October 27, 2021

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: 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

Faculty Participating in the Deferred Pay Program in FY19

Read the memorandum issued May 13, 2019 from Lynda S. von Bargen, Interim Director of HRSTM Business Services

AAUP Update: 2014-15 Election Results

Happy End-of-the-Year Everyone,

Thanks to those of you who were able to make it to the AAUP closing meeting on Tuesday. For those of you who were unable to attend, I wanted to give a quick AAUP Executive Committee election update.  Here are the final results:

AAUP executive committee for 2014-2015

Elected Positions:

President – Harry Zarin (G)
Treasurer – Bill Talbot (R)
Secretary – Erica Hepworth (TP)
Vice President for Takoma Park/Silver Spring – Robin Flanary
Vice President for Rockville – Michael Gurevitz
Vice President for Germantown – Bryant Davis

Appointed Positions:

Grievance Officer – Tim Kirkner (R)
Member At Large – Sharon Piper (G)
Member At Large – Steve Thurston (R)
Past-President – Rick Penn (R)

We want to thank everyone for your support over this past year.  We have another exciting year coming up with the full negotiation approaching and we have a terrific group of representatives who are up for the challenge.

On a personal note,  I want to thank the executive committee for their tremendous support and encouragement over the past year.  I am very proud of the work we accomplished.  I want to give special thanks to Rose Sachs, who has been a superb mentor, motivator, resource, and friend.  Rose is retiring this year and we will all greatly miss her presence at the college.  I will be maintaining my role as department chair, so I will no longer be able to participate within the executive committee.  I will miss the work and the camaraderie, but I hope to take the valuable lessons I’ve learned into other important areas of the college.

Have a great summer!

Best,

Dan

AAUP Update: Negotiations

As stated at the closing meeting, please send any comments or suggestions to my private email,  talbot98@verizon.net

Have a great summer!

Bill Talbot, Professor, CPA
AAUP Chief Negotiator
Montgomery College, HU 248
240.567.5014
bill.talbot@montgomerycollege.edu

AAUP Update: Department Chair Position Announcement

Hello Colleagues,

By now you have probably read the chair position announcement and have been planning accordingly. There have been many questions surrounding the announcement and the entire academic restructuring. Some of those questions have been addressed in our previous email and some have been discussed in the recent email sent by Faculty Council. This email will serve to comment on additional issues and concerns concerning this new position.

The academic restructuring process began two years ago in April of 2012. Since then it has gone through many twists and turns. While many of us, including the AAUP, were opposed to the kinds of changes that were being proposed we, nonetheless, participated in the process in the hopes of creating change that was best for students and faculty. We found the first proposals submitted ill advised, confusing, and possibly damaging to our institution and made that known to the administration on numerous occasions. The first wave of the chair piece of the academic reconstruction removed the chairs from the faculty by converting the position to administrators. Of course, we wondered at the time how the administration planned to justify the addition of 30 to 40 new administrators and the loss of 30 to 40 full-time faculty members. Many standing chairs during that period worried that if we did not fill these positions, individuals from outside of the college would be brought in to run our departments. The AAUP, working with the chapter attorney, researched legal avenues to challenge these restructuring proposals. – to no avail. As time progressed, more proposals came into the picture (i.e. the Chairs group proposal). While these proposals were unable to challenge some of the basic demands that administrative leaders were asking for, they, nonetheless, provided some much-improved alternatives to the restructuring process.

While the request for restructuring was not born from the faculty, the final proposal does represent the work of many different groups within the college. After much time and effort we find ourselves with a proposal that Dr. Pollard has accepted. The administration will begin implementing this proposal over the summer. The final proposal has elements of previous work from the last two years as well as some brand new additions. During the past several months, and under the new leadership of Dr. Rai, both the process and the outcomes have changed dramatically. The process has become far more inclusive, allowing for the voice of the faculty, and, for the first time since this all began, the perspective of the union. Some of the significant outcomes that have been gained through this relationship include:

Chair Side Letter: The creation of an important side letter in our contract that allows Department Chairs to return to their faculty position with all accrued salary in tact. The only way that a chair can be fired, rather than returned to the faculty, is if s/he does something egregious. This is true of every college employee. So although the chairs cannot be represented by the union, they have the contractual protection of returning to the bargaining unit at any time during their term(s) – so long as they complete the current semester.
Chair as Faculty: It is significant that the position of chair has been changed from administrative to faculty, albeit non-bargaining.
Workload: The chairs are afforded three weeks of paid vacation in addition to winter and spring breaks and there will be flexibility in interpretation of the 40-hour work week.
Retirement Benefits: During the time a faculty member is chair, the 12 month salary will count towards retirement; as it stands now, overload ESH and summer ESH are not figured in retirement benefits.

We believe it is important to acknowledge these positive changes in the position and in the process; yet there are still concerns. Our hope is that as the restructuring is evaluated overtime, further changes will occur and some of these concerns will be ameliorated. Issues of concern include:

Compensation: The salary scale, while significant for some, does not make the move to the new department chair as enticing as we would like for some of our most qualified faculty. We believe that there are more equitable compensation systems that would consider past experiences brought to the position and take into account the possibility of salary enhancement for other positions in the reconstruction.
Timeline: The aggressive timeline that has been established may affect the ability to make thoughtful decisions.
Workload: The workload facing these new positions, particularly in larger and/or more complex departments will be enormous.
Grievances: The new department chair role is a grievable position.
Impact on Full-Time Faculty: Removing 36 chairs from the bargaining unit will weaken the chapter by over 7% and signficantly change the FT/PT ratio.
Governance: While we believe that the new chairs should have a significant role in governance, that role should not compromise or dilute the role of the full-time faculty

While we do not agree with every detail of the Academic Reconstruction and despite our concerns, our belief is that Dr. Rai is ultimately committed to our students and is focused on strengthening our departments. If all goes well, the chairs will come from the department faculty, retain faculty status, and return to the department in their faculty positions. Moreover, we have been assured that all pieces of the academic restructure will be carefully monitored and evaluated. We will continue to watch to ensure that this occurs.

We believe that the best possible scenario at this point is that department chairs are identified in round one: eligible faculty from our own departments who are nominated and supported by the faculty in the departments. Raiding other campuses for candidates and/or bringing in external candidates, we believe, could devastate departments and cause harm to our students and the institution. It is important to keep asking questions and to keep holding the administration accountable. Removing the chairs from the bargaining unit is not the decision we supported; it is however, the decision with which we must live. At this time, after many meetings and much discussion, we have essentially been given the opportunity to produce our own leadership. We ask that each of you who meets the requirements in teaching/counseling and leadership experience think carefully and decide, given the information at hand, whether the chair position is one that fits your life plan at this time.

On behalf of the AAUP Executive Committee,

Dan

Dan Wilson, Associate Professor
President – AAUP
Chair – Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Suite 224 (Room 234) Humanities Building
Montgomery College – Rockville, MD
240-567-7486 (Office)

AAUP Update: Side Letters & More!

Hello MC Faculty,

We have a few quick updates on academic restructuring, the ongoing negotiations of two key side letters, and the upcoming county council budget meeting.

1. Academic Restructuring: Department Chairs – Many of you have been patiently waiting for the official posting to full-time faculty of the position description and selection process of the new department chair position that will begin, presumably, on July 1.  We anticipate this posting will be forthcoming early next week.  This posting will include the job description, job requirements, necessary qualifications, salary grade, etc.  Please be on the look-out for this email.

2. Side Letter: Department Chairs – We have completed the side letter dealing with the new role of the department chair.  We understand that this was an important issue for many of you in answering, among other things, how much protection a department chair would have under the new system.  Below, you will find the side letter in its entirety (it is very short).  You may view the official document on our website under the “chapter documents” tab. http://mcaaup.org/?page_id=58

The side letter:

This confirms the understanding between the College and the Chapter regarding Department Chairs. When a faculty member accepts the appointment of Department Chair, the employee will leave the AAUP bargaining unit for the duration of the term(s) as Department Chair.  The evaluation cycle as a bargaining faculty member will be suspended, and the employee will be evaluated annually on duties as Department Chair.

A Department Chair’s term may end due to expiration, voluntary resignation, or removal based on performance.  A Department Chair may resign during the course of the term provided that he or she completes a full semester.  Except in cases where the Department Chair is subject to dismissal for cause unrelated to performance, upon conclusion of the appointment, the employee will return to his or her bargaining faculty position. Compensation and benefits will return to the ten-month faculty salary and will include all salary adjustments and increases in rank that would have been attained during their time as Department Chair.  The faculty member’s evaluation cycle will resume from the point where it was suspended at the time of appointment as Department Chair.

**You will note that Department Chairs can return to the bargaining unit at any time (provided that it is not in the midst of a semester – for obvious reasons – and that the person was originally part of the bargaining unit, i.e. not an external hire) and that the faculty member will be afforded all increases in pay/rank that would have accrued if they had never left the bargaining unit.  Also, as a matter of clarification, Department Chairs are not officially administrators/staff, they are non-bargining faculty.

3. Side Letter: Distance LearningThe negotiations for the update to our distance learning side letter are going very well and the letter is just about completed. We will finalize the last set of changes at our next meeting on April 9. It has been a great example of not so much a good negotiation but rather a collegial work group. As soon as it is completed and signed we will update you and post it to our website.

4. County Council Operating Budget HearingOn April 9 at 7pm the County Council will hold operating budget hearings. The hearings are held in the 3rd floor hearing room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. Parking is available at the rear of the building off of Monroe Street. As President Pollard noted in her March 17th email, the Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett supports an $11 million dollar increase in funding. While this is certainly encouraging it is still $7.9 million short of our $18.9 million request.  The hearing is an opportunity for us to show support of our institution and to encourage the county council to provide full funding of the MC budget to help provide the necessary resources to fully serve our students, faculty, and staff. An AAUP representative will be testifying as will various other members of the college. We STRONGLY encourage you to attend the hearings, dressed in your latest MC garb, to demonstrate to the council your support of Montgomery College!

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading and we will see you soon. Have a great second half of the spring semester.

On behalf of the AAUP Executive Committee,

Dan

AAUP Update:

Hello Colleagues,
The purpose of this email is to provide you with brief updates on academic restructuring and contract violations.

1.  Academic Restructuring – Hopefully many of you have had a chance to look over the final recommendation reports put forth by the academic restructuring workgroups. If not, please visit http://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/EDU/Department.aspx?id=43665 and click on “academic restructuring.” I have heard from many of you concerning how these changes may impact your individual departmental situations.  While I continue to convey these concerns during my own interactions, the remainder of this month represents your time to officially give feedback to the group reports (there is an email link on the same page the group reports are located).  It is vital that the groups hear your thoughts in order for this process to be as encompassing as possible.
We also want to point out that Dr. Rai has met with both me and the AAUP executive committee.  We have been very impressed with his willingness to listen to our concerns and to help build a mutually respectful relationship.  This kind of communication will help us move forward in a productive manner and, we believe, will help protect and strengthen our institution.
2.  Contract Violations – As reported in our last update, we were awaiting the official response from the college concerning potential contract violations in distance learning.  These violations centered around the creation and use of DL courses that were not specifically addressed in the DL side letter (i.e. MOOCs).  As we are all aware, technology in education is expanding rapidly and some of the new learning instruments have yet to be addressed in the contract.  Some of the more obvious concerns surrounding these alternative types of courses are issues of credit disbursement, faculty ESH options, curriculum/departmental oversight, class size, etc. Thus far, these courses have been under the direction of the office of Distance Education Learning Technologies (DELT).  The ESH awarded for creating and teaching massive online courses has been provided by DELT. Because of this, and the nature of these types of courses, we assert that these courses are considered distance courses. The consulting attorney for the college disagreed with this assessment.  Their official response is as follows:
“the College’s position is that the creation and presentation of the MOOC was not something contemplated or addressed in the Distance Learning Side Letter, but was something within the scope of Section 5.3(B) of the Agreement”
Section 5.3(B) of our contract reads:
Where, under this agreement, faculty members perform activities assigned by Management, not otherwise set forth in this Article, which Management determines are to be measured in terms of equivalent semester hours for purposes of Section 5.1 (A) of this Article, one (1) equivalent semester hour shall be equal to fifty (50) clock hours of such assigned activities, except that one (1) equivalent semester hour shall be equal to forty (40) clock hours of such assigned activities when defined and budgeted by Management as Advising Cadre, Instructional Improvement, Curriculum Development, Program Development, Scholarly Effort, or Special Projects equivalent semester hours. Not more than six (6) equivalent semester hours per semester attributable to coaching activities shall be recognized for the purpose of fulfilling the thirty (30) equivalent semester hour standard minimum workload specified in Section 5.1 (A) of this Article.
We found the use of 5.3(B) extremely odd because it essentially states that MOOC-type classes are not considered distance learning classes even though they follow and look similar to what most of us would consider a distance learning course, and they are under the direction of our distance learning department/personnel.  It seems impossible to argue that a course taught online and paid for by distance learning could not be considered a DL course.
The AAUP would like to stress that we realize the potential these new types of courses have, and we also recognize that these courses could be greatly beneficial for our students, faculty, and college as a whole.  However, we do want to ensure that the details of these courses are clearly outlined in our contract to help protect our members.
On behalf of the AAUP executive committee,
Dan

Dan Wilson, Associate Professor
President – AAUP
Chair – Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Suite 224 (Room 234) Humanities Building
Montgomery College – Rockville, MD
240-567-7486 (Office)

AAUP Update: Welcome Back!

Hello Colleagues and welcome to the beginning of our Spring 2014 semester,

We are off to a very wintery start which, at this time, has required us to cancel our mid-year meeting. The purpose of this email is to provide you with brief updates on personnel changes, contract violations, and academic restructuring.

1. Personnel Changes – On November 15 2014, the interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Sanjay Rai, announced his appointment of interim associate senior vice president for academic affairs, Ms. Carolyn Terry.  The AAUP executive committee wishes to congratulate Ms. Terry on her new appointment. Ms. Terry has been a full-time faculty member in the English discipline, a department chair of English, and, of course, the dean of humanities at the Rockville Campus. She has shown a strong  understanding of academia, an ability to lead, and dedication to students in both her faculty and administrative roles.  As we have stated in previous emails, oftentimes the most effective administrators come from the Montgomery College faculty, and we are pleased to see Ms. Terry as a key voice in creating a strong and stable office of the vice president. We wish the best of luck to Ms. Terry in her new position.

2.  Contract Violations – As reported in previous updates, early in the fall semester we noticed two potential contract violations.  One of these violations dealt with the lengthening of our academic calendar and the other concerned distance learning.  After a semester long debate about the nature of these violations, we, along with our legal counsel, met with representatives of the college and their legal counsel on January 10.  Regarding the calendar issue, there still seems to be some disagreement on the methods used to count the number of days in an academic year.  Both parties agreed to reevaluate their methods.  Regarding the distance education issue, both parties agreed that implementation of new methods of distance education not covered in our current contract (specifically, our distance learning side letter) will be put on hold until representatives from the faculty and the administration can update the side letter to reflect these new technological instructional delivery systems. This group has already been formed and has begun scheduling dates in order to finish the update quickly and efficiently.  At the end of our meeting we asked HR to provide an official written response to the violations. We are still awaiting that response and we will update you once it is received.

3.  Academic Restructuring – Many of you are anxious to see the final results of the recommendations put forth by the academic restructuring workgroups.  The amount of work that has gone into each one of the workgroups is extraordinary with many participants putting in extra time throughout the holiday break.  Dr. Rai and his office has done a tremendous job organizing the recommendations into a single coherent vision for our college.  Since mid-November we have witnessed great efforts to make the restructuring process more inclusive and more responsive.  The final recommendation reports will be released and discussed this week, and the representatives of AAUP are eager to hear your thoughts.  While we still disagree with the motive and reasoning behind moving department chairs out of the AAUP bargaining unit, we are encouraged by some of the compromises we have seen and are excited about moving forward.  We will be meeting with Dr. Rai early on in the spring semester to deal more directly with changes that impact the contractual side of the restructuring and, of course, many of the changes will need to ultimately be decided during our negotiations next year.

On behalf of the AAUP executive committee,

Dan

Dan Wilson, Associate Professor
President – AAUP
Chair – Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice
Suite 224 (Room 234) Humanities Building
Montgomery College – Rockville, MD
240-567-7486 (Office)

AAUP Update: Personnel Changes P.2

Happy Thanksgiving Colleagues!

On November 22, 2013, the new interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Sanjay Rai, announced his appointment of Acting Vice President and Provost at the Germantown Campus, Ms. Magaret Latimer.  The AAUP executive committee wishes to congratulate Ms. Latimer on her new appointment.  Ms. Latimer has served in many different capacities at the college including part-time and full-time professor, department chair, and associate dean.  As we have seen, often times the most effective administrators come from the Montgomery College faculty and we are pleased to see Ms. Latimer as part of that group. We wish the best of luck to Ms. Latimer in her new position.

I hope you all have a great “mini-break” and that you are able to spend some quality time with family and friends.

On behalf of the AAUP Executive Committee,

 

Dan