May 24, 2017

AAUP Update: Newsletter, April 2015

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April 2015 Newsletter

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

Contract/Negotiations:

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

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

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

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

Budgetary Issues and Testimony:

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

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

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

Contractual Obligations:

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

Obligation to Join the Chapter or Pay a Service Fee:

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

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

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

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

AAUP Update: February 2015

Colleagues:

In years past all AAUP voting on contractual and other related issues occurred via in-person voting.  This year the Executive Committee explored the option of offering voting via an on line format.  Advances in technology have allowed this more convenient way of voting to be available to us.  We feel that this method will help to encourage a larger number of members to vote.  Thanks to Julie Levinson, counselor TP/SS, yesterday’s test vote was successful and we are now ready to proceed with an actual vote on the ratification of the tentative agreements that we reached with management.

Later this morning eligible dues paying members of the bargaining unit will receive an e-mail inviting them to vote on the ratification of the tentative agreements we reached with management.  This invite is not a test, it is the real deal.  Voting will remain open until 3:00pm on Friday, February 13.  Chairs, although they still hold faculty rank, are not part of the bargaining unit and therefore are not allowed to vote.  Service fee payees are not allowed to vote therefore you will not receive an invite to do so.  All votes from yesterday’s test vote have been deleted, so if you voted yesterday you will need to vote again today.

Yesterday we posted an executive summary of the agreements to the Chapter documents section of our website, www.mcaaup.org, for you review.  We encourage you to review this document prior to voting on the agreements.

The Executive Committee would appreciate it if you would take a moment to vote on this important agreement.  We would also like to extend our thanks to the members of our negotiating team, Bill Talbot, Michael Gurevitz, Sharon Piper, Rick Penn, Kathryn Woodhouse, and Tammy Peery.  A special thanks also is extended to our consultant and former MC employee Rose Sachs and the Chapter’s attorney, David Kelly.  We would also like to thank the members of the management team for their dedication in helping the process of negotiations move forward and come to a successful conclusion.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, Counselor and Chapter President

AAUP Update: Newsletter, December 2014

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December 2014 Newsletter

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

Opening meeting:

The spring 2015 open meeting is scheduled for Tuesday January 20th at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus, in the in the Cultural Arts Center.

Our full faculty meeting is scheduled to begin around 10:30 after morning speakers, including Dr. Pollard, and should run until about 12:00 p.m. .

Please attend this meeting. The Union’s Executive Committee will update you on Chapter affairs and on the progress of negotiations which, this year, cover all aspects of our contract. We look forward to your feedback. Please come and talk to us.

Negotiations:

In the November newsletter, I mentioned that progress had been made in negotiations, that the teams were meeting, and that we were all interested in coming to an agreement as soon as possible.

The Union and Administrators have met several times during the course of the fall semester and have made progress, reaching several tentative agreements on a variety of monetary and non-monetary issues. A break in the negotiations occurred in November while several members of the management team went on the County-sponsored trip to India.

The teams will meet again on Friday, December 12th and will continue to work on resolving several important issues, including general wage adjustments.

I am sure that many of you read the December 5th memorandum from Dr. Janet Wormack, Sr. Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services, about the FY’16 budget progress and fiscal update. I can assure you that we are all very aware of the fiscal situation in the state and the county.

We will be working closely with management to come to an agreement on a salary package that is affordable as well as equitable, given the raises received by the other bargaining units and administrators at the College.

New Faculty: Please Join the Union:

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

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

If you are a newly-hired faculty member and have not already joined the Chapter or submitted an application to the Chapter indicating that you are agreeing to pay a service fee, you must complete an authorization for dues/service fee deduction form and submit the form to Bill Talbot, (R) Accounting, Chapter Treasurer.

You may access this form from the Chapter’s website at www.mcaaup.org by simply clicking the “Join the Chapter” tab. If you have any questions about this requirement, please do not hesitate to contact me or any other member of the Executive Committee.

Contractual Obligations:

All members of the Chapter should take some time to review the contract.

While this may not seem to be the most exciting thing to do during your free time it is important for each full time faculty member to be aware of your obligations as a member of the bargaining unit.

For example, are you aware that you may not work more than 20 ESH in any given semester, that you must work at least 30 ESH each academic year, that you may not work more than 36 ESH in any given academic year, or that you may request a reduced workload by submitting a request in writing to the campus Vice President/Provost? Are you aware that you may receive an increase in salary if you are awarded an advanced degree, certificate, or license in the discipline for which you were hired?

You will also note that, with regards to our pay, there is no mention of stipends in the contract.

If a member of management mentions paying you a stipend for services rendered, this is not allowed under the terms and conditions of the contract. These are only a few of the important provisions in our contract that covers the terms and conditions of our employment at Montgomery College. Please take the time to review this document.

Jon Kreissig:

Over 40 years ago Jon Kreissig joined the faculty of Montgomery College as a member of the Physical Education Department. Unfortunately Jon passed away very suddenly on Friday, November 21. He was one of the last remaining tenured faculty members at the college.

During his tenure at the College he served as a teacher of health and physical education classes and as the Germantown baseball coach. He also served as a coach of track, cross country, and football, and he served as assistant Athletic Director at the Rockville Campus for a period.

Jon was involved in many community and civic organizations, was an alderman in Frederick County, MD, for 12 years and served as a representative of the statewide Association of Faculties for Advancement of Community Teaching.

During our time together as colleagues, we worked closely together to help a number of students in his classes who were having difficulties both in classes and in life. Whenever I asked for his assistance he always replied by telling me that it was all about the students and he simply wanted to know what I needed him to do.

His dedication and service to our students will be missed.

AAUP Update: Newsletter, October 2014

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AAUP Newsletter October 2014

 

Updates from Harry N. Zarin- G Counseling, Chapter President

Welcome back colleagues:

I want all of you to know that I am very honored to represent you as the President of the Chapter, and I deeply appreciate the fact that you have confidence in my ability to manage our Chapter affairs along with the members of our Executive Committee. It is my hope that I will be able to communicate with you monthly during the academic year via our Chapter website and e-mails. Please don’t feel that you have to wait for me to communicate with you. If you have something that you want me to hear, send me an e-mail or call me. My number is 240-567-7767. I would also be pleased to meet with you here in Germantown or on your campus if that is more convenient for you.

I’d like to thank all of you who attended our spirited opening meeting. Those of you who couldn’t make it, we hope you can next time. It’s great to hear from everyone, and the issues facing us need your attention and input.

Executive Committee Updates:

During the summer the members of the Executive Committee communicated about the various changes happening at the College. As a result of some of those announced changes I requested and had a private meeting with Sanjay Rai in June. At Dr. Rai’s request I, and the members of the Executive Committee, had a subsequent meeting with him. As a result of these meeting Dr. Rai requested that Tim Kirkner, Grievance Officer, and I meet with him and Carolyn Terry monthly during the academic year. These meetings will provide us with an opportunity to discuss, in private setting, Chapter concerns that we feel are important for them and the Administration to be aware of. We already had one productive meeting and look forward to our future meetings with them this year. We are grateful to Dr. Rai and Ms. Terry for the opportunity to meet with them and appreciate their interest in the concerns of the faculty.

The Executive Committee met once over the summer and we had our first meeting of the academic year on September 10th. We are scheduled to meet twice a month throughout the academic year. If you have any concerns that you feel we need to hear about it is important that you communicate those concerns to me or any other member of the Executive Committee. I can’t stress enough how important it is for each of you to take the time to do this when issues arise or when you think an issue is about to arise. You are our eyes and ears on your campus and we need to hear from you.

Contract Negotiations:

Negotiations began on September 26th with both teams receiving training on the Interest Based Bargaining process. Another session was held on Friday October 3rd. Additional sessions are planned for consecutive Friday afternoons. We are very pleased that we have received a commitment from the Administration to conduct negotiations using the Interest Based Bargaining process. This is an approach to bargaining that we have been using successfully since the 2000 academic year. It has also been agreed upon that both sides can have consultants available to them but no consultants will be in the room during actual negotiations. The consultants will be available for consultation on an as needed basis in an adjoining room. It is the hope and goal of both teams that negotiations will progress smoothly and quickly during the fall semester, and we have also agreed to hold a weekend negotiating session in early November as a way of trying to wrap things up this fall.

Once negotiations begin I will only be able to provide you with minimal communication about progress in negotiations until both sides develop an agreed upon statement about the tentative agreements that have been reached.

Parking Fee Increase:

 On August 5th we received a memorandum from Dr. Dewey Yeatts, Vice President of Facilities and Security telling us of planned parking fee increases. As well, a Transportation and Parking Committee was formed and I am a member of that Committee representing the Chapter’s interests. Prior to the first meeting of this Committee I contacted Dr. Yeatts and informed him of a 2007 negotiated agreement that he was unaware of. (Please refer to the Chapter Documents section on the Chapter’s website where we have posted the original 2004 parking agreement and the subsequent 2007 agreement under the heading Chapter Documents 2014-Document Updates.)

At this point in time it has been decided that our parking fee will increase by $12.00 in January 2015. The Committee is aware of the additional proposed increases. These increases are under discussion as they are subject to the terms and conditions of our current collective bargaining agreement.

Textbooks:

A variety of issues were brought up by the membership during our opening meeting and perhaps the one issue that caused the most concern was the perception by many that the Administration was moving in a direction of asking the faculty to start using the common textbooks in the courses they are teaching. After our meeting Dr. Rai sent out a memorandum on August 29th that I believe clarified this particular issue. He is asking us to talk to each other about the textbooks we are requiring our students to use and whenever possible move towards using a common textbook. Specifically he stated in this memorandum;

“I am placing the conversation to adopt common textbooks in the hands of the faculty, department chairs, and deans. Some of our disciplines are already using common textbooks or moving in that direction after doing their own research, and some courses will soon be taught using Open Educational Resources, OERs, alone. During this academic year, I encourage all disciplines to hold open discussions to decide how and if course materials can be coordinated across sections.”

In addition he stated;

 “Again, textbook decisions will continue to be a faculty decision, as you know best how to convey your subject matters to our students. I have complete confidence in your judgment on this issue. I fully expect and accept that a common textbook might not be viable for certain disciplines due to the nature of the subject matter. The exploration you will undertake this year with your colleagues will allow that decision to be well-reasoned and clearly articulated, informed by the collective viewpoints of discipline faculty, chairs, and deans, the curricular developments made at other institutions nationally, and most important, the learning needs of our students.”

I believe these two statements should alleviate many of the concerns expressed at the opening meeting and help you recognize that you do have the right to select the textbook you feel is best suited for you and for your students. No one is planning on taking that right from you but holding a collaborative discussion on this issue within your disciplines is something the Administration is expecting us to do this year. With that in mind, I believe it is important for the Administration to hear when disciplines are using common textbooks. If disciplines across the campuses or on particular campuses are using the same textbook I believe it is important for this to be communicated to the deans so that they can communicate this information to Sanjay.

The Chapter Website:

One way we as a faculty can communicate with each other throughout the year is via the Chapter website. The link for the site is http://mcaaup.org. The website is maintained by Julie Levinson-R Counseling. Feel free to write a comment on any of the posts made on the site. I will respond privately to you each time a comment is posted.

Recently, I had several documents posted to the Chapter Documents section of the website. These documents include the 20004 and 2007 Parking Agreements, the 2007 Faculty Leave Policy, the 2014 Distance Learning Side Letter, and the 2014 Department Chair Side Letter. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the website and these important documents.

Academic Restructuring:

It appears that the long process of academic restructuring is over, at least for now, and like it or not, we have to work with the structure as best we can. Having Dr. Rai and Ms. Terry at the helm of the academic side of the house is refreshing and we are confident that they are looking after both the best interests of our students and the staff and faculty. Shortly after Dr. Rai’s arrival he began working on putting the final touches on the academic restructuring plan and he had input on how funding from the county and state would be used to better support the division that he heads. We are pleased with the addition of 13 new full-time faculty positions and 14 new staff positions for the new Bioscience Education Center at the Germantown campus. Recruitment for some of these new positions has already started. A reallocation of existing funds provided for an addition of 14 lab coordinators, instructional associates, and administrative aides in the disciplines and academic support centers.  Dr. Rai also provided funds for more than 150 additional ESH for tutoring.  Also, he insisted that the new chairs be compensated above the mid-range of their new class so that more experienced faculty members would be encouraged to serve as chairs.

How much money do you earn?

Each fall I looked forward to receiving a letter from Human Resources informing me of my current annual salary, my monthly pay, and the amount of our negotiated increases. If I ever had to apply for a loan or a credit card application it was very easy for me to refer to this letter and find this required information. For some reason a decision was made, although the decision was not communicated to the faculty, to stop sending out this important letter. We have asked the Administration about this situation and they did confirm that the letters are no longer being sent to the faculty. If you are interested in learning what your annual salary is you will need to contact Human Resources by phone or e-mail. I would suggest you contact either Elaine Doong or Kathleen Harding. I am not recommending you contact the Payroll Office since they were not responsible for sending out this letter. I actually don’t know who made the decision to stop sending out this important information to the faculty. Below is some suggested wording you can use if you plan on sending an e-mail to either of these two people;

In lieu of the long standing traditional communication from HR about my salary I would appreciate it if you would provide me with my annual salary for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Regarding this year’s increases in salary, they are as follows;

  • Effective the first day of the fiscal 2015 academic year, the faculty salary range shall be a minimum of $56,840 to a maximum of $106,575.
  • Effective the first day of the fiscal 2015 academic year, there shall be a two-and-one- half percent (2.5%) general wage adjustment.
  • Faculty members who have been in the bargaining unit for at least one semester as of the beginning of the fiscal academic year are eligible for an increment of 3.5% to the extent that an employee’s salary does not exceed the maximum of the salary range.
  • Faculty members with satisfactory performance who have been at the salary maximum for five (5) consecutive years will receive a one-time longevity step of $1,600 to be added to the faculty member’s base salary.

Coordinators:

It has come to the attention of the Chapter Executive Committee that many Coordinators are being asked to perform some of the duties of their Chair. For obvious reasons this is problematic. You are not a supervisor and there is supposed to be a clear distinction between what you are doing and what your Chair is supposed to be doing. If you have any concerns about what your Chair or Dean is asking you do to as a Coordinator please get in touch with one of us on the Executive Committee. Also, if you are a coordinator and you received a list of duties from your Chair or Dean we would appreciate it if you would send us that list of duties. Please forward the list of Coordinator duties that you received to me so that we on the Executive Committee can review them and see if any are problematic.

Next Communication:

In the next communication on behalf of the Executive Committee I will provide you with a limited update on negotiations, the progress we have made on creating a position for Shop Stewards on the campuses, an update on our monthly meetings with Dr. Rai and Ms. Terry, and more. I encourage you to leave comments on the Chapter’s website or talk about any concerns you have with any member of the Executive Committee.

AAUP Update: Personnel Changes

Greetings Montgomery College Faculty,

The purpose of this email is to update you on key personnel changes within the college and to welcome Dr. Sanjay Rai in his new role as Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs.

As most of you know by now, Dr. Donald Pearl, the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and leader of the academic reorganization, has resigned from his position to pursue other opportunities closer to his family.  This extremely sudden departure certainly calls into question the validity of the product of the academic reorganization (something we have questioned throughout the process) and the tentative outcomes of the working subgroups.  Nonetheless, the senior administration has made clear that the reorganization will proceed as planned.

On a positive note, we can find comfort in our newly appointed Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs: Dr. Sanjay Rai. In his roles as a Rockville dean and the Vice President Provost of Germantown, Dr. Rai has proven that he has a strong commitment to students, to academics, and to the success and development of Montgomery College all while maintaining a great respect for the faculty.  Dr. Rai has served on the negotiating team for management and appears to understand the role of the AAUP-MC Chapter as being a body that represents faculty beyond just contractual issues.

As we have relayed in past AAUP update emails, the college has not included AAUP on many of the important decisions surrounding the academic reorganization.  However, we believe that if the administrative chair transition is going to be a successful one, the AAUP and the college must work together. Thus, we are pleased to report that on his second day as interim vice president, Dr. Rai has already made contact with the AAUP executive committee to begin scheduling meetings that will start this week. We are hopeful that the coming months will prove an opportunity to establish a mutually respectful relationship between AAUP and the Administration.

On behalf of the AAUP Executive Committee,

Dan

Dan Wilson, Associate Professor

President – AAUP
Chair – Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Suite 224 (Room 234) Humanities Building
Montgomery College – Rockville, MD
240-567-7486 (Office)

 

AAUP Updates: BOT Meeting and more!

Hello Colleagues,

I hope this message finds you well and that you are staying warm as we feel the temperatures drop.  The AAUP Executive Committee has a couple of quick but important updates for this week.

1.  Tonight (11/18) is the Board of Trustees meeting. Our own Joan Gough will be speaking during the open comments period.  PLEASE try to attend and show support for Joan and Montgomery College.  The open session section starts at 8pm.

2. Staff and Administrator “pay for performance” and bonuses:   Brenda Braham, on behalf of Staff Council, submitted a Maryland Public Information Act (FOIA) request to Ms. Porter regarding bonuses for staff and pay for performance for administrators.  The results of the FOIA were forwarded to the AAUP and are as follows:

  • This fiscal year, $431,187.74 will go to administrators for pay that exceeds and far exceeds performance
  • Out of the 83 total number of administrative employees, 72 qualified for pay performance increases (86.7%)
    • 3.5% bonus = 4 administrators
    • 4.5% bonus = 24 administrators
    • 5.5% bonus = 44 administrators
    •                        72 total
  • There are 534 bargaining staff and 692 non-bargaining staff. Out of these 1226 employees, 596 exceeded performance and 306 far exceeded performance. This equals a total of 902 bonuses.
  • Rocky Sorrell, the general counsel for Montgomery College, originally presented this information

The AAUP executive committee find this information troubling to the spirit of ‘equity’ and ‘common employee experience’ as the vast majority of non-faculty received this bonus/pay-for-performance and yet faculty are excluded from eligibility. We hope and urge the administration to discuss restoring equity for all members of the college.

3.  Faculty Salary Placement Inequity:  We have analyzed all of the current salaries of faculty relative to their years of experience and the number of points at which they started on the initial salary placement scale (for prior experience, credentials, etc.)  Most of the data follows the expected trend of showing higher salaries associated with longer tenure at Montgomery College and/or greater numbers of placement points.  At this point, we are still analyzing the data, and we are not yet certain if any of the data represent “outliers” and not appropriate salaries.  Should we find any salaries that we conclude are inappropriately low given the college’s own policies and standards, we will let those faculty members know at that time.

4.  Contract Violations: As fast as the college is changing is as slow as the college is issuing an official response to our two submitted contract violations. Our violations were submitted on September 13, 2013. We have been urging the college for the past two months to resolve these concerns. On November 13, the college’s legal representation stated that it does not have all the facts.  We were very surprised by this response considering the length of time they have had to collect the facts. It appears that the legal counsel for the college is either ignoring or stalling on what we view as major violations of the contract.  We will continue discussions with our counsel on the appropriate legal steps moving forward.

UPDATE: Just before sending this email I did get word that the two attorneys will be meeting. I will update you with the results.

5. Labor/Management Cooperation Committee (LMCC):  Last year, members of the AAUP Executive Committee began attending bi-monthly meetings with representatives of the college to address work related issues.  The goal was to discuss and possibly rectify issues before they became larger problems.  While the meetings were organized with positive intentions the results were mixed.  Some of last year’s issues included the need to separate the qualifications for full-time/part-time awards (still waiting), troubles with online evaluations (the original pilot project became institutionalized with no real analysis of its effectiveness), and raising the distance education size limit from 20 to 25 (the result was a managerial unilateral decision).  As you can see our participation in the LMCC did not impact the above issues.  This year, the LMCC will reconvene and we hope we will be able to more work more collaboratively.  Please keep corresponding with your AAUP representatives as your issues often become talking points at the LMCC meetings.

***This week should be interesting (please see this morning’s email concerning the leadership transition sent by Dr. Pollard). I will be meeting with Dr. Pollard this morning to review these changes  Please look for further updates in the upcoming days.  Thank you and have a great week!

On behalf of the AAUP Executive Committee,

Dan

Dan Wilson, Associate Professor
President – AAUP
Chair – Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Suite 224 (Room 234) Humanities Building
Montgomery College – Rockville, MD
240-567-7486 (Office)

 

AAUP Mission & Descriptionhttp://www.aaup.org  http://mcaaup.org

The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities.

AAUP: Brief Update

Happy Friday Faculty,

We have a couple of very brief updates for you this week:

1.  We have heard from several of our members regarding the Governance Connections newsletter that was sent out to the college last week.  We have decided to post one of those responses, which captures many of the concerns, on our website.  You can read the response at:

http://mcaaup.org/?p=433

2.  Members of the AAUP executive committee have heard a repeated rumor from members of the college concerning academic restructuring. The rumor is that if the college is unable to hire enough internal chair administrators, that it will hire externally and that these external hires will be permanent (instead of a limited chair appointment).  So far, we’ve been telling people that these issues will be decided through the work groups.  We followed-up with Dr. Pearl to make sure we were passing on accurate information.  Dr. Pearl’s answer was that we were correct with our response. He added that the position description for both external and internal hires should be the same.

We should have more updates for you early next week regarding our ongoing contract issues.  Hope you have a great weekend.

On behalf of the AAUP-MC Executive Committee,

Dan

Dan Wilson, Associate Professor
President – AAUP
Chair – Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Suite 224 (Room 234) Humanities Building
Montgomery College – Rockville, MD
240-567-7486 (Office)

AAUP-MC: Important Updates

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are having a nice semester.  The AAUP Executive Committee has been very busy as of late so we wanted to take the opportunity to update you on some issues and concerns we have been working on.

  1. Faculty Focus Groups – The AAUP faculty focus groups that are preparing for next year’s negotiations are off and running and have been very productive.  Many great ideas are being generated.  We look forward to sharing the results with you in the spring.  We want to thank the many volunteers we have had for the focus groups – we feel confident that it will help us represent your interests in the best way possible next year during negotiations. Once negotiations have begun, the AAUP negotiating committee will not be able to discuss the negotiations, which makes it all the more important that we do our homework now.
  2. Contract Violations – As we mentioned in a past update, early in the semester we noticed two potential contract violations.  One of these violations dealt with distance learning and the other concerned the pay/calendar issue.  We were prompt in our response to these issues, relaying our concerns with the college and using our lawyer to handle the legal matters. Without revisiting all of the details of both contract violations, I do want to update you on where we stand.  We are waiting to hear back from our lawyer on the two letters that he sent to the college lawyers in response to these two potential violations. We also had our lawyer from AAUP National send a letter to the college in support of our pay/calendar issue.  These letters were sent on September 3 (Distance Learning) and September 13 (pay/calendar) and we (and our lawyer) are still waiting for a full response from the college.  We hope to see some movement in these matters this week.
  3. Distance Learning Side Letter  – As many of you are aware, our contract includes a side letter, which covers issues related to distance learning.  This side letter was effective from July 1, 2010 until June 30, 2013. As part of our responsibilities as AAUP, it was imperative that we update this side letter as soon as possible.  Since 2010 there have been many changes and developments in distance education that are not covered or even mentioned in the side letter.  The negotiation of previous side letters have not used a traditional bargaining approach but rather have relied on labor management groups using more interest based bargaining techniques (where no hierarchical relationships exist). Both the college and the AAUP found this very advantageous because it allows negotiations to be conducted by faculty, deans, and directors rather than by lawyers and human resource personnel.  Interest based bargaining (IBB) tends to be very collegial and collaborative and has a proven track record of success at Montgomery College.  Unfortunately, as it stands, the college has indicated that is not interested in proceeding with IBB; they are choosing, instead, a more traditional, antagonistic, bargaining approach.  This approach will force a delay in the process and will be more costly – both for the college and the AAUP.  Instead of relying solely on faculty familiar with the issues (in this case Distance Learning), we will now need to coordinate with our lawyer and trained negotiators.  While the AAUP and the administration have always had the right to unilaterally impose a return to traditional bargaining, we are disheartened by this action.  This traditional bargaining approach is especially difficult for faculty because unlike the administration we do not have full-time personnel dedicated to these issues. Currently we are awaiting a response from the college confirming that they are indeed committed to abandoning interest based bargaining – a style of bargaining we have successfully used for 12 years.  Once we know their intention, we will be able to begin the negotiation and update the side letter as fast as possible.
  4. Academic Restructuring Work Groups – many of you will begin work this week on the restructuring work groups, which will have a huge impact on the look of our college moving forward. Along with the Faculty Council, we urged you to participate and you did – thank you!  In order to help you prepare for some of the issues under discussion in the Restructuring, we wanted to take this opportunity to collate the concerns that faculty have been bringing to our attention at meetings (special thanks to those of you who presented your concerns at our recent meetings), in passing conversations, over lunch, and, of course, through emails and phone calls. We have heard your concerns, and we believe the information below impacts faculty and will be helpful to our representatives on the work groups.

We’ve located two major areas of concern for faculty: faculty voice within academic areas of the college and faculty engagement with issues outside of the classroom.  Below are specific examples that underscore the issues within these two major areas of concern.

  • AELP – The administrative control over AELP courses that ignored the recommendations of AELP faculty
  • General Education – The abolishment of the original general education committee with no input from faculty and against the recommendation of faculty council.
  • P&P Changes – Changes in MC policies and procedures that limit faculty participation in the curriculum committee. (i.e. P&P 9.214)
  • CTL – The Center for Teaching and Learning no longer is run by a faculty member
  • Final Grades – Grade submission policies changed in the middle of the semester, again with little input or discussion with faculty
  • Quick Changes – Due to new software for scheduling and for room assignments, a tremendous amount of extra work was involved with setting up the fall schedule. Coordinators had little time to prepare for such a drastic scheduling change.  This extra work followed last semester’s room assignment software program failure. We’ve also been plagued with extremely low response rates for the relatively new online classroom evaluations. The change in evaluations was started as a pilot project, but by some measure, never received proper scrutiny. Many of you commented that new systems often have a difficult beginning, and it’s usually best to present one system at a time to help ensure the system’s success. Between the new software for scheduling, the room assignment software and the online evaluations (not to mention the mandated course renumbering and relabeling), some faculty members feel overwhelmed and believe that these mistakes are emblematic of such rapid change. Might these missteps be avoided with increased faculty inclusion?
  • Governance – our new participatory governance system (vs. our previous shared governance system) has produced mixed results.  Many of you have stated that the new system provides a watered down version of full time faculty representation. Consequently, faculty engagement, by our measure, has not increased. In our new governance model, there are no councils whose members are solely full-time faculty dealing with full-time faculty issues. In fact, the College Council currently only requires one faculty representative.  Many of you have shared concern that getting rid of academic chairs next fall will create an even larger full-time faculty representative hole within our new governance model. If you look at the macro view of the governance model, the AAUP is a part of the overall structure; however, our purpose has been relegated to contract issues. We are not utilized for consultation or for general representation for full-time faculty outside of the contract.
  • Outcomes Assessment – we have heard your concerns regarding OA especially with regards to the lack of faculty leadership, the inclusion of part-time faculty (this has traditionally been a full-time faculty issue), and decreases in compensation for working in outcomes assessment.
  • In general, we have heard an increasing number of examples where faculty feel increasingly alienated from anything outside of the classroom, including control over academic and curriculum matters.

5. Meeting with Dr. Pollard – Last Thursday, the co-chairs of the Collegewide Faculty Council and I met with Dr. Pollard to discuss the new administrative chair position.  The meeting accomplished several important goals: 1. a new January deadline for the restructuring work groups (vs. the original December deadline) 2. an incremental implementation of the restructuring process (with a commitment to determine what aspects will be incremental to be determined in the work groups) 3. the exploration of chairs re-entry to the faculty through a mechanism such as tenure.  The final goal is of particular interest.  Many of you have expressed the importance for chairs to have access back into the bargaining unit.  While pulling chairs out of the bargaining unit and into an administrative position is controlled by the administration (as we have previously examined), the process for coming back in is more complicated and is a contractual issue.  We would have liked to have seen the college work with us much earlier in the process to help resolve this major issue, especially considering that, from the input we have received, many current academic chairs do not have interest in becoming administrative chairs.  Will this change? We do not know but the issue of hiring a sizable amount of external administrators will pose signigicant hurdles for the college in many areas.

The AAUP executive committee is encouraging HRDE to help resolve our contract disputes and to begin the DL side letter negotiation in an efficient and collegial manner so we can put our energy and focus on working on the administrative chair issue that has so many of us concerned.  If we are to seriously explore the mechanism of reinstituting tenure, or any other contractual means of returning chairs to the ranks of the faculty, it will take great deal of time and commitment.  This will be especially difficult considering that we are preparing for a full contract negotiation next year.

For a very interesting example of another school moving through a similar transition please read the following article:
http://chronicle.com/article/U-of-Scranton-Faculty-Fights/133946/

Hopefully you were able to make it through this rather long email. Not all issues that we have been working on or that have been expressed by faculty have been represented in this particular email but please do not let that be a reflection that they are not being seriously considered, discussed, and worked on. I look forward to our continued conversations and thank you for your time.

On behalf of the AAUP-MC Executive Committee,

Dan

Dan Wilson, Associate Professor

President – AAUP
Chair – Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Suite 224 (Room 234) Humanities Building
Montgomery College – Rockville, MD
240-567-7486 (Office)

AAUP Mission & Description: http://www.aaup.org    http://mcaaup.org/
The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities.

AAUP: General Information & Updates

Hello Good People of MC,

I write to you today with a reminder to volunteer your time for the academic restructuring “work groups”. Additionally, I’d like to update you on a few matters: our relationship with administration, the ongoing pay/calendar dispute, and updates to the AAUP website.
 
The AAUP Executive Committee wants to encourage you to volunteer your time to participate in the “work groups” that are being formed to create recommendations for all areas of the academic structure. There are a total of seven work groups, and each group is concerned with a different area of the college.  Send your preferred assignment no later than Thursday, October 3 (tomorrow!) by 9am to facultycouncil@montgomerycollege.edu.  Below you will find the email sent by Dr. Pearl which gives more details about the work groups.

This new structure will have major implications for our working conditions and the direction of the college and we need your voices to be heard. 
 
We continue to reach out to our administrative leadership in order to secure answers to our many questions and to try and create improved working relationships. Following one such request to meet with leadership, we were contacted by the office of Nadine Porter to schedule a meeting.  On September 13, after a few failed attempts to agree on a time and date, I was given a choice of four different meeting times. I chose one of the given time slots: 9/27.  On 9/26 I sent an email to confirm the meeting.  The response for Ms. Porter’s office was that the meeting was never scheduled and that Ms. Porter would not be able to meet for 3 weeks.  On 9/26 I offered to meet at an alternative time (perhaps after 5pm) but I have not, as of yet, received any response.
 
Some of you have been inquiring about the ongoing pay/calendar dispute.  We, also, are anxious for an update from our lawyer. At this point it will depend on the legal representation of the college and the AAUP to help settle the dispute.  We will let you know as soon as we have more information.
 
We have begun updating the AAUP Website!  It is not yet finished, but you will find some new details: an articles tab, interesting links, and some other small changes.  Fresh updates will continue in the weeks to come. Thank you for your patience.
 
Lastly, we want to thank everyone for sending suggestions, comments, ideas, support, and critiques.  Although we can’t respond to all comments, we do try to respond to most, even if it takes a little while to get to it.

On behalf of the AAUP Executive Committee,

Dan

Dan Wilson, Associate Professor
President – AAUP
Chair – Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Suite 224 (Room 234) Humanities Building
Montgomery College – Rockville, MD
240-567-7486 (Office)

AAUP Update: Friday’s Meeting

I wanted to thank everyone for coming out on a Friday night to the AAUP meeting.  We had a terrific turn out (about 120 people) with lots of spirited discussion.  We understand that many of you could not be there and we appreciate your emails, comments, and support.  I wanted to give a brief summary of the meeting for those who could not attend.  Our main goals of the meeting were to make sure everyone understood two important issues: 1. pay/calendar dispute (this will be further examined in an upcoming email) and 2. ramifications of our forthcoming academic restructuring.  The restructuring may prove to the be the most significant change to MC in decades.

Our agenda of the meeting was as follows:

  • Pay/Calendar Dispute
  • Academic Restructuring
    • Background & Recommendation Report
    • Statute
    • Administrative Chairs
    • Proposed Definition
    • Impacts
    • Important Questions
  • Best-Case Scenario
  • Reactions/Future Plans

While it will not be possible to cover all of the information discussed in the meeting in this memo, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some important potential impacts and questions that were discussed regarding our working conditions. Our focus was mainly on the position of the chairs and how that will impact faculty and faculty representation at the college.  Under the new proposed recommendations the chair would move to an administrative position, hold a 12-month position, be removed from the bargaining unit for limited time (3-8 years), will teach 6 ESH per year, will complete all evaluations (FT faculty, PT faculty, and staff), and will be on campus 40 hours a week (staff/administrator requirement).

Potential Impacts:

  • Adds multiple layers of Administration (40 new administrative chairs)
  • Shrinks the Bargaining Unit by approximately 10%
  • Potentially weakens leadership and faculty representation:
    • All of the designated chairs’ positions in governance will become administrators’ positions, leaving even fewer faculty members in governance.
    • Chairs Meetings and the voice of chairs as a representative body will no longer exist.
    • The only group purely representing faculty will be AAUP.
  • Potentially strips faculty of decision-making capabilities. The concept that faculty cannot make decisions or “supervise” will affect coordinators and program directors as well.
  • Alienates chair from department.
    • An external Administrative Chair would not be familiar with a department and its faculty. Impacts include scheduling inefficiencies, loss of familiarity with strengths/weaknesses of faculty, etc.
    • Administrative Chairs will be managing a much larger pool of faculty; thus, faculty and students will suffer inefficient bureaucratic processes.

Important questions that were discussed:

  • Are the chair positions to be exclusively internal or external?
  • If they are internal – we’re able to use our prescribed hiring methods, and we’re able to establish teaching ability. However, what happens if no internal candidate steps forward or is qualified?
  • How would an external candidate be hired–as an administrator or a professor? Who would sit on the hiring committee? Would this person be allowed to come “back” to a bargaining unit that they were not in to begin with? How will these positions be evaluated?
  • How will the faculty position be backfilled? Increase in part-time instructors? Temp full-time (which can only last a year)? This would further erode the FT/PT ratio. Administration purports to privilege a 67/33 (FT/PT ratio)
  • What would be the process for chairs to return to faculty? How does rank advancement play into this?
  • How is this going to be paid for? Reduction of alternate ESH?

Potential Solutions

  • Tenure would be reinstated to protect chairs while they are out of the Bargaining Unit.
    • In order to reinstate tenure, it would be necessary to negotiate the terms as tenure is addressed in our Contract.
    • Tenure must be granted with integrity – not merely because a chair is needed. Reinstating tenure would need to be included in next year’s  negotiations.
  • No faculty member who has been employed for fewer than seven years would be protected if they left the Bargaining Unit
  • The chairs’ faculty positions would be held until they return. The only way to hold faculty positions for 3-8 years would be by hiring part-time faculty. As mentioned, this would further imbalance the FT/PT ratio.

Timeline for Restructuring
Based on Dr. Pearl’s memo that was sent on September 9th we anticipated the formation of restructuring work groups. These work groups are tasked with completing the details and managing the unanswered questions of the restructuring process.  Work groups are expected to complete this work by December 20. Membership to these work groups  was to begin “in the coming days” following the September 9th email.  As far as we know these groups have not been formed.  We feel strongly that faculty representation should be chosen by faculty; however, we still have no firm indication that this will be the case.  The restructuring implementation is set to begin on July 1, 2014.

Faculty Discussion
There was quite a diversity of opinions and ideas during the meeting and we very much appreciate everyone’s feedback.  We are committed to representing you in the best way possible so these kinds of meetings are very helpful. Regarding academic restructuring, faculty did seem to agree that the information given was not timely and lacked proper inclusion. The exclusionary aspect of some of the proceedings of this particular change is peculiar considering that there may have been support if faculty were allowed appropriate participation.  Instead, many feel alienated from the process, and apprehensive about the outcome.

One point that seemed to frustrate some of the attendees is the lack of answers to several key questions.  We have had to resort to speculation on many of these questions.  Let me assure you that it is not that these questions have not already been asked repeatedly by academic, governance, and union leaders, but that answers have not been forthcoming.

What’s Next

We strongly urge everyone to get involved and to research and understand the issues, questions, and what is at stake.

  • Be vocal : Everyone needs to start expressing their concerns with friends, faculty, deans, etc.
  • Board of Trustees: The board would love to hear from you, not just AAUP leadership.  We will update you with dates and times of BOT meetings
  • AAUP Leadership has been working with both our local lawyers and at National.  The lawyers for AAUP and MC will be meeting soon.
  • AAUP Leadership will be working hard to push for a more and fairer faculty representation, especially concerning academic restructuring and other crucial changes to the college.
  • AAUP Leadership will be working with Faculty Council to express our concerns to the administration

We will continue to give you frequent updates as things develop.  Thank you all for your comments and suggestions and please keep them coming.

On behalf of the AAUP Executive Committee,

Dan

Dan Wilson, Associate Professor
President – AAUP
Chair – Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Suite 224 (Room 234) Humanities Building
Montgomery College – Rockville, MD
240-567-7486 (Office)