May 24, 2017

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.

 

AAUP Update: Newsletter, April 2015

(download in PDF)

April 2015 Newsletter

Update from Harry N. Zarin, G Counseling, Chapter President

Contract/Negotiations:

At our spring meeting in January, we updated those in attendance on the progress we were making in negotiations. Shortly after that meeting, we posted a summary of the tentative agreements that were reached in the Chapter Documents section of the Chapter website, and on February 13th, we conducted our first ever electronic vote on the agreements. By an overwhelming majority, the agreement was ratified by the membership. I am pleased to report that on the evening of March 23rd the Board of Trustees voted to ratify the agreement. We are very thankful to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Pollard, the members of Management’s Negotiating Team, Dr. Janet Wormack, and Dr. Sanjay Rai for their support and efforts towards bring this year’s negotiations to a successful conclusion.

We believe we made some very important progress with these agreements that will benefit our membership. We successfully negotiated a 9-year contract, which included increases in salary for the next three years, increases in EAP for the next three years, and additional pay for days worked over 195 in any academic year. Additional protection was negotiated with the inclusion of final and binding arbitration for grievances, which also includes discipline and discharge situations.

Please refer to the Executive Summary of the tentative agreements in the Chapter Documents for additional information on these and other important agreements that were reached. Also, for your reading pleasure, the entire new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been posted in the above-mentioned section of the Chapter website.

We all owe our Negotiating Team and Executive Committee a tremendous debt of thanks for the numerous hours spent both in committee meetings and at the negotiating table. Also, Rose Sachs, our past President and retired counselor, deserves and big thank you for her time and efforts spent in many meetings as our hired consultant. David Kelly, the Chapter’s attorney, also deserves our thanks for his superb guidance and support throughout this entire process.

Budgetary Issues and Testimony:

The Board of Trustees annually submits a proposed operating budget to the County Executive, and the County Executive then makes a budget recommendation to the full Council and the College. This year, the BOT proposed an operating budget that was approximately $15 million higher than last year’s budget. This included $11.8 million to cover negotiated increases in the costs of employee compensation and benefits and additional funds to cover the costs of several important student success initiatives. The County Executive recommended an increase of only $3 million over last year’s budget, and in his proposal, he asked that the College make up the difference, by among other things, severely increasing our tuition rates. The College is now lobbying members of the County Council and asking them to restore as much as they can to our operating budget so that our negotiated increases in salary and student success programs can be funded.

As the President of our Chapter, I have been asked to represent the faculty at the County Council hearings on Wednesday, April 15th, at 7:00pm in the 3rd floor hearing room at the County Council building. It is very important that as many faculty and employees as possible attend these hearing. We want to pack the house as a way of demonstrating our sincere interest in the college and showing the County Council that we support the mission of the college and the success of our students. Your AAUP Executive Committee would appreciate it if you would mark your calendar and plan on taking some time out of your day to attend these hearings.

In order to assist me in writing my testimony, I am soliciting your assistance. I would like to highlight the accomplishments of some of our faculty and students in my 3-minute testimony. Yes, I said 3-minute testimony; this is all the time each of us are given when we testify in front of the full Council. I would appreciate it if you would send me bulleted highlights of some of your accomplishments from this year and success stories of some of your students. If you wrote a book, published an article, received an award, have been elected to hold office in a professional association, or have been selected to serve on a special committee, please send me a brief e-mail. At the same time I would ask you to send me some student success stories. The Council always enjoys hearing about our students.

Contractual Obligations:

In our December newsletter, I mentioned a few very important contractual obligations that all of you need to be aware of. One of these obligations relates to the amount of ESH you are required to work in an academic year and the amount of ESH you may earn in a given semester or a given academic year. Each faculty member is required to work at least 30 ESH each academic year, may not work more than 20 ESH in any given semester, and may not work more than 36 ESH in any given academic year. It is very important that all of you know that winter session ESH is part of your spring load. Exceptions to these limitations are given in very rare and exceptional circumstances and must be requested in advance of a given semester. It is the responsibility of both management and the individual faculty member to know these contractual limits. During the current academic year, mistakes were made by both management and faculty, which resulted in several violations of the established ESH limits. In order to reduce the negative impact on students, the Chapter agreed to allow the overages to occur. Next year, the Chapter will be taking a very hard line towards granting exceptions to the ESH limits stated in the contract. Please plan accordingly and make sure you communicate with your Chair with regards to both your teaching and non-teaching ESH and remember winter session ESH is part of your spring ESH load.

Obligation to Join the Chapter or Pay a Service Fee:

This is a reminder to all full-time bargaining unit faculty members who are completing their first semester of employment at the College. Each of you has an important decision to make. Based on Article 7.7 Modified Agency Shop:

“…any faculty member hired into a bargaining unit position shall, by the conclusion of his or her initial semester of employment, be required to have dues deducted pursuant to Section 7.2 (A) or pay a service fee established by the Chapter as compensation for the representational services rendered.”

If you are a newly-hired faculty member and have not already joined the Chapter or submitted an application to the Chapter indicating that you are agreeing to pay a service fee, you must complete an authorization for dues/service fee deduction form and submit the form to Bill Talbot, (R) Accounting and Chapter Treasurer. You may access this form from the Chapter’s website at www.mcaaup.org by simply clicking the “Join the Chapter” tab. If you have any questions about this requirement, please do not hesitate to contact any other member of the Executive Committee or me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this brief message and please plan on attending the County Council budget hearings on Wednesday, April 15th, at 7:00.

Important Information on the Chair Position

As many of you may already know, during the process of the Academic Restructuring the administration has selected to alter its 30-year standing interpretation of our enabling legislation and our Contract language, specifically regarding the role of the department chair and the definition of the term “supervise.”

On May 8, the Executive Committee invited Dr. Pearl, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs (SVP-AA), to meet with us to discuss the legal guidance the administration has received on this matter, including any possible constraints on activities permitted the members of the faculty bargaining unit. Dr. Pearl was accompanied by Jacia Smith, Director of Employee and Labor Relations and Recruitment, we assume to present management’s current opinions and respond to questions of a legal nature. We were told by Dr. Pearl that the legal guidance had come from Rocky Sorrell and Darryll VanDeussen, attorneys who have been employed by the college for many years, each of whom has intimate knowledge of the legislation and our Contract. We question the impetus for these two to suddenly and radically alter their interpretations of both at this particular time during the last stages of the development of the Academic Restructuring plan. As we pointed out during the meeting, the legal concerns about supervisory responsibilities of the department chairs are directly addressed in our Contract. And this explicit and legally binding understanding between AAUP and management has been accepted as being consistent with the enabling legislation for some 30 years. Furthermore, this understanding is also reflected in the college’s Policies and Procedures (P&P), which have remained unchanged since 1992. Again, we question: what is different now?

During the meeting, Ms. Smith stated unequivocally that faculty cannot review curriculum materials, schedule classes/faculty, order equipment/supplies, participate in employee evaluations – in fact, when we pointed out that the role of the chair is to provide academic leadership and to construct meaningful recommendations, primarily to the deans, Ms. Smith responded, “Just because you don’t make the final decision, if you have any decision you are a supervisor.” These assertions were not refuted by Dr. Pearl. Moreover, the concerns, as conveyed by Dr. Pearl and Ms. Smith, appear not to be primarily with the role of the chair as it relates to full-time faculty but rather with the role of the chair as it relates to members of SEIU and ASCME. Ms. Smith stated, “No-one in a union should supervise any other union member of any union.” Again, this assertion was not refuted by Dr. Pearl. The crux of the matter lies in the interpretation of the term “supervise.”

It is our contention that chairs do not supervise:

• Department chairs do not hire full-time faculty or staff; they sit on, often chair, hiring committees and provide recommendations. The deans have generally respected the recommendations of these committees but have always had the authority to accept or reject these recommendations.
• Department chairs do not hire part-time faculty. They review the credentials/documents of, interview part-time faculty, and present information and recommendations to the dean. Part-time faculty are hired by deans. It is Ms. Smith’s claim that this practice is supervisory.
• Department chairs do not transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, or discharge any other employees.
• Department chairs do not assign employees. Under the guidance of their deans, they create schedules for classes and faculty, which are assigned by the dean, with or without modification. We were told by Ms. Smith that building schedules is supervisory.

According to the new interpretation of “supervise” that was presented to us by the administration via Ms. Smith, it seems that every department chair in every department, college-wide, who is following the definitions and directives that are stated in the college’s P&P is performing duties that, although prescribed by the administration, are now being deemed inappropriate or even illegal. If that is the case, then it would appear that the P&P has created and promoted unlawful conduct on the part of faculty chairs for 21 years. We do not believe this to be true; we believe that the P&P reflects the enabling legislation and our Contract.

It is certainly our strong preference that chairs remain faculty leaders who continue to serve under the guidance and direction of an appropriate dean to facilitate the provision of services that enhance the teaching effectiveness of faculty; to provide the critical leadership for instructional programs and students’ development; to plan, develop, administer and evaluate programs, services and personnel; to encourage innovation and promote excellence; and to develop and maintain a climate which fosters maximum student growth. We are being told, however, that these preferences are not consistent with the law. We believe they are. They are also consistent with the P&P; this wording is taken directly from the College’s existing Policies and Procedures.

Montgomery College’s Policies and Procedures 24102CP explicitly delineates the role of department chairs and explicitly states that department chairs are faculty. Included in this Procedure are the following responsibilities that we have now been informed the administration considers supervisory, and thus, inappropriate for faculty to perform:

Providing leadership for and assuring meaningful opportunities for faculty participation in:
1. Departmental planning, scheduling and budgeting
2. Recommending the selection of new full-time faculty
3. Full-time faculty evaluation processes
4. Selection and evaluation of part-time faculty
5. Hiring, supervision and evaluation of support staff

Further, it is now the contention of the administration that it is also inappropriate, contrary to the requirements of the P&P, for the chair to continue to advocate for faculty needs and oversee provision of department services in:
1. Day-to-day departmental operations
2. Departmental fiscal operations

Management is now interpreting as supervisory and, therefore, inappropriate, the aforementioned responsibilities, all of which are clearly stated as duties of the peer chair for the purpose of assuring that faculty efforts can be focused as much as possible on teaching and learning. This new interpretation does not appear to be open to further discussion with the faculty and seems to be the basis of the only two options being considered in the restructuring: either to remove the chairs from the bargaining unit, thus creating administrative chairs, or to strip the faculty chairs of compensation and all meaningful responsibilities. We believe that removing the chair position from the bargaining unit is dangerous on many levels. Faculty chairs are experts in their disciplines and the necessary bridge between faculty and administrators. Faculty chairs are able to provide the administration with a diverse perspective, specifically the student-faculty perspective in the institution’s decision-making process. Faculty chairs remain in touch with the needs of the students and understand the changing student demographics from the point of service because faculty chairs continue to teach, not merely the occasional class. In addition, even if an agreement can be reached to protect a faculty member’s faculty position after a term as an administrative chair, the union has no way of protecting a non-tenured faculty member while they are serving as an administrator. Unlike actual tenure, a tenure-like evaluation structure is only of value when the individual is a faculty member. The second option that has been considered by the administration, to remove compensation and all responsibility from the faculty chair, in our opinion, is simply punitive. We will discuss the ramifications of these options further at the AAUP meeting next week.

Based on the interpretation that was presented to us by Dr. Pearl and Ms. Smith, participating in performance evaluations for part-time faculty or staff; creating schedules for full-time and part-time faculty; signing leave slips for faculty and staff; reviewing course materials of full-time or part-time faculty; interviewing and recommending the hire of part-time faculty; directing the activities of departmental staff; and signing any form for the purpose of purchasing supplies or equipment for the department could, and most likely would, be deemed unlawful conduct. Of great import is that not only does this interpretation differ significantly from that of the union, but this interpretation entirely contradicts the P&P, a document constructed by the administration and one to which we have a unconditional obligation to adhere. And these conflicting interpretations not only present a dilemma for sitting chairs, coordinators and other faculty, but actually put them at risk regardless of the actions they take. Actions taken in defiance of the P&P or in defiance of an order from the SVP-AA could be considered insubordinate and subject to disciplinary action. Given the disconnect between the two – which are we to follow?

Compounding an already untenable situation, we have become aware that the recommendations from the Academic Restructuring Task Force include that the chair becomes a twelve-month, non-faculty position. The justification for taking the chair out of the bargaining unit is management’s assertion that department chairs are acting as supervisors for college employees in other bargaining units and that a supervisory role for AAUP members may be counter to the enabling legislation. The Chapter’s attorney refutes the characterization that such roles are counter to the law.

We have repeatedly requested the opportunity to discuss, formally and/or informally, the role of peer chairs and possible ways to modify, if necessary, the role that would preserve the position in terms of academic leadership and remain within any legal requirements. In fact, this was the stated purpose for which Dr. Pearl was invited to meet with the Executive Committee on May 8. The administration has refused to engage in such a discussion. We expect that management will implement the recommendation to pull the position of chair out of the bargaining unit. Should they choose to do so, the Chapter, on the advice of counsel, is prepared to take the matter to the State Commissioner of Labor and Industry.

The AAUP executive committee thanks you for the support that so many of you have offered us. The vocal and emailed words of support of our colleagues are always appreciated, but in these times they also serve the very important role of demonstrating to the administration that the Chapter is truly speaking on behalf of the full-time faculty.

Rick Penn
Stephanie Pepin
Bryant Davis
Sharon Piper
Bill Talbot
Jorinde van den Berg
Tim Kirkner
Rose Sachs
Dan Wilson
Robin Flanary

Course Renumbering Memorandum – April 1, 2013

 From:               Dr. Donald M. Pearl, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs 

I wish to express my appreciation to all members of the faculty, staff, and administration for the cooperation and effort that has gone into the course level review. By purposefully examining the numerical, course level assignment and sequencing, we will create a meaningful course system that outlines a clear educational pathway for our students.

After reviewing a number of course format alternatives, the College has decided that it is in our best interests to transition from a two-letter, three-number format (i.e., SN101) to a four-letter, three-number format (i.e., SPAN101). This has the advantage of bringing our numbering system in line to that of other colleges and universities in Maryland, and expanding those prefixes will improve identification for those departments that were not easily associated with their old designation. A three-letter prefix designation will continue to be used for Workforce Development & Continuing Education courses.

Upon the completion of the first phase of the course review, the College Curriculum Committee will analyze the results. Before any final decisions are made, the disciplines will have an opportunity to comment on the recommendations that are made.

Again, thank you for your support and cooperation with this process.