December 5, 2021

AAUP November Chapter Update

AAUP Update-Return to Campus Plans, Vaccine Mandate, Negotiations, Organizing Group Update

November 2021

Return to Campus Plans:

On November 8 all administrators, staff, and faculty counselors were expected to return to their offices five days a week and each employee can request the ability to telework one day a week.  The regular telework policy of allowing employees to telework up to three days a week has been suspended until later in the spring semester.  Whether you agree with this plan or not, we are back. 

Those of us who work in student service areas are very concerned that we are being asked to come to the office at least 4 days a week and possibly meet with current students or visitors who may be unvaccinated. The fact that instructional faculty and counseling faculty are being treated differently is problematic. Instructional faculty have been told that they can do their office hours remotely while we counseling faculty members are expected to work from our offices at least four days a week.   Despite the fact that all of us are vaccinated, we all know that breakthrough cases of COVID are being reported on a regular basis in the county and at the college.  I believe the administration is counting on the fact that the number of people in the county who are vaccinated is very high and that reduces the likelihood that we will be exposed to unvaccinated people.  We shall see if this plan works or not. 

On behalf of the faculty in the student services area I asked that this plan be revisited and that we be allowed to work with our respective Chairs/Deans to create a 5-day a week presence while at the same time allowing us to limit our individual on-campus presence.  We believe the on-campus demands of the students don’t currently require all of us to be here 5-days a week and we have the data to prove this. Despite knowing this data, the administration did not relent on their decision and we are expected to be here 5-days a week with the understanding that we can telework one day a week.  So much for saying that we are a data driven institution.

Employee Vaccine mandate:

A very important part of the return to campus plans was the Administration’s announcement that all employees, including student employees, were supposed to submit proof of their COVID vaccination to the posted website by November 8.  Requests for religious or medical exceptions were granted on an individual basis and those requests should have been submitted by October 29. 

An integral part of this return to campus plan, included the development of the Employee COVID-19 Vaccination, Safety & Disciplinary Action Protocols document.  See the attached.

employee-covid19-vaccination-compliance-protocols.pdf

Within this document are the discipline and discharge protocols the College developed for all employees who do not provide evidence of receiving their vaccination or those who do not receive a medical or religious exemption.  Several of us on the Executive Committee met with members of HRSTM a few times to help with the development of this document. It is important to note that the discipline and discharge procedures in this document do not comply with the discipline and discharge procedures specified in our contract. The Administration tried to come up with a one size fits all document, remember there are three different unions at MC, and the Administration has asked representatives for each union to sign off on a memorandum of agreement. Last week I received notification from HRSTM that 100% of the full-time faculty were fully compliant in submitting their verification of receipt of the COVID vaccination.  Based on this information I have signed off on the memorandum of agreement and submitted it to HRSTM. 

Student Vaccine Mandate:

The student vaccine mandate goes into effect on January 8 and this mandate only applies to students registered for face-to-face classes.  There is an expectation that those students who are registered for distance learning and structured remote classes who need to come to campus for student services, will also comply with the mandate.  However, there is no mechanism in place to ensure that this happens. 

On behalf of the full-time faculty I submitted a written request to Kevin Long, Chair of the RTCAT, asking that they recommend the Administration reconsider the student vaccine mandate and require that all registered students be required to submit verification of their vaccination status unless they receive a religious or medical exemption. I did this because any student can come to campus and use the services in the learning centers, the library, counseling and advising, the Financial Aid Office, etc. and no mechanism is in place to stop them if they are not vaccinated.  This policy is creating an unsafe environment for all of us.

Kevin brought my request to the senior leadership and as of the writing of this update no change has been made in the student vaccine mandate. I will continue to request that this mandate be changed whenever I meet with members of the administration.

Negotiations Update From Sharon Piper, Chief Negotiator:

Negotiations between AAUP and MC management started on Tuesday October 12. This year we are negotiating for financials (salary, overload and EAP) for the 2022-23 academic year. Both management and AAUP have brought some additional issues to the table, and we are currently in the process of sorting out which of those issues both sides are willing to discuss. In addition to negotiations, we are discussing a possible plan for a return to IBB (Interest Based Bargaining) in future negotiation sessions. The timing for this is optimal with a new management team to work with as we go forward. 

At our first session, we shared with management the 300+ signatures and support statement for the negotiating team organized by the membership. That act was much appreciated by the team and the statement and signatures have been entered into the session notes as permanent documentation of faculty support. 

We are preparing for at least three more negotiation sessions (and possibly four if needed) before the end of the semester. We will make a final report to the membership once negotiations are completed, and the contract is ready for a vote on ratification. Please reach out to any NT member if you have any questions and as always, thank you for your support. 

One final note: the negotiating team is sad to say good-bye to a longtime member, Robin Flanary, who retired from MC this past summer, and happy to welcome a new member, Carrie Fitzgerald, who joins Tito Baca, Ginger Robinson, and myself. We wanted to thank Robin for all her hard work in representing the FT faculty and AAUP, and to thank Carrie for her future time and efforts as a new member of the team. 

Organizing Group Update From Michael LeBlanc:

In September, organizers made one final push to get 300 signatures on our Negotiating Team Support Letter, and we met our goal exactly by the end of the month.  This is a fantastic achievement, and the membership deserves a pat on the back for speaking with such a strong and supportive collective voice.  The organizing email list continues to be a robust forum for collegial conversation around faculty issues.  Faculty exchange information and stories, ask questions of union leadership, and develop opportunities and strategies around faculty issues, especially return to campus issues.  For the rest of this semester and into the spring, organizing leaders will turn their attention to membership outreach, strategic planning, and election forums.  Stay tuned if you’re interested in becoming involved in these initiatives. 

The administration has to make a strong request for funding to support a raise for the employees. We are the only county funded organization that didn’t receive a raise this year. It is time for the Administration to go to bat for the employees. Declining enrollment can’t be used as an excuse to not ask for raises for us. 

ESH Limits:

Prior to the start of our winter session and spring semester I wanted to remind everyone about the ESH limits stipulated in our contracts.  When planning your winter and spring classes please remember that you may work no more than 20 ESH in any one semester, winter ESH counts towards your spring ESH load, and you may work no more than 36 ESH in any given academic year.  Exceptions to these ESH limits are granted in very rare cases by the Chapter upon request from Management. 

Future Chapter Forums:

The Executive Committee is planning on offering more Contract 101 type forums to help involve the faculty in learning more about Chapter activities, what it is like to serve in a leadership position for the Chapter, and about various articles in our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Look for information about these forums in future Chapter updates.

Spring Opening Meeting:

In case anyone was wondering, our spring opening faculty meeting will be scheduled as a Zoom meeting.  A Zoom link will be sent out to all of you in early January.  The meeting is scheduled for the morning of Tuesday January 18 which is the day the faculty are due to return to work from the holiday break.

Meeting with Dr. Dukes:

Several weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have had an opportunity to meet with Dr. Dukes, Steve Cain, and the Presidents of the other two unions that represent the bargaining staff and the part-time faculty, Chris Standing and Victoria Baldassano.  We talked about a variety of topics that were of interest to each of us. 

During this meeting I took the opportunity to speak about our current negotiations and the fact that we are the only county funded agency that did not receive a raise this year. I stressed that it is important for our administration to fight for us and to make a very strong ask of the County and State for sufficient funds so that each of us can receive a substantial raise next year. We took the hit this year and it is another groups turn to take the hit next year. Below are examples of the raises negotiated by some of the employee groups in Montgomery County, Maryland state employees, and employees in the University System of Maryland.

  • All Montgomery County employees (union and non-union) received a 1.5% GWA (General Wage Adjustment) effective June 20, 2021.  Employee groups also received a 3.5% service increment for FY21.
  • The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved FY22 increases for MCGEO (County Employees) 3.5% or 4.75% increment plus a $1,684 GWA, FOP (Fraternal Order of the Police) 6%, and IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) 5%, on April 27, 2021.
  • Maryland State Government Employees-2% GWA plus a step increase
  • University System of Maryland-2% COLA plus 1.9% increment
  • MCPS Step plus 2% in FY21 and Step plus 1.5% in FY22.

I don’t care if our enrollment is down. The amount of work we are all doing and have been doing during these crazy COVID times has not decreased due to the decline in enrollment.  In fact, just about everyone I have spoken with over the past two years has said they are working more now than ever before.  We don’t mind working hard but we deserve a raise and we need to be rewarded just like any other County funded agency. 

Thank you to the members of the Negotiating Team for fighting for us during these negotiations.

Personally, I hope that all of you and your families are staying healthy during these difficult times.  Please take some time to take care of yourself, get away from work, relax, read a good book, take a vacation, and just be good to yourself.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Zarin, President AAUP

AAUP Update-RTCAT Responses and the Summer Professional Development Institute

Colleagues: 

After we held our full-time faculty meeting on July 21 the Executive Committee forwarded nine questions to the RTCAT Committee.  Below are the answers the Executive Committee received from the RTCAT to our questions.   If you were unable to attend the meeting and you would like to listen/watch the meeting, go to mcaaup.org, click on the July 14 update, scroll to the bottom of the page, and you will see a link to the recording of the meeting and the appropriate password. 

On behalf of the Chapter, I would like to extend our thanks to the members of the RTCAT who attended our July 21 meeting and to the entire team for providing us with a very timely response to our questions.

Faculty Questions Submitted to RTCAT with Responses

  1. Can we dismiss students who show signs of symptoms during class? What if the student refuses to leave the classroom?
    • Faculty who observes a student with clearly observable signs of illness that are uncharacteristic for that student or may be negatively impacting that student’s or other students’ performance should discretely speak with the student and advise the student to go home if they are ill. Remember to maintain confidentiality when speaking with others about a student’s health.\
    • Students who refuse to leave the classroom and appear to pose a disruption to class or a risk to the health and safety of other students should be reported through the appropriate channels for a possible Student Code of Conduct violation. If the student poses an immediate risk to the health and safety of others, please contact Public Safety.
    • The best guidance/advice to both students and employees is to stay home if you are sick and contact your primary care physician.
    • Everyone is required to take the Daily Health Assessment – anyone with visibly observable signs of the symptoms listed should stay home. Students should contact their instructor about any missed work, and instructors should be flexible regarding excused absences including providing students the ability to make-up missed work due to illness.
    • It is recommended that instructors link to the on-campus orientation training for students via their course Blackboard page to increase awareness and empower students to self-monitor their health.
    • Please keep in mind that a cough, sneezing, or other minor symptoms are not automatically indicators of Covid-19. A student could have allergies or another chronic condition.
    • There are existing guidelines from last year that are still valid and useful for these situations.
  2. Can a faculty member dismiss class if, during class, it is discovered that someone in the classroom has tested positive for Covid?
    • Should a student notify a faculty member, or an instructor become aware that a student in class has tested positive for Covid, the instructor should discretely have a conversation with the student. If confirmed, the instructor should announce that there has been a possible infection, dismiss class, immediately notify Public Safety, and use the course Blackboard site to announce any next steps or contingency plans.
    • The first priority is to maintain classroom safety.
    • There are existing guidelines from last year that are still valid for these situations.
    • Remember to always maintain confidentiality and not identify the individual who may have tested positive.
    • There may be cases where a student mentions they were with someone who tested positive. Do not panic. This does not automatically mean that student has been exposed. A general reminder to all students to take the Daily Health Assessment, monitor themselves for symptoms, and contact their health care provider if they have any concerns.
  3. Can faculty put up plexiglass in their office when meeting with students?
    • The RTCAT does not recommend that individual faculty install plexiglass themselves as it could pose a safety risk.
    • The use of plexiglass as a safety precaution will depend on the situation.
    • The use of plexiglass in a smaller, enclosed space may limit ventilation and air circulation.
    • The best defense is still wearing a mask. Faculty who chooses to do so may request and wear a face shield via their campus facilities office.
    • The RTCAT encourages faculty to use larger, more open spaces to meet with students should they feel uncomfortable.
  4. Are there any FT faculty members or members of the AAUP on the Return to Campus Advisory Team?
    • Since the AAUP is a bargaining unit, it is not a good Labor Relations practice to specifically include unions at this level of discussion.
    • Since the RTCAT was meeting and working regularly over the summer, there was no ESH budgeted and no expectation that faculty would be expected to work over the summer.
    • There are multiple avenues for faculty involvement, especially as we get closer to the start of the semester and the resumption of governance activities.
    • Faculty are welcome and invited to submit questions and topics for discussion to the RTCAT, invite members of the RTCAT to attend meetings, and form committees with RTCAT representatives, if so desired, to assist in creating and vetting classroom guidelines.
  5. Will MC require vaccinations at some point?
    • Yes, MC will require vaccinations once the FDA has given full approval. Currently, there is only one appellate court case that has upheld a vaccine mandate at an institution of higher education.
    • Upon FDA approval, students and employees will have 60 days from the date of approval to get vaccinated to be on campus.
    • Discussions are currently underway on how the College will monitor and track vaccination status, possibly using a third-party vendor.
    • It is anticipated that vaccinations will be required in the spring, pending FDA approval.
    • We are also monitoring actions at the county level, including negotiations with county collective bargaining units on mandatory vaccines.
  6. What should we do to maintain social distance in the classroom? What do we do if the classroom does not allow us to maintain an appropriate 6 feet of distance in the classroom?
    • Currently, the College has suspended social distancing guidelines pursuant to county, state, and CDC guidelines.
    • The current best protection against the spread of Covid are vaccinations and masks. The College has reinstituted its mask mandate effective August 2. Each campus has an allotment of 5,000 cloth masks that will be distributed and available in classroom scheduled for use this fall.
    • Most in-person classes were scheduled this past spring with a cap of 12-14 students.
    • In situations where social distancing is not possible, masks and sanitizing are still effective protections. Students and instructors should avoid, when possible, congregating in large groups.
  7. What sorts of signage will be provided to promote public safety?
    • There will be a large array of signage in all buildings on all campuses reminding people to wear a mask, get vaccinated, and follow basic hygiene protocols.
    • The focus is primarily on county metrics, since most of our students are in-county residents; however, we do consider proximity to other jurisdictions and that data in making decisions. Please note that our decision-making authority is somewhat limited by what is happening in the county and any restrictions or flexibility that the county may put into place.
    • The College and the RTCAT examine county and regional metrics daily for changes and concerns.
    • While we do look at global trends, the CDC has recommended localized decision-making and local data in making decisions.
  8. How might the college provide return to campus guidelines unique to the classroom setting?
    • A dedicated Faculty FAQ is currently being developed with input from faculty and RTCAT.
    • There is a faculty-led group developing classroom guidelines consistent with all collegewide guidance.
    • Additionally, standardized syllabi template language is also being developed by faculty with input from RTCAT.

Summer Professional Development Institute:

Many of us participated in the Summer Professional Development Institute.  If you participated in the Institute and want to receive the $1,850 stipend, you need to submit an Action Plan that is reflective of your learning by August 15, 2021.  Below is an e-mail follow-up that we all received from Paul Miller on August 4 regarding this requirement. 

Thank you for your active participation in the Summer Professional Development Institute. 

Just a friendly reminder, you are required to submit an online Action Plan reflective of your learning at the end of your chosen Learning Pathway to be eligible for the Summer Institute Stipend. The Action Plan can be found by clicking on this link. The Action Plan should take you up to one hour to complete and is due on or before August 15, 2021. 

If you have already submitted your Action Plan, please disregard this email. 

The Action Plan contains three sections. An outline of the Action Plan is below – please do not reply to this email with your action plan included in the table. Once you submit your Action Plan through the web, an email will be sent to you to confirm receipt. 

Section  Purpose Questions Asked Note 
Personal Information What is your M#?  Include the M at the beginning of your number. 
Learning Pathway Which Learning Pathway did you participate in?

 

 
You will select one of the three learning pathways – Dialogue Circle, Series, or Workshop.   If you select the Workshop Learning Pathway, you will be asked to identify the sessions that you did and did not attend.  

How would you rate your Learning Pathway learning experience? You can select up to 5 stars (1 being the worst) 
SMART Goal and Action Plan What is your goal? Create a goal and action plan to apply the summer learning into your professional context. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be: Specific (simple, sensible, significant). Measurable (meaningful, motivating). Achievable (agreed, attainable). Realistic and Timely. 
What do you need to do to achieve your goal? Be as specific as possible. Focus on the things you can control. 
How will you identify your success? Be as specific as possible. What data can be collected to provide you with feedback on your desired outcome? 
By when do you need to complete the tasks identified in question 5? Be as specific as possible. Remember, this action plan is self-monitored. You are accountable to YOURSELF. 
What or who can help you complete your tasks identified in question 5? Be as specific as possible. Remember, you have a professional network and systems of support (e.g., deans, department chairs, ELITE, etc.)
What additional PD will you engage in to support your goal (PD topics should be chosen from the connections made in your Learning Pathway). Be as specific as possible. ELITE will use this information to identify new PD topics for the upcoming year. ELITE will evaluate all responses and generalize them into new topics or existing opportunities. 
Would you like for ELITE to contact you about your goal progress throughout the Fall semester? If you select yes, a member of the ELITE team will contact you throughout the fall to discuss your progress.  
Do you have another goal you would like to work on? If you select no, you can submit your responses, and you are done with the Action Plan.   If you select yes, you can repeat Section 3, and set up to two more goals reflective of your summer learning.  

Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Dr. Paul D. Miller
Professional Development Director 
Montgomery College
Office of E-Learning, Innovation & Teaching Excellence (ELITE)
Mannakee Building #325J
Rockville, MD 20850
Cell: (717) 602-3304

As our summer vacation/work comes to a close, we are all making plans for a partial return to campus to teach, counsel, and advise our students.  It is important that we all take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically, during this continued unusual period in our MC lives.  We also need to remember how stressful this period of time has been and will continue to be for our students. Many have lost jobs, income, family members, and friends, and they are trying to figure out how they are going to continue being a student and take classes, whether they are remote or f2f.  If there was ever a time for us to be flexible, compassionate, and understanding with our students and our colleagues, now is the time.  Please don’t hesitate to refer students to a counselor if you feel a student is in need of assistance or to seek assistance for yourself.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor

President-AAUP

AAUP Update-Full Faulty Meeting Follow-up and Questions for the RTCAT

August 2021

Colleagues:

On July 21 over 100 faculty members Zoomed into our first ever summer meeting of the full-time faculty.  The conversations that occurred during this meeting focused on the return to campus plans that had been announced by the Administration.  We had our own panel of experts (Collins Jones, Biotechnology-Germantown, Lori Kelman, Biotechnology-Germantown, Jennifer Capparella, Natural Sciences Department Chair- Germantown, and Melissa Sprague, Health Sciences Department Chair-TP/SS) on hand to respond to our questions and concerns.  Towards the end of the meeting three members of the Administration’s Return to Campus Coronavirus Advisory Team (Kim Kelly, Vice President and Provost-Rockville, Monique Davis, Dean of Health Sciences, Kevin Long, Chair of the RTCAT) were there to provide us with their insights into what is happening on the Committee. They also responded to several of our questions and concerns.  We are very appreciative that these employees participated in our meeting.

The meeting was recorded so that faculty who were not able to attend the meeting could still hear what was discussed during the meeting.  If you are interested in listening to the meeting, please go to the Chapter’s website, mcaaup.org, click on the link to my July 14, 2021 update, and scroll to the bottom of the page.  The link to the recording has been posted there along with the access passcode that you need to enter in order to listen to the recording.

It is important to note that information the Administration uses to make decisions regarding the COVID virus change almost daily. For example, since our meeting, the Administration has reinstituted the mask mandate based on new guidance received by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in consultation with MCs Return-to-Campus Advisory Committee.  

Below is the list of the questions that were asked during the meeting along with responses and recommendations that were discussed by our panel of experts and the RTCAT members. 

Below the list of faculty questions and recommendations that were discussed during our meeting is a separate list of questions that the Executive Committee forwarded to the RTCAT.  We will provide you with their responses as soon as we receive them.

Return to Campus

Faculty Questions and Recommendations

As more of us plan to return to campus in the fall, we appreciate the work college leadership has done to keep the college and community informed through the online resources of the coronavirus information page. A great deal of valuable information is available there.

The purpose of this set of faculty questions and recommendations is to serve as a supplement to the information already available. Faculty offices and classrooms represent a context with distinctive concerns that likely require their own set of guidelines.

The questions and recommendations in this document were collected widely through both the faculty email list and a summer union meeting with over 100 attendees, including members of the CAT and RTCAT, who graciously accepted our invitations.

This document serves, then, to accomplish three goals:

  • to provide faculty with the responses to their questions and concerns that we have already collected.
  • to seek answers and solutions from college leadership to unanswered questions.
  • to propose viable recommendations from the faculty perspective where appropriate.

I. Questions with Guidance from College

  1. Will college be transparent about ventilation systems especially since some rooms do not have windows?

Information about the current approaches the college is taking to cleaning and ventilation:

https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/coronavirus/employees/faqs.htm

2. Will faculty know class seat size in advance?

This is the answer from college leadership via email to union leadership:

“Class size numbers were established based on the health and safety conditions (metrics) at the time the schedule was developed.  Once Montgomery County’s health and safety conditions (metrics) improved, classes that transitioned from remote to f2f did so without a change in the class size capacity.  Many remote sections were converted with a class size capacity of 12 to 14 students.  The sections added to provide more f2f options are also capped at 12 to 14 students.  During the duration of an on-campus course, we will not change the class size — even if metrics improve.  If necessary, we will meet student demand for on-campus courses by adding sections with the same 12 to 14 class size capacity.“

3. Might a course section return to remote if an instructor feels it is not safe?

Kevin Long indicated that sections cannot be switched permanently back to a remote class if it is listed as face-to-face. However, he indicated that an emergency and temporary shift to remote for a given section during the semester could be an option

4. If someone tests positive, what is the required procedure for the entire college community?

If someone has tested positive for COVID, that person should contact Public Safety at publicsafety@montgomerycollege.edu or 240-567-3333. If in contact with someone who has tested positive for more than 15 minutes without a mask, those individuals should contact Public Safety as well. It was suggested that faculty include this information in their syllabus.

5.Will the college be flexible if circumstances change and they need to change COVID policies?

Melissa Sprague indicated that the CAT has done this in the past, and she does not see any reason why they will not continue to reevaluate circumstances and make changes as needed. There may be emergency pivots to remote learning that are temporary on a case-by-case basis.

6.How flexible can we be on attendance if students are not feeling well?

Faculty are urged to be flexible so that students do not feel forced to come to campus when they feel ill. Showing flexibility while upholding standards of attendance will be a careful balancing act for each instructor.

7. Will the college provide masks and other PPE for faculty and students?

From the coronavirus information page:

Are we going to receive personal protective equipment (PPE) for all lasses/students/employees from Facilities or should each department order them? 

Yes. Upon request, Facilities will have gloves, face shields, and hand sanitizer for employees of the College community. Masks are available for all who need them and available at the Public Safety office on each campus and the CT building. 

How will we be provided with PPE by Facilities? Are employees supposed to contact Facilities?

Requests for PPE should first be sent to your department supervisor for evaluation. Upon approval, department supervisor or designee can submit the PPE request to the Facilities Service Desk. For off-site locations, such as the Community Engagement Centers and Gaithersburg Training Center, PPE can be picked up from the closest/preferred campus.   

Also, this is what the college has stated in one of their responses to union questions about this issue: “Masks and disinfecting wipes will be available in all classrooms.“ There are some questions about how this will be done and whether facilities will keep these supplies well stocked.

8. Are we going to be required to return to campus for meetings?

We have not heard yet, but we do know that there will be a face-to-face and remote option for the opening meeting. Our union meeting will be remote only. We do know that there is a face-to-face meeting scheduled at Germantown with about 80 participants so they may be waiting to see how that goes before making a final decision on a collegewide meeting guideline might be for the fall. Monique Davis said that they will be meeting soon to explore this further.

9. Will Professional Week trainings be available online? Will there be trainings that deal with COVID specifically?

Kim Kelley said that she would take this back to RTCAT.

10. Are there any FT faculty members or members of the AAUP on the Return to Campus Advisory Team?

There are currently no faculty members on the Return to Campus Advisory Team. Kevin Long did not have an explanation as to why.

11. Will MC require vaccinations at some point?

The RTCAT did today pass on their recommendation to do so to the next level, but it remains to be seen how Management will do this, what the verification process will be, how we would handle those circumstances where students cannot / will not get vaccinated.

The following set of questions and recommendations was sent to the RTCAT.  We will post the responses we receive from the RTCAT on the Chapter webpage. 

Return to Campus

Faculty Questions for the RTCAT

and Recommendations

  • Current available information is in blue font.
  • Faculty recommendations are highlighted in green.
  1. Can we dismiss students who show signs of symptoms during class? What if the student refuses to leave the classroom?

Faculty Recommendation:

If a faculty member is concerned that a student is coming to class when they appear ill, it seems appropriate to show the same kind of sympathy one might show to anyone who is ill and politely and discreetly suggest that they go home and get some rest. Explain to the student that they will not be penalized and that the instructor will work with the student to make up any missed assignments.

In the case that a student appears to exhibit symptoms of Covid but wishes to remain in the classroom, the college should think through possible Covid exposure conditions and procedures. The classroom is an indoor space where faculty and students are expected to stay and work; they are not as free to leave as other public spaces, making the classroom a unique space when considering possible Covid exposure.

Currently, the FAQ says that if an employee is concerned that a fellow employee is exhibiting COVID symptoms, they should contact their supervisor. If a student is exhibiting possible COVID symptoms and wishes to remain in the classroom, is there somebody to contact? Should the class continue as scheduled? Is there some way to mitigate student and faculty discomfort around the fear of exposure in these situations?

It would be useful to create a clear syllabus addendum: Public Safety contact info, self-reporting guidelines, outline of COVID symptoms, reminder to update contact info for tracing purposes, and procedures to follow for classroom situations where there is a potential exposure to COVID.

  • Can a faculty member dismiss class if, during class, it is discovered that someone in the classroom has tested positive for COVID?

We know that Public Safety needs to be notified in the situation, but what other procedures should be followed in the actual classroom?

Faculty Recommendation:

A faculty member should be free to dismiss class immediately on a given day if it is discovered that someone in the classroom has tested positive for Covid.

  • Can faculty put up plexiglass in their office when meeting with students?

The college already has some plexiglass barriers in appropriate places:

https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/coronavirus/employees/faqs.html

Faculty Recommendation:

The college should provide plexiglass barriers for faculty who request it. If the college will not provide these barriers, faculty should be able to put up these barriers if they wish. There needs to be very clear instruction for how does a faculty member can request plexiglas barriers for their office or classroom.

10. Are there any FT faculty members or members of the AAUP on the Return to Campus Advisory Team?

There are currently no faculty members on the Return to Campus Advisory Team. Kevin Long did not have an explanation as to why.

Faculty Recommendation:

We recommend that faculty from a range of disciplines be included on the RT Covid Advisory Team, and at least one member of the AAUP Executive Committee. There are issues in classrooms and offices that would be on the forefront of the faculty mind but might be overlooked by non-faculty leadership. Faculty should be considered a valuable resource in this regard.

11. Will MC require vaccinations at some point?

The RTCAT did today pass on their recommendation to do so to the next level, but it remains to be seen how Management will do this, what the verification process will be, how we would handle those circumstances where students cannot / will not get vaccinated.

Faculty Recommendation:

The faculty largely support a vaccination requirement for those who can / should receive it. Use Castle Branch software to verify and collect vaccination records.

  • What should we do to maintain social distance in the classroom? What do we do if the classroom does not allow us to maintain an appropriate 6 feet of distance in the classroom?

Currently, many face-to-face classes already have smaller enrollment caps to allow for social distancing, but some do not, sometimes because the classroom layout in a room like a lab may limit social distancing options, and sometimes because the class was created when the safety standards were different.

Faculty Recommendation:

Classroom enrollment should be capped at a number that allows for social distancing. Students should space themselves around the classroom, whenever possible, to maintain social distance.

  • What sorts of signage will be provided to promote public safety?

Faculty Recommendation:

To promote social distancing, decals on the floors of classrooms, waiting areas, restrooms, bus queues, and so forth could be provided indicating safe distances. Decals can be placed on the desks in classrooms to promote socially distanced seating. We recommend putting signs outlining symptoms, safety procedures, and Public Safety contact info in the following locations:

  • Parking lots.
  • Building entrances.
  • Common areas within buildings.
  • Elevator lobbies.
  • Entrances to classrooms and instructional spaces
  • How much will the college look beyond our county to gather information on global trends and what is the process used by the college to develop policies?

Faculty Recommendation:

Because Montgomery College draws from areas outside of Montgomery County for its student population, broader metrics should be considered when making Covid policies.

  • How might the college provide return to campus guidelines unique to the classroom setting?

Faculty Recommendation:

In addition to the syllabus addendum, we believe there needs to be a separate faculty FAQ on the Coronavirus Response and Return to Campus webpage. It would be particularly helpful to include particular classroom scenarios (What if a student refuses to wear a mask? What if a student exhibits COVID symptoms?) with guidelines for how to resolve each scenario.

AAUP Update-Full Faculty Meeting

Colleagues:

A number of faculty members have been contacting those of us on the Executive Committee about the College’s plans to offer more face-to-face classes and on-campus services this fall.  At the same time, discussions have been occurring amongst many of you who are part of our organizing group on the same topic. We have all been working remotely since the start of the COVID crisis in March 2020 and adjusting to working remotely was difficult for many of us.  We adjusted and are very used to working from a non-college site to do our jobs.  Returning to our offices and classrooms is going to require us to adjust to this shift back to campus and this adjustment is going to take time.  We all knew this was going to happen but we didn’t think it would be happening this fall because of information we previously received from the Administration.

For a variety of reasons, the members of our Administration announced last spring that the majority of our classes would be taught remotely this fall and then that changed.  Initially everyone was going to be required to wear a mask when we returned to campus and now we are not going to be required to wear a mask. These changes are causing quite a bit of concern for many of us and rightfully so.

As an Executive Committee, we think it is important for as many of you as possible to attend a full faculty meeting to express your concerns and to hear from a panel of experts who are very knowledge of the COVID-19 virus, information coming from the CDC, and the vaccinations that are available to us.   Collins Jones and Lori Kelman who teach in our Biotechnology Program and Jennifer Capparella, Germantown Natural Sciences Department Chair have agreed to be our panel of experts.  They have a very unique perspective on the virus and we are pleased that they are willing to share their expertise with us.  Jennifer has a graduate degree in public health and used to work at the CDC.  Collins and Lori also understand the science behind the creation of the vaccinations, the virus itself, and they all can speak to how the virus spreads.

We know that hosting summer meetings is tough and that not everyone will be available to attend the meeting.  However, we feel that hosting a meeting on these topics is very important to all of us.  The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 21 at 3:00 and it is scheduled to last until 4:30.  An e-mail with a Zoom link to the meeting will be sent to all of you early next week along with an invite for you to submit questions you have in advance of the meeting.

If your schedule permits, please plan on attending this meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor
President-AAUP


Link to Recording

Topic: AAUP Summer Meeting

Start Time : Jul 21, 2021 02:34 PM

Meeting Recording

Access Passcode: aaupcovid!21

AAUP Update: AAUP Update: Solidarity Statement, Nominations, Testimony and more.

April 21, 2021

Colleagues:

Each semester I generally teach a class called STSU122 – Principles of Academic Success.  Students who have not performed very well academically and need to learn how to become a better student typically populate this class.  In Chapter 6, Gaining Self-Awareness, we discuss the scripts that make up of our core beliefs.  Our core beliefs are described as unconscious judgements that dictate what we consistently think, feel, and do. They are that invisible part of a script that contains our view of other people, the world, and ourselves. Our core beliefs are made up of our emotional patterns, our behavioral patterns, and our thought patterns. 

One exercise I do with my students is to ask them to complete the following sentence stems according to their core beliefs.

            The world is______________.

            People are_______________.

            I am____________________.

I didn’t teach this semester, but I imagine if I had the responses I would have seen to these three sentence stems would have been different from those I have seen in previous classes.  Why, the reasons are obvious. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the world a very scary place, a place where just going to the store or meeting with friends could result is someone becoming very ill and possibly dying.  Our students have lost the safety they feel simply by coming to campus daily because their home life is very unsafe. I could go on.

In addition to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the violence we have seen in this country over the past year gives all of us cause to be concerned about our own safety.  Much of this violence has recently focused on members of the Asian American community. The Executive Committee and the entire Chapter stands in solidarity with the Pacific Islander and Asian American community after the recent violence in Georgia and the on-going harassment of that community.  These events emphasize the importance of having continuing discussions on racial violence and injustice and the impacts on all communities, and for union purposes, the impact on the faculty.

Last semester I announced that the Chapter planned on hosting a spring dialogue to discuss the importance of race from the perspective of our full-time faculty and to better understand how race affects their experiences at the College. The Chapter’s goal in hosting this dialogue is to facilitate a collaborative conversation that helps Chapter leadership understand how it can better support the faculty and that helps faculty understand how they can better support each other. This dialog, “Discussing Race and Labor in Academia,” will be held today from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. We hope you will join us in a conversation in the spirit of the World Cafe, which seeks to provide large groups with a comfortable space to build community knowledge through a series of small-group dialogues. The event is open to all members of the full-time faculty regardless of union affiliation. Members and nonmembers are welcome.  Register now.

Naliyah Kaya, Sociology, TP/SS, Michael LeBlanc, VP, TP/SS, Ginger Robinson, Negotiating Team, Katya Salmi, Sociology, Rockville, Jarvis Slacks, VP, Rockville 

As the semester progresses to a close in a month, please take some time to take care of yourself and your students.  Please recognize that many of your students may need some additional time to complete their assignments because they are having a very difficult time being a good student for a variety of reasons, including living the isolated COVID life, taking classes remotely, and dealing with a loss of income, increased stress, illness of self or family, etc.

Return to Campus Plans:

Numerous members of the faculty have contacted members of the Executive Committee and have asked us when we are going to return to campus, to our offices, to our classrooms, learning centers, etc. Several committees have been established to determine what the return to campus will look like and Dr. Pollard has spoken about this several times in her weekly messages.  Members of the Chapter serve on these committees and members of the Executive Committee have had regular meetings with members of the administration on this topic.  We represent you during these regular meetings when we discuss the plans that are being made to bring us back to campus in a safe manner.  The safety of our students and employees guides all of the plans that are being put in place to help us return to campus. 

Technology Requests:

Please don’t forget to submit your hardware requests if you need a laptop, a scanner, a Mac Book, or other technology in order to perform your job from home. 

Hardware Request Form

Nominations and the Closing Meeting:

Our closing meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 19th right after the end of the President’s closing meeting.  Our meeting should start around 11:15 a.m..  A zoom link will be sent to all of you with additional details about the meeting later in May.

At the closing meeting we will discuss the activities of the Chapter for the past year and our treasury report, we will vote on whether to increase our dues or not, we will listen to your concerns and questions, and we will announce the results of our election of Chapter officers for next year. 

An announcement about nominations for next year’s Chapter officers will be coming out in the next week or two and after the slate is announced we will hold our election electronically.  You must be a dues paying member of the Chapter in order to vote in our election of officers.  All Chapter officers serve a one-year term of office and nominations will be solicited for all positions.  The elected Chapter officers consist of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, and three Vice-Presidents, one from each campus.  One Vice-President, Michael LeBlanc-TP/SS, has indicated that he will step down from his position as the Vice-President for the TP/SS campus at the end of this year. Our previous Treasurer stepped down earlier this semester.  All other elected Chapter officers have indicated that they would like to return next year. Therefore, we need people to step up and join the Chapter leadership next year by running for office this May.  We hope that some of you will consider joining the small but active and dedicated group of faculty leaders. 

County Council Budget Hearing Testimony:

The County Council holds operating budget request hearings in April and typically, representatives from the College testify at these hearings. This year Jarvis Slacks English-R represented the Chapter by testifying on our behalf.  Below is the testimony he submitted to the County Council.

Jarvis Slacks, Vice President Rockville Campus
American Association of University Professors
Montgomery College Chapter
Operating Budget Testimony April 7, 2021

My name is Jarvis Slacks and I have been an English professor at the Rockville Campus of Montgomery College for 9 years. I am testifying today in my role as one of three Vice Presidents of the full-time faculty union, the AAUP.

I am sure that all of can agree that this past year has been anything but normal. Approximately a year ago, the entire faculty at Montgomery College had to start teaching their classes remotely and all students were expected to attend their classes remotely. This sudden shock presented us with an unparalleled task. We were expected to create remote versions of our face-to-face classes, including lab science, applied technology, studio art, physical education, etc. in one week. And to make matters more complicated, the majority of the faculty had no training on how to teach classes remotely and many didn’t have the technology at home that would enable them to do so.

Faculty counselors had to come up with a mechanism to provide remote counseling and advising services for our students.

While all of this was taking place, we had to deal with the stress of trying to protect ourselves and our families from a virus that we still didn’t understand and for which there is no cure.

Many of our students were experiencing similar stressors. Many of them didn’t own a computer at the start of the COVID crisis and had no internet access at home. Many were and still are living in some not so nice environments and had figure out how they were going to study in an environment where they had no place to study. Many of our students and members of their families contracted the virus and students still managed to attend and complete their classes.

Despite all of the negatives, our enrollments were up in the summer, we survived the fall semester, our enrollments were up in our winter session, and our spring enrollments are stable. Our students are being taught their classes by some very creative and competent faculty and they are being counseled and advised by some very dedicated faculty counselors.

We did it and how did we do it? Among other things;

  • The counselors made major modifications to our appointment system and created an on-line chat feature to help funnel students to appropriate counselors and to respond to their on-line questions in an efficient manner.
  • Our disability support service counselors modified our website and internal processes so that our students could be served remotely in a very effective manner.
  • Approximately 700 full and part-time faculty members registered for a specialized seven-week summer 2020 training program so that we would be better prepared to teach our student in a remote environment. This was an intense training program which many of us were required to participate in after the end of our regular workday.
  • We modified our spring 2021 schedule in order to better accommodate some of our students by offering 7-week classes in addition to our regular 15 and 13- week classes. This meant that a large number of faculty who were just trained to teach remotely and were still in the process of building their fall 2020 15 and 13 week classes, now had to modify those classes and make them 7-week classes.
  • Through the use of the CARES Act funding, fundraising by our Foundation, and other emergency funding, hundreds of students were provided laptops by the College so that they could attend their remote classes.
  • Hundreds of students were provided emergency funding to help them pay some of their bills and purchase food.
  • We modified our academic regulations in order to accommodate students who could not complete their classes due to COVID related reasons.

For the past year, we have continued to our part to adapt, serve, and educate our students. Now we need you to do your part and support our Administration’s FY 2022 operating budget request. We have educated many current county employees, the very ones who are going to get a raise next year. We are educating future county employees, police, fire fighters, health care workers, teachers, etc.

We have supported the College and the County over the last year and despite the increased workload, adapting courses, adapting services, as well as dealing with the personal stressors and sacrifices we experienced, we have agreed to no increase in salary for next year. Let me repeat, while other county employees negotiated an increase in salary for next year, we agreed to no increase in salary for next year. We hope that this sacrifice and degree of cooperation is recognized and appreciated by both our Administration and the County because we will be asking for and expect an increase salary for the full-time faculty for the 22-23 academic year.

Thank you

I hope all of you have a good rest of the semester.  Please look for future Chapter e-mails regarding our call for nominations and the closing meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

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

AAUP Update: County Council Operating Budget Hearings

Colleagues:

Annually the President of Montgomery College submits an operating budget request to the County Executive.  After receiving that request, the County Executive makes a recommendation to the County Council on all County funded operating budget requests.  This year the County Executive recommended that the Council fully fund the College’s FY 2022 operating budget request.

The County Council holds operating budget request hearings in April and typically, representatives from the College testify at these hearings.  The schedule and links to this year’s hearings are listed below.  This year Jarvis Slacks English-R will be representing the Chapter by testifying on our behalf.  I’ve attached a copy of his testimony to this e-mail.  I encourage each of you to take the time to read his testimony and to tune into the hearings that are happening this week. 

DATE /TIMETESTIMONYLINKNOTE
April 6 at 1:30pmMike Knapp, MC Board of TrusteesLINK 
April 6 at 7:00pmGermantown StudentLINK 
April 7 at 7:00pmJarvis Slacks, AAUP Rockville Student
View Testimony
LINK
April 8 at 7:00pmTPSS Student Chris Standing, AFSCME Mitch Tropin, SEIU Link is not posted yet. Look on this site for the link

On behalf of the Chapter, I’d like to extend our thanks to Jarvis for representing us at these hearings.  I would also like to extend our thanks to the other representatives of the College who will be testifying in support of our operating budget request. 

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: DL/OER ESH Request Reminder and Contract 101 Thank You

Hi, everyone. I hope you’re all doing ok. I know this is a tough time for lots of folks, and many of you are tired and stretched thin.

I also know there have been questions surrounding course development and compensation, so I’m sending this message to remind you–or alert you–of an upcoming deadline. Per the e-learning side letter (often called the DL side letter), you can request ESH from ELITE to develop a DL course or a z-course. The process is outlined in the letter, and it includes submitting a form to ELITE for consideration. Deadlines for submission are firm, and if you’d like ESH to develop a course over the summer, the deadline to submit your request is March 15th.

You can access the form here: https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/_documents/offices/elite/deeshrequest.pdf

You’ll need signatures from your department chair and your dean, so I recommend starting this process ASAP.

Additional specifics are outlined in the letter, which I’ve attached. Since I’ve recently gone through the process, I’m also happy to chat if you have questions. 

We have an upcoming Contract 101 session on March 30th, and Tammy Peery will join us to discuss the e-learning side letter in detail. This should be a great event since she was a primary negotiator of the agreement. Because the summer deadline is quickly approaching, however, the negotiating team wanted to provide you with the information above ASAP.

We’d also like to thank everyone who hopped on to our Contract 101 session yesterday afternoon. We appreciate your engagement and your support of us as a team. It makes a tough job a little bit easier and a lot more rewarding. It really is an honor to serve you all.

Ginger R. Robinson, JD

Associate Professor, Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Coordinator, Rockville & TP/SS

Criminal Justice Program Advisor, Rockville & TP/SS

Montgomery College

Forum #2: AAUP Contract 101 Notes

Contract 101: Grievance Procedures with Tim Kirkner

2/23/2021: 4-5:30 PM

Negotiating Team Members Present: AJ Baca, Robin Flanary, Sharon Piper, and Ginger Robinson

Executive Committee Members: Kay Ahmad, Rupa Das, Tim Kirkner, Michael LeBlanc, Rick Penn, and Harry Zarin

I. Welcome and overview – Sharon Piper

Sharon welcomed everyone to the session and explained what we would be discussing during this forum. Ginger shared the contract with the group and Sharon briefly provided a general overview of the process for grievances.

II. Grievance Policy and Procedures – Tim Kirkner

Sharon introduced Tim Kirkner who is the Grievance Officer for the MC AAUP Chapter. Tim provided some background information on the types of issues that come to him and how they are handled. He shared that not all issues that arise result in a grievance. However, he discussed the timeline guidelines and stipulations for filing a grievance. In addition, he shared that there may be some flexibility on the deadline for filing a grievance depending on when the issues come to light. Further, Tim indicated that parties often do not want issues to get to arbitration so most of the time they are resolved before they get to that point using a variety of mechanisms at our disposal.

He shared that it is often a good idea for faculty to use the college Ombudsman since this can document an issue before it gets to the next level. This may or may not be appropriate for contract violations but can be a first step to calm the tide and begin the resolution process.

Faculty have the right to have union representation at meetings whenever they deem necessary and can stop a meeting at any time should they feel that such assistance is needed. It is also better to get out in front of issues so that no one is surprised later. Deans may also remind faculty members that they may want to have union representation before a meeting takes place but faculty have been told this on many occasions in the past.

Tim did say that many parts of the contract are open to interpretation. So, there are times where he needs to sit in on disciplinary action meetings or potential grieveable issues to ensure that these interpretations are consistent with the spirit of what was written. The Executive Committee is mindful of these instances and works to tighten the language whenever deemed necessary.

Ginger responded to an inquiry about the mediation process and asked Tim to discuss this process further. But Tim indicated he has not used Mediation in his time here and that most jump this step because arbitration is binding and a more finite solution. Ginger commented that there are times when attorneys being present during mediation may be a hindrance so it may stifle conversation. Tim can use the Chapter attorney to solicit feedback and guidance on how to proceed on a particular case / issue but they only represent the Chapter, not individual faculty members so really has no legal standing.

We did briefly discuss the lawsuit that we filed in 2017-2018 as an example of how The Chapter proceeded with mediation when the college violated the contract and claimed financial exigency. Harry shared that we wanted to use arbitration, but the college refused even though this course of action is articulated as the next step when disagreements such as this arise. This forced us to file a lawsuit when our grievance was denied. We ultimately lost our case in court but established here at the college that we would explore all legal options when we felt that the college was not acting in good faith.

Tito asked Harry to briefly explain how we might have to handle these kinds of issues at the college down the road because of recent rulings on class action lawsuits.  Harry shared that if “class action” is not mentioned in a contract, we may not be able to file one grievance on behalf of all faculty members, so each faculty member would have their own filing, which we would likely oversee. The language of the previous ruling was not necessarily binding so we still are not exactly sure how we will need to proceed should a similar situation arise in the future. Harry said that filing individual lawsuits for each aggrieved faculty member would result in a significant amount of work for the college but is not our concern given their response in to our aforementioned grievance and lawsuit.

Sharon and Harry shared that we do have some concerns about the fact that some county groups will get a raise next year so we may need to be a bit more aggressive on negotiations next year, and we will remind the county at budget time that we have done our part this year to help the county recover economically and we hope they remember this next year.

Ginger encouraged everyone to come to Tim or an executive committee member to come to us as soon as they have any issue or concern. Several others spoke about instances where Tim has helped in the past and why having him there is helpful in process, fact finding, and corrective action. If we wait too long to address problems, it may be too late to avoid undesirable corrective actions.

We had some casual conversation on general issues that might arise and how best to address them. But Tim reminded everyone that he welcomes all inquiries and is willing to assist when needed.

III. Involvement with The Chapter – Harry Zarin

Harry did ask again for folks to consider joining us in whatever capacity they feel most comfortable / qualified. This was another attempt to remind faculty that they are welcome and that we need their participation.

After Harry was done, Sharon asked about the timing of these forums and everyone seemed to agree that late afternoons seem to work well. We had about 10-15 faculty, deans, and chairs join us at various times during this session, in addition to the negotiating team and Executive Committee members. Sharon thanked Tim and the Negotiating Team for their efforts on this forum.

With no other questions or concerns apparent, we adjourned at 5:07 PM.

tb/SP

AAUP Update: Contract 101, Survey and Overload Pay

Colleagues:

Contract 101 Session:

The following is a message that was previously sent to all of you by Sharon Piper our Chief Negotiator.  I am sending it to you again as a reminder of the informative session our Negotiating Team will be hosting this afternoon at 4:00pm.

“The Negotiating team for AAUP is planning two more sessions of Contract 101 for this academic year. This spring our sessions will cover the grievance process (Article 3) and the e-learning side letter.  Our first session will be held on Tuesday February 23, 2021 at 4 pm via zoom and will feature our grievance officer, Tim Kirkner discussing Article 3- Grievance Procedures of the full AAUP contract.

This is a come when you can, leave when you need to session and there will be a Q & A after Tim’s discussion if anyone has specific questions. We have appreciated the turnout and feedback on the Contract 101 sessions in the fall semester and hope to see many of you next week. Please contact me or the other members of the negotiating team if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. “

Below is the link for this afternoon’s Contract 101 session.

https://montgomerycollege.zoom.us/j/95877189043?pwd=K2xicHR3b1YxVkV6eDlnTldSM3dnQT09

Your Voice, Your MC Employee Experience and Culture Survey:

It was announced on February 10 that we are being asked to participate in a survey titled, “Your Voice, Your MC Employee Experience and Culture Survey.”  This one survey combines the three separate surveys we have been asked to complete in previous years. As your Chapter representative, I was one of several employees on a committee that helped to formulate the plans for this new survey. Modern Link is the vendor that is conducting the survey and the deadline to submit the survey is March 1.

As was announced in the e-mail we received on Feb. 10, “At the close of the survey, Modern Think will provide the College with a summary of the organizational competencies and relationships that most directly impact and influence our culture. In April through early May, Modern Think will host a series of feedback sessions with College stakeholder groups to share and validate their findings. Then, building on the data and findings from the survey, a proposed action plan will be developed over the course of the summer and shared with the College community in the fall.” 

The e-mail we received on February 10 also stated, “On February 15, 2021, full- and part-time faculty, staff, and administrators received an email directly from Modern Think (surveys@modernthink.net) inviting participation in the survey.  In that email you received: 

  • a web link to the survey, 
  • a unique username and password—issued by Modern Think, and separate from MyMC credentials—to access and complete the survey, 
  • the deadline to complete the survey, and
  • contact information for Modern Think, in case of any issues with the survey instrument.”

I encourage all of you to take the time to complete and submit the survey.  Completing the survey should only take you 20-25 minutes.  We have been strongly advised that the survey responses are completely anonymous so please be very honest when you complete the survey and let your voice be heard.

Overload Pay for Full-Time Faculty:

A number of faculty members have written to me asking about the spring 2021 overload payroll schedule.  The question arose this year because of the larger than usual number of second seven week classes that we are offering this semester.  The answer to this question was announced in the February 3 edition of the Employee Matters newsletter. 

“Due to the increase of second-half term courses for the spring 2021 semester, overload pay for full-time faculty will be processed differently this academic year. This year, faculty will receive overload pay based on their spring course start dates. Faculty should consult with their department’s administrative aide for information about their pay dates.” 

If you have any questions about when you will begin seeing overload pay in your paycheck, please contact your department’s administrative aide.  Your Department Chair and Dean should also have this information. 

I hope you all are safe and healthy and are having an enjoyable semester.  I think you all would agree that remote teaching, counseling, and advising isn’t an ideal way to teach, counsel, and advise our students.  It is also not an ideal way for our students to learn, but it is the best we can do under these trying circumstances.  Since March 2020, we have all done a remarkable job of adapting our courses and services to meet the needs of our students.  The Administration appreciates all we have done as do our students.  We should be proud of ourselves for all we have accomplished during these difficult times so that our students can continue their college education. 

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.
President-AAUP

AAUP Update: Report on Negotiations for the AY 2021-22

Negotiations began 10-19-2020

Met for a total of 3-4 times with discussions by Zoom, and several consultations by phone with Santo Scrimenti, Darrell Van Dusen and our attorney David Kelly.

Members of the negotiation team:

  • Sharon Piper, Lead
  • Tito Baca
  • Robin Flanary
  • Ginger Robinson

Focus of negotiations:

Financials, which includes salary, EAP and overload. AAUP requested the following interests be discussed in addition to financials, which management did agree to discuss. Management did not introduce any side issues for discussion from their side.

Additional interests included:

  • Parking fees
  • Tech reimbursement
  • DL side letter reimbursement
  • Interest based bargaining

In discussing these interests one of our goals was to try to re-purpose the $197K pot of EAP travel money for this year into something we could benefit from.

Resolutions:

Parking fees cannot be waived due to the bond issue for capitol improvements which requires an identified revenue source. We offered to pay everyone’s parking out of our EAP funds. This proposal was turned down because

A revenue source had to be identified (our fees) and
They were not able to provide this benefit to other employees and students

Solution: If you have not done so already and you do not want to pay for parking you are not using this year, cancel your parking and re-enroll next fall when it is assumed we will return to campus.

Tech reimbursement: We provided data from an informal survey (42 respondents) on tech expenses that FT faculty incurred since we went remote in March 2020.  Management admitted to very mixed messages regarding the availability of tech resources and reimbursement for already purchased supplies/software/hardware. Because these processes were already in place and monies from CARES were available to provide support, the commitment was made for management (chairs/deans/HR/ IT) to better communicate the availability of resources for reimbursements and supplies. I am checking with Santo to see if there are any updates to that information for the spring semester and we will make that available on our AAUP-MC webpage so stay tuned.

DL Side Letter: Our argument was that the new use of Zoom and BB Collaborate for the SRT format (called online synchronous classroom in the side letter) and other online resources including OERS and other software constituted a change in online course management systems (item #5 on the e-learning remuneration section of the side letter, which provides for the ability to negotiate for additional compensation). Several options were provided by AAUP for additional compensation, including: increase in reimbursement for ESH for course development, a stipend to each faculty for transition to SRT and 7 week courses for this AY, and decrease in remote class sizes. Management disagreed that our transition to zoom could be considered a change in an online course management system and that as issue this did not relate to financials per se it was not a topic they wished to negotiate now.

The side letter will be re-negotiated in fall 2021, so these issues will all be re-introduced at that time during those negotiations.

IBB: After multiple meetings and some side bar discussions with Santo, Donna Schena and Krista Walker from HR, we have a commitment to discuss a joint IBB training for AAUP and management teams to be held either this spring or prior to the start of negotiations next fall. We are hopeful this occurs, and will keep you posted.

Resolution on the Travel EAP Monies: We reached an agreement and the $197K has been moved for this year to the general EAP monies bucket, so if you have not signed up for virtual conferences, professional organizations and grad school, there is an extra 197K in the pot, please use it this spring!  We will request whatever monies are left over at the end of this AY to be moved into the emergency fund for students to assist them with costs related to attending school virtually during covid. We did this last spring with our extra EAP money, and it was available to all students, regardless of status, which CARES money is not. 

Financials: We were not particularly hopeful going into the financials discussion because of the various things that could impact financial status of the college during an election year and a pandemic with uncertain levels of enrollment.

Our initial ask was the equivalent of a 1.5% increment and 1% GWA, for a 2.5% total increase for those below the top of the scale, 1% for those at the top with 2.5% increases for overload and EAP. These increases were reasonable given inflation expectations going forward. This was countered with no increases for this year, with all financials remaining at the 20-21 levels.

We countered with the equivalent of a 1% GWA to all FT faculty to be applied half in August and half in January, with no increases to EAP and overload rates. This was countered with no increases for this year with financials to remain at the 20-21 levels for next year. The reasons cited were: decreased funding to CCs across the state starting 7-1-2020, no anticipated increases from the state to the college’s budget for the next AY 21-22, an anticipated decline in enrollment of 8.5% and a 25% decline in enrollment for WDCE, with a predicted shortfall of $12 million for the next AY. There are a variety of possibilities to make up this shortfall, but that amount was their best-case scenario.

So, at this point for next year, we are hoping to avoid furloughs now. Written into the MOA is the option for a financials re-opener just in case things improve significantly and there is money for increases. This was added after Hogan gave all state employees a 2% increase across the board for next year.

We are asking you to ratify this contract and are hopeful that we can get through AY21-22 without furloughs, and that next year’s negotiations allow for a better outcome.

Submitted by Sharon Piper, Lead Negotiator, MC Chapter, AAUP