April 23, 2019

AAUP Update: Testimony to County Council (April 2019)

Harry N. Zarin, President
American Association of University Professors Montgomery College Chapter Operating  Budget Testimony

Wednesday April 10, 2019

Good evening. My name is Harry Zarin, and I have been a counselor/professor at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College for almost 26 years. I am here today in my role as the President of the full-time faculty union, the AAUP.

If I were asked to pick one word to describe the importance of my work and the work of the faculty at Montgomery College, the word I would pick is impact. As a faculty, we have a very positive impact and help to change the lives of thousands of students on a daily basis. The impact occurs both inside and outside of the classroom. The outside impact occurs in our learning centers, our offices, in training sessions, and at meetings with groups of current and prospective students. We provide our students with endless hours of counseling and advising in order to assist them in dealing with issues in life that impact their ability learn. We help them chose a major, help them plan their classes, help them learn how to study and to manage their time. We guide them towards becoming independent, confident, and ambitious people. Inside the classroom we must be creative, keep up-to-date with technology, be aware of the latest pedagogy, and create courses that don’t require text books in order to keep the costs down for our students.

As a community, we made a positive impact and changed the lives of Patrice, Heather, Rhiley, and Joanna.

Patrice came to MC as a high school dropout as part of our Gateway Program, and she had few defined hopes and dreams. As a single mother, she needed additional counseling and advising to help her learn how to manage her student life and her life as a mother. Through the combined efforts of a caring faculty, Patrice received the support she needed to achieve her eventual goal of becoming a nurse. She graduated from our nursing program in December 2018, passed her nursing boards in February, and will begin the RN to BSN program at the University of Maryland at the USG campus. We surrounded her with support both inside and outside the classroom:

Heather  arrived at MC with some obvious physical challenges,  and we needed a team of people   to help ensure that MC was accessible both inside and outside the classroom. All of our learning centers, the  library, bookstore, cafeteria, our private offices, etc. had to  be accessible. We   taught Heather how to  be a confident  student who learned how to  advocate  for  herself. Thanks   to our dedicated faculty, and the Disability Support Services staff, Heather had a very positive experience at MC, graduated with her BSW from UMBC at  the  USG campus, and  subsequently graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore at the USG campus with her MSW. Heather has been employed at MC as a part-time faculty counselor for eight years. She is now part of the community at MC, and she is making a positive impact on the lives of our students on a daily basis.

Riley came to Montgomery College as a student in transition with the usual doubts and confidence issues that many of our new students have. Through his hard work and dedication and a group of faculty who have been supportive and encouraging, we challenged him to be his intellectual best.  Rhiley will soon achieve his goal of becoming a college graduate, and in the fall will begin working towards receiving his Bachelor’s Degree at the USG campus of UMBC.

It took a community of faculty and staff to help Joanna, who was home schooled, achieve her goal of becoming a teacher. Joanna is legally blind, and we spent many hours together trying to figure out what assistive technology she needed in order to help her become a successful college student. We had to find tools to make the relatively invisible, visible. Our Disability Support Services faculty and staff constantly communicated with her faculty, the learning center staff, and most importantly with Joanna so that we could provide her with whatever was needed to help her be successful. Joanna not only graduated from Montgomery College but also subsequently graduated from Towson at USG with an education degree, and she has been employed at Weller Road Elementary School for the last 4 years.

These students are where they are today partially because of the proper guidance, creative instruction, counseling, encouragement, and training they received from our faculty. All of these students have learned how to be a better student. They should be very proud of themselves.

Now we need your assistance to help Montgomery College continue to be in a position to recruit, retain, train, and re-train quality full-time faculty. We need the financial support of the County so that the College can meet its contractual obligation to fund our bare bones negotiated increase in salary. Recognizing that the county and state budgets are tight, we have agreed to a general wage increase that is below the federal standard, no increase in our overload pay, and no increment. We ask for your support of the budget request so that we can continue to hire and keep the faculty who are making such a positive impact on the lives of thousands of students on a daily basis.

I would like to add that each·of the students I mentioned this evening have written an impact statement, and their statements are attached to  my testimony.

Thank you

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