May 14, 2021

AAUP Update: Contract 101 Seminars, Negotiations, Schedules, and More.

I hope this update finds that all of you are healthy and well.  All of us have had to make considerable adjustments to our daily lives and the students appreciate all that we are doing to support them during this most difficult time. 

This year the Executive Committee is planning to host faculty meetings several times during the academic year. We would like to use these meetings as an opportunity for you, the members, to check in with us.  You can ask questions about issues that concern you and you can give us information about any issues you would like us to know about. 

One issue we will be focusing on this year is succession planning.  Many of us on the Executive Committee and the Negotiating Team have been involved in Chapter leadership for a long time.  As with any organization, succession planning is an important issue that needs to be addressed.  We look forward to meeting with members of the Chapter and hope that many of you will consider taking on a role in leading the Chapter in the years to come.

Contract 101 Seminars:

As a service to our membership, the AAUP Negotiating Team will be sponsoring two virtual discussions this semester on the AAUP contract.

The first session will be held on Wednesday November 11, at 7:30pm and will cover the contract

  • Article 2 – Management functions,
  • Article 4- Faculty appointments,
  • Article 5 -Workload.

The second session will be held on Wednesday December 9 (time TBA) and will cover

  • Article 6- Leaves of Absence,
  • Article 7- Chapter Rights and
  • Article 8- Salaries.

We will try to schedule these sessions during times that will allow for maximum attendance.  Zoom links and other information will be sent in a separate e-mail at the beginning of November. 

Update on Negotiations:

Negotiations started on Monday, October 19, 2020.  In this initial meeting with Management, we discussed ground rules and AAUP interests. Financials (salary, EAP and overload) are on the table for this round of negotiations.

Tito Baca, Ginger Robinson, Robin Flanary and Sharon Piper (lead negotiator) are representing the Chapter as members of the Negotiating Team. 

All activities that take place at the negotiating table are confidential until both sides agree to the release of information. We will provide you with updates as best we can while negotiations are taking place.

The Winter Session:

This is just a reminder that if you are teaching during the 5-week winter session, your winter session ESH counts towards your spring load. 

Important Reminders:

  • The maximum workload you are allowed in any given semester is 20ESH.
  • The maximum workload you are allowed in any academic year, August to May, is 36ESH.
  • The minimum workload you need to carry in any academic year, August to May, is 30ESH.

Spring Scheduling:

The spring schedule has been posted and spring registration for students who have earned at least 30 credits began on November 2.  Registration for all other students begins on November 9. 

Like it or not, this year’s spring schedule is like none we have ever seen before.  The number of 15-week classes has been drastically reduced and the number of accelerated classes (primarily 7-week classes) has been dramatically increased.  The link to the Spring 2021 FAQ that was previously published is below.  Please refer to this FAQ for information on what changes were made to the spring schedule and the why.

Many of us have been meeting with students to help them figure out which classes they should take in the spring.  It is very important that all of us work with the students to help them understand the ramifications of the new schedule. Many of the students I have met with do not understand the schedule and the implications of trying to complete a class in 7-weeks.  Please encourage them to carefully consider the combination of classes they take and how many credits they plan on taking prior to actually registering for classes. 

Academic Planning Sessions:

The Academic Affairs Division will be conducting academic planning sessions on Nov 5 and 6.  During these sessions, extensive discussions will be held on the shape of future academic semesters at MC. College leadership, including Dr. Pollard, the Senior Vice Presidents, Chairs of major College-wide committees, AAUP leadership, and Faculty Council chairs have been invited to attend these planning sessions. We hope these sessions will give us a forum to talk about what a post-pandemic MC will look like.  I will be representing the Chapter at these academic planning sessions.

Parking Fees:

A number of inquiries have come to several members of the Chapter’s Executive Committee regarding parking fee assessments.  Faculty want to know if they should or could cancel their parking fee assessment.  Considering that we are all working remotely this question makes sense.

I had a private meeting and subsequent conversations with Donna Schena, Vice President for Administrative and Fiscal Services regarding this issue.  She said that she would issue a statement to the College community on this subject and she did so on October 8.  In her memorandum, she provided all of us with information about why the parking fee exists and how the revenue is used.  With that information in mind, she stated the following regarding cancelling your parking fee assessment:

”I ask you to consider what the parking revenue covers and the context of the College’s fiscal circumstances, when making your decision about whether to cancel your parking pass and the fee associated with the pass. If you wish to stop your payroll deduction for the upcoming year, you should send an email to: parking@montgomerycollege.edu. The effective date of the cancellation will be the first payroll period after receipt of the notification. “ 

You are free to request that your parking fee assessment be cancelled by following the directions Ms. Schena provided in her memorandum. In addition, you need to return your parking placard to the Central Administration building.

Open Enrollment has started:

The following is a message from the Benefits Office.

“Open Enrollment for benefits has started and runs through 5 pm on Monday, November 16th.  There are no changes to any of the benefit structures (with the exception of specialty drugs on the Cigna POS plan), and no increases to any of the paycheck deduction amounts for 2021.  Just a reminder that if you are not making any changes, then no action is required.  The one exception would be if you are electing a flexible spending account for 2021.  This requires re-enrollment in Workday every year.  Please log into Workday through My MC and click on your inbox (envelope in top right corner) to view and open your Open Enrollment event.  You must review all the pages, read the disclaimer, and click “I agree” at the end and submit.  Please save and print a copy of your changes as proof.  If you wish to change a Supplemental Retirement Annuity deduction amount (pre-tax money going to TIAA, Voya, Equitable, and/or Valic), this must be done in a separate event (Change Retirement Savings), also through Workday.  HRSTM will be offering both pre-recorded and live sessions on the different benefits, as well as virtual office hours.  Please watch for the email blasts, visit the Open Enrollment website, and visit Alex, your virtual benefit advisor, while on the site.”

Please stay healthy and well during these difficult times and take the time to take care of your own physical, emotional, and mental health.  Also, remember that if you need to take sick leave for a COVID related reason, you may be able to take COVID sick leave which will not deduct from your regular sick leave.  Please click on the link below for more information on COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave.

https://info.montgomerycollege.edu/offices/human-resources/covid-19-emergency-paid-sick-leave-request.html

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: The highs, lows, and disappointments

Welcome back!

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I want to welcome all of you back for another interesting year of work at MC.  We hope that you and your family members had a safe and healthy summer.

The Highs:

I, for one, felt that we ended the spring semester and made it through the summer on a high note. Here are some positive actions and initiatives instituted by the Administration.

  • Moving to remote instruction, counseling and advising, and the provision of other services before Spring Break due to the COVID19 virus was a decision that protected all of us. This was a difficult decision to make but it was the correct decision.
  • Paying all student workers and casual temps through the end of the academic year.  This was an easy decision to make and it was the right one.
  • Creating the SRT training (whether you liked it or not, at least we had some training) and using the CARES Act funds to pay those of us who successfully completed the training.
  • Providing ESH for approximately 30 faculty mentors to assist those of us who participated in the SRT training.  Without them, many of us would not have successfully completed the training.
  • Sound fiscal management has enabled Management to honor this year’s negotiated increases in salary.
  • We have had no furloughs or layoffs due to the COVID-19 virus and its effects on the College.
  • Payroll processed over 650 vouchers and paid the faculty our stipends for successfully completing the SRT training by the August 28 paycheck.

In short, we came together as a community, supported each other, served our students, and did so because we care about what we do.  Most importantly, we care about our students. As a faculty, we should be proud of all we did last spring and throughout the summer.

The Lows:

I had hoped the high we ended on would continue into the fall semester.  Unfortunately, this didn’t happen.

A number of us learned at the Academic Affairs Retreat that there were several proposals on the table to modify the Spring 2021 schedule as a way of trying to help counter the expected drop in enrollment. Four proposals were presented at the retreat.  My hope and expectation was that these four proposals would be presented to the faculty at various Professional Week meetings.  It just made sense to me, and to most of us, that the Administration would want to hear our opinions and ideas before they made a final decision on possibly modifying the spring 2021 schedule.  If the Administration truly respected us why wouldn’t they want to hear our thoughts and ideas about how to help use scheduling to improve enrollment and student success.  The Administration and the faculty share responsibility for what happens in our classrooms, and by eliminating our voice in the decision making process, they eliminated/denied that shared responsibility.

Many of us were terribly hurt, frustrated, and concerned that the final decision to modify the Spring 2021 schedule was made without the benefit of consultation/discussion with the faculty.  I am starting my 28th year at Montgomery College and I could not imagine  any other administrators that I have ever worked with doing something like this. Don’t get me wrong, the Administration had the right to make this decision but most of us do not believe it was the right thing to do.

How will this decision impact the faulty?  We have to finish building our fall semester Blackboard sites (building a Blackboard site is a first for many of us) while at the same time making massive changes to these classes in order to accommodate an accelerated format for the majority of the spring offerings.  And we are doing this despite the fact that many of us do not believe this is best plan for our students.

How will this decision impact the students?  A few faculty members recently ran some numbers on the DFW rates for students in several Fall 2019 15-week versus 7-week courses. The results demonstrated that in:

  • ENGL102:15-week courses had a 27% DFW rate; 7-week courses had a 57.5% DFW rate.
  • CMAP120: 15-week courses had a 15% DFW rate; 7-week courses had a 38% DFW rate.
  • BSAD101: 15-week courses had a 10% DFW rate; 7-week courses had a 31% DFW rate.

If this is an indication of what’s to come when most of our courses will be offered in a 7-week format we are about to see an increase in our DFW rates.

No one will ever convince me that taking a developmental math class in 7 weeks is better for a student than taking it in 15 weeks. The same can be said for the majority of classes that we teach. I spent part of my day yesterday and today helping a student move from an accelerated class to a 15-week class.  He signed up for the accelerated class and realized after a very short time that this was the wrong thing to do, and this is a student who arrived here with over 25 AP credits. The reduction in 15-week classes in the spring will reduce this option for many of our students.

Others outside the college are also concerned about this change in our spring scheduling.  Below is a portion of an unsolicited e-mail that was sent to me from a Program Director at a local four-year university.  He has worked with many of our students who transfer into his program.

“I really feel for your faculty and for your students. There is so much diversity at MC that I do not want your students to suffer as a result of this decision. I sure hope they carefully researched this teaching format and are going to prepare your faculty well to make the teaching adjustments. I simply was floored when I heard that news and immediately I thought of the former MC students who transferred[to a local 4-year university] and then came to see me after less than a year saying the courses were too fast paced. That school has a history of teaching online so they may have been able to adjust somewhat easier, but MC has so many faculty who’ve taught for years and with the pandemic this March had to quickly move to online and now they all will have to adjust again and try to condense their teaching even more into a 7 week format. Hopefully there will not be any snow blizzards if the pandemic is cleared up, because this decision will be very tough on everyone.”

The Disappointment

During the opening meeting Counseling and Advising was the subject of a public dressing down by Dr. Pollard in her video message.  This dressing down was unnecessary, sad, and incredibly disrespectful.

The end of the Spring 2020 semester and the summer of 2020 was trying on all of us.  Counseling and Advising switched to e-mail, phone and zoom appointments very suddenly in March.  The counselors adapted and worked very hard to support our student’s academic and emotional needs.  Remember, they are not just advisors like they are at many other community colleges they are also counselors. Our students depend on them for emotional support during difficult times and believe me when I say these were and still are difficult times for our students and their families.

Counseling and advising added functionality to their online apparatus to support and answer students in as timely a way as possible, including a live chat function, phone/zoom appointments, and then finally walk-ins. Switching from appointments to remote walk-ins enabled them to serve a larger number of students in a trying and complicated time.

Many counselors worked overtime and thanklessly, while watching some administrators on the ‘academic side’ disparage or ignore their contributions.  Starfish was implemented so that students could make appointments to see counselors as opposed to sitting in endless lines. Starfish also helps us record notes regarding our meetings with students and store academic plans and other important documents.  This information helps ensure consistent communication among the counselors and other faculty who have access to Starfish. This communication helps us work together so that we can support our students.

When this investment in an advising tool is ignored, it communicates how much counselors and counseling is not valued, along with perpetuating confusion for the students.  This occurred because the Academic Affairs unit implemented their own advising system.

We as a faculty believe in the mission of MC.  We are here to educate our students, to do our part to help close the achievement gap, to help the students successfully reach their academic goals and to make a positive difference in the lives of the students we work with. To be ignored or publicly humiliated after one of the most difficult summers we all have ever experienced was at best, disrespectful and unnecessary.

The decision to make substantial changes to the Spring 2021 schedule without involving the faculty and publicly embarrassing Counseling and Advising speaks to a pattern of disrespect and a lack of collegiality towards the full-time faculty at Montgomery College. We hope the Administration will eventually recognize that as valued members of this college our opinions and ideas should be consistently sought after because we can help improve the services, programs, and academic offerings at MC.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z., Counselor/Professor
President AAUP

AAUP Update: Faculty Meeting-August 24 at 11:15am

Colleagues:

Welcome back for another interesting semester of work at MC.  I am writing to remind all of you that we will be holding a virtual faculty meeting for all full-time faculty members who are members of the bargaining unit. Department Chairs, one-semester temporary faculty, and faculty whose positions are grant funded are not part of the bargaining unit.  You do not have to be a member of the AAUP Chapter in order to participate in this meeting.

At the meeting we will provide you with information about our treasury, negotiations that will occur this fall, our scheduled increases in salary and other items that we were able to successfully negotiate last year.   We will also take some time to hear your comments, concerns, and feedback regarding the SRT training.  In May, over 160 faculty participated in our closing meeting and we hope that a large number of you will take the time to listen in next week.  We also want to hear from you.  We will allow ample time for you to express your opinions and concerns about issues that are important to you and your colleagues.

The meeting will begin at 11:15 but faculty can come into the meeting prior to that if you like.

AAUP is inviting you* to an Opening Meeting in Zoom!
(View Full Fall 2020 Professional Week Details/Schedule)

*A virtual faculty meeting for all full-time faculty members who are members of the bargaining unit. Department Chairs, one-semester temporary faculty, and faculty whose positions are grant funded are not part of the bargaining unit.  You do not have to be a member of the AAUP Chapter in order to participate in this meeting.

_______

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 997 6441 6226
Passcode:  aaup

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On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

240-567-1985 Fax

AAUP Update: An Update to my Update and Voting

Colleagues:

Have you ever written an e-mail, hit the send button, and then realized that you shouldn’t have hit send when you did.  After hearing from several faculty members and members of the Executive Committee, I realize that I should have modified some of what I wrote in last night’s update prior to hitting the send button. 

I understand that my last update caused a bit of confusion regarding the optional summer training program that is being offered by ELITE.  In my update, I provided information for those who are interested in teaching in summer session II and information related to those scheduled to teach in the fall.  I mentioned that those scheduled to teach in the fall must follow the information stated on the flowchart and participate in an appropriate training program over the summer.  The statement should have said; if you are scheduled to teach in the fall and are not currently trained to teach distance learning or hybrid courses, we encourage you to take advantage of the added monetary incentive to get the structured remote training, or other appropriate optional training, over the summer.  We don’t anticipate that this monetary incentive will be offered during the Fall semester.

We are keenly aware of the contract and how the current situation has impacted our scope of work and are discussing these issues with HRDE and will be communicating to the faculty as things progress. Dr. Pollard’s decision to start the fall semester with structured remote or distance learning teaching added a new wrinkle that was not official until we all received her memorandum this week.  We know that faculty are not required to work during the summer and have worked to ensure that those who can participate in the optional summer training program get some compensation for their time.  We have yet to discuss the plan the college has to ensure a full load in the fall for those faculty who elect not to participate in the optional summer training. We have reached out to Management to start such a discussion to ensure that our contract is honored and that any discussions related to our scope of work are negotiated.    

Also, the nomination period for officers of the Chapter for next year is now closed.  Later this evening all dues paying members of the Chapter will receive a ballot.  The voting ends on Tuesday evening and we will announce the elected officers during the closing meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor

President-AAUP

Montgomery College

AAUP Update: Summer 2020-Related Issues

Colleagues:

This is the second in a number of updates that I planned to send out to all of you.  This update will focus on summer related issues.

Coordinator ESH Issue:

It has come to the attention of the Executive Committee that at least one Dean has made the decision to not provide summer Coordinator ESH to faculty within his unit.  This is the prerogative of the Dean.  We on the Executive Committee firmly believe that that faculty should not be asked to work for free.  If you are not being paid to work during the summer months then you need to refuse any attempt to make you participate in hiring committees, consultations with a Dean or a Chair on hiring of part-time faculty, or on scheduling issues.  If you are not being paid to work then let the Chair and Dean do the work over the summer months.  If you encounter any pressure to work for free during the summer and perform some of your Coordinator duties, please contact Tim Kirkner or myself.

Summer Training Concerns:

After the announcement about the summer training opportunities a flurry of e-mails were sent to members of the Executive Committee.  We received the message loud and clear that the differing messages faculty were receiving from various administrators and Chairs has caused quite a bit of confusion. I hope that the following provides you all with some clarity as it relates to summer training opportunities.

The Summer Professional Development Institute was created to help faculty obtain the training they need so that they are qualified to teach in a structured remote environment by the time classes start in summer session II.  In addition, more advanced optional offerings are provided for those faculty who are already qualified to teach in a distance learning environment but want to enhance their skill level.  If you click on the link below, you will be directed to the Summer Professional Development webpage.

https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/offices/elite/summer-institute.html

If you click on the Professional Development Opportunities link, you will see links to a summer schedule, an application form, a professional development flowchart, an infographic on structured remote teaching, and a syllabus for the structured remote teaching program. 

When you click on the application link, you will see that there are four different training programs being offered this summer.  Select the one that is appropriate for you and if you complete the program you will receive a stipend of $1,850.  These training programs are open to all full-time and part-time faculty members.  If you are not sure which program is best for you, click on the link to the flowchart and it will direct you to the program that is most appropriate for you.  The Structured Remote Teaching training is for faculty like me who have no Blackboard training or like many of you who have completed a portion of the part I training.   The advanced training options (Universal Design for Teaching, Outside the Box Assessment, and Emerging Technologies for the Classroom) are open to those of you who are already qualified to teach distance learning or hybrid classes. 

It is imperative that you complete the application and submit it to your Chair as soon as you can.  The Chair will review your application and forward it to your Dean for approval.  The application must get to the Dean by May 20. 

Please refer to the frequently asked questions link if you need additional information on any of the summer training offerings.

Please notify Tim Kirkner or myself if you are denied the right to participate in any of these training programs.

Technology Issues:

As you know, the Administration has decided that all summer session II classes will be taught in an on-line format or in a structured remote format.  We will start the fall semester teaching all classes in a similar manner.  With this in mind, I want you all to know that the Chapter has stressed to members of the Administration many of us do not have the technology in our homes that will enable us to do this.  In addition, many of us do not have the ergonomic furniture in our homes like we requested and received in our offices.  Members of the Administration are looking in the CARES Act funding to see how this funding could be used to help us meet the technology and non-technology requirements that would enable us to perform our jobs at home.

Professional Week

Next week is Professional Week and a series of guest speakers are schedule to present on relevant topics for many of us.  You must register if you want to “attend” any of these Zoom presentations through MC Learns.  Our own Dr. Collins Jones is scheduled to present on the topic of the COVID-19 virus on May 19 at 11:00am.  He is a terrific speaker and I encourage you to register for his presentation.

AAUP Closing Meeting

In my last update, I mentioned that we will be hosting a Chapter closing meeting for the faculty on Wednesday May 20 at 1:00pm.  Next week we will e-mail you a Zoom link invitation to this meeting.  Please look for this link in your e-mail and plan on attending if your schedule permits.

In closing, I hope you are all safe, and healthy, and that you are taking time to take care of yourself.  This is a very busy and stressful time for us and our students so please be good to yourself.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Harry N. Zarin, Professor/Counselor

President-AAUP

AAUP Update: Nominations, Voting, End-of-Year Meeting, April Testimony

Colleagues:

This is the first of several updates that I will be sending out as our very unusual semester comes to a close.  I decided to send out several updates rather than a very long update which many of you just don’t have the time to read. 

I hope that this update finds that all of you are healthy and are doing well under the current circumstances.  This has been quite a stressful semester for all of us, especially for our students.  We have all had to deal with so many different personal issues while at the same time fulfilling our responsibilities to our students and our committee assignments.  Tim Kirkner and I sit in on Sanjay Rai’s weekly Senior Leadership Team meetings and it has been mentioned many times that the Administration is very pleased with how we have worked to move to a remote teaching environment with such short notice.  Our efforts are very much appreciated. 

Please make sure that you take some time to take care of yourself and your family.

Nominations:

The Chapter’s Constitution requires that the membership vote on who will be the elected officers of the Executive Committee at our annual end-of-year meeting.  The elected members of the Executive Committee consists of a President, three Vice Presidents (one from each campus), a Secretary, and a Treasurer.  Members of the Executive Committee serve a one-year term and are elected by simple majority of the votes cast by dues paying members of the Chapter.  Faculty in the bargaining unit who are paying a voluntary collective bargaining service fee are not members of the Chapter and therefore, are not eligible to vote in this election. 

If you would like to nominate someone to serve in one of these positions, or if you are interested in serving in one of these positions, please send your nomination to Julie Levinson, Counselor Takoma Park/Silver Spring. The nominations period will close at the close of business on Wednesday May 15.

All current elected members of the Executive Committee have indicated that they are interested in continuing to serve in their current positions next year.  Please see the Chapter’s webpage, mcaaup.org. for a list of the current Executive Committee Members.

End of Year Meeting:

The Chapter’s Constitution also requires us to hold an annual meeting which we have typically done at the end of each academic year in May.  Due to the current situation, we have decided to hold a Zoom end-of- year meeting at our usual meeting time of 11:00am on Wednesday May 20.  A link to participate in this meeting will be sent to you at a later date. During that meeting we will announce the results of the election, hear a Treasurer’s report, discuss several important issues that we have been working on  this year, and respond to any of your questions.   We hope that many of you will join in and participate in this meeting.

My Testimony:

Annually the President of the College submits a proposed operating budget to the County Executive in mid-February.  Shortly after that, the County Executive makes a recommendation to the County Council to either fully fund our request or to reduce the County contribution to our operating budget.  Following this request, the College continues to lobby the full Council by meeting with individual County Council members and by having members of the College community testify at the County Council operating budget hearing.  This year we were allowed to submit video or written testimony.  On behalf of our membership, I submitted written testimony in support of our operating budget request. A copy of the testimony I submitted is below.


Harry N. Zarin, President

American Association of University Professors

Montgomery College Chapter

Operating Budget Testimony

April 16, 2020

My name is Harry Zarin, and I have been a counselor/professor at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College for almost 27 years. I am submitting this testimony today in my role as the President of the full-time faculty union, the AAUP.

I want to start my testimony by stating that I would have preferred to be sitting in the County Council Building giving this testimony in person as I have done numerous times.  Considering the circumstances with the pandemic, I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to submit this testimony in writing. 

When the spring semester started, I looked forward to life as usual at Montgomery College where I have worked for almost 27 years.  Life as usual means seeing students individually or in groups on a regular basis, attending some important and not so important meetings, attending faculty meetings, attending the terrific nursing pinning ceremony, and finally attending graduation.  Unfortunately, a virus got in the way and life as we all know it changed for everyone.

Two days before the start of our spring break, an appropriate decision was made by the Administration to shut down the campuses in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.  The faculty were told that all teaching would be done on a remote basis after our return from spring break.  We had two days to prepare, along with the time we were off for the break, and create all that was needed in order teach remotely.  This was a daunting task for the majority of the faculty who had never taught a distance learning class before. 

We quickly had to become experts in using a combination of technical options that would enable us to remotely  teach, counsel, and advise our students. Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, Google Voice, Face time, establishing VPN lines so that we could remote into our desktop computers, etc. became the order of the day. Imagine how difficult it was for our faculty to try to create an on-line chemistry, biology, or biotech lab with a few days notice.  How do you teach a studio art class or an auto tech class remotely?  These were just a few of the hurdles our faculty had to overcome in order to teach for the remainder of the semester. The efforts being made by the faculty to teach remotely this semester under stressful and ever changing circumstances has been tremendous. 

If you think this has been a stressful time for our staff and faculty, imagine how stressful this has been for our students. Many of our students have suffered academically, financially, and mentally during this difficult and unusual time.  Numerous students and their families have lost their jobs or had their hours at work severely reduced.  Finding the money to pay their bills and deal with having to learn remotely has caused tremendous increases in anxiety and mental health issues for many of our students and their families. How do you work, if you even have a job, if you have no day care options for your children? 

Imagine that you are a student who has never taken an on-line class and you are suddenly told that you have to learn remotely. How do you accomplish this task if you have no computer in your residence or access to the internet? How do you continue being a successful student with a disability when you can’t see or you are deaf? As a student with a learning disability how do you learn remotely if your learning disability is a hindrance to your ability to learn via a computer?  All of our students, especially those with disabilities, have had to adapt very quickly to this new learning environment and we have had to respond by modifying and adjusting our student support services everyday.

Our Administration and Foundation have done a wonderful job of providing for the needs of many of our students by providing them with additional financial recourses and/or vouchers so that they could receive a laptop computer.  However, there is no way we can meet the financial needs of all of our students and this is where we need the assistance of the County Council. 

Our hope and request is that you approve the College’s requested operating budget.  We want our students to return in the fall, with a budget that does not require us to increase tuition during this difficult time and so that they will have optimal resources in place to make their return successful.   We support our students and your continued support will help us help them achieve their hopes and dreams during these most difficult times.

Thank you.


In Closing:

Towards the end of next week, I will send out another update that will focus on a variety of topics. I will announce our slate of nominees for the Executive Committee and describe how voting will be done in this remote environment. I will describe some of the very important issues that we have been working on as we advocate for our contract and your rights, and will mention several other topics that I believe will be of interest to all of you.

Please take care of yourself and try to be as flexible as you can when working with your students who have struggled to get through this remote learning environment. 

AAUP Update: Summer Scheduling-Follow-up With Sanjay Rai’s Senior Leadership Team Meeting

All:

Several of us in Chapter leadership have received a number of e-mails regarding summer scheduling.  Based on those e-mails and some comments made about summer scheduling in the meeting yesterday, I feel compelled to send each of you this e-mail on behalf of the Chapter.  The e-mail focuses on five specific points.  Please understand that we do recognize the difficult situation that is facing the entire College community and that difficult decisions have been and will continue to be made during this crisis, but we do believe that several issues need to be dealt with in order to try and improve the summer scheduling situation.

  • In yesterday’s meeting it was made clear to us that the criteria for assigning summer I and II classes has not been fully determined, yet messages from the Deans to the Chairs and to the faculty have already been sent that indicate that decisions have already been made.  In one particular case, the Chair is providing little to no response when questions are posed to her. None of this should not be happening.  We hope that future communications will be the same, and if the Deans and Chairs are being given some discretion when creating their summer schedules due to specific programs in their areas, the communication needs to state that this is the reason for the decisions that have been made.  Chairs and Deans should to respond to all questions posed to them by the faulty in a reasonable period of time.
  • We all know that we are currently in a very anxiety-provoking crisis. People are worried about their health, their families, their job security, their loss of income, and their students.  It is absolutely necessary that clear and consistent messages come from all administrators and managers regarding summer scheduling.  Please remember that, as of today, the only group of employees at the College who will be losing thousands of dollars due to this tragic situation are the faculty.  The Chapter hopes that future communication will convey some understanding for and compassion for those who will lose significant summer income during these difficult times.
  • Based on what we heard yesterday, it appears that faculty who have been teaching hybrid classes will be treated differently than faculty who have been teaching fully on-line classes, even though they have been deemed to be qualified to teach fully on-line classes. This needs to be fixed in the criteria for assigning classes so that they are treated the same. The faculty need to be given more time to convert their hybrid class to a fully on-line class, not less time. Let us not forget that quality matters training is mostly based on good instructional design and not solely on technology. Faculty who demonstrate good design should also receive consideration regardless of their experience teaching online. In addition, many faculty use Blackboard as a supplement to their face to face class and this too should be taken into consideration. What we heard from Sharon made no mention that anything but previous online teaching would be considered.
  • The criteria for summer scheduling should state that no chairs will be assigned summer classes since they are being paid a 12 month salary whether they teach or not and during this very unusual time they should not be allowed to take money away from a faculty member.
  • Assuming things are back to normal for summer II, the priority for assigning summer II classes should go to those faculty who were not given an opportunity to teach during summer I.

Chapter leadership appreciates all that is being done by the Administration to keep the College afloat and all that is being done to protect the employees.  We also appreciate being give a “seat at the table” during the Wednesday meetings.  The decision to do remote teaching and learning until the end of the semester was a difficult decision to make but it was the correct decision.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

President-AAUP

AAUP Update: Working Remotely

Colleagues:

For the next several weeks, the College will be operating under emergency remote protocol procedures. Faculty will be teaching remotely, counselors will be offering counseling and advising services remotely, and tutoring and coaching will happen remotely. Access to all buildings on all campuses will be very restricted.  All of the employees of the College and our students will have to adjust to this very trying situation. 

As a faculty, many of us are being asked to do something that we have never done before and are not prepared to do, that is teach remotely. Many of us have never had any Blackboard training and have avoided it because our thrill as a teacher comes from being in the classroom with our students. Many of our students know that on-line learning is not for them and therefore, they only register for face-to-face classes.  It is time for all of us to make some major adjustments in how we teach and work with students.

For the next several weeks it is very important that we continue to provide our students with the very best instruction we can offer under these unusual and difficult circumstances. Please keep in mind that we must all be flexible when working with our students, many of whom have never logged onto Blackboard before.  Be flexible when requiring that assignments be due on specific dates, be flexible when working with students with disabilities who are used to a very specific set of accommodations when they are on-campus.  Look to the memo that Sue Haddad sent out today for recommendations on how to work with these students for the next several weeks. 

Please remember that you do not need to create an entire semester’s worth of materials on your Blackboard site over the next few days.  All you have to do is be ready to go on March 23 and have your materials ready for that week. During that week, prepare for the next week and so on.  Please work with each other and support each other during this difficult time.  It would be best if you create all of your documents in Blackboard so that they are accessible to our students who use assistive technology to access information in Blackboard. If you are an experienced Blackboard user, offer assistance to those with little or no knowledge of Blackboard. Look to Elite for assistance as you develop your on-line resources for your students, for additional training, and also refer to the following webpage on emergency remote teaching guidelines:

https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/offices/elite/emergency-remote-teaching-guidelines.html

On March 23 you may want to start your class by providing your students with some general information about what to expect for the next several weeks and encourage them to check their MC e-mail and Blackboard course mail daily for updates about the College. Providing them with an overview of what to expect will help to reduce their stress during this difficult time. Please notify your Dean and Chair if any of your students tell you that they do not own a computer or have internet access at home.  The College has some limited resources available and may be able to loan these students laptop computers on a short-term basis. 

Members of the Administration are very aware that spring break is generally a time when the instructional faculty are not required to do anything related to their classes and that many of you will be working throughout the break to get ready for March 23. Dr. Rai’s memo this afternoon spoke to this and to the work that many at the institution have done over the past few days to get ready for the next few weeks.

Please take care of yourselves and stay healthy.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Tentative Agreement and More

Colleagues:

I hope that all of you read the e-mail Sharon Piper, our Chief Negotiator, sent out last Friday.  In that e-mail she outlined the tentative agreements we negotiated with Management for the 2020-2021 academic year.  In order to answer your questions and provide you with some additional information, we have arranged to hold faculty forums on each campus this week.  Members of the Executive Committee and the Negotiating Team will be in attendance at each meeting.  I encourage you to come to one of these meetings so that you may ask your questions and hear our presentation about the items we negotiated. 

The ratification vote will take place next week, it will be an electronic vote, and only dues paying members of the Chapter will be allowed to vote on the ratification of the tentative agreement. 

The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Rockville forum-Tuesday February 18, 2-3:30 p.m. location SC462.
  • Germantown forum-Thursday February 20, 2:30-4 p.m. location BE 165
  • TP/SS forum-Friday February 21, 12-1:30 p.m. location SN 105

We look forward to seeing many of you at one of these meetings. 

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

Memorandum of Agreement- AAUP and Management for AY20-21

Dear Colleagues:

Attached you will find the Memorandum of Agreement between the MC AAUP chapter representing the FT faculty, and MC Management. This agreement represents a one year contract and if ratified will be in effect for the 2020-21 academic year. The fall 2019 negotiation session focused on financials, which include salary and overload pay, as well as EAP funds. Additionally, insurance coverage for FT faculty on reduced work load, and short term disability were discussed. 

Based on input from FT faculty, our analysis of the faculty salary study data, and the county fiscal situation, our goals for negotiating this contract related to salary were four-fold. They included:

  • Preventing of red-lining of FT faculty salaries
  • Providing a general wage adjustment that tracked with current inflation (moves the scale up)
  • Providing an increment to those FT faculty below the top of the scale (moves individuals up the salary scale)
  • Providing compensation to those FT faculty below the top of the scale, who were employed as FT faculty here at MC during the 2011-12 AY, when our negotiated pay increases for that AY were revoked and furloughs were implemented as a result of the recession.

The compensation adjustments negotiated for next year meet our stated goals. The GWA tracks with current inflation and prevents redlining of our salary scale. The flat dollar increment provides parity for all FT faculty below the top of the scale in terms of movement up the scale. The recession adjustment to the salary base provides recognition of the sacrifices made by faculty here during the 2011 AY when negotiated compensation adjustments were eliminated.

The specifics are summarized below:

Salary:

Compensation adjustments include the following-

  • A two and three tenths percent (2.3%) general wage adjustment for faculty members who have been in the bargaining unit for at least one semester as of the beginning of the fiscal 2021 academic year.  The salary range for the fiscal 2021 academic year shall be $62,319.00 to $116,847.00
  • An increment of $650.00 will be added to the salary of any faculty member who is not at the top of the fiscal 2020 academic year salary range
  • An adjustment of $250.00 will be made to the salary of any faculty member hired by Management before August 1, 2012, and who is not at the top of the fiscal 2020 academic year salary range. 

EAP:

The total sum of the AY2020 EAP funds will be increased by 3.0%. This 3.0% dollar amount will be applied fully to the EAP travel fund for AY20-21. EAP dollar amounts for individuals (both EAP general and EAP travel monies) will be increased by 3.0% for the AY20-21. 

Reduced load insurance costs:

For FT faculty who are on reduced load, and who purchase their health insurance through the college, management will cover the college’s full portion of the insurance costs during the time of the reduced load. Previously, management covered a reduced portion of their insurance costs, and billed FT faculty for the remainder during the time reduced load was taken.

Short term disability:

FT faculty who have exhausted their sick leave will now have the option of requesting an advance of 10 days of sick leave prior to taking short term disability, or not taking a sick leave advance and going straight into short term disability usage. Previous agreements required FT faculty to take the 10 days advance on their sick leave prior to using short term disability. This change now gives us parity with staff and administrators regarding this issue.

As your negotiating team, we ask that you ratify this agreement for AY20-21. We appreciate the faith that you put in us, and the support and input that you provide to us. We will be holding forums to discuss the MOA on all three campuses the week of 2/17-2/21 and will hold the ratification vote electronically the following week.

  • Rockville forum– Tuesday February 18, 2-3:30 p.m. location SC462.
  • Germantown forum– Thursday February 20, 2:30-4 p.m. location BE 165
  • TP/SS forum– Friday February 21, 12-1:30 p.m. location SN 105

Please come and ask questions on this MOA and any other issues of interest. Specific information on the campus forums will be provided in a later email.

For the Chapter,

Sharon Piper, Lead Negotiator

Tito Baca

Robin Flanary

Michael Gurevitz

Rick Penn

Ginger Robinson