November 2015 AAUP Update to the faculty
From Harry N. Zarin-G Counselor, AAUP Chapter President
During Professional Week in August we held a very informative Chapter membership meeting. This meeting gave those in attendance an opportunity to ask the members of the Executive Committee questions, to voice their opinion on a variety of topics, and to hear some of the latest happenings of the Chapter. We on the Executive Committee look forward to these membership meetings and hope that in the future more of you will attend and so that your voices can be heard. Our next Chapter meeting will occur during professional week in January.
As I stated at the membership meeting we all owe a debt of thanks to Dr. Pollard, the Board of Trustees, the County Council, and the State Legislature for all of their support during last year’s budget deliberations. This support led to all of us receiving a raise at a time when many other local colleges and universities were not able to offer increases in salary to their employees. Dr. Pollard stated on many occasions that providing us with an increase in salary was one of her top priorities and we are all thankful that our elected officials agreed with her. Last year we completed the negotiation of a 9 year contract which included raises for a three year period of time. We can only hope that the economy will improve so that we will all benefit from these negotiated increases.
I am also pleased to report that, despite the hiring freeze, all full time faculty positions were filled by the start of the current academic year with the exception of a couple of positions where the search failed. Hopefully these positions will be filled after future search committees complete their work. Also, additional ESH was given to TP/SS and Germantown for tutoring ESH in our learning Centers and additional funds were allocated to TP/SS to upgrade their science equipment and supplies. We are grateful to Sanjay Rai for his support of our learning centers and the full time faculty.
Prior to the official start of the semester I had an opportunity to speak with our new full- time faculty at the New Faculty Orientation. During that meeting many of these faculty members joined the Chapter and some are now service fee payees. Those faculty who did not make a decision on this issue will be contacted by me in January and at that time they will be required to make a decision on this issue.
Semester and Academic Year ESH Limits:
If you are planning on teaching a winter session class, please remember that winter session ESH is part of your spring load. It is also important for you to remember that you are allowed to work a maximum of 20 ESH in any academic semester and 36 ESH in any academic year, August-May.
Elimination of the 4th Year Evaluation:
When negotiations concluded in 2010 an agreement was reached with management to eliminate the required 4th year evaluation, however, this provision was never incorporated into either the printed or on-line version of the contract. I am pleased to report that after a few brief discussions with representatives from management and the College’s attorney we were able to agree on a side letter that essentially incorporates what was previously agreed to into our contract. A copy of that side letter will be posted to the documents section of the Chapter website. How does this impact our newer faculty members? All full-time faculty are evaluated during each of their first three years of employment at Montgomery College and are then appointed to a three-year contract. Their next evaluation will be during the second year of the three-year contract, their 5th year of employment.
Extended Winter Term:
I mentioned at our opening meeting that the Academic Affairs Division was considering offering an extended winter session that would begin in December and continue until the end of the regularly schedule winter classes. The idea allows for more teaching time, which is a good thing, but it also requires teaching during a period of time when the college is officially closed. Only distance learning classes would be offered during this extended winter session. For a variety of reasons the Academic Affairs Division has decided to delay the implementation of the extended winter session until next year.
Distance Learning Side Letter:
It is important for all of you to know that a new distance learning side letter is now in effect. The current side letter is in effect from July 1, 2015-June 30, 2018. During last year’s negotiations a sub-committee met and recommended that some changes be made to the previous side letter. These changes were accepted by both management and the Chapter and they were incorporated into the new side letter. The new side letter has been posted to the Chapter documents section of the Chapter’s website. If you currently teach distance learning classes of any kind or are considering teaching or creating a class with a distance learning component, I strongly encourage you to read this side letter.
New Office Hour Requirements:
Perhaps the one issue that the Chapter has had to deal with this semester more than any other is the change to the office hour requirements. As stated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement on p. 14, “During an academic year, with the approval of days and location by Management, instructional faculty shall post and maintain either (a) five in-office hours per week or (b) four in-office hours per week and two additional hours online or in an alternative location per week, for student consultation.” This wording seems fairly straight forward but for some reason there was much confusion earlier in the semester about this provision of the contract by both the faculty and the Deans/Chairs. If you are being asked to do anything other than what I just quoted, please contact myself or Tim Kirkner. We will be glad to talk privately with you about your particular concerns. Please remember that for purposes of scheduling office hours and hour is a 60 minute period of time.
Important Benefits Information from our Benefits Office:
Montgomery College’s benefits open enrollment period is a chance for you to enroll in or change your coverage in any benefit plans offered by Montgomery College. Open Enrollment will take place from October 26, 2015 through November 20, 2015. This year, the college has implemented a new benefits system called Benelogic. All benefit eligible employees are required to go into the new online system to confirm benefits and information (dates of birth and SSN’s) on covered dependents. Even if you are not changing your benefits selections, the Affordable Care Act requires confirmation of information to ensure compliance on 2015 tax returns. All benefit eligible employees must take action by going online to select benefits they are interested in for a January 1, 2016 start date. All Benelogic benefit selections need to be completed in the Benelogic system by November 20, 2015.
HR Benefits is also offering an incentive! For Cigna participants, the first 100 employees to complete their Health Risk Assessment (HRA) and Benelogic update get a $50 Visa Gift card (taxable benefit). For Kaiser participants, all employees who complete their HRA and Benelogic update will be entered in a raffle to win a bike, Fitbit, or Juicer.
For Cigna, log on to: https://my.cigna.com/web/public/guest
For Kaiser, log on to: https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health/care/consumer/my-health-manager
Topics to be Covered in the Next Chapter Update:
Advancement in Faculty Rank