December 12, 2019

AAUP Update: February 2015


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,, 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:

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

AAUP Update: Friday’s Meeting

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

Our agenda of the meeting was as follows:

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

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

Potential Impacts:

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

Important questions that were discussed:

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

Potential Solutions

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

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

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

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

What’s Next

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

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

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

On behalf of the AAUP Executive Committee,


Dan 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)

Reminder: AAUP meeting this Friday (9/20)!!

This is a friendly reminder of our off-campus meeting to be held on September 20th in the Carnation Room at the Rockville Senior Center at 5:30pm.  At this off campus meeting, we will discuss details, ramifications, and next steps regarding the restructuring changes happening at MC and so much more!  We are holding the meeting off-campus because of the sensitive nature of the faculty interests we will be discussing.  We sincerely hope that all of you will be able to join us. The Rockville Senior Center, located at 1150 Carnation Dr., Rockville, MD, 20850, is only 1.4 miles from Montgomery College-Rockville. The following link provides directions: This meeting is for dues-paying AAUP members only.

Faculty Focus Groups

We are finalizing the contract negotiation faculty focus groups; we should be completed by Friday, 9/5/13.  Thank you for responding with such enthusiasm to our request for volunteers– we are thankful that so many of you are willing to work with, and for, your fellow faculty members. We had such a tremendous number of volunteers who responded to the sign-up email that not all volunteers were assigned to a group, and not all volunteers were given their first choice of groups.

Once we finalize the focus groups, a member of the executive committee (who will also be your group leader) will contact you to set up meeting dates, times, and places. S/he will also instruct your group on how to research contractual issues. We apologize if you were not assigned to a group, and we hope you are able to understand our numbers cap on focus group members. We truly hope you will consider volunteering your time with AAUP in the near future.

Academic Area Restructuring – Faculty Comments

Listed below are many of the comments and questions that faculty have brought to the AAUP over the academic area restructuring.  These are the views expressed by the faculty, and as such some may disagree with others.  That is fine, and a healthy debate is to be encouraged on such important matters.  No comments were excluded due to the AAUP leadership disagreeing with their content; however, comments that attacked individuals, or were otherwise deemed too inflammatory to include in such a posting were removed.  Other comments were edited only to preserve anonymity. 

Thank you once again for all of your feedback.

  [Read more…]

Update on the Restructuring

Thank you for the steady flow of concerns regarding the academic restructuring that you have shared with the AAUP leadership before, during, and since our meeting last week. We take these concerns very seriously and are doing our best to fully and effectively represent them to both the senior administration and the Board of Trustees. I’d like to share some of the efforts that we have undertaken and plans that we have going forward.

This coming Monday, April 8, is the next meeting of the Board. I have requested time to speak during the open comments period at the beginning of this meeting to relay those concerns that we have heard so clearly and share. I encourage each of you to attend in a show of strength and solidarity. The meeting is scheduled to start at 8:15 pm in the Board Room in the Mannakee building.

Yesterday morning I met with Dr. Pollard. During this meeting we talked at great length about how angry so many of the faculty are regarding both the process and apparent direction in which the restructuring is headed, and I emphasized the feeling of marginalization that is so prevalent. I have also been continuing the research I mentioned last week on practices at other multi-campus, unionized institutions and expect to have more to say based on that by the time of the Board meeting.

The full AAUP executive committee has remained very involved in the efforts. We have had numerous discussions on how to best advocate on this matter, and have scheduled an emergency meeting for tomorrow. In addition, we are working on a compilation of the written and oral feedback that we have received. Our plan is to edit these only to remove references that may identify the speaker or other specific individuals and then post these to our website. If you shared anything that you would rather not be made public even anonymously please contact me by email ASAP, and we will respect your wishes. Should you prefer, you may also contact me at or my personal email address, Please also consider sending to me, if you have not already done so, specific issues and actions that I could include when I speak before the Board. The more examples I am able to include which illustrate why we are feeling angry, distrustful, and marginalized, the more effective our case will be.

Your union leadership genuinely appreciates all of the feedback we have received and wants to assure you that we are working diligently to represent your concerns as effectively as possible.

Union Meeting on Academic Restructuring

Thank you to the many of you who have shared your thoughts and concerns on the academic area restructuring with the union. I hope you have also taken the opportunity to communicate directly with the task force and Dr. Pearl. In response to the many requests that the AAUP has received to further discuss this issue, and in recognition of the significant impact that the restructuring will have on our jobs, the executive committee of the AAUP invites all members of the AAUP to a special union meeting on Thursday, March 28, from 4-5 pm in the Theater Arts Arena on the Rockville Campus. At this meeting we will share the specific concerns that we have as a union and discuss the feedback that we have received from you.
I hope to see many of you then. In the meantime, please keep the feedback coming, and have a great spring break.

Rick Penn

Volunteers needed

MC-AAUP is in need of 2 volunteers.  Please consider serving in one of these capacities.

First, as Stephanie Pepin announced at the opening meeting, the Chapter is seeking to create a liaison to the College’s Board of Trustees.  This person will help foster communication between the Chapter and the Board, and will observe the Board’s open meetings on behalf of the Chapter.

Also, the AAUP has been asked for a volunteer to serve on a new “Common Employee Experience” committee. The committee will meet on Friday afternoons starting 2/8.
The charge of the committee is to:
Assist Montgomery College in becoming a destination employer by defining and recommending the adoption of a common employee experience – what it will mean to belong to the Montgomery College employee community; what employees should expect from their employment experience at Montgomery College. Utilize a process to accomplish this objective that emphasizes reliance on data, examination of best practices, adherence to Montgomery College’s values, and collaboration.

If you might be interested in serving  in either of these roles, please contact your campus AAUP vice president or me ASAP.
Thank you.

Rick Penn

Stop the Shift

The AAUP is joining with the Administration of Montgomery College, the County Council, County Executive, MCPS and others throughout the state to oppose the state’s plan to shift the cost of funding pensions for teachers and others to the counties.  The impact to the County of this shift would be significant, and the repercussions would be felt by all of us.  But the point is not just that we as a community would have to do more – there is a fundamental problem with the State negotiating pensions, not properly funding them, and then passing the buck to the local jurisdictions.  A blog and information about how you can make your voice heard on this can be found at