April 26, 2017

AAUP Call To Action – March 30, 2017

In light of recent memos pertaining to the fiscal year 2018 operating budget from Dr. Pollard and Dr. Wormack, the Montgomery College Chapter of the AAUP will hold a special off-campus meeting next Thursday night, March 30 at 7:00pm. The AAUP Executive Committee has been informed that the budget request submitted by the College to the Montgomery County Council did not seek funding necessary to meet the full salary adjustment for the 2017 – 2018 academic year, as negotiated in section 8.2 of the 2015 full time faculty collective bargaining agreement. Given this breach of our negotiated contract, along with other on-going issues affecting the relationship between Full-Time Faculty and college Management, the Chapter membership must come together at this juncture to determine our next steps.  The AAUP Executive Committee feels that it is very important that Chapter members understand the complex situation we face, and that you are able to participate in decision-making regarding our collective response.  The Chapter’s attorney will be in attendance at the meeting in order to help answer questions from those in attendance.

The Executive Committee urges all full-time bargaining unit faculty members to attend this special AAUP- MC meeting. However, in this circumstance the Committee reminds everyone that as with other decisions the Chapter makes, only those full-time faculty who are members in good standing in the Chapter shall vote, if a vote is determined to be needed. But everyone who attends may participate in this special meeting by raising questions while the subject matter is open for discussion at the meeting.

AAUP Bargaining Unit Full-Time Faculty Members Only

Date: Thursday, March 30, 2017

Time: 7:00pm-8:30pm

Location: Rockville Senior Center
1150 Carnation Drive
Rockville, MD 20850

Please make the time to attend this important meeting.

Thank you,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Newsletter, October 2016

(download in PDF)

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

Welcome Back:

On behalf of the Montgomery College AAUP Executive Committee I’d like to welcome all of you back for another eventful year of working with some wonderful students and with your colleagues.  I hope that each of you had good summer, a smooth start to the semester, and that your classes and committee work are progressing without too many headaches.

The Executive Committee appreciates the time we had together at our opening meeting during Professional Week and we look forward to seeing many of you throughout the year.  We will be scheduling Chapter meetings on each campus and will make sure to publicize these meetings with enough advance notice so that you can schedule time to meet with us and help us help you.  I felt badly that I was unable to attend the meeting.  As some of you may have heard my wife had a nasty fall at our house and broke her left leg.  After surgery and some time in a local rehabilitation facility she is now home recovering and working on getting stronger and on increasing her mobility.

I wanted to devote this update to providing all of you with some general information regarding a variety of topics the Executive Committee has been working on.

FY 2017 Salary Renegotiations:

At our closing meeting last May I reported that we were asked by the College to renegotiate the previously agreed upon 2.75% general wage adjustment because the members of the County Council stated that they wanted all County funded agencies to agree to 1% general wage adjustment.  On behalf of our membership I testified on two different occasions in front of the membership of the County Council and despite our best efforts we had no choice but to agree to the lowering of our general wage adjustment.  A copy of the signed Memorandum of Agreement regarding this renegotiation of our salary can be located in the Chapter documents section of the Chapter’s website, mcaaup.org.  The good news is that the College had sufficient funds to hire 9 new full-time faculty members, to pay the previously negotiated salary increment (3.5%) for all faculty below the maximum, and there were no layoffs or furloughs at the College.

I am sure that many of you are wondering what will happen to the increases we, in good faith, negotiated for next year. At this time I don’t have an answer for you. As the academic year progresses, I will keep all of you informed of any potential changes that may occur to our next year’s salary. 

Longevity Increases:

Last May I provided all of you with information about grievances that were filed by nine faculty members because they did not receive a longevity increase in their salary in accordance with Article 8 Section 8.2 (D) of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  These grievances were successfully processed and each individual faculty member received back pay and the appropriate adjustment to their base salary.  If you have been at the top of scale for 5 consecutive years and received satisfactory performance evaluations, you are due a $1,600 increase in your base salary.  Please contact Tim Kirkner or myself if you believe you were due this increase in salary and you didn’t receive it.

As part of the settlement agreement that was reached with Management a Memorandum of Understanding was written and signed in May 2016.  A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding is posted in the Chapter documents section of the Chapter’s website.  Next month we will be receiving a contractually required salary report from the administration.  Once we receive the report we will review the salary history of those faculty members who are at the top of scale and will confirm whether those eligible faculty members appropriately received their longevity increase.  If they did not, we will advocate on their behalf with HR to make this happen.

Semester and Academic Year ESH Limits:

Once again I wanted to remind all of you of the semester and academic year ESH limits that have been negotiated as part of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  It is also important for you to remember that you are allowed to work a maximum of 20 ESH in any academic semester and 36 ESH in any academic year, August-May.    If you are planning on teaching a winter session class, please remember that winter session ESH will be included in your spring load.

Alternate Time Assignments:

As stated in the College’s Policies and Procedures, “Alternate time is the term used to describe the work load credit assignment by the College to instructional faculty members to perform tasks in lieu of teaching responsibilities.”  In years past, one equivalent semester hour (ESH) was equal to either, 50, 40, or 30 clock hours of assigned activities.  In our last round of negotiations we made a change to this particular provision of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Sections 5.4 (A) Tutoring and (B) Other Assigned Activities now stipulates that faculty members assigned tutoring ESH shall receive one ESH for each 30 hours of such assigned duties and they will be assigned one ESH for each 40 hours of assigned duties for all other activities.  The 50:1 provision was eliminated.  This particular change still needs to be updated in the College’s Policies and Procedures.

Executive Committee Vacancy:

A Takoma Park/Silver Spring member of our Executive Committee, Robin Flanary (Nursing), unfortunately had to step down from her position as Vice President due to scheduling issues.  The Executive Committee made the decision to appoint our Takoma Park/Silver Spring Member-at-Large, Sharon Piper (Nursing), to fill this position for the remainder of the semester.  A special election will be held at our January meeting in order to fill the member-at-large position for the remainder of the academic year.

We are looking for a volunteer to fill the position of Member-at-Large from Takoma Park/Silver Spring.  If you are a dues-paying member of the Chapter and are interested in filling this position for the remainder of the academic year please get in touch with me as soon as possible.  Our Executive Committee meetings are held twice a month on Wednesday afternoons at the Rockville campus.

Admissions Office Reminder:

I was asked to provide all of you with the following reminder about posting an NA (never attended) mid-term grade for all students who have never attended a class for which they are on your class roster.

The NA grade should be used to report students who never attended your course.  If a student has never attended your class, faculty should report that they never attended prior to the 20% meeting date of the course.  To report an NA, you should enter NA on your midterm grade roster before the 20% meeting date of the class.  The student will then be dropped from your class roster within 2-3 business days.  If you do not drop the student or the student does not drop themselves and they have never attended, you should give the student a final grade of “F” at the end of the semester and list their last date of attendance as the first class meeting.  Please do not use NA as a final grade.

82.5% Goal:

Members of the Executive Committee have received a number of calls and e-mails about the enforcement of a new guideline that was communicated to the Deans and Chairs while registration was occurring.  The calls and e-mails generally concerned a rule which stated that 82.5% of the seats in each section of each class had to be filled or the class had to be cancelled.  As a result of the enforcement of the “rule” many classes were cancelled, some, earlier than has happened in the past.  Some classes were cancelled to the detriment of our students.

I recently met with Sanjay Rai, Carolyn Terry, Monica Brown, and Janet Wormack.  During this meeting I raised the issue about this new rule.  It was explained to me that the 82.5% number is a general seat capacity goal for each department as a whole and not for each section of every class in each department.  The 82.5% number is not a rule; however, it was unfortunately implemented and enforced as a rule by some deans around the college which resulted in classes being cancelled inappropriately.  The College was hoping that we would run classes with an average of 82.5% of seats filled in each department, not each section.  The intent of the goal was not to cancel each section of each class if 82.5% of the seats were not filled; unfortunately, this isn’t what happened.  The goal was established as a way of helping the College from a financial perspective.   We have asked that Carolyn and Sanjay go back to the Deans/Chairs and to work with them on the proper and appropriate way to implement this new enrollment goal.

Protection for Minors on Campus:

Within the past two weeks I have received e-mails from several faculty members who have been told that they have to go through a background screening procedure, which includes fingerprint checking, because they are a participant in a program that includes minors.  I asked the College’s Youth Protection Coordinator, Kristen Roe, to provide us with some information about why this requirement is in place, below is the information she sent me.

The College is in the 2nd year of implementing the Protection of Minors Policy & Procedure 75005CP. Many faculty still have questions about background screening requirements. Here is a quick refresher:

  • Criminal history background checks can help screen employees for their suitability in working with children and other vulnerable populations.
  • All faculty and staff who interact with minors on behalf of the College are subject to background screening. This process includes fingerprinting at an off-site vendor. This screening is different from the universal screening of new employees upon hire.
  • For the purposes of the Protection of Minors P&P, a person under the age of 18 who is enrolled in a credit or non-credit course is not considered a minor. As such, a faculty member who has a 17-year old student in their class is not required to complete the fingerprinting background screening. If, however, that same faculty member participates in a special College-sponsored event that includes interaction with minors, that faculty member would complete the fingerprinting screening prior to the event. Similarly, if that faculty member teaches a course in an MCPS high school through the dual enrollment program, a fingerprinting screening would be conducted prior to teaching that course.

If you have any questions about the screening process or would like additional information about why you are being asked to complete background screening, contact the College’s Youth Protection Coordinator, Kristen Roe at 240.567.4279 or Kristen.Roe@montgomerycollege.edu.

Next Communication:

In the next communication on behalf of the Executive Committee I will provide you with information about our Labor Management Collaboration Committee meetings, our scheduled visits to each campus, and more.

AAUP Update: Nominations and the Closing Meeting

Colleagues:

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

The current officers of the Chapter are;

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

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

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

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

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

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Montgomery County Council Testimony (4/5/16)

Dear Colleagues,

I have been asked to testify at the Tuesday, April 5th public hearings in front of the Montgomery County Council. The Council is holding public hearings on the county’s operating budget and on Tuesday evening they will be hearing testimony from representatives from Montgomery College. Students, union representatives, and an alumni board member will be testifying in support of the College’s operating budget on Tuesday evening from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the County Council Building (100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, 20850) in the Third Floor Hearing Room.

It is very important that we as a faculty support the College’s advocacy efforts. If your schedule permits, I am asking for your support by attending the hearings on Tuesday evening. Let’s try to pack the hearing room with PURPLE so that we visibly represent the College.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you there.

Harry Zarin, Chapter President

 

AAUP Update: Lobbying Efforts with the County Council

The County Council will make final decisions about the county’s budget, including decisions regarding funding for the College, next week on May 14th.  Now is the time for you to help yourself and your fellow colleagues by communicating with the President of the County Council, George Leventhal, at councilmember.leventhal@montgomerycountymd.gov.  At your earliest convenience please send an e-mail to the Council President share with the Council stories of your good work with our students and ask the Council to support the faculty and to keep tuition affordable.

Please communicate from a private email account and be sure to provide your home address or name the campus at which you teach.  Your immediate action is necessary.

Thank you!

PS  You can watch the recent Council discussion of the College’s budget here http://montgomerycountymd.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=&clip_id=9393&meta_id=82824   And, despite the overall positive comments of the Council members, your immediate action is necessary to be sure next week’s vote goes our way.

Your Chapter leadership will be participating in this lobbying endeavor by personally calling Councilmen Leventhal and speaking to him on behalf of the faculty.

Thank you for all of the work you did this year with our students and for participating in this lobbying effort.

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

AAUP Update: Lobbying for Funding

Colleagues:

The Administration has provided us with information on the process that is followed in order for the College to obtain funding from the County.  Several weeks ago members of the college community (myself, staff, BOT representatives, and students) spoke in front of the full Council on behalf of the college.  Our testimony is part a major effort to help convince the  County Council to support the BOT recommended budget request which is about 15 million dollars over last year’s budget.  Approximately 11 million dollars of this request is needed to cover contractually negotiated increases in our salaries.  The County Executive recommended that the college receive 3 million dollars over last year’s budget.  It was recently reported in the Gazette that the full Council is recommending the college’s funding include an 11 million dollar increase over last year’s budget in order to assist the college in paying for contractually negotiated pay raises and keep the tuition increase for our students at a reasonable level.  The BOT recently voted to increase student tuition by $3.00 for in county residents, $6.00 for in-state residents, and $9.00 for out of state residents.

The County Council will now attempt to meet the needs of all of the county funded agencies by reconciling the entire county budget and our budget is on this reconciliation list.   It is very important that the full time faculty participate in the lobbying efforts that are currently underway.  Attached are the names and e-mail addresses of the County Council President and the Chair of the Education Committee.  Please consider sending an e-mail to each stating who you are, your home address, brief information about your career at MC, the impact your work has had on the lives of our students, and a few lines about some of your memorable successful students.  We have all had a positive impact on the lives of many students and now is the time to toot your horn and possibly help sway the County to provide us with the dollars we have requested.

George Leventhal
Council President
240-777-7811
Councilmember.leventhal@montgomerycountymd.gov

Craig Rice
Chair, Education Committee
240-777-7955
Councilmember.rice@montgomerycountymd.gov

Below are the names of all of the members of the County Council.  You may also send each of them a copy of the same e-mail.

Roger Berliner (Bethesda & Potomac area) Tom Hucker (Silver Spring-Takoma Park-Burtonsville area) Sidney Katz (Rockville-Gaithersburg area) Nancy Navarro (Wheaton-Olney-Laytonsville area) Craig Rice (Germantown area) Marc Elrich (at large) Nancy Floreen (at large) George Leventhal (at large) Hans Riemer (at large)

Thank you,

Harry Z.

 

AAUP Action Item – 4/15/15

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.

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-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.