June 21, 2018

AAUP Update: Negotiations and More….

On behalf of the Chapter, I hope you are having a good semester and that your classes, projects, programs, and various other aspects of your job are going well. There is much to say about a variety of very important topics.

  1. Negotiations/The Grievance/Arbitration-Those of you who have attended our most recent full faculty meetings are very aware of the difficult situation we are facing with regards to the FY2019 negotiations and the grievance we filed last fall against the College for its failure to give us our FY2018 negotiated raises. The faculty at these meetings voiced their collective concerns about the about the College’s choice not to implement our FY2018 salary increases and overwhelmingly supported the Executive Committees decision to file a grievance against the Administration and to invoke final and binding arbitration if the grievance was not satisfactorily resolved.

Last September I filed the grievance.  We completed steps one, two, and three of the grievance process, and since the grievance was not satisfactorily resolved, we invoked arbitration at the end of January.  This means that we are willing to take the grievance to final and binding arbitration, as prescribed in the Agreement. The Administration has dragged its feet throughout the process and now has failed to follow even the most basic steps; instead, we were informed by the College’s labor attorney that the Administration is refusing to participate in the arbitration process unless it is compelled to do so by the courts.  Hence, we filed suit against the Administration in Montgomery County Circuit Court.  We are now waiting for the court to set a date for our case to be heard.  Because the courts will be involved in determining whether we will be able to take our grievance to arbitration I need to be very careful about how much I say to all of you.  I don’t want to say anything that will unduly influence our case in the eyes of the court or eventually an arbitrator.

With that in mind, I wanted to make a brief comment about the update on negotiations that was sent to the College community by Mr. Robert Roop, Chief Human Resources Officer.  Our analysis of all known facts requires that we differ with Mr. Roop’s presentation of the basis for the College’s failure to implement our FY2018 salary increases as set forth in the Agreement. He stated, “Due to financial resource constraints, the College was unable to meet the original negotiated salary increase for FY18. These financial constraints are primarily linked to a shortfall in the College’s anticipated funding from the county contribution, state aid, and tuition revenue despite spirited advocacy by the College leadership and faculty representatives.”

What is most important for everyone to understand is that the County did provide the College with sufficient money to fully fund our negotiated raises.  I repeat, the County Council did provide the College with sufficient money to fully fund our negotiated raises.  The fact is, the Administration requested enough money to fully fund our negotiated raises and then after the money was awarded by the County, Management decided not to fully fund our raises.  This was a planned move on the part of the Administration.

With the assistance of the Chapter’s labor attorney, we are prepared to seek to have our Agreement enforced in the face of the Administration’s willful refusal to comply with its obligations. I will keep all of you posted on the progress of our case in court and on the eventual move of our grievance to arbitration.

  1. What can you do? First, all you need to be patient.  Management has been using a variety of tactics to delay the entire grievance process and now that they are compelling us to go to court more delays are inevitable.  Second, show your support of your Executive Committee.  We are your elected representatives in all things salary related. Several administrators have implied that we are a self-serving Executive Committee and that we really don’t represent you, the faculty.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  We are protecting your contract, our contract, and we need and look forward to your continued support. Third, see #3 below.  Fourth, we need you to support us by attending all of our faculty meetings. It’s at these meetings that you can let your own voice be heard.
  2. Board of Trustees Statement-I will be speaking tonight during the public comment period at the Board of Trustees meeting. The meeting will be held at 8:00pm in the room 108 of the Central Services building.  Please come to the meeting and show your support of the Chapter as I speak on your behalf.  Most importantly, be respectful, and please plan on staying for as much of the meeting as possible.
  3. Public Hearings-Councilman Craig Rice, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith, and Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard will host the first of five public education budget meetings. Listed below are the meeting dates and locations for the forums, which are scheduled to last from 6:30-8:30pm.
  • February 28 at Montgomery College, Rockville Campus (Theater Arts Building – 51 Mannakee Street in Rockville);
  • March 7 at John F. Kennedy High School (cafeteria – 1901 Randolph Road in Silver Spring);
  • March 14 at Robert Frost Middle School (cafeteria – 9201 Scott Drive in Rockville);
  • March 19 at White Oak Middle School (cafeteria – 12201 New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring).

Last year members of your AAUP Executive Committee attended several of these important hearings and we hope to do the same this year.  We encourage you to take some time out of your day to attend one of these meetings.  These meetings are very informal, each speaker will make a presentation, and members of the audience, including MC faculty, are able to ask questions during a large portion of the meetings.  If you want to hear about how budget decisions are made and the opportunities County residents will have to influence budget decisions, it would be beneficial for you to attend one of these meetings.

If you click on the link below you will be able to read the official press release about these meetings which was issued by Councilmember Craig Rice’s office.

https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgportalapps/Press_Detail.aspx?Item_ID=21858

 

 

AAUP Response to Feb. 21 College Memo

Colleagues:

By now all of you have had an opportunity to read today’s memo that was sent by Mr. Robert Roop, Chief Human Resources Officer, “updating” you on negotiations. If you have been attending the faculty meetings we hold at the beginning of each semester and last spring’s closing meeting, you are well aware that the Chapter’s perspective on the facts with regards to negotiations and the grievance are substantially different from that which Mr. Roop expressed in his memorandum (see below).  I wanted let all of you know that, on behalf of the Chapter, I will be sending you a detailed update with our perspective on negotiations, the status of the grievance, where we are with regards to moving the grievance to arbitration, and several other topics within the next few days.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry Zarin, Counselor/President

AAUP

 


 

To: Montgomery College Community
From: Mr. Robert G. Roop, Chief Human Resources Officer
Subject: Update on Negotiations with American Association of University Professors
Date: February 21, 2018

 

I wish to provide an update on the College’s negotiations with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which represents our full-time faculty, regarding FY18 compensation increases. All of our faculty and staff are vital to our student mission, so successfully completing these negotiations and finding mutually acceptable solutions are among our highest priorities.

The College and AAUP have worked collaboratively since April 2017 to resolve a disagreement regarding the contracted full-time faculty compensation increase for FY18. Due to financial resource constraints, the College was unable to meet the original negotiated salary increase for FY18. These financial constraints are primarily linked to a shortfall in the College’s anticipated funding from the county contribution, state aid, and tuition revenue despite spirited advocacy by the College leadership and faculty representatives.  As a result, the College cannot afford to provide a 6.25 percent increase (2.75 percent general wage adjustment and 3.5 percent increment) to full-time faculty for this academic year. The College is committed to keeping tuition affordable, and therefore it is unable to meet this funding gap through tuition increases because of the severe impact it would have on affordability.

Financial exigency provisions in the AAUP collective bargaining agreement provide a framework for resolving this situation; however, the College and AAUP negotiators have been unable to agree on a solution. Further, until an agreement is reached, the College cannot implement any pay raise for AAUP faculty.  The College offered AAUP a 3.0 percent salary increase for FY18, and this offer remains valid. To date, AAUP negotiators have declined to accept this offer.

On February 13, 2018, the AAUP filed a lawsuit against the College in Montgomery County Circuit Court asking the Court to tell the College to resolve this matter through arbitration. The College will respond to the lawsuit as per legal requirements; however, it is our goal to continue to collaborate with AAUP to reach an agreement.

The College remains steadfast in its commitment to reaching a mutually agreeable compromise that recognizes our fiscal constraints, protects affordability, and provides equitable compensation for our dedicated faculty. Please contact Heather Pratt, director of Employee and Labor Relations in HRSTM, at 240-567-3097 or me with any questions. Thank you for your commitment to Montgomery College and our students.

Education Budget Meetings

Colleagues:

Starting tonight (February 21, 2018) at Damascus High School, Councilman Craig Rice, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith, and Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard will host the first of five public education budget meetings.  The meeting dates and locations are listed below.  The forums are scheduled to last from 6:30-8:30pm.

  • February 21 at Damascus High School (25921 Ridge Road in Damascus);
  • February 28 at Montgomery College, Rockville Campus (Theater Arts Building – 51 Mannakee Street in Rockville);
  • March 7 at John F. Kennedy High School (cafeteria – 1901 Randolph Road in Silver Spring);
  • March 14 at Robert Frost Middle School (cafeteria – 9201 Scott Drive in Rockville); and
  • March 19 at White Oak Middle School (cafeteria – 12201 New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring).

Last year members of your AAUP Executive Committee attended several of these important hearings and we hope to do the same this year.  We encourage you to take some time out of your day to attend one of these meetings.  These meetings are very informal, each speaker will make a presentation, and members of the audience are able to ask questions during a large portion of the meetings.  If you want to hear about how budget decisions are made and the opportunities County residents will have to influence budget decisions, it would be beneficial for you to attend one of these meetings.

If you click on the link below you will be able to read the official press release about these meetings that was issued by Councilmember Craig Rice’s office.

https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgportalapps/Press_Detail.aspx?Item_ID=21858

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP

 

AAUP Update: Fall 2017

Colleagues:

As the Thanksgiving Holiday rapidly approaches I wanted to give all of you an update on this years negotiations, the grievance we filed in September and several important reminders.

  1. The Employee Engagement Survey-For the past few weeks we have all received e-mails about the importance of completing the Employee Engagement Survey.  On behalf of the Executive Committee, I want to encourage all of you to complete the survey as soon as you can.  This is the time for each of us to provide the Administration with our opinion on a variety of topics covered in the survey.  Completing the survey only takes about 15 minutes, the results are confidential, and the results will be published in the form of a report in the coming months.  The Chapter has membership on the Employee Engagement Advisory Committee and we have a voice in helping to recommend actions the Administration can take based on the results of the survey.  Please take some time to complete the survey.
  2. The Food Pantries-This is the time of year when the food pantries on each campus need to be filled so that our most needy students can benefit from our collective generosity.  When you come into the office next week try to remember to bring a few items for the pantry on your campus.  I know our students will appreciate you efforts.
  3. Negotiations-The salary, EAP, and overload ESH provisions of our current contract  expire at the end of this academic year.  Negotiations for next year’s salary, EAP, and overload dollar amounts began this week.  These negotiations will continue on a regular basis until an agreement has been reached.  As with past negotiations, all discussions held at the table are confidential.  Once an agreement has been reached, a joint statement Labor/Management statement will be released.  I will try to keep you all posted on the progress our Negotiating Team is making without violating the confidentiality of the negotiations.  We all owe a debt of thanks to our Negotiating Team-Sharon Piper our Chief Negotiator, Tammy Peery, Rick Penn, Tito Baca, and Michael Gurevitz.
  4. The grievance-Last month I provided all of you with a detailed update on the status of our raises for this year and the grievance we filed against the College.  The steps in the grievance process are outlined in our Collective Bargaining Agreement. I filed the grievance in September and shortly after that step 1 of the grievance process was completed.  We are now in step 2 of the grievance process and I anticipate that we will be moving to step 3 in the process right after the Thanksgiving holidays.  I encourage each of you to review the steps in the grievance process.  As I mentioned in my previous update, until such time as the grievance is resolved, no wage adjustments will be made to salaries of the full-time faculty.  We believe the merits of this grievance are so important that the membership voted to continue the grievance through to arbitration and we on the Executive Committee are prepared to do follow the direction of our membership.  I will keep all of you posted on the progress of the grievance and the status of the arbitration, once that process starts.
  5. Counselors Sick Leave Issue-This is an issue that has been on-going for almost a year-and-a-half.  We have been working with members of the Administration to resolve a shortage of earned sick leave hours that should have been granted to counselors who worked over the summer months.  This shortage, for some counselors, dates back to 1999.  Through our cooperative efforts with members of the HRSTM staff, the issue was partially resolved for a number of counselors.  We are now working with the HRSTM staff to completely resolve this issue.  After the Thanksgiving break I will be sending an e-mail to all current and former full-time counselors asking them to provide me with some information.  I will collate that information and work with the HRSTM staff to resolve the issue over the summer months.

Thank you for taking the time to read this brief update.  On behalf of the entire AAUP Executive Committee I want to with all of you a pleasant Thanksgiving Holiday.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Counselor
President AAUP

AAUP Update: Contract Negotiations

Colleagues:

Recently, you should have received an update from Bob Roop, Chief Human Resources Officer, regarding the status of contract negotiations with the AAUP.  I am writing this memo in response to that document in order to provide each of you the Chapter Executive Committee’s perspective on where we stand with regards to these negotiations and other important issues related to our contract.

Before I begin, let me say that this may appear to be a very complicated situation; especially given Bob Roop’s depiction of the origins of the current situation where Faculty are deprived of our salary increases previously agreed upon by the College, and his choice of words. In fact, I think it can be stated fairly simply- the College has violated the legally binding Agreement it has with the Chapter.

I am going to attempt to summarize the situation we are dealing with and encourage all of you to attend any full-time faculty meeting we hold in the near future.  We have held three full-time faculty meetings regarding the situation we are facing.  Last spring, we held an off-campus full-time faculty meeting, subsequent to that meeting we held our traditional full-time faculty meeting in May and provided those in attendance with additional information. In August, during Professional Week, we gave a very thorough update to the faculty in attendance at our opening meeting.  At that meeting a vote was taken on a motion made by one of our members to support the Executive Committee’s decision to take this issue to arbitration, if we deemed that necessary.

It is true, as Mr. Roop stated, that the College did begin discussions with Chapter leadership about its concerns related to the County’s financial projections for the upcoming fiscal year, FY’18. As President of the Chapter I attended a meeting with several of the Senior Vice Presidents where these concerns were expressed.   Basically, they provided me with information from the County which stated that they believed this was, in my words, going to be a difficult fiscal year and that there may be a need to reduce funding in the FY’18 operating budget.  The County also provided a document which gave the College guidelines to use when creating it’s FY18 budget.  One such guideline stood out to me and it reads as follows, “Do not include staff furloughs or any other reductions to existing pay and benefit levels that are subject to collective bargaining.”  Consistent with the governing State law and prior experience, the County, in essence, said tell us what you really need based on your collective bargaining agreements. It is very important to note that at the time the College created and submitted its FY18 budget to the County Executive and the County Council, the AAUP Collective Bargaining Agreement, [“CBA”-a legally binding document] was the only one in place at the College that committed the College to specific salary increases for covered members for the current Academic Year.  AFSCME and SEIU were in negotiations with Management at the time the budget was submitted.  The only pertinent legal obligation the College had with its unions at that time was an obligation to request and obtain funding from the College [and potentially other sources], to meet the fiscal requirements necessary to pay the salary increases as provided for in our CBA and to then pay us according to our CBA if sufficient funding was received.

We all received a copy of the February 6, 2017, memorandum from Dr. Pollard to the County Executive and the President of the County Council.  In that memorandum, she stated that the College was requesting $7.4 million more than we had previously received in order to fund compensation and benefit increases.  The AAUP Executive Committee’s determination, at this point, is that the College had asked for sufficient money to fully fund our CBA at least with respect to the agreed-upon increases for the current Academic Year.  As you will likely recall, the College had previously negotiated and entered into the binding CBA with the Chapter which provides that we would receive a 2.75% general wage adjustment and a 3.5% increment.

Subsequently, on March 1, 2017, we all received a memorandum from Dr. Janet Wormack, Senior VP for Administrative and Fiscal Services regarding the FY 18 budget.  In that memorandum she stated, “In fact, our only request to the county for increases this year is for College employee compensation and benefits, totaling $7.4 million. Consistent with last year’s decisions by the county, this is a 4.5% salary increase for every eligible employee: one percent cost of living allowance (general wage adjustment) and 3.5 percent in merit increase (increment)…”  Upon reading this memo it became obvious to the AAUP Executive Committee that the College had no intention to honor the terms and conditions of our CBA.

On March 15, 2017, Dr. Pollard notified the College community of the initial recommendation from the County Executive to only provide the College with $2 million in additional County funding.  Shortly after that memo was sent we were notified by one of the College’s attorneys that the College was invoking Section 8.5 of our CBA.  This is the Section that deals with what should be done if the College doesn’t receive sufficient money to fully fund its projection of what is required for it to comply with our CBA and meet its financial obligations to you as a Faculty member.

Thereafter, on May 18, 2017, we received notification from Dr. Pollard that the Montgomery County Council voted to provide the College with $5.2 million in new money for the FY18.  The College continued to insist that they didn’t have sufficient money to fully fund the raises it is required to pay as required by our CBA and subsequently offered us a 1% general wage adjustment and a 2% increment.

This necessarily raises the question and you all may be wondering “how much money did the College need in order to fully fund the raises that were previously negotiated and agreed upon in our CBA?”.  The answer is $2.73 million.  If the College received $5.2 million and they only needed $2.73 million, why can’t they fund our previously agreed upon raises?  Remember, the only CBA in place at the time the budget request was submitted to the County Council and the County Executive was the AAUP CBA.  At the time the County Council voted to provide the College with $5.2 million our CBA, with its agreed-upon salary increases, was the only CBA in place and to which the College was legally bound with regard to salary increases for the current Academic Year.  As I noted above, the College was still in negotiations with AFSCME and SEIU.

We initially filed a grievance against the College because it appeared that the Administration did not ask for enough money to fund our contract.  We learned that they did request sufficient revenue from the County and we have rescinded that grievance.  Several weeks ago we subsequently filed a grievance against the College because it failed to pay us according to the terms and conditions as stated in our previously negotiated and agreed-upon CBA.  To put it simply, they asked for enough money and received enough money but intentionally decided not to do use it to pay our salaries as provided for in the CBA.  We believe they invoked Section 8.5 improperly.

The steps both Management and the Chapter must follow when a grievance is filed are stated in the CBA.  I encourage each of you to please read this document which can be found in the Chapter Documents sections of the Chapter’s webpage, mcaaup.org.

Until such time as this grievance is resolved no wage adjustments will be made to the full-time faculty but it is our understanding and expectation that all other aspects of the Agreement will remain in place.  I will provide you with additional updates in the near future.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, President AAUP

AAUP Update: FA17 Opening Meeting

Colleagues:

I hope all of you have had a restful and productive summer and are ready to start the new academic year in a few weeks.

I wanted to take this time to remind all of you that we will have an opportunity to meet as a full-time faculty right after the opening meeting on Monday August 21.  This is a very important meeting and one that will allow all of us to exchange our thoughts and ideas regarding the Chapter’s activities for the coming year and the recent memos that we all received regarding a planned increase in our parking fee and negotiations.  I strongly encourage all of you to attend this meeting so that the members of the Executive Committee can share our thoughts and ideas about the future of our contract.

Additionally, coming to the meeting will give you another opportunity to bring a donation for the Rockville Food Pantry.  We starting doing a food drive on each campus last year and this has been a very successful activity for the Chapter which provides a direct benefit to our needy students.  Last spring’s food drive filled the pantry in Germantown.  This fall’s food drive will help fill the pantry in Rockville and our January food drive will benefit the food pantry in Takoma Park/Silver Spring.  Please be generous.

I look forward to seeing all of you at the opening meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP
Montgomery College
20200 Observation Dr. SA239
Germantown, MD  20876

 

AAUP Update: Testimony to MC Board of Trustees

Testimony by Professor Harry N. Zarin
President, Montgomery College Chapter of the American
Association of University Professors (AAUP)
To the Montgomery College Board of Trustees

June 19, 2017

Members of the Board of Trustees:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with all of you this evening.  I am here at the unanimous request of the Montgomery College Full Time Faculty, who passed a motion at our May meeting requesting I speak to you about the failed process Management used to create the College’s FY’18 operating budget.

By now you have heard that the Full-Time Faculty have not signed any agreement regarding reductions in duly-negotiated wage increases for the coming fiscal year, and that the Chapter filed a grievance against the College. The Chapter filed the grievance, with the full support of the full-time faculty, after it became clear that the Administration failed to ask for sufficient monies from the County to fully fund the increases we previously negotiated, in good faith, and were incorporated as part of our collective bargaining agreement.  Our enabling legislation authorizes the College’s full-time bargaining unit faculty to select an exclusive negotiating representative, and it requires the College to bargain with said representative in good faith.  It also provides that if an agreement is reached, the College must request the funds necessary to implement the Agreement.  With regards to the FY’18 operating budget, this did not happen.  In essence, the College did not ask for funds sufficient to cover the increases that had been agreed upon and, when it heard the College might not get enough money to fund our increases, it invoked Section 8.5, the financial exigency provision in our Agreement.

It appears to us that Management’s attempt to appease the County during our period of declining enrollments has failed.  Earlier this year, Management publicly stated that it only requested enough funds to allow for salary increases in the coming fiscal year that would be equal to increases in the current fiscal year. That statement clearly demonstrates Management’s failure to request enough money to fund the raises previously agreed upon for the members of the AAUP Chapter.

We recognize that the County is under a significant financial strain and that some tough choices must be made, but we also know, from a memo written by a County administrator to County-funded agencies, that the County expected operating budget requests to, “not include staff furloughs or any other reductions of existing pay and benefit levels that are subject to collective bargaining.” The County Executive and the County Council expected operating budget requests to contain full funding for contracts, presumably so that the County could see and know the full fiscal operating picture before making decisions.  Process and procedures must be followed when working with a labor organization that represents a collective bargaining unit like the Chapter, and it is clear that the process the Management followed was part of the problem.

In the 17 years that I have been actively involved with the Chapter we have only testified in front of this Board on one other occasion, and I can count on one hand the number of grievances we have filed.  Recently we have noticed an increase in the instances where individuals in the Administration have failed to follow the terms and conditions of the Agreement.  Multiple grievances have been the result. Whether this is due to changes in personnel, or for other reasons, appropriate procedures required to follow the terms and conditions of our Agreement are not being followed.

Bargaining unit faculty members are required to follow the terms and conditions of our Agreement which was ratified in this room just two years ago.  We hold our office hours, teach our classes, take on leadership roles, serve on committees, advocate for the College when asked and participate in professional development programs on a regular basis. We expect Management to have the same respect for and obligations regarding the executed Agreement as we do.

Thank you.

 

 

AAUP Update: Board of Trustees Meeting

Colleagues:

At our year end meeting in May the members of our Executive Committee spoke with those in attendance about a variety of issues. One of the issues we spoke about related to the budget process and the proposed increase in salary that we have been asked to accept as a result of the budget process. The amount we have been asked to accept on your behalf is less than that which we previously negotiated with Management. After a lengthy discussion a motion was made and passed which requires me to speak to the Board of Trustees on behalf of the full-time faculty at the next Board of Trustees meeting.

I will be speaking to the Board at their next meeting on Monday June 19th at 8:00pm. I mentioned to the over 200 faculty in attendance at the end-of-year meeting that I will be pleased to do this but that it is important that members of the full-time faculty show their support for the Chapter by coming to the meeting. The public comment period is the first item on the agenda. The Executive Committee would appreciate it if you would put it on your calendar to be there as a sign of support. If the meeting starts on time you will be out of there by 8:30pm.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor

President-AAUP

Montgomery College

20200 Observation Dr. SA239

Germantown, MD 20876

240-567-7767

240-567-1985 Fax

240-449-3452 VPN

Elections and more

Colleagues:

On-line voting for next year’s officers of the AAUP is now underway.  On-line voting is open from now until midnight on Sunday.  On-campus voting will occur on Wednesday May 17 just prior to the start of the closing meeting at the entrance to Globe Hall.  Voting is open to all dues paying member of the Chapter.  Department Chairs and those faculty paying the service fee are not allowed to vote.

As a reminder, the Chapter will be conducting another food drive to help fill the food pantries on each campus.  Please try to remember to bring a donation.  Large boxes will be set up at both entrances to Globe Hall on the first and second floors of the HT building.  Members of the Executive Committee will make sure that the collected donations are distributed to all three food pantries.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

 

AAUP Update: Testimony to Montgomery County Council

Harry N. Zarin, President
American Association of University Professors
Montgomery College Chapter
Operating Budget Testimony

April 5, 2017

Members of the County Council:

My name is Harry Zarin.  I am a Professor and Counselor at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College.  I am here today in my role as the President of the Montgomery College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, AAUP.

This evening I am asking that you help us continue to help our students achieve their dream of receiving a college education.  I am asking that you fully support and fund the College’s proposed operating budget that includes funding for contractually negotiated raises for our faculty.

We are a very fine group of talented and experienced full-time faculty who diligently work to help our students learn a variety of developmental level and college level subjects.  These subjects include anthropology, accounting, biology, chemistry, criminal justice, various levels of math, psychology, sociology.  Our faculty counselors offer a wide range of student support services including career counseling, academic counseling, crisis intervention, brief personal counseling, and disability support services.

Our faculty spend endless hours creating up-to-date lectures and materials that are designed to help our student learn.  We are required to keep up with our respective fields of expertise, technology, and the latest trends in higher education.  Here are a few examples of this work. Our American English Language faculty completely redesigned the series of courses our second language students take prior to moving into a college level English classes.  The math faculty completely redesigned our developmental math program in order to help our students better succeed in learning the basic math skills needed to successfully pass our college level math classes. The English and reading faculty redesigned our developmental English and reading program so that in the fall a completely new set of integrated developmental English and reading classes will be offered for our neediest student.  The chemistry faculty in Germantown have spent considerable time converting the majority of sections of our first semester chemistry class into a flipped classroom format.  This new approach to teaching is offering our students a different way to approach teaching and learning.

Quality teaching requires up-to-date facilities.  It is very challenging, to teach in out-of-date labs.  One of our math professors says “We’re talking about using 21st century teaching methods in a space that’s designed for the needs of another century.”  Our buildings on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus are very old.  One is 38 years old and the other is 56 years old.  These buildings don’t meet the needs of either our students or our employees. You should try rolling a wheelchair around that campus or in those buildings.  We need that new math/science building on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.  Our students should be able to learn in facilities that are the same level of quality as in those of our local high schools.

What are we asking for?  We are asking that you continue to invest in the affordability and excellence being offered to our Montgomery College students. As a faculty, we are very grateful for the county’s steadfast commitment to Montgomery College. The only new funds Montgomery College has requested from the county are for contractually required increases in compensation and benefits for our dedicated faculty and staff. Our request recognizes the excellent work and contributions made to help our students succeed—so that our students can complete their education and become prepared to transfer to a 4-year university or move into the workforce of Montgomery County.

I heard someone recently say that community colleges are game changers that give people an opportunity to become self-sufficient.  This is who we are and what we are doing every day at Montgomery College.  We need your assistance in order to help us continue to change the lives of our diverse student population and to help them achieve their dreams.

Thank you.