December 14, 2017

AAUP Update: March Chapter Update

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

Welcome:

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

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

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

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

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

Coordinator/Chair Duties:

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

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

Parking Violation:

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

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

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

The contract stipulates the following:

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

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

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

Advancement in Rank:

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

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

Faculty Outstanding Service Awards:

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

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

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

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

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

At-Large Vacancy:

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

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

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

AAUP Food Drive:

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

AAUP Update: Welcome Back!

November 2015 AAUP Update to the faculty

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

Welcome back:

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

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

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

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

Semester and Academic Year ESH Limits:

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

Elimination of the 4th Year Evaluation:

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

Extended Winter Term:

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

Distance Learning Side Letter: 

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

New Office Hour Requirements:

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

Important Benefits Information from our Benefits Office:

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

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

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

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

Topics to be Covered in the Next Chapter Update:

Advancement in Faculty Rank

AAUP Update: Chapter Website

Colleagues:

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

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

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

Harry Z.

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

AAUP Update: 2015 Chapter Nominations/Elections

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

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

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

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

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP

 

AAUP Update: Newsletter, April 2015

(download in PDF)

April 2015 Newsletter

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

Contract/Negotiations:

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

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

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

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

Budgetary Issues and Testimony:

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

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

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

Contractual Obligations:

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

Obligation to Join the Chapter or Pay a Service Fee:

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

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

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

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

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

(download in PDF)

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

(download in PDF)

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.