June 26, 2017

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: 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.

 

AAUP Update: April 2017

Colleagues:

On March 30 the Executive Committee met with a group of spirited faculty members off campus to discuss the process surrounding next year’s budget and contractual concerns of the Executive Committee.  I am writing today in order to provide all of you with an update regarding what happened at the meeting and since and a few other issues.

At the meeting members of the Executive Committee and the Chapter’s attorney provided the membership with information on the budget process and our concern that the college administration did not request the funding necessary to meet the financial requirements of our collective bargaining agreement.  In February the college’s administration submitted a proposed operating budget to the County Executive.  In that request the college asked the county for 7.4 million dollars more than we received last year.  As was stated in a March 1 memorandum sent by Janet Wormack, Senior Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services, the 7.4 million dollars would enable the college to provide eligible employees with a 1% general wage adjustment and a 3.5% step increase.  Our negotiated increases for next year included a 2.75% general wage adjustment and a 3.5% step increase for all faculty below the maximum.  After considerable discussion at the meeting, a vote was taken and it was decided that the Executive Committee should file a grievance against the college due to its failure to request the funds necessary to meet the requirements of our collective bargaining agreement.  Said grievance was filed with the college on April 7. The Executive Committee is very aware of the budget situation in the county and the state; however, it is our position that regardless of the fiscal situation in the county and the state, it is incumbent for the college to make the “ask” and to do all it can to meet the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreement. At the appropriate time we will provide all of you with a follow up communication on the status of the grievance.

Parking and Transportation Committee Reconvening:

I recently received notification that the administration is interested in reconvening the Parking and Transportation Committee.  It is possible that they are considering increasing our parking and transportation fees.  I will keep you posted on recommendations made by this committee.  Michael Gurevitz and Sharon Piper have agreed to represent us on this committee which has not met yet.  Increases in our transportation and parking fees are subject to the terms and conditions of our collective bargaining agreement with the college, Section 9.8.

Negotiations:

We are presently in the 2nd year of our three-year contract and in the fall negotiations will begin again.  During these negotiations we will be working to come to an agreement on increases in our salaries, overload ESH, EAP benefits, and other issues.  Prior to negotiations, we will announce the members of the negotiating team and we will name the Chief Negotiator.

Year End Meeting:

Our year end meeting will be held on the Germantown Campus on May 17 right after the college-wide meeting, around 11:00 am in Globe Hall.  Please plan on attending this meeting so that we can hear from you and vote on important Chapter issues.  The meeting is open to all bargaining unit members.  At the year-end meeting we will be voting on our officers for next year.  This year, same as last, we will be offering members the ability to vote either on site the day of the meeting or electronically prior to the meeting.  A call for nominations will be sent to you later today.  More information about the elections process will be sent to you prior to the May 17 meeting.

Food Drive:

Last semester the Chapter ran a very successful food drive that enabled us to stock the food pantries on each campus.  This year we have decided to have the food drive at the end of year meeting.  Boxes will be placed near Globe Hall for your donations.  We will make sure to distribute the donated items to the food pantries on each campus.  Reminders about the food drive will be sent to all of you prior to the May 17 meeting.

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

AAUP Update: Newsletter, December 2016

(download in PDF)

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

Presidential Perks Survey

On behalf of the Executive Committee I would like to thank all of you who took the time to respond to our recent Presidential Perks Survey. I hope all of you have taken the time to review the results.

As I stated before, the results of the survey were sent, unedited, to Dr. Pollard and they were posted on the open Chapter website. We understand that Dr. Pollard and others in the administration read the responses closely. As was made clear at the start, the survey results do not, in any way, reflect the opinion or position of the Chapter as a whole, of the Executive Committee as a whole, or of the individuals on the Executive Committee.

Following her receipt of the survey results several union and governance leaders, myself included, met with Dr. Pollard and several members of her staff. The meeting was very beneficial and Dr. Pollard and the other members of her team were able to clarify a number of issues raised in the NBC News I-Team report. What happens next is up to Dr. Pollard and her staff.

When I solicited responses to the survey I asked that the responses be thoughtful, professional, and concise. The vast majority of you took the time to do exactly that and this was appreciated by your Executive Committee. However, several of those who chose to respond deviated from the purpose for which the invitation was extended and a few submitters used the survey to make posts regarding matters which were not germane to the highly significant topic that prompted the survey. Moreover, one post went further and made ad hominem comments directed at specific individuals in the College community who were not identified in the NBC News I-Team report or the survey, and did so in an inappropriate tone. While we support full recognition of the protected free speech rights of all members of our Community, we are concerned that dressing-down people who were not involved in the I-Team report on our open website could undermine the serious consideration of the issues that prompted Dr. Pollard’s invitation and we deemed warranted the Chapter members’ attention. Hopefully this will not occur in the future.

Spring Opening Meeting

All faculty are expected to return to work on Tuesday January 17th. The College will hold the spring meeting on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus starting with a continental breakfast at 8:30am. The President’s opening meeting begins at 9:00am and our Chapter meeting will take place after the meeting ends in the same location. During the meeting the Executive Committee will field your questions, discuss some of the activities we have been involved in this semester, briefly talk about next year’s negotiations, and we will hear a treasurer’s report. We will also be holding a special election to fill the vacant Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus Vice President position. We hope to see you there.

In Closing

On behalf of the entire ExecAAUP Newsletter December 2016utive Committee I would like to wish all of you a happy and health holiday. Please be safe and get some much needed rest.

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: Nominations and the Closing Meeting

Colleagues:

As the year comes to a close it is time for us to be thinking about who will manage the affairs of the Montgomery College Chapter of the AAUP next year.  Nominations for the positions of President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Vice President for Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring are now open and are being accepted by Julie Levinson, Counseling TP/SS.  Julie has graciously agreed to be our one person Nominations Committee.

The current officers of the Chapter are;

  • Harry Zarin, Chapter President
  • Michael Gurevitz-Business, Treasurer
  • Tito Baca-TP/SS Secretary
  • Robin Flanary-Nursing, Vice President TP/SS
  • Denise Dewhurst-Psychology, Vice President Germantown
  • Steve Thurston-English, Vice President Rockville

If you are interested in running for one of these positions or if you would like to nominate a dues paying full-time faculty member for one of these positions please submit your nominations to Julie by the close of business on Friday, May 13th. Nominations may be made via e-mail to julie.levinson@montgomerycollege.edu or in writing.

We will conduct our on-campus voting at the closing meeting on Tuesday morning May 17th in the second floor lobby of the HT building.   Look for the AAUP table when you come into the building’s entrance on the second floor. 

I encourage all of you to attend our end of the year Chapter meeting which will take place in Globe Hall right after the Dr. Pollard’s opening meeting.  This meeting will give you an opportunity to hear about the activities the Executive Committee has been involved with this semester, our re-negotiated pay raise for next year, the resolution of a multi-person grievance, and much more.  While at the meeting you will also have the opportunity to ask questions about a variety of issues that we will be discussing and voice your opinion regarding issues that interest you.

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

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Testimony to Montgomery County Council

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

April 5, 2016

Members of the Council:

My name is Harry Zarin. I am a Professor and Counselor at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College. I am speaking to you today in my role as President of the Montgomery College Chapter of the AAUP.

I am in the process of completing my 23rd year as a professor and counselor at Montgomery College. Each semester my colleagues and I see a new group of students arrive at the college with hopes and dreams, some with clearly defined career and academic goals, and many with undefined career and academic goals. They all know they need a college degree but many have no idea of what they are capable of doing or exactly what they want to do. Our students are also very diverse, coming from over 170 countries and speaking a vast array of languages. Some students arrive with academic skills at the honors and advanced placement level while other arrive with reading, writing, and math skills that are well below the college level. In addition, many arrive from other countries and have to participate in our American English Language Program in order to bring their reading, writing, and speaking abilities up to the college level.

Many of our students also enter college with what I’ll call “baggage.” Some come from dysfunctional families, some are single parents, some have been victims of abuse, or are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, others have psychological, physical, or learning disabilities. Some are struggling because they and members of their families have to work multiple jobs in order to pay the bills and put food on their table each day.

Now imagine you, as an instructor, arrive for your first day of class, knowing what I just said, and you have no idea of who is sitting in front of you in your class. Yet, as a faculty member, you are expected to be prepared to work with a diverse class of students and teach such subjects as chemistry, English, literature, biology, physics, calculus, the engineering sciences, networking and cybersecurity, history, philosophy, economics, art, and music. We also may be required to teach them how to fix cars, how to install an HV/AC system, how to do basic plumbing and electrical work, how to be a certified nurse’s aide or a variety of other subjects as part of our Workforce Development and Continuing Education division of the college.

In order for us to do this, we must be at our best all the time when we are working with students. This is true whether we are an instructional faculty member or a counseling faculty member. We are well aware that, in many cases, we are a major part of the support system students need in order to be successful in school and in life–and in many cases we are their only source of emotional support. As professors we educate, we change lives, we create opportunities, we counsel, we advise, and we mentor, support, and help our students become more mature and successful students. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on us to be our best so that we can provide our students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to be successful, whether they are leaving Montgomery College to pursue employment or to transfer on to a four-year university. This is a challenge that we readily accept and one that brings us great satisfaction. It is very fulfilling when we hear from former students once they graduate and find that first job or are admitted to a four-year university.

And it is now, once again, time for all of you to play your part in helping the College succeed and continue to provide for our students. There is an old saying, “You get what you pay for.” And at Montgomery College this means that when we are provided with the fiscal support we need, we can hire the likes of the following Maryland Professors of the Year:

Mary Furgol-History, Susan Bontems and Navart Tahmazian-Chemistry, Joan Naake and Greg Wahl-English, John Hammond-Math, Kenyatta Rogers-Theatre, Dawn Avery-Music, and Deborah Stern-Psychology.

By providing the College with the funds needed to continue and recruit, hire, and retain a diverse, quality faculty, we will be able to continue to provide for the needs of our ever growing student population. By providing the funds we have requested, you will help us keep Montgomery College affordable for our over 25,000 credit students.

As our older and more experienced faculty retires, we want to make sure that we have the funds during these difficult economic times available to continue to hire experienced faculty who are capable of meeting the needs of our diverse students who are trying to learn. Our ability as a faculty to create new programs, design new classes, maintain our level of expertise in our respective fields, keep up with technology, and revise our current classes, is only limited by the time we have and the funds available at the College to pay us to do our work and to be retrained.

Montgomery College is an integral part of the county and I encourage you to fully fund the proposed operating budget submitted to the County Executive by our Board of Trustees. On behalf of the faculty I thank you for your previous years support and for the support I hope will be provided to the College next year.

Thank you.

AAUP Update: March Chapter Update

March Chapter Update-Harry N. Zarin, Germantown (Counseling), AAUP Chapter President

Welcome:

After a rather rocky start due to the weather, the spring 2016 semester is well underway, and spring break will be here before you know it.  I hope that all of you survived the inclement weather, didn’t lose power, and didn’t injure yourself while you were shoveling snow.

We had a very good opening meeting in January, and the faculty who stayed for the Chapter meeting actively participated in our question and answer session.  The members of the Executive Committee appreciate your participation in these general meetings and enjoy communicating with all of you whenever we are given the chance to do so.

All faculty who were new to the college in the fall were told at the opening meeting that they had to make a decision between joining the chapter as a full member or paying the service fee, if they hadn’t done so already. I personally contacted each new faculty member and assisted them in processing the application for dues/service fee deduction.

We also heard about the recent Supreme Court case which may or may not have an impact on the faculty who are service fee payees.  Oral arguments in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case were heard by the Supreme Court in mid-January.  As stated in the national AAUP response, “the case threatens to reverse a decades old decision allowing for the collection of fair share fees from public employees.” We will have to wait for the Supreme Court to announce its ruling on the case before we will know if their decision will have an impact on our ability to collect a service fee from faculty who are not interested in becoming a member of the Chapter.

You can read the national AAUP’s response to the oral arguments by accessing the aaup.org site and looking in the news and for the media link. Here’s an overview article.

Coordinator/Chair Duties:

I mentioned to all of you on several occasions, including at the January opening meeting, that members of your Executive Committee worked with members of the Administration over the last year-and-a-half to develop an agreed upon list of Coordinator/Chair duties.

\With the completion of the academic reorganization the duties of these two positions became clouded and the list posted on the Chapter Documents web page helps to clarify what Coordinators should and should not do.  If you are a Coordinator I strongly encourage you to review and become familiar with this list.  You now have the right to politely refuse to perform any duty listed under the Chair’s Role.

Parking Violation:

Several members of the faculty have contacted members of the Executive Committee about an increase in the parking fee, which apparently occurred last fall.  After some investigative work we have learned that there was in fact an increase in the parking fee which was unannounced and which we feel is in violation of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The fee apparently was increased from $108.00/year to $120.00/year during the fall 2015 semester.

During the fall of 2014, in accordance with our contract, the Administration created a Joint Transportation and Parking Committee, of which I was a member.   After some discussion an agreement was reached, and as of January 2015 the parking fee for all full-time employees increased from $96.00/year to $108.00.year.  This increase was in accordance with our contract.

During the summer of 2015, I was contacted by Janet Wormack, Senior VP for Administrative and Fiscal Services about her decision to increase our parking fee by $12.00 for the 2015-2016 academic year.  I told her that this could not happen because it was a violation of our contract.

The contract stipulates the following:

“If, after the second year, Management contemplates changes in the parking fee, it will establish a joint committee consisting of equal representation among the administration, non-bargaining staff, bargaining staff, and the Chapter to review such changes and make recommendations to Management regarding such changes. With respect to any increases in the amount of the parking fee only, the Chapter agrees to increases recommended by the Joint Committee up to a maximum increase of $15.00/year, not to exceed $30.00 over any 3-year period without further negotiation or ratification by the Chapter.”

The Chapter’s position, in accordance with our contract, is that since Management increased the parking fee by $12.00 in January 2015 they could not and should not have increased it by another $12.00 until a Joint Committee met and until January 2016.

While the dollar amount we paid over the agreed upon $108.00 is not that great, the issue is that a violation occurred and it must be acknowledged by Management and a fix put in place to make all members of the bargaining unit whole.  I have been in touch with both the Chapter’s attorney and College’s attorney and we are working on fixing this issue as quickly as possible.

Advancement in Rank:

Many faculty members at the college have no idea how to initiate the process to advance in rank and there are probably a number of Dean/Chairs who also do not know how the process works.  Dr. Rai as charged the Faculty Council with the task of developing a set of procedures for him to review which will clarify the procedures necessary for a faculty member to advance in rank. The procedure will stipulate who can initiate the process, where the initial records regarding the original rank assignment are kept, and exactly what the procedure is.

Several members of the Chapter’s Executive Committee are on the Faculty Council so you can be assured that we are looking out for your best interests.  All of you should also be aware that advancement in rank comes with no increase in salary but in the field of academia advancing in rank is very important.

Faculty Outstanding Service Awards:

Last year Dr. Rai, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, informed us that he was interested in changing the structure of the Faculty Outstanding Service Awards. Joan Naake was assigned the task of reviewing the best practices from many other colleges and drafting a new way of rewarding the faculty for their hard work and dedicated service to Montgomery College.

A Committee, appointed by the Faculty Council and chaired by Joan drafted a new structure that was approved by the Faculty Council. Contractual issues related to this change in structure have been reviewed and will be resolved in short order.

A total of 14 Outstanding Faculty Awards for full-time faculty will be awarded later this semester.

  • 9 Award will be given for Excellence in Teaching and Counseling and Advising
  • 2 Awards will be given for Excellence in Scholarly or Professional Accomplishments
  • 2 Awards will be given for Excellence in Service to the Institution or the Community
  • 1 Award will be given to celebrate the Montgomery College Professor of the Year

More information about this new award structure and nomination packets will be announced later this month.

At-Large Vacancy:

Bryant Davis (English and Reading) has been serving as the Vice President for the Germantown Campus for many years. For personal reasons he needs to step down from this position so that he could pursue other interests.

As a result of this situation the Executive Committee has decided to move Denise Dewhurst into the position of Vice President-Germantown.

We are now looking for member of the Chapter to fill the At-Large position for the remainder of the semester.  If you are interested in helping out and serving in this capacity please contact me as soon as possible.

AAUP Food Drive:

Look for an announcement about our first ever MC AAUP volunteer project shortly after your return from spring break.

AAUP Update: Welcome Back!

November 2015 AAUP Update to the faculty

From Harry N. Zarin-G Counselor,  AAUP Chapter President

Welcome back:

During Professional Week in August we held a very informative Chapter membership meeting.  This meeting gave those in attendance an opportunity to ask the members of the Executive Committee questions, to voice their opinion on a variety of topics, and to hear some of the latest happenings of the Chapter.  We on the Executive Committee look forward to these membership meetings and hope that in the future more of you will attend and so that your voices can be heard.  Our next Chapter meeting will occur during professional week in January.

As I stated at the membership meeting we all owe a debt of thanks to Dr. Pollard, the Board of Trustees, the County Council, and the State Legislature for all of their support during last year’s budget deliberations.  This support led to all of us receiving a raise at a time when many other local colleges and universities were not able to offer increases in salary to their employees.  Dr. Pollard stated on many occasions that providing us with an increase in salary was one of her top priorities and we are all thankful that our elected officials agreed with her.  Last year we completed the negotiation of a 9 year contract which included raises for a three year period of time.  We can only hope that the economy will improve so that we will all benefit from these negotiated increases.

I am also pleased to report that, despite the hiring freeze, all full time faculty positions were filled by the start of the current academic year with the exception of a couple of positions where the search failed.  Hopefully these positions will be filled after future search committees complete their work.  Also, additional ESH was given to TP/SS and Germantown for tutoring ESH in our learning Centers and additional funds were allocated to TP/SS to upgrade their science equipment and supplies.  We are grateful to Sanjay Rai for his support of our learning centers and the full time faculty.

Prior to the official start of the semester I had an opportunity to speak with our new full- time faculty at the New Faculty Orientation.  During that meeting many of these faculty members joined the Chapter and some are now service fee payees.  Those faculty who did not make a decision on this issue will be contacted by me in January and at that time they will be required to make a decision on this issue.

Semester and Academic Year ESH Limits:

If you are planning on teaching a winter session class, please remember that winter session ESH is part of your spring load.  It is also important for you to remember that you are allowed to work a maximum of 20 ESH in any academic semester and 36 ESH in any academic year, August-May.    

Elimination of the 4th Year Evaluation:

When negotiations concluded in 2010 an agreement was reached with management to eliminate the required 4th year evaluation, however, this provision was never incorporated into either the printed or on-line version of the contract.  I am pleased to report that after a few brief discussions with representatives from management and the College’s attorney we were able to agree on a side letter that essentially incorporates what was previously agreed to into our contract.  A copy of that side letter will be posted to the documents section of the Chapter website.  How does this impact our newer faculty members?  All full-time faculty are evaluated during each of their first three years of employment at Montgomery College and are then appointed to a three-year contract.  Their next evaluation will be during the second year of the three-year contract, their 5th year of employment.

Extended Winter Term:

I mentioned at our opening meeting that the Academic Affairs Division was considering offering an extended winter session that would begin in December and continue until the end of the regularly schedule winter classes.  The idea allows for more teaching time, which is a good thing, but it also requires teaching during a period of time when the college is officially closed.  Only distance learning classes would be offered during this extended winter session.  For a variety of reasons the Academic Affairs Division has decided to delay the implementation of the extended winter session until next year.

Distance Learning Side Letter: 

It is important for all of you to know that a new distance learning side letter is now in effect.  The current side letter is in effect from July 1, 2015-June 30, 2018. During last year’s negotiations a sub-committee met and recommended that some changes be made to the previous side letter.  These changes were accepted by both management and the Chapter and they were incorporated into the new side letter.  The new side letter has been posted to the Chapter documents section of the Chapter’s website.  If you currently teach distance learning classes of any kind or are considering teaching or creating a class with a distance learning component, I strongly encourage you to read this side letter.

New Office Hour Requirements:

Perhaps the one issue that the Chapter has had to deal with this semester more than any other is the change to the office hour requirements.  As stated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement on p. 14, “During an academic year, with the approval of days and location by Management, instructional faculty shall post and maintain either (a) five in-office hours per week or (b) four in-office hours per week and two additional hours online or in an alternative location per week, for student consultation.”  This wording seems fairly straight forward but for some reason there was much confusion earlier in the semester about this provision of the contract by both the faculty and the Deans/Chairs.  If you are being asked to do anything other than what I just quoted, please contact myself or Tim Kirkner.  We will be glad to talk privately with you about your particular concerns.  Please remember that for purposes of scheduling office hours and hour is a 60 minute period of time.

Important Benefits Information from our Benefits Office:

Montgomery College’s benefits open enrollment period is a chance for you to enroll in or change your coverage in any benefit plans offered by Montgomery College.  Open Enrollment will take place from October 26, 2015 through November 20, 2015.  This year, the college has implemented a new benefits system called Benelogic.  All benefit eligible employees are required to go into the new online system to confirm benefits and information (dates of birth and SSN’s) on covered dependents.  Even if you are not changing your benefits selections, the Affordable Care Act requires confirmation of information to ensure compliance on 2015 tax returns.  All benefit eligible employees must take action by going online to select benefits they are interested in for a January 1, 2016 start date.  All Benelogic benefit selections need to be completed in the Benelogic system by November 20, 2015.

HR Benefits is also offering an incentive!  For Cigna participants, the first 100 employees to complete their Health Risk Assessment (HRA) and Benelogic update get a $50 Visa Gift card (taxable benefit).  For Kaiser participants, all employees who complete their HRA and Benelogic update will be entered in a raffle to win a bike, Fitbit, or Juicer.

For Cigna, log on to: https://my.cigna.com/web/public/guest

For Kaiser, log on to: https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health/care/consumer/my-health-manager

Topics to be Covered in the Next Chapter Update:

Advancement in Faculty Rank

AAUP Update: Chapter Website

Colleagues:

Please take a few minutes to check out the most recent updates that have been posted to the AAUP Chapter webpage.  One update relates to lobbying for funding from the County Council and the other relates our annual call for nominations for next year’s AAUP Executive Committee and the voting process we will use for this year’s elections.  You may access the Chapter website at www.mcaaup.org.

You may also review the full collective bargaining agreement, an executive summary of the agreements that we reached during negotiations, and the testimony I gave last month in front of the County Council by clicking on the Chapter Documents link on the Chapter’s homepage.

I look forward to seeing all of you at our end of year meeting on Tuesday May 19th at the Rockville Campus.

Harry Z.

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