December 16, 2018

AAUP Update: November 2018

Sent on behalf of Harry Zarin and on behalf of the chapter:

Colleagues:

Update to the Faculty-November 2018

I arrived at my class on Monday morning and, due to the events in Pittsburgh and Kentucky, I wondered how I would start my class.  Would I just begin with my planned lesson and say nothing, would the students bring up the tragedies from the weekend, would the students even know that something so tragic happened?  As a role model for our students and as a member of a minority group, I am Jewish, I felt compelled to say something.

I started the class with the usual welcome, “hope you had a nice weekend,” informed them of the day’s lesson and then made a very brief statement.

“The events from this past weekend were very tragic and scary.  I know there is little I can say to help you all understand how someone can have so much hate in their heart that they would search for and kill people just because they are Jewish or black.  I hope that once you are married and have kids or just decide to have kids that you will raise your children not to hate.  They don’t have to like everyone they meet but teach them not to hate. Teach them to respect themselves and the people around them.  I believe that the only way these types of senseless acts will stop happening is if we raise our children not to hate.”

I believe we all need to be a role model for our students and we need to ensure that they have a safe place to study, learn, and to express their views.  Be there for your students and do not hesitate to refer them to our counselors if they need someone to help them process these recent events and to deal with their feelings of anxiety or concern.

An E-mail Controversy:

Several members of the College community, myself included, recently received what some would call a rather controversial e-mail.  The e-mail was particularly critical of the Administration.  Within 24 hours of receiving this e-mail, it was deleted from my inbox.  At least one other recipient of the e-mail reported that the e-mail was removed from the personal folders section of her Outlook.  The concerns about this troubling situation are obvious.  Under what conditions can Management monitor our e-mail?  Under what conditions can Management remove e-mails from our inbox and personal folders?  Tim Kirkner and I attended our monthly meeting with Carolyn Terry, Sanjay Rai, and Donna Schena on Tuesday, and we asked them these questions.  Since IT is under the purview of the Senior Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services Donna said that she would research this issue and get back to us.  I hope to have an answer for all of you by the time I send out my next update in December.

Until then, my message to all of you is very simple.  If you don’t want Management to know the contents of what you are about to put in an e-mail, don’t use the College’s e-mail system.  Pick up the phone and call someone or send your e-mail from one private e-mail account to another.  You may also want to back up your email to a flash drive or separate server to maintain your existing records.

Monetary Concerns:

Included in the above-mentioned e-mail was information that we felt was very concerning.  Among other things, the e-mail contained information about substantial bonuses paid to several members of the Administration.  These bonuses were so substantial that one would wonder how an Administration, the BOT included, could express a concern about financial sustainability while at the same time approve additional payments to administrators who were just doing their jobs.  Even if they did more than they were supposed to, these bonuses make no sense.

How can you provide an administrator a bonus of $35,000, another administrator a bonus of $15,000 paid in two installments and another administrator a temporary 15 percent increase in salary for up to six months?  Did any administrator at MC deserve a $53,000 bonus in FY’17 and a $34,000 bonus in FY’18?  Are these bonuses appropriate during a time of declining enrollments when they are asking the community to do more with less?  Is this an appropriate action to take when the Administration breached our contract, and due to their failure to follow the terms and conditions of our negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement, we did not receive a raise in FY’18? I believe not.

It is interesting to note that the administrator who received the $15,000 bonus is the very administrator who approved the 15 percent temporary increase in salary for one of his subordinates.

Tim and I expressed our concern about these bonuses at our meeting with the Senior Vice Presidents.  We will pass on any response that we receive.

Our Court Case:

There has been no progress since I last provided you with an update regarding our on-going court case.  We are still waiting for the Clerk of Court in the Montgomery County Circuit Court to provide the Maryland Court of Special Appeals with some information.  Once that information is provided, the Court of Special Appeals will let our attorney know when his brief is due.  Our attorney has tried to contact the Clerk of Court several times and has never heard back from her.  I have given him the authority to personally go to the courthouse to visit the Clerk if that is what it takes.

How much do you earn?

For many years, all of the full-time faculty received a letter from HR with their stated annual base salary.  The letter arrived at the beginning of the fall semester and included information about any raises that were incorporated into our annual salary.  For some reason we stopped receiving this letter several years ago.  I contacted the Payroll Office recently and asked how the faculty can learn of their actual salary.  Below are the directions I received.  If you are interested in learning how much you earn, your base salary, follow these directions:

Login to MyMC

  1. Click on the Workday Icon
  2. Click on the Cloud in the upper right corner
  3. Click on your name in the upper right corner
  4. Click on Compensation in the drop down on the left side of the screen
  5. Click on Total Rewards in the top of the page

Negotiations:

Negotiations are ongoing. We have met twice in sessions with the Administration and have three more meetings scheduled during this semester. Under discussion are salary, EAP, and bereavement leave. The Distance Learning Side Letter is being negotiated separately. We will update everyone as soon as we arrive at any tentative agreements.

Statement About Elections:

Several faculty members have asked me who the Chapter is supporting in the mid-term elections.  A specific question was raised about the Circuit Court judges who are up for re-election.  My answer is simple: we are not a political organization and we can’t make recommendations.  I believe it is incumbent for each of you do your research, make an informed decision, and most importantly, vote.

Responses to this Update:

Generally, the Chapter receives several comments and/or questions after I send out an update.  These comments and questions are forwarded to me for a response.  Tomorrow I am heading out of the country for a week. I will not be returning to the office until Nov. 12.

I am letting all of you know this so that if you send a comment or question to this update to the Chapter’s website, you will not be surprised if you do not receive a response in a timely manner. Where am I heading?  Peru for a one-week habitat-type build about two or three hours south of Lima.

If you need Chapter assistance while I am out of the office you should contact your campus Vice President or any other officer on the Executive Committee.  The Chapter website, mcaaup.org has all of our names and contact information.

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP\Montgomery College
20200 Observation Dr. SA240B
Germantown, MD  20876
240-567-7767
240-567-1985 Fax
240-449-3452 VPN

 

AAUP Update: Faculty Council Update on Faculty Salary Study

As many of you are aware, the College recently reviewed and is making adjustments to some staff member salaries. However, many may not know that the College has now undertaken a review of full-time faculty compensation. Given the scarcity of information on this subject, the Faculty Council asked Mr.  Robert Roop, Chief HR Officer, and Ms. Heather Pratt, Director of Employee and Labor Relations, to attend a Faculty Council meeting and provide updates.

Council members and visiting constituents posed a number of questions regarding the details of the review, including but not limited to: what methodology will be used for the salary study, what the timeline is, what the communication plan is for informing faculty about the study, and what faculty can expect. While many answers did not provide specific detail, we were told the following in response to council and constituent questions.

  •  Mr. Roop and Ms. Pratt assured the Faculty Council that the Senior Administrative Leadership team has promised that no faculty salaries will be reduced;
  •  Mr. Roop and Ms. Pratt assured the Council that the Senior Administrative Leadership team has promised no faculty will lose their positions;
  • The intended outcome of the study is to adjust the minimum and maximum salaries in accordance with what is seen as market value;
  • It is neither a goal nor an expected outcome of the study that faculty will be paid on different scales depending on discipline;
  • The methodology is the same as was used in the staff study. The College also expects to conduct ongoing market analysis every 12-18 months;
  • The College is exploring the legality of implementing the salary range adjustments without renegotiating the contract;
  •  Mr. Roop estimated the cost of the staff study to be around 200-300K; he was less clear on the cost of the faculty study, but thought it to be lower;
  • The study is looking at colleges and universities nationwide and adjusting the results for the cost of living in this area. However, a faculty member pointed out that while the cost-of-living ‘bump’ in the College study is 13.5%, the Federal Government’s Office of Personnel Management uses 24% as its own regional benchmark;
  • Presentations to faculty were intended to be scheduled only after the study is complete because staff information sessions were initially poorly attended and because all information is not yet available. Council members strongly suggested that it would be advisable to provide information as it becomes available so as not to blindside the faculty
  • There are contractual/bargaining elements that will need to be considered and/or negotiated prior to implementation of any study findings
  • A request was made by Mr. Roop and Ms. Pratt for the Faculty Council to help with ideas for keeping faculty informed.

We encourage you to look for communication from Mr. Roop regarding this issue; the Council will be following up with him and will keep you updated as the situation progresses. Note: The Human Resources Compensation website appears to be directed at staff, not faculty. We are in touch with Mr.Roop regarding this and will provide information as soon as we receive it.

If you have questions regarding this issue, please email  Alan.Stover@montgomerycollege.edu, our Faculty Issues Committee Chair, so that the Council can follow up.

 

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 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: Newsletter, October 2016

(download in PDF)

October 2016 Newsletter
Update from Harry N. Zarin, G Counseling, Chapter President

Welcome Back:

On behalf of the Montgomery College AAUP Executive Committee I’d like to welcome all of you back for another eventful year of working with some wonderful students and with your colleagues.  I hope that each of you had good summer, a smooth start to the semester, and that your classes and committee work are progressing without too many headaches.

The Executive Committee appreciates the time we had together at our opening meeting during Professional Week and we look forward to seeing many of you throughout the year.  We will be scheduling Chapter meetings on each campus and will make sure to publicize these meetings with enough advance notice so that you can schedule time to meet with us and help us help you.  I felt badly that I was unable to attend the meeting.  As some of you may have heard my wife had a nasty fall at our house and broke her left leg.  After surgery and some time in a local rehabilitation facility she is now home recovering and working on getting stronger and on increasing her mobility.

I wanted to devote this update to providing all of you with some general information regarding a variety of topics the Executive Committee has been working on.

FY 2017 Salary Renegotiations:

At our closing meeting last May I reported that we were asked by the College to renegotiate the previously agreed upon 2.75% general wage adjustment because the members of the County Council stated that they wanted all County funded agencies to agree to 1% general wage adjustment.  On behalf of our membership I testified on two different occasions in front of the membership of the County Council and despite our best efforts we had no choice but to agree to the lowering of our general wage adjustment.  A copy of the signed Memorandum of Agreement regarding this renegotiation of our salary can be located in the Chapter documents section of the Chapter’s website, mcaaup.org.  The good news is that the College had sufficient funds to hire 9 new full-time faculty members, to pay the previously negotiated salary increment (3.5%) for all faculty below the maximum, and there were no layoffs or furloughs at the College.

I am sure that many of you are wondering what will happen to the increases we, in good faith, negotiated for next year. At this time I don’t have an answer for you. As the academic year progresses, I will keep all of you informed of any potential changes that may occur to our next year’s salary. 

Longevity Increases:

Last May I provided all of you with information about grievances that were filed by nine faculty members because they did not receive a longevity increase in their salary in accordance with Article 8 Section 8.2 (D) of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  These grievances were successfully processed and each individual faculty member received back pay and the appropriate adjustment to their base salary.  If you have been at the top of scale for 5 consecutive years and received satisfactory performance evaluations, you are due a $1,600 increase in your base salary.  Please contact Tim Kirkner or myself if you believe you were due this increase in salary and you didn’t receive it.

As part of the settlement agreement that was reached with Management a Memorandum of Understanding was written and signed in May 2016.  A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding is posted in the Chapter documents section of the Chapter’s website.  Next month we will be receiving a contractually required salary report from the administration.  Once we receive the report we will review the salary history of those faculty members who are at the top of scale and will confirm whether those eligible faculty members appropriately received their longevity increase.  If they did not, we will advocate on their behalf with HR to make this happen.

Semester and Academic Year ESH Limits:

Once again I wanted to remind all of you of the semester and academic year ESH limits that have been negotiated as part of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  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.    If you are planning on teaching a winter session class, please remember that winter session ESH will be included in your spring load.

Alternate Time Assignments:

As stated in the College’s Policies and Procedures, “Alternate time is the term used to describe the work load credit assignment by the College to instructional faculty members to perform tasks in lieu of teaching responsibilities.”  In years past, one equivalent semester hour (ESH) was equal to either, 50, 40, or 30 clock hours of assigned activities.  In our last round of negotiations we made a change to this particular provision of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Sections 5.4 (A) Tutoring and (B) Other Assigned Activities now stipulates that faculty members assigned tutoring ESH shall receive one ESH for each 30 hours of such assigned duties and they will be assigned one ESH for each 40 hours of assigned duties for all other activities.  The 50:1 provision was eliminated.  This particular change still needs to be updated in the College’s Policies and Procedures.

Executive Committee Vacancy:

A Takoma Park/Silver Spring member of our Executive Committee, Robin Flanary (Nursing), unfortunately had to step down from her position as Vice President due to scheduling issues.  The Executive Committee made the decision to appoint our Takoma Park/Silver Spring Member-at-Large, Sharon Piper (Nursing), to fill this position for the remainder of the semester.  A special election will be held at our January meeting in order to fill the member-at-large position for the remainder of the academic year.

We are looking for a volunteer to fill the position of Member-at-Large from Takoma Park/Silver Spring.  If you are a dues-paying member of the Chapter and are interested in filling this position for the remainder of the academic year please get in touch with me as soon as possible.  Our Executive Committee meetings are held twice a month on Wednesday afternoons at the Rockville campus.

Admissions Office Reminder:

I was asked to provide all of you with the following reminder about posting an NA (never attended) mid-term grade for all students who have never attended a class for which they are on your class roster.

The NA grade should be used to report students who never attended your course.  If a student has never attended your class, faculty should report that they never attended prior to the 20% meeting date of the course.  To report an NA, you should enter NA on your midterm grade roster before the 20% meeting date of the class.  The student will then be dropped from your class roster within 2-3 business days.  If you do not drop the student or the student does not drop themselves and they have never attended, you should give the student a final grade of “F” at the end of the semester and list their last date of attendance as the first class meeting.  Please do not use NA as a final grade.

82.5% Goal:

Members of the Executive Committee have received a number of calls and e-mails about the enforcement of a new guideline that was communicated to the Deans and Chairs while registration was occurring.  The calls and e-mails generally concerned a rule which stated that 82.5% of the seats in each section of each class had to be filled or the class had to be cancelled.  As a result of the enforcement of the “rule” many classes were cancelled, some, earlier than has happened in the past.  Some classes were cancelled to the detriment of our students.

I recently met with Sanjay Rai, Carolyn Terry, Monica Brown, and Janet Wormack.  During this meeting I raised the issue about this new rule.  It was explained to me that the 82.5% number is a general seat capacity goal for each department as a whole and not for each section of every class in each department.  The 82.5% number is not a rule; however, it was unfortunately implemented and enforced as a rule by some deans around the college which resulted in classes being cancelled inappropriately.  The College was hoping that we would run classes with an average of 82.5% of seats filled in each department, not each section.  The intent of the goal was not to cancel each section of each class if 82.5% of the seats were not filled; unfortunately, this isn’t what happened.  The goal was established as a way of helping the College from a financial perspective.   We have asked that Carolyn and Sanjay go back to the Deans/Chairs and to work with them on the proper and appropriate way to implement this new enrollment goal.

Protection for Minors on Campus:

Within the past two weeks I have received e-mails from several faculty members who have been told that they have to go through a background screening procedure, which includes fingerprint checking, because they are a participant in a program that includes minors.  I asked the College’s Youth Protection Coordinator, Kristen Roe, to provide us with some information about why this requirement is in place, below is the information she sent me.

The College is in the 2nd year of implementing the Protection of Minors Policy & Procedure 75005CP. Many faculty still have questions about background screening requirements. Here is a quick refresher:

  • Criminal history background checks can help screen employees for their suitability in working with children and other vulnerable populations.
  • All faculty and staff who interact with minors on behalf of the College are subject to background screening. This process includes fingerprinting at an off-site vendor. This screening is different from the universal screening of new employees upon hire.
  • For the purposes of the Protection of Minors P&P, a person under the age of 18 who is enrolled in a credit or non-credit course is not considered a minor. As such, a faculty member who has a 17-year old student in their class is not required to complete the fingerprinting background screening. If, however, that same faculty member participates in a special College-sponsored event that includes interaction with minors, that faculty member would complete the fingerprinting screening prior to the event. Similarly, if that faculty member teaches a course in an MCPS high school through the dual enrollment program, a fingerprinting screening would be conducted prior to teaching that course.

If you have any questions about the screening process or would like additional information about why you are being asked to complete background screening, contact the College’s Youth Protection Coordinator, Kristen Roe at 240.567.4279 or Kristen.Roe@montgomerycollege.edu.

Next Communication:

In the next communication on behalf of the Executive Committee I will provide you with information about our Labor Management Collaboration Committee meetings, our scheduled visits to each campus, and more.

AAUP Update: Montgomery County Council Testimony (4/5/16)

Dear Colleagues,

I have been asked to testify at the Tuesday, April 5th public hearings in front of the Montgomery County Council. The Council is holding public hearings on the county’s operating budget and on Tuesday evening they will be hearing testimony from representatives from Montgomery College. Students, union representatives, and an alumni board member will be testifying in support of the College’s operating budget on Tuesday evening from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the County Council Building (100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, 20850) in the Third Floor Hearing Room.

It is very important that we as a faculty support the College’s advocacy efforts. If your schedule permits, I am asking for your support by attending the hearings on Tuesday evening. Let’s try to pack the hearing room with PURPLE so that we visibly represent the College.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you there.

Harry Zarin, Chapter President

 

AAUP Update: Food Drive (4/11-4/15/16)

From April 11 to April 15, the AAUP-Montgomery College Chapter will be doing its part in keeping the food pantries on all three campuses full for students and others needing assistance in getting enough to eat. We will be holding a food drive with donation boxes at various locations. The food pantries are especially in need of healthful food that students can easily eat on campus. Look for the “AAUP Fill the Food Pantry” signs and leave your donations in the box.  If you are interested in volunteering to put out and monitor a box, please contact:

AAUP Update: Lobbying Efforts with the County Council

The County Council will make final decisions about the county’s budget, including decisions regarding funding for the College, next week on May 14th.  Now is the time for you to help yourself and your fellow colleagues by communicating with the President of the County Council, George Leventhal, at councilmember.leventhal@montgomerycountymd.gov.  At your earliest convenience please send an e-mail to the Council President share with the Council stories of your good work with our students and ask the Council to support the faculty and to keep tuition affordable.

Please communicate from a private email account and be sure to provide your home address or name the campus at which you teach.  Your immediate action is necessary.

Thank you!

PS  You can watch the recent Council discussion of the College’s budget here http://montgomerycountymd.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=&clip_id=9393&meta_id=82824   And, despite the overall positive comments of the Council members, your immediate action is necessary to be sure next week’s vote goes our way.

Your Chapter leadership will be participating in this lobbying endeavor by personally calling Councilmen Leventhal and speaking to him on behalf of the faculty.

Thank you for all of the work you did this year with our students and for participating in this lobbying effort.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP
Montgomery College

AAUP Update: 2015 Chapter Nominations/Elections

In a few weeks, the semester will end, and we will again hold our year-end meeting and annual election of Chapter Officers. During the elections process, if you are a dues-paying member of the Chapter, you will have an opportunity to vote for our Chapter President, Secretary, Treasurer, and one Vice President from your home campus. If you are interested in running for office or wish to nominate another Chapter member for one of these positions, please contact Julie Levinson, Counseling-TP/SS, at 240-567-5076 or by e-mail at julie.levinson@montgomerycollege.edu. Julie has agreed to Chair our Nominations Committee. All nominations must be received by 5:00pm on Monday, May 11.

For the first time, the Chapter will hold both online and on campus voting during our elections process.
Online voting will begin on Tuesday, May 12, and will end at midnight on Sunday, May 17.

The year-end meeting will take place at the Rockville Campus in the PAC on Tuesday, May 19, at 10:45am. At the year-end meeting, all eligible dues-paying members who did not vote online will be allowed to vote in-person. All votes will be totaled, and the officers for the 2015-2016 academic year will be announced at our year-end meeting.

Please plan on attending this important meeting and on voting for our Chapter Officers.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP

 

AAUP Update: Testimony to County Council

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

Operating Budget Testimony
April 15, 2015

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.  I am here to ask that you fully support and fund the College’s proposed operating budget that includes funding for contractually negotiated raises for our faculty.

Twenty two years ago I came to MC after having worked at two different local universities in several different roles. At the time I had no idea that my job would place me in a position where I would play such an important role in the lives of our students. Faculty counselors at Montgomery College provide our students with a tremendous amount of direction and advice which helps prepare them to become better students, to graduate, and in many cases, to transfer on to 4-year universities and work on receiving their Bachelor’s degree.

We as a faculty have been given the privilege of helping to shape and change the lives of thousands of students and this is a privilege that we take very seriously.  We are a creative and accomplished faculty, a faculty who have earned advanced degrees, published papers, written books, and have designed new and innovative ways of teaching courses. We need to do this because every day we work with students with varying learning styles and difficulties.

Imagine being a computer science teacher and trying to keep up with changes in your field.  Imagine you are teaching in our nursing program and you have to keep up with the ever changing field of medicine or being a history teacher with a moving target as a subject you are required to teach.  Below are a few examples of some of the accomplishments of our faculty.

  • Professor Loir Kelman, Biotechnology, co-authored an article for the Annual Review of Genetics on Archaeal DNA replication.
  • Professor Nathan Zook, Political Science, took a delegation of students to represent Argentina at the National Model United Nations conference last November in Washington, D.C.
  • Professor Robert Giron, American English Language Program, is the Editor in Chief of the Sligo Journal. This compilation of works, mostly by MC students, won the 2015 Florida Book Festival award for Compilations and Anthologies.
  • Professor Roger Coleman, Music, is writing an e-book while on his sabbatical on music theory.  This book will be offered free to students as part of an Open Educational Resource program.
  • Professor Swift Dickinson, English, took a group of student and faculty to Cuba for a 10 day study abroad program and he has presented on Caribbean Literature at several international conferences on this topic.
  • For the eighth time in 11 years–and the sixth consecutive year– a Montgomery College professor has been named Maryland Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Mary Furgol, a history professor, received the honor in 2003. In 2006, Joan Naake, an English professor, won the award. In 2009, the award went to Chemistry Professor Susan Bontems, followed by Dr. Deborah Stearns, a psychology professor; Music Professor Dawn Avery; Math Professor John Hamman and English Professor Dr. Greg Wahl, respectively.  Most recently KenYatta Rogers, a professor of theatre, received this award.  Since 2000, Rogers has taught classes at Montgomery College in voice and diction, movement for the performer and fundamentals of acting. As a professional actor, Rogers has garnered three Helen Hayes Award nominations for his stage performances. He has more than 50 film, television, radio and voice over credits including the National Endowment for the Arts’ The Big Read series and PBS’ Standard Deviants.

Our students are wonderful to work with and here are some relevant statistics.

  • Over 25,000 students were enrolled at Montgomery College this past semester. That’s more than many 4-year universities have at their institutions.
  • 535 high school students took a MC course this past fall.
  • 5,242 graduates or students who earned 12 or more credits transferred from MC last year to a four year institution.
  • 70% of all students who transferred from MC went on to attend a University System of Maryland institution.

Our students come from various backgrounds and over 100 countries.  They have seen or been in combat, have lived in communities that were ravaged by war, are the first in their families to attend college, are looking for a second chance, and are looking for an economical way to begin their college education.

Our students come with the potential for an enriched life, a life that will serve both self and community.  But their potential can flourish only within the context of opportunity, and it is within our classrooms and offices that these opportunities exist.

Students such as Joanna, came to Montgomery College several years ago with tremendous doubts about her ability to attend college much less actually graduate.  As a student with a severe vision problem she needed to learn how to learn in a college environment with technology that she had never touched.  Through the combined efforts of our Disability Support Services Offices, our creative faculty, and Joanna’s intense motivation to succeed, she earned an Associate’s of Applied Teaching degree in Elementary Education at Montgomery College and then transferred to Towson University’s Elementary Education program at the Universities at Shady Grove.  There Joanna continued her higher education journey and in May of 2014 she graduated with a 4.0 g.p.a., dually certified in elementary education and special education and she is now a 5th grade teacher in the Montgomery County Public School System.  Joanna was also given the honor of being selected as the graduation speaker for the entire Universities of Shady Grove at the May 2014 graduation ceremony.

A group of Montgomery College honors students attended the Northeast Regional Honors Council (NRHC) Conference in Gettysburg, Penn., April 9-11, which showcases the work of honors students from both two and four year colleges from Maine to Washington, D.C. Jonelle Bowen, Emily Christian, Shannon Freed, and Michael Kissiedu represented three of the college’s honors programs; General Honors, Renaissance Scholars, and Montgomery Scholars Program. Their presentation “Honors Student Researchers – Allies in the Campaign to Modernize the College Library” described and explained Montgomery College Libraries’ initiative to improve and modernize by using anthropology (visit http://libguides.montgomerycollege.edu/ethnographic?

Matthew came to Montgomery College after experiencing a difficult childhood and floundering academically.  He was mentored by several faculty members, was accepted into our Renaissance Scholars Program and began to flourish as a student.  He then attended and graduated with honors from St. Mary’s of Maryland as a history major.  He studied history while residing in Germany, applied to and was accepted to Middlebury College’s exclusive language program, and later studied Russian in Kiev, Ukraine. He was recently accepted to study history at Oxford University in England.

Montgomery College is the communities college and I hope the information I have given you will help to convince you to find a way to support the needs of the college as presented in the college’s proposed operating budget.

On behalf of the faculty I am asking for full funding of the requested budget in order to pay for contractually negotiated increases in salary for the faculty.  We did our fair share during the down turn in the economy by graciously accepting no increases in salary for several years and taking required furlough days.  We need you all to do your part to assist the college in delivering excellence inside and outside the classroom by funding compensation and the much needed student success programs proposed in its budget request.

On behalf of the faculty of Montgomery College I thank you for your time and continued support.