August 19, 2017

AAUP Update: Testimony to Montgomery County Council

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

April 5, 2017

Members of the County Council:

My name is Harry Zarin.  I am a Professor and Counselor at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College.  I am here today in my role as the President of the Montgomery College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, AAUP.

This evening I am asking that you help us continue to help our students achieve their dream of receiving a college education.  I am asking that you fully support and fund the College’s proposed operating budget that includes funding for contractually negotiated raises for our faculty.

We are a very fine group of talented and experienced full-time faculty who diligently work to help our students learn a variety of developmental level and college level subjects.  These subjects include anthropology, accounting, biology, chemistry, criminal justice, various levels of math, psychology, sociology.  Our faculty counselors offer a wide range of student support services including career counseling, academic counseling, crisis intervention, brief personal counseling, and disability support services.

Our faculty spend endless hours creating up-to-date lectures and materials that are designed to help our student learn.  We are required to keep up with our respective fields of expertise, technology, and the latest trends in higher education.  Here are a few examples of this work. Our American English Language faculty completely redesigned the series of courses our second language students take prior to moving into a college level English classes.  The math faculty completely redesigned our developmental math program in order to help our students better succeed in learning the basic math skills needed to successfully pass our college level math classes. The English and reading faculty redesigned our developmental English and reading program so that in the fall a completely new set of integrated developmental English and reading classes will be offered for our neediest student.  The chemistry faculty in Germantown have spent considerable time converting the majority of sections of our first semester chemistry class into a flipped classroom format.  This new approach to teaching is offering our students a different way to approach teaching and learning.

Quality teaching requires up-to-date facilities.  It is very challenging, to teach in out-of-date labs.  One of our math professors says “We’re talking about using 21st century teaching methods in a space that’s designed for the needs of another century.”  Our buildings on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus are very old.  One is 38 years old and the other is 56 years old.  These buildings don’t meet the needs of either our students or our employees. You should try rolling a wheelchair around that campus or in those buildings.  We need that new math/science building on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.  Our students should be able to learn in facilities that are the same level of quality as in those of our local high schools.

What are we asking for?  We are asking that you continue to invest in the affordability and excellence being offered to our Montgomery College students. As a faculty, we are very grateful for the county’s steadfast commitment to Montgomery College. The only new funds Montgomery College has requested from the county are for contractually required increases in compensation and benefits for our dedicated faculty and staff. Our request recognizes the excellent work and contributions made to help our students succeed—so that our students can complete their education and become prepared to transfer to a 4-year university or move into the workforce of Montgomery County.

I heard someone recently say that community colleges are game changers that give people an opportunity to become self-sufficient.  This is who we are and what we are doing every day at Montgomery College.  We need your assistance in order to help us continue to change the lives of our diverse student population and to help them achieve their dreams.

Thank you.

 

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