support to CUNY’s goals of increasing graduation rates and remaining a premier research university.”