January 29, 2023

AAUP Update: Friday’s Meeting

I wanted to thank everyone for coming out on a Friday night to the AAUP meeting.  We had a terrific turn out (about 120 people) with lots of spirited discussion.  We understand that many of you could not be there and we appreciate your emails, comments, and support.  I wanted to give a brief summary of the meeting for those who could not attend.  Our main goals of the meeting were to make sure everyone understood two important issues: 1. pay/calendar dispute (this will be further examined in an upcoming email) and 2. ramifications of our forthcoming academic restructuring.  The restructuring may prove to the be the most significant change to MC in decades.

Our agenda of the meeting was as follows:

  • Pay/Calendar Dispute
  • Academic Restructuring
    • Background & Recommendation Report
    • Statute
    • Administrative Chairs
    • Proposed Definition
    • Impacts
    • Important Questions
  • Best-Case Scenario
  • Reactions/Future Plans

While it will not be possible to cover all of the information discussed in the meeting in this memo, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some important potential impacts and questions that were discussed regarding our working conditions. Our focus was mainly on the position of the chairs and how that will impact faculty and faculty representation at the college.  Under the new proposed recommendations the chair would move to an administrative position, hold a 12-month position, be removed from the bargaining unit for limited time (3-8 years), will teach 6 ESH per year, will complete all evaluations (FT faculty, PT faculty, and staff), and will be on campus 40 hours a week (staff/administrator requirement).

Potential Impacts:

  • Adds multiple layers of Administration (40 new administrative chairs)
  • Shrinks the Bargaining Unit by approximately 10%
  • Potentially weakens leadership and faculty representation:
    • All of the designated chairs’ positions in governance will become administrators’ positions, leaving even fewer faculty members in governance.
    • Chairs Meetings and the voice of chairs as a representative body will no longer exist.
    • The only group purely representing faculty will be AAUP.
  • Potentially strips faculty of decision-making capabilities. The concept that faculty cannot make decisions or “supervise” will affect coordinators and program directors as well.
  • Alienates chair from department.
    • An external Administrative Chair would not be familiar with a department and its faculty. Impacts include scheduling inefficiencies, loss of familiarity with strengths/weaknesses of faculty, etc.
    • Administrative Chairs will be managing a much larger pool of faculty; thus, faculty and students will suffer inefficient bureaucratic processes.

Important questions that were discussed:

  • Are the chair positions to be exclusively internal or external?
  • If they are internal – we’re able to use our prescribed hiring methods, and we’re able to establish teaching ability. However, what happens if no internal candidate steps forward or is qualified?
  • How would an external candidate be hired–as an administrator or a professor? Who would sit on the hiring committee? Would this person be allowed to come “back” to a bargaining unit that they were not in to begin with? How will these positions be evaluated?
  • How will the faculty position be backfilled? Increase in part-time instructors? Temp full-time (which can only last a year)? This would further erode the FT/PT ratio. Administration purports to privilege a 67/33 (FT/PT ratio)
  • What would be the process for chairs to return to faculty? How does rank advancement play into this?
  • How is this going to be paid for? Reduction of alternate ESH?

Potential Solutions

  • Tenure would be reinstated to protect chairs while they are out of the Bargaining Unit.
    • In order to reinstate tenure, it would be necessary to negotiate the terms as tenure is addressed in our Contract.
    • Tenure must be granted with integrity – not merely because a chair is needed. Reinstating tenure would need to be included in next year’s  negotiations.
  • No faculty member who has been employed for fewer than seven years would be protected if they left the Bargaining Unit
  • The chairs’ faculty positions would be held until they return. The only way to hold faculty positions for 3-8 years would be by hiring part-time faculty. As mentioned, this would further imbalance the FT/PT ratio.

Timeline for Restructuring
Based on Dr. Pearl’s memo that was sent on September 9th we anticipated the formation of restructuring work groups. These work groups are tasked with completing the details and managing the unanswered questions of the restructuring process.  Work groups are expected to complete this work by December 20. Membership to these work groups  was to begin “in the coming days” following the September 9th email.  As far as we know these groups have not been formed.  We feel strongly that faculty representation should be chosen by faculty; however, we still have no firm indication that this will be the case.  The restructuring implementation is set to begin on July 1, 2014.

Faculty Discussion
There was quite a diversity of opinions and ideas during the meeting and we very much appreciate everyone’s feedback.  We are committed to representing you in the best way possible so these kinds of meetings are very helpful. Regarding academic restructuring, faculty did seem to agree that the information given was not timely and lacked proper inclusion. The exclusionary aspect of some of the proceedings of this particular change is peculiar considering that there may have been support if faculty were allowed appropriate participation.  Instead, many feel alienated from the process, and apprehensive about the outcome.

One point that seemed to frustrate some of the attendees is the lack of answers to several key questions.  We have had to resort to speculation on many of these questions.  Let me assure you that it is not that these questions have not already been asked repeatedly by academic, governance, and union leaders, but that answers have not been forthcoming.

What’s Next

We strongly urge everyone to get involved and to research and understand the issues, questions, and what is at stake.

  • Be vocal : Everyone needs to start expressing their concerns with friends, faculty, deans, etc.
  • Board of Trustees: The board would love to hear from you, not just AAUP leadership.  We will update you with dates and times of BOT meetings
  • AAUP Leadership has been working with both our local lawyers and at National.  The lawyers for AAUP and MC will be meeting soon.
  • AAUP Leadership will be working hard to push for a more and fairer faculty representation, especially concerning academic restructuring and other crucial changes to the college.
  • AAUP Leadership will be working with Faculty Council to express our concerns to the administration

We will continue to give you frequent updates as things develop.  Thank you all for your comments and suggestions and please keep them coming.

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)

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