November 21, 2017

AAUP Update: Fall 2017

Colleagues:

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

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

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

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Counselor
President AAUP

AAUP Update: Contract Negotiations

Colleagues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, President AAUP

AAUP Update: FA17 Opening Meeting

Colleagues:

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

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

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

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

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

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

 

AAUP Update: Testimony to MC Board of Trustees

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

June 19, 2017

Members of the Board of Trustees:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

 

 

AAUP Update: 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.