August 5, 2021

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: Spring Meeting

Colleagues:

Welcome back for another interesting semester of work at MC.  I hope that all of you are healthy and that you were able to get some much needed rest over the holiday break.

I am writing to remind all of you that on Tuesday morning, January 19, 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 attend this meeting.

On behalf of the AAUP Chapter, an e-mail with a Zoom link was sent to you earlier today from Julie Levinson.  This is your invitation to attend the meeting.  At the meeting we will provide you with information about negotiations that occurred this past fall, we will hold a vote on the tentative agreement that was reached, we will discuss the Contract 101 sessions we offered last semester, and we will talk about our upcoming Contract 101 sessions and more.  We will also take some time to hear your comments, concerns, and questions.  

Last fall 300 faculty members attended our opening meeting.  Thanks to Julie Levinson’s advocacy and hard work, this semester we have been allowed to increase the number of faculty members who can attend our Zoom meeting from 300-500. We hope that a large number of you will take the time to participate in the meeting next week.  Again, 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 we will open up the Zoom room around 11:00am.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the meeting.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

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

AAUP Update: A Thanksgiving Update

As we embark upon a Thanksgiving Holiday like we have never seen before, I want to wish all of you, on behalf of the Executive Committee, a healthy and well deserved holiday break.  I hope you are able to take some time over the break to take care of the physical and mental health of yourself and your family. Get away from your computer, exercise, spend some time outside, and try to do some things that you haven’t had time to do this semester.  Most importantly, just try to relax.

A quick note for all of us to remember.  How cool is it that some of the very first responders and medical professionals in our communities treating us for this terrible virus and protecting us are MC employees and graduates. We are as grateful for them as they are for us.

On Wednesday evening, November 11 members of our Negotiating Team (Sharon Piper, Tito Baca, Robin Flanary, and Ginger Robinson) hosted our first Contract 101 session.  During this Zoom session they covered several parts of our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA): Articles 2 (Management Functions), 4 (Faculty Appointments), and 5 (Faculty Workload) The 30 or so faculty in attendance had a robust discussion about each of these articles. 

On Wednesday evening December 9 (time TBA), we will offer our second Contract 101 session which will cover Article 6 (Leaves of Absence), Article 7 (Chapter Rights), and Article 8 (Salary), in our CBA. 

Our goal in hosting these sessions is to help all of you become better informed about our CBA, the role of the Chapter, and the Executive Committee. Most importantly, we want you to recognize that we support all bargaining unit members of the full-time faculty whether you are a full dues paying member of the Chapter, paying the voluntary collective bargaining service fee, or you are getting the benefits of our services and paying nothing.  As I mentioned in my last update, succession planning is very important for our Chapter and we hope that by becoming better informed that some of you will consider taking a leadership role in the Chapter in the future.

In addition to our January opening meeting, we will continue to host additional informative sessions during the spring semester.  After a robust and healthy conversation among us and several of our constituents concerning how we, as an Executive Committee, could respond to the nationwide discussion of social justice and racial equity, we have decided to host a session on social justice and racial equity at MC. Our goal is to facilitate a collaborative conversation that helps us understand how we can better represent the faculty and helps all of you understand how you can better support each other.

It is important for all of you to know that our primary role as an Executive Committee is to represent all of you, protect all of you, and protect our union interests by protecting our contract. This is our primary mission at MC.  For this reason, our Chapter has never issued a statement in support of any social movement, political movement, political party, or candidate.  However, we do believe that Black lives matter, and for us this affirmation means that our faculty of color have a right to thrive at MC and not just survive.  If any faculty member believes they are experiencing unequal treatment due their race, gender, sexual orientation, or faith, we stand ready to support you in your fight for equality and social justice. 

Again, I hope you have an enjoyable and restful Thanksgiving holiday.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

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: 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: Elimination of the 4th Year Evaluation Requirement, Annual and Semester ESH Limits and More

I hope that all of you are healthy and that you are having a good semester. Now that the Nationals season is over we can all go back to getting some sleep by going to bed at an earlier hour.

Here are some updates that I would like you to be aware of as the semester progresses. 

The Court Case:

As I stated in my September update, our case was heard by a three-judge panel in the Maryland Court of Special appeals in September.  I need to inform you that, unfortunately, the decision of the Court of Special Appeals did not go our way. We on the Executive Committee have been in contact with the Chapter’s attorneys and another outside labor attorney, regarding the decision of the COSA and about our options for moving forward.  There are several options that we could pursue regarding our case.  One could make an argument for and against each option and this is what we are in discussion about with our attorneys.

By the time we meet at the January opening meeting we should be able to share with you the decision we have made on your behalf. I want as many full-time faculty as possible to attend the January opening meeting. At the meeting, we will lay out the reasons for our decision.

A copy of the Court’s decision is posted in the court documents section of the Chapter website for your review.

Below are some important reminders that you should keep in mind as the fall semester winds down and we move into our winter and spring semesters.

Elimination of the 4th Year Evaluation Requirement-Article 4 Section 4.2

The fall semester is a busy time for all of us, and it is an especially busy time for those who are scheduled to be evaluated this semester. For a number of years, all full-time faculty members were required to be evaluated during their first 5 years of employment at Montgomery College.  I wanted to remind all of you that as of the fall of 2015, the required 4th year of employment evaluation was eliminated.  All full-time faculty are required to be evaluated during years one, two, three, and five.  After that all full-time faculty are scheduled to be evaluated every 5 years.  More information regarding the evaluation cycle can be found in the Collective Bargaining Agreement-Article 4.

Semester and Annual ESH Requirements and Limits-Article 5:

Here are some important ESH reminders which are covered in Article 5 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

All full-time faculty members are required to work a minimum of thirty (30) ESH per academic year. 

No faculty member can be required to work in excess of thirty-two (32) ESH per academic year without consent of the faculty member, or eighteen (18) ESH per semester without consent of the faculty member.

Extended winter session and winter session ESH counts towards your spring ESH totals.

Full-time faculty may work up to twenty (20) ESH in any given semester.

No faculty member may work in excess of thirty-six (36) ESH per academic year.

Educational Assistance Program (EAP)-Article 9 Section 9.4 (A) and (B):

The FY2020 maximum individual benefit for tuition, fees, and conferences=$3,030.00

The FY 2020 maximum for travel related to professional development=$1,334.00

EAP may now be used to cover more than one professional membership.  This change in the Policies and Procedures at MC has been approved and the changes will be reflected in the on-line Policies and Procedures in the near future.  I have been informed that there is no limit to the number of professional memberships that may be covered by your individual EAP.  It is always best to see if multiple faculty in the same department would benefit more from an institutional membership paid out of the Department’s funds. If you plan to join/renew multiple professional memberships, doing so at one time helps with college-wide annual spending projections.

Encumber early – Once the funds are gone, they are gone.

Encumber accurately so MC can accurately project total funds that will be spent. This ensures as many requests as possible can be honored.

Let your Dean and HR know right away if you cannot travel as anticipated if funds were encumbered. This is an important action and your responsibility, as released unused encumbered funds can then be used by other full-time faculty for their professional development travel.

Bereavement Leave-Article 6 Section 6.4

The number of days you can take for bereavement leave was increased to a maximum of 5 days as of the start of the 2019-2020 academic year

Negotiations:

There is little I can say about negotiations other than they have begun.  We are working on negotiating increases in salary, overload pay, and EAP as well as an issue related to faculty short-term disability.  Once tentative agreements have been reached and both sides agree, we will issue a statement that outlines the terms and conditions of each tentative agreement.  We will also provide you with information on the voting process that will be needed to ratify the agreements. 

Membership Drive:

Michael LeBlanc- English TP/SS is leading a Chapter organizing group. One of the goals of the group is to help increase our membership.  Those of you who are not members of the Chapter or who are not paying the voluntary collective bargaining support fee will probably be receiving, or have received, a visit, phone call, or e-mail communication about the benefits of supporting out Chapter.  Those of us on the Executive Committee appreciate the efforts of this group of faculty and are hopeful that many of you will heed the advice of this group and either join the Chapter or support our efforts by deciding to pay the voluntary collective bargaining support fee.

Initial Salary Placement Review:

This is an on-going issue that is taking much longer than any of us anticipated.  We have been in contact with Santo Scrimenti in the Employee and Labor Relations Office and he has assured us that his intention is to communicate directly with the faculty who requested a review/reevaluation of their initial salary placement.  I have heard from some faculty who received an e-mail which stated that a review of their file resulted in no increase in salary. Many faculty who requested a review, as far back as May 2019, have heard nothing other than receiving an e-mail that the process is complex and we will be in touch. No faculty members who have been in touch with the Chapter have indicated that they were part of the review/reevaluation process. How do you conduct a review/reevaluation and not contact the individual faculty members?  I’m not sure but this is the process that those in the Employee and Labor Relations Office have decided to undertake. 

Several of us on the Executive Committee have spoken with several members of the Administration, including Donna Schena, about the length of this review process, that the individual faculty members are apparently not part of the review process, and the lack of communication with the individual faculty members. We will continue to pursue this issue and work towards an expeditious resolution of this seemingly endless process.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Again, I encourage all of you to attend the January opening meeting.  This is one of the few times each year when we as a group of full-time faulty can meet and discuss issues that are of interest to all of us.

I hope you have an enjoyable and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.

AAUP Update: Court Case, Faculty Compensation Forums, Fall Negotiations, Executive Committee Nominations, the Closing Meeting and more.

May 2019

Colleagues:

The year 2018-2019 academic year is rapidly coming to a close.  I hope that all of you have had a good semester and year inside and outside the classroom.  Please pardon the length of this update; however, it is important that I provide you with all of this valuable information.

Closing Meeting:

This year the closing meeting will be held on Wednesday morning May 15 in Globe Hall on the Germantown campus.  The AAUP Chapter meeting, which is a full-faculty meeting, will take place as soon as the college wide portion of the morning meeting ends.  Please plan on attending this meeting.  There are only three meetings per year where the full-time faculty in its entirety is able to meet and discuss issues that are important to us.  We on the Executive Committee need to hear from you, and you need to exercise your right to voice your opinion on issues that affect you and your colleagues. At the meeting we will announce the results of the election of officers for the Chapter, we will talk about the faculty compensation forums, our pending case with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the status of our treasury, and much more.  Your participation in these meetings is important.

Nominations and Elections:

Nominations are now being solicited for the following positions on the Executive Committee:

  • President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Vice President-Germantown
  • Vice President-Rockville
  • Vice President-Takoma Park/Silver Spring

As announced last week, the nomination period ends on Wednesday May 8, the slate will be announced on the May 9, electronic voting will begin on May 9 and will close on May 14.  The results of the voting will be announced at the closing meeting in Germantown on Wednesday May 15.  Only dues paying members of the Chapter may vote on Chapter related issues. 

The Montgomery College Operating Budget:

Each year the president of the college submits an operating budget request to the Montgomery County Executive and the Montgomery County Council.  Through very intensive lobbying and a very involved decision-making process, the members of the council determine the funding of the operating budgets for all county-funded agencies, including Montgomery College.

I participated in the lobbying efforts by testifying on behalf of the full-time faculty at the April county council budget hearings. My testimony is posted on the Chapter website. The county council’s vote on our operating budget tends to occur around the week of gradation. Shortly after that, at the June Board of Trustees meeting, the BOT will make their final decision on tuition increases, the funding of our contract and the overall operating budget for the College. Below is some information that relates to this process and how some recent County Council action may affect Montgomery College.

From a Member of the County Council:

Councilman Hans Riemer sends out periodic messages to those who subscribe to his on-line newsletter.  Below is the most recent message that he sent out to the public.  The message relates to the county’s operating budget for next year.

Dear Resident:

Today [April 30] the Council took an initial vote on next year’s compensation for County employees, as proposed in the County Executive’s budget.

As part of our annual budget process, the County Executive is responsible for negotiating labor contracts with the unions. The Council then has the final responsibility of making sure that compensation is affordable.

While I support a raise for our employees, the County Executive’s proposal includes a 9.4% increase for many County employees in the MCGEO bargaining unit. (Increases for Fire and Rescue and Police officers are about 5.9%; teachers and school support personnel are scheduled to get 4.5% increases, on average.)

MCGEO members are the workers you will see driving a bus for long hours, inspecting rental housing, or providing health services. Like other public employees, they keep this county humming, and they deserve a raise.

But, after careful consideration, I voted no on the 9.4% raise, as did my colleagues.

I cast that vote because I take my obligation seriously to look to the future as a steward of our tax dollars.

Under the County Executive’s agreements, total compensation would grow at nearly double the rate of county revenue. When compensation grows faster than revenue, it consumes more of the budget over time, leaving less for new initiatives.

I think you will agree that we must be careful to preserve funds for goals such as reducing MCPS class sizes, expanding pre-k and afterschool programs, improving transportation and fighting climate change, to name a few.

By comparison, Federal employees, who make up a large share of our taxpayers, are receiving increases this year that are less than half of that amount.

While there is no doubt that the Recession was tough on our employees, with pay freezes for several years, since then, they have received steady raises.

The County Executive’s proposed 9.4% raise is all the more difficult because it is plain now that our budget has a structural deficit. The only way the budget achieves balance is through an extraordinary measure — using revenues from last year identified for the retiree health benefit fund.

Like a large ship, the County’s budget changes direction slowly. I think this is an important moment to begin to “turn the ship” and express the Council’s strong desire to start taking steps to resolve our structural deficit.

The County Executive talked about our fiscal challenges on the campaign trail, as did Council candidates. The County Executive’s mantra was that as a leader trusted by the County unions, he could work with them to right-size County government — recognizing that it is more affordable to provide raises to a smaller workforce.

He’s right about that, and I hope he follows through. I am prepared to work with him.

The budget we received, however, adds 90 new positions, exacerbating the impact of compensation increases.

I share the County Executive’s stated desire to make County government more efficient, and I also strongly believe that we can do more to promote economic growth in the County. If we achieve major savings and our revenue growth accelerates from a hotter economy, then I absolutely believe that County employees should share in those gains.

But let’s not count the chickens before they hatch: we have to make the necessary changes before claiming savings.

I look forward to supporting a raise that we can fund over time — one that is more in line with the wage increases that other bargaining units and our taxpayers are experiencing.

Sincerely,

Hans Riemer

Councilmember, At-large

After receiving this message, I sent an e-mail to Susan Madden in our Governmental Relations Office.  I asked her how she feels this action may affect the amount of money the Council will allocate towards the College’s FY2020 operating budget.  Below is her response to my e-mail.

Yesterday [April 30], the Council took action to abrogate the contract with MCGEO and send them back to the negotiating table with the County Executive.  Councilmember Rice made the motion.  All nine members voted yes.  It remains to be seen what will be the result though the Council did signal some parameters.

The Council also took action across all contracts with county employees to change the cost sharing on benefits—suggesting a 75 percent/25 percent split—meaning county employees ought to pay more for benefits.

As I understand it, the County Executive has or will send a budget amendment to the Council for $5 million new dollars to be spent on MCPS.  These funds became available because of new state funds related to the operation of the 911 system. The balance of what MCPS needs will come from existing sources and or Kirwan funds from the state.

The combination of the reducing the county’s compensation costs and the $5 million now available for MCPS does give the council some greater flexibility to provide additional funds to other Council priorities like the College. The Council President made it clear the College is a priority at the conclusion of the hearings.

That said, nothing is said and done until the final vote. Students continue to meet with Council members. Dr. Pollard met with the Council President yesterday before she spoke at the Equity Summit.

The full Council work session for the College is May 13. As you may know, the Committee work session was quite a robust conversation and the Committee voted to put all $3.1 million on the reconciliation list—an important step forward in the Council’s budget deliberations.

Susan Madden

How may this action affect the full-time faculty?

The College receives a large portion of its operating budget from the county. The College asked that the County provide us with $3.1 million more for FY2020 than it received in FY2019.  The recent action of the Council appears to lead us to believe that the full Council may vote to provide us with all of the $3.1 million that the College administration requested.  If this occurs, the full-time faculty will receive a 2.5% general wage adjustment in academic year 2019-2020.  The full Council will hopefully vote on our operating budget at their full work session on May 13. 

What can you do?

Lobbying individual members of the County Council is encouraged and your message needs to be clear. We have a negotiated agreement. This signed agreement includes a very reasonable increase in salary for the full-time faculty for FY2020. The negotiated increase is below inflation, is below the federal increase that was given to Social Security recipients, and our work as a faculty benefits thousands of students on a daily basis.

Now is the time for you to make your phone calls, send e-mails, and meet with members of the Council, if their schedule permits.

Salary Issues:

Six faculty compensation forums were held around the College in April at all three campuses. On April 8 the power point presentation used during those presentations was posted on the Chapter webpage, mc.aaup.org.  Numerous faculty have contacted members of the Chapter’s Executive Committee and expressed their concerns about the results of the survey. Some faculty expressed a concern about how their salary compared to others at MC given that they have been working here for a longer period of time and their salaries are relatively the same. Others mentioned that they were hired during the recession, their salary did not improve during the recession years, and new faculty hired after the recession started at a higher salary than their current salary. A variety of other salary-related concerns have also been brought to the attention of member of the Executive Committee. The concerns of the so called “recession group” and others have been heard, and they have been discussed with members of the Labor Management Collaboration Committee and the senior vice presidents. 

It is important to remember that, with one exception that I will mention below, all matters related to salary are collective bargaining matters and are dealt with at the negotiating table. We are in the process of putting together our negotiating team for the fall and have had some very positive preliminary discussions with Management about these negotiations. The salary issues that have been discussed since the faculty compensation forums will be discussed in these negotiations. What we may and can do to address the issues has yet to be decided. We will provide you with as much information as we can about possible solutions to these issues, given that discussions that occur during negotiations are confidential until both sides come to an agreement and the agreement is announced.

Initial Salary Placement:

The one salary-related issue that can be addressed by individual faculty members relates to the initial salary placement which is based on the points they received when the faculty member was hired. 

Here is a quick review of how this works: All of us had our work experiences evaluated by our hiring dean, and the dean gave us points for all of these experiences. The total points we received determined our initial salary. We all signed the point sheet and the initial offer of a salary. Several faculty members have come to us and said that they do not feel they received enough points for their previous work experiences.

If you feel that you did not receive a fair initial salary based on an evaluation of your work experience, please get in touch with Elline Damirdjian, 7-5497, in MC’s Office of Employee and Labor Relations. This office has a process in place to review your resume, application, and the points you received.  Several faculty members have already been in touch with this office and their salary was adjusted based on this type of review.

If you would like a union representative to assist you with this process, please contact any member of the Executive Committee.

The Court Case:

On April 15, our attorney filed a brief on our behalf with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.  A copy of the brief has been posted in the court documents section of the Chapter webpage.  Management’s attorney had thirty days from April 15 to file a brief on behalf of management and our attorney will have an opportunity to file a rebuttal brief once the management brief has been filed. Our case is still scheduled to be heard some time in September.  We will let you know when additional information becomes available about our case.

The Closing Meeting:

Finally, I encourage all of you to attend the full-time faculty meeting on the morning of Wednesday May 13 in Globe Hall on the Germantown Campus.  We have much to discuss and we need to hear from you. 

On behalf of the Chapter,

Harry Z.