June 1, 2023

MC-AAUP Update: April

Hello!

This is the last monthly update via email of the academic year! We obviously are closing in on the end so your next and last update for 2022-2023 will be via zoom at our Closing Meeting on Wednesday May 17th. More on that later. 

Here are a few things to hold you over till then! 

1. A group has been formed to look into our needs and explore potential changes needed for Workday. I know that the folks in HR and senior leadership here at the college share concerns and frustrations that many of us have experienced with this new platform. So, we are grateful for the opportunity to come together to see how we can make appropriate modifications to the platform itself and/or various internal processes to make this easier for everyone. Stay tuned. 

2. We are grateful to all of those who have responded to our Priorities Survey. This affords you the opportunity to share your thoughts on issues of particular importance for our Negotiating Team to consider as we repair for contract negotiations next fall. We have received over 60 responses so far and encourage you to take some time for this when you can. It would be great if we could get over 100 responses, which would be a really good sample size so we thank you for spreading the word in your respective departments.

3. A special thanks to all of those who came out to join us for lunch at the Rockville campus a few weeks ago. This lunch, which was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, was a fabulous way for us to connect with colleagues as we gathered some valuable feedback from those who attended. The goodie bag provided by KP was nice too! In all, we gave away almost 50 lunches and look forward to doing this again, but at Takoma Park in the fall!

4. Hopefully by now you have seen our call for nominations for officers on the MCAAUP Executive Committee. We will except nominations until Monday – close of business, so we encourage you to think about nominating someone you know or even yourself! The respective Vice-Presidents for each campus have sent out announcements in the last week to this effect, and will follow up soon with a call to vote online in the next week or so. 

5. As we have shared on several occasions this past year, we collected some valuable information last year about coordinator responsibilities from so many of you here at the college when we sent out a survey to capture all that do. But like any good study, this led to more intriguing questions and a need for further inquiry. So, you may have seen yet another survey that we sent out in the last week or so about Coordinator responsibilities as well as those who receive Alternate esh for various responsibilities. This is a follow-up to ensure we collect appropriate and adequate information to help guide Negotiating Team decisions and deliberations in the fall.  

We know you’re busy and these surveys add to your workload. But we also trust that you know this is important work and that we rely on your input to provide helpful information just as you rely on us to represent you at The Table. So, thank you for taking time to help us, help you! 🙂

6. I am delighted to inform you that Management has agreed to join us in an Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) training that we anticipate will be scheduled soon. This is a big step towards utilizing this popular and collaborative approach to negotiations that has worked well in the past.  Our hope is that this training goes well such that we agree to utilize this approach at The Table in the fall.  This is another example of our improved relationship with Management and how our ongoing positive dialogue continues to help move the college forward. This is a very good thing and we thank our Senior leaders for engaging with us.

7. We took full advantage of the opportunities to say goodbye to Dr. Rai at each campus last week. At least 2 members of the Executive Committee 

Attended each campus event, to acknowledge his service to the college and his advocacy for faculty and students. We are working with faculty council to acknowledge him appropriately at the Collegewide Closing Meeting.  

8. The MCAAUP recently joined a coalition of labor leaders across the county. This group advocates for each other and mutual interests. This may include advocacy efforts with the county council, across the county to local residents, and even at the State level. Any time that people come together to support one another, find common ground, and advocate for critical public services close to home, that is a good thing. 

One measure that the county council and county residents are being asked to consider is the .10 property tax increase that is a special education measure to support a rejuvenation of public school services. 

You may even find a mailing from this coalition ask you to support this measure by contacting your local representative or signing a petition online. Please know that any measure that supports education in Montgomery County at the very least indirectly supports The College. Our collaborations with MCPS and adequate support of K-12 students depends on this, as many of them will one day be students of ours…, and some are already. 

Please check out the MCEA website for more information about how to share your thoughts on this measure and sign a petition in support if you agree. 

9. We are working with the college to put a system in place to notify faculty and staff when there are IT outages. The fact that we rely on MC email, Bb, and MyMC for a good part of our communication complicates this when those systems are down. 

but there are times, when not all systems are impacted, so we are hoping to explore various ways to keep everyone informed on the status of these issues as they arise. 

10. We recently convened a small work group to collaborate with members of management to iron out an updated office hour memorandum of understanding. Given that so much of our work happens remotely these days, it was certainly appropriate to revisit office our guidelines. We do believe that we have a tentative agreement in place and are waiting on Management to sign off.  We hope to share more about this with you at the closing meeting. 

11. Often times there are emails sent across the college to a large recipient list. We kindly ask you to use discretion when using the reply all button. We all get an enormous amount of email so we need to be sensitive about filling each other’s email boxes when it would be more appropriate to respond to one or two particular people. 

12. A very special thanks to Carolyn Terry who joined us at a Executive Committee meeting back in April. She is working closely with faculty council and a special group of Faculty and administrators as we implement a year long course schedule. This is pretty complicated as you can imagine and clearly there will be bumps along the way. Howevr, we appreciate how receptive she was to our concerns and feedback and how she clarified for us some of what’s involved in this process. 

It is important for everyone to know that this is a transparent process and feedback is not only welcome, but needed to ensure that this schedule is robust and meet the needs of our students. The schedule is supposed to go live in the next week or two, so we strongly encourage you to review the schedule and communicate any feedback you might have to your Faculty Council leaders. Just remember that what has worked in the past may not be applicable to the needs to the college, students, and respective departments. Please be as flexible as you can and communicate early and often in this process. EVERY faculty member is supposed to have input on the course schedule. 

This update was longer than I anticipated when I started it! But as you can see, we stay quite busy as they are often new matters of importance to address. We are doing our best to keep you informed, so thanks for doing your part by reading and sharing this information. 

There is much more to share, so I trust we will see you at our Closing Meeting on the 17th online via zoom. In the meantime, thank you for your attention to the surveys we have sent out, for any nominations you put forth – along with your participation in the election, and for going the extra mile for students these next 2 weeks. 

Please be well!

On behalf of The Chapter,

Tito

Florida Bill Attacks Academic Freedom, Silencing Faculty and Students – MCAAUP responds

Colleagues,

By now you likely are aware of the unfortunate political maneuvering in Florida related to higher education. No matter what side of the aisle you find yourself on, I am betting that there is a good chance that it would be quite upsetting if there was any ill-advised attempt to limit your academic freedom, especially if done so by empowering state appointees the right to control your curriculum or program offerings. Clearly, neither ideology nor politics alone provide appropriate or even ample expertise to guide these decisions.

Thankfully we have very limited concerns about this sort of thing here in Maryland and especially here at MC, but that does not mean we should not be engaged in this debate. Anytime anyone outside the classroom attempts to manipulate or otherwise control what happens in the classroom, that is a problem…, no matter where it happens. This is how freedom slowly erodes.

Still, we will not get drawn into a debate about what is, should, and / or should not be taught in our primary and secondary schools. That is not our charge, at least not in our roles with MC. What is our responsibility is to protect the right to decide for ourselves what should or should not be taught in our classes and what programs we will offer in higher ed. That we shall do because we know we are best equipped to make those decisions.

So, please read this joint message from the AAUP and AFT leadership on their view and how you can show your support to colleagues in Florida who are resisting a hostile take-over of their classrooms.

Feel free to share this as you see fit.

Best,

Tito


Dear Alberto,

Like many of you, we’re alarmed about the implications of recent efforts, in several states, to legislate away academic freedom, shared governance and tenure—and with them, the basis for free inquiry at public institutions.

With the introduction of House Bill 999 last week, the Florida Legislature—at Gov. Ron DeSantis’ urging—has doubled down on its attacks on academic freedom with a bill that would effectively silence faculty and students across the ideological spectrum and purge whole fields of study from public universities.

The bill would place control of core curriculums and institutional mission statements entirely in the hands of political appointees. It would limit or ban students’ ability to pursue certain majors or areas of study. It forbids “theoretical or exploratory” content in general education courses. Simply put, it would transform Florida’s colleges and universities into an arm of the DeSantis political operation.

We can’t let this happen on our watch—in Florida or in any state. The AAUP, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Coalition against Censorship have issued a joint statement on this, which you can see and share here.

Please add your name to this statement and commit to fight legislative efforts like these. We’ll be in touch with more actions you can take as our campaign builds.

In unity,
Irene Mulvey, AAUP President
Randi Weingarten, AFT President

Testimony in Annapolis for Labor in higher education across Maryland!

Colleagues,

As you know by now, your MC-AAUP Chapter has been supporting community colleges and 4-year institutions across the state of Maryland in their efforts to organize labor groups at their respective institutions. Of course, our Chapter has been enabled through state legislation for over 40 years but up until last year, we were the only institution in higher education in Maryland with collective bargaining rights. As a matter of fact, we are still the only full-time faculty group who has an actual contract. 

However, when we need to go to Annapolis to advocate for Montgomery College or higher education in general, we know that there is strength in numbers. So, it is certainly reasonable to want to advocate for our colleagues across the state…., and we have done just that. In fact, we have been quite active in the current legislative session as there are several Bills being considered that directly or indirectly impact all FTF faculty.

House Bill 275 and Senate Bill 175 are being vetted this year by our State representatives. This would provide “the right” for full-time faculty and graduate assistants to decide “if” they want to organize and collectively bargain. Well, what do you think most of them will do if given this opportunity? One other Bill being considered would allow for union dues to be tax deductible!

To this end, we have spent the last several months supporting this effort. Faculty from many institutions including UMD, Towson, Howard CC, CCBC, PGCC, College of Southern MD, Harford CC, and others have reached out to us for guidance. Further, we have been working with AFT to support their advocacy efforts on these Bills through various lobbying efforts. 

This past week I was asked to submit written testimony to the House and Senate in favor of this legislation. In addition, on Tuesday I appeared in person to testify at the House and then Thursday provided virtual oral testimony at the Senate. This was time consuming and arduous work, but we are hopeful that this is the year that State government finally empowers FTF across the state to organize and advocate, with leverage, for themselves. 

We will update you on the progress of these Bills but if you want to read the testimony that was submitted, please read what is attached. This document is a combination of oral and written testimony that was submitted this past week. You can also find it on our website as of next week.

But please know that at the request of AFT, some of this was edited for testimony on Thursday to counter what various members of Management across the state had argued on Tuesday at the House hearing. So, a small part of this may seem a bit out of place to those who were not there both days to gain perspective with context of all the dialogue. But know that it did resonate, and counter specific arguments related to Shared Governance and compensation for Graduate Assistants.  

If you want to take it a step further, reach out to your state representative and share your thoughts, but please do so, soon!

Best,

Tito

2023 Your Voice, Your MC Survey

Hello,

When the college reaches out to ask for feedback on anything that may impact your professional or even personal lives, it is an opportunity of which we should certainly take advantage. All MC employees will be invited via email to participate in the 2023 Your Voice, Your MC Survey, which will help to inform the College’s Strategic Plan Refresh. Topics will include issues related to work quality, communication, management, workplace culture, equity and inclusion, and ethics. So you can see that this can and will make a difference in future strategic planning of the college across a variety important aspects of the college, therefore we urge you to participate in the survey when it comes!

Please watch for an email message from Modern Think, LLC at surveys@modernthink.net and will be specific to you for your use, but will be anonymous. The survey will be available from February 6, 2023, through February 20, 2023. When you receive the invitation, please take your time so you can constructive, thoughtful, and honest about your responses. Modern Think, LLC will not share survey respondent usernames with the College and will aggregate response data to ensure responses are not attributable or identifiable to individual employees.

At the appropriate time, we look forward to a review of this feedback and hope to play an integral role, along with Faculty Council, in thoughtful reflections on these findings as well as planning for next steps. In short, the goal is to be prudent and mindful about our feedback, open minded about what we may learn, and then informed as well as deliberate about how we plan moving forward. So, we all have a voice, both now and after the results are shared and then a responsibility to use that information wisely.

Should you have any questions about the survey, please contact Scot Brown in HRSTM or visit the Your Voice, Your MC: Employee Experience and Climate Survey webpage.

Best,

Tito

AJ “Tito” Baca, Ed.D.

Professor: Health Sciences

President: MC-AAUP

MC-AAUP Support for UMD System Organization Efforts

Colleagues,

As you are likely aware now from previous meetings and email correspondence, the MC-AAUP Chapter is actively advocating and supporting our colleagues at colleges and universities across the state as they organize and / or lobby for collective bargaining. For too long ft-faculty at MC have been the only such labor group in higher-education in Maryland, so we are delighted that this will soon no longer be the case.

Community Colleges have recently won the right to organize, if they choose to do so, and are in the beginning stages of those efforts. But now we continue to play a supportive and advisory role to support our friends in the University System of Maryland. The information below and attached is a guide to help you get involved and support various education bills and includes but is not limited to proposed legislation for ft-faculty and graduate assistants. You will not see our name included and this is by design. Our testimony and involvement will take place at strategic hearings so we are under the radar for now. However, our written and oral testimony will be the centerpiece of this effort.

I urge you to submit testimony, sign petitions, and attend sessions as your schedule allows. There is strength in numbers when we advocate for higher education, MC, ft-faculty, and academic freedom issues so needless to say this is important for these folks and for all that concerns MC faculty. If you want to get more involved with lobbying efforts specific to MC, please reach out to David Fallick here at MC as he will be helping to lead our efforts moving forward.

Check out the attached for the respective Bills. You may find that this resonates with past or current experiences and you will not be alone.

Best,

Tito

PS. Please note that while we are proudly working with our AAUP and AFT national partners, we have been careful not to endorse a particular labor group for any prospective Chapter. We know that there are numerous advantages for us all to work under the same umbrella, but we have to trust that our active involvement with our national organizations should speak for itself. The organizing groups at each institution need to make their own decisions and we will need to be well positioned to work with them, no matter who they choose as their national affiliate. We hope they choose wisely and do advise when asked, but this is as far as we are willing to go on this matter.

AJ “Tito” Baca Jr., Ed.D.

Professor – Health Sciences

President – MCAAUP Chapter

——————————————-

Dear Colleagues,

We need you now!

We have just three weeks left to help push our collective bargaining bill over the finish line.

Sign up right now to let us know what you can do to help.

We need an avalanche of testimony, emails and calls to legislators, postcards from key constituent groups, and bodies in attendance at the bill’s hearings in the next three weeks. Please sign up now.

And if you missed the General Body Meeting today and would like a full update on the collective bargaining campaign, email us at umdaaup@gmail.com and we will give you access to a recording of it.

Sincerely,

UMD AAUP Executive Committee

Revised Update and AFT Education Legislation Information

Hello Colleagues,

I trust that the semester has started well…., and if not, that those challenges have been resolved satisfactorily. When this is not the case, I hope by now that you know to reach out to us anytime.

We do post these updates on our [MCAAUP.org]MC-AAUP webpage as an archive of sorts and encourage you to go there to find these messages when needed. There you can also find a calendar of events, various resources, and our Bylaws. Full-time faculty are encouraged to consider joining The Chapter to support all that we do on your behalf you can find that member application there as well.

Many still do not know all that we do in our roles on the MC-AAUP Executive Committee or appreciate how things might go if we did not exist. If you talk to a colleague at any other institution of higher education in Maryland, they likely can tell you how it goes at those respective places without much of a voice. So, this particular update is a bit lengthy but is an effort to further enlighten and align our membership in a way that advances the Mission of MC and supports the full-time faculty that are an integral part of the very essence of this institution. Here goes…

  1. Strategic Plan: On December 7, the Executive Committee held a MC-AAUP Strategic Plan roll out to share our vision for The Chapter. We are required to give advance notice of any proposed changes to the Constitution Bylaws, and we appreciate those who attended and provided feedback on these changes. We made every effort to be as transparent as possible through-out this process. At the Opening Meeting this past month, we again shared the proposed changes as well as our new MC-AAUP organizational chart. This all aligns to our goals of improving member engagement, Chapter membership, and information sharing. As a result of that meeting, a motion to vote on the proposed changes to the Constitution, and a second, was made so a vote was held online the following week. I am delighted that this motion passed with almost 98% of the vote! Watch for more information as we begin to implement our 2022 Strategic Plan and involve even more of our membership to develop specific goals moving forward.

NOTE: This is a genuine effort to get more members involved in all that we do, so please reach out if you have an interest in joining one of our new Work Groups.

  1. Negotiating Team: Did you hear about your raise coming next Fall!?!? The MCAAUP Negotiating Team was quite busy last semester. Our Negotiating Team (N.T.) participated in negotiations for salary improvements for next year, they also organized and facilitated several forums. As a result of all their hard work and the information we shared at the Opening Meeting, we voted online to accept the Tentative Agreement (T.A.) with Management with just over 99% of the vote! Specifics about the agreement can be found on our web page, which was also recently sent as an email.

The NT was also busy hosting forums that included but were not limited to topics related to benefits, Workday challenges, and general information on the Contract. This was very helpful because we collected a lot of feedback on issues that will help prepare us for our contract reopener next fall. However, in response at least in part to our concerns, the college is forming a Focus Group to explore the challenges related to Workday and we hope to be part of that effort not only better understand this platform, but to help simplify some of the processes that have frustrated so many, including HR folks themselves. Stay tuned! 

We also hosted a forum to collaborate with Department Chairs to answer questions regarding the contract, but also to get their input on how we can better inform Faculty. This was a very well attended event, and we look forward to doing this again next year as this keeps everyone better informed and on the same page. Things flow better when everyone is familiar with the Contract so we appreciate the fact that so many Chairs attended in a mutual effort to share information.

  1. Governance: In years past, our Faculty Council governance group once included and collaborated with labor groups across the college. This was to ensure inclusion and to collect multiple perspectives on matters that arose. While we have continued to discuss issues offline, the latest “shared governance” model has not included representatives from our labor groups, until now. I am pleased to share that I recently started attending the Faculty Council meetings to not only hear and attempt to address their concerns, but to suggest items of concern for them to consider that do not fall within our purview. We will continue to collaborate in and outside those meetings as this clearly helps us all stay aware of matters that concern faculty. 
  1. Covid policy: By now you should be aware that the college has begun to pivot away from some of the remaining Covid mandates that were still in place. This means that faculty can REQUEST but NOT REQUIRE masks in the classroom. However, you can require masks in office spaces and other small areas where movement and spacing is limited AND when you cannot relocate. We appreciate that not everyone has the same views or the same health concerns on this topic but that we have continued to be respectful of those differences. The college administration has assured us that they will continue to be as flexible as possible and do their best when to accommodate those with documented health concerns. I am not aware of many instances where at least some accommodation has been denied but please feel free to reach out to me if you have such a concern but feel the college has fallen short on supporting you as needed.
  1. Lobbying Efforts: The changes to our Constitution required the aforementioned edits to our web page, but one other addition is a new link called “Organization Resources.” This is now in place to help other 2-year and 4-year institutions who are attempting to organize their respective Chapters.

We have been asked by colleagues at various colleges and universities as well as by our new partners at A.F.T. for guidance in this regard. As such, we have begun participating in various lobbying activities on their behalf. But make no mistake, these efforts will serve us well down the road when issues specific to higher education come up at the state and national level. There is strength in numbers, so we are very proud to be playing an integral role in the advocacy of our own institution as well as that of others, and on matters related to academic freedom, tenure, and Labor across the state. Of course, the time is near again for us to advocate for the college at The County Council Budget hearings. We will be there as we are each year to do so as asked.

  1. Ombudsman: We continue to appeal to the college to fill the position of Ombudsman here at MC. Those who have served in this position in the past have been incredibly useful and helped resolve many challenges in the past. This position was initially filled as part of our Middle States Self-Study feedback years ago and we feel strongly that this serves the college community quite well as this is a neutral third party.
  1. Academic Affairs: The turnout for the Academic Affairs meeting during Professional Week was outstanding. It was a real pleasure to hear from administrators from 4-year institutions about our students and the reputation we have across the college in numerous programs. Congrats to all those who have recently started new programs, earned grants, or forged new articulation agreements with 4-year colleges and universities!
  1. Enrollment: We are excited that the number of students and enrollment itself across the college is slightly higher than projected although still early to determine the ultimate outcome. Right now, the college offers about 67% of courses as F2F, and the rest are almost evenly split by D.L. and S.R.T. but final numbers will be determined later after late start classes have begun. We are dropping less sections than in the past but still many more than is desirable, so ongoing efforts to move to a year-long course schedule are still quite critical. The impetus for these changes is to afford students the opportunity and option to plan their schedule for Fall and Spring well in advance and to know with almost absolute certainty that certain classes will run. This also gives the college more time to add sections, make format decisions based on those numbers, and ensure instructors are available / assigned.
  1. Payroll: We continue to work with HR on a myriad of payroll and compensation issues. This includes errors on union dues deductions (only 2-3 thus far), flex spending errors, and deferred payroll payment plan mistakes. While there are on occasion data entry errors, most of the time this comes back to quirks and the limits of Workday, which they are attempting to address. Unfortunately, this at times is more complicated than it should be and HR only has so much maneuverability with Workday.

But we cannot stress this enough: IT IS YOUR JOB TO REGULARLY DOUBLE CHECK YOU PAY STUBS FOR ACCURACY. Finding a mistake month or just weeks down the road can prove to be quite inconvenient when they find errors and must come asking for money back…, or there are inadequate funds in your flex spending account! Mistakes happen and we try to monitor this as best we can, but there are a lot of you, lots of varying job/leave circumstances, and few of us…., and really is your responsibility. If you have a question about your pay or deductions, email payroll@montgomerycollege.edu and feel free to copy myself or Tim Kirkner IF your concerns are not addressed.

Also, please know that if you go out on FMLA type of leave for any length of time, you will likely be removed from the deferred payment plan automatically and be back on the 10-month plan. This is a complicated Workday issue and not one that can be remedied easily anytime soon. :0(

  1. Short term sick leave: Short term sick leave (less than 2 hours on a day) for some Counselors has been confusing issue in Student Affairs due to inconsistencies in P&P vs. HR directives and how applied. But we are happy that Counselors across the college who need sick leave for less than 2 hours on a particular day do not need to utilize Workday or process any paperwork for that matter. Making arrangements in your area and notifying the Chair is all that is required. Adhering but not abusing this arrangement keeps everyone a bit happier and away from Workday…, at least for this issue!
  1. Tech it Out: When we find things that WILL interest you, we will share them. There is a relatively new IT training offering called “Tech it Out.” It is online, quick, easy, come and go as you need, and only for an hour. This meets on Fridays at 2pm but you need to register. Last week I learned some useful quick tips on Outlook and other topics. But I also learned about upcoming trainings for “Yuja,” which allows you to embed videos into lectures or into content in Bb without having to use YouTube or other apps. The college has purchased a license for this so it will be free for you! Learn about these kinds of things and more here so I urge you to check it out.
  1. Collaboration: We continue to meet with Senior Management on a regular basis but also as needed to address issues that come up on a variety of topics. Sometimes the solutions come quickly but sometimes the problems that we share are new to those who oversee those areas. When these issues are complex and need substantial time and input, we wait for follow-up, or we form work groups to explore these issues further. One such pressing issue relates to office hours and how / where those hours are spent. We expect that this group will get started soon and are happy to have the opportunity to explore this topic with Management. We hope they share the need for the office hour policy to evolve just as modes of instruction have evolved over the past 2-3 years.  
  1. Required trainings: Do not forget about Required Trainings! Most are online and less than 60 minutes. Go to Training and Professional Development in My MC main menu and look for Required Trainings on the right side of the screen.
  1. IT Support: We are looking into the availability of IT Support over the phone on weekends, especially Sundays. We know that your work is not M-F, it is not 9-5, and challenges with email and/or My MC can happen at all hours. Therefore, support in off hours is critical. Stay tuned.

Please watch your emails for information regarding upcoming Focus Groups and Forums. This is just one way you can connect with us, provide feedback, and make a difference.

On behalf of The Chapter, be well and reach out when you need us!

Tito

MC AAUP monthly update – January 2023

Hello Colleagues,

I trust that the semester has started well…., and if not, that those challenges have been resolved satisfactorily. When this is not the case, I hope by now that you know to reach out to us anytime.

We do post these updates on our [MCAAUP.org]MC-AAUP webpage as an archive of sorts and encourage you to go there to find these messages when needed. There you can also find a calendar of events, various resources, and our Bylaws. Full-time faculty are encouraged to consider joining The Chapter to support all that we do on your behalf you can find that member application there as well.

Many still do not know all that we do in our roles on the MC-AAUP Executive Committee or appreciate how things might go if we did not exist. If you talk to a colleague at any other institution of higher education in Maryland, they likely can tell you how it goes at those respective places without much of a voice. So, this particular update is a bit lengthy but is an effort to further enlighten and align our membership in a way that advances the Mission of MC and supports the full-time faculty that are an integral part of the very essence of this institution. Here goes…

  1. Strategic Plan: On December 7, the Executive Committee held a MC-AAUP Strategic Plan roll out to share our vision for The Chapter. We are required to give advance notice of any proposed changes to the Constitution Bylaws, and we appreciate those who attended and provided feedback on these changes. We made every effort to be as transparent as possible through-out this process. At the Opening Meeting this past month, we again shared the proposed changes as well as our new MC-AAUP organizational chart. This all aligns to our goals of improving member engagement, Chapter membership, and information sharing. As a result of that meeting, a motion to vote on the proposed changes to the Constitution, and a second, was made so a vote was held online the following week. I am delighted that this motion passed with almost 98% of the vote! Watch for more information as we begin to implement our 2022 Strategic Plan and involve even more of our membership to develop specific goals moving forward.

NOTE: This is a genuine effort to get more members involved in all that we do, so please reach out if you have an interest in joining one of our new Work Groups.

  1. Negotiating Team: Did you hear about your raise coming next Fall!?!? The MCAAUP Negotiating Team was quite busy last semester. Our Negotiating Team (N.T.) participated in negotiations for salary improvements for next year, they also organized and facilitated several forums. As a result of all their hard work and the information we shared at the Opening Meeting, we voted online to accept the Tentative Agreement (T.A.) with Management with just over 99% of the vote! Specifics about the agreement can be found on our web page, which was also recently sent as an email.

The NT was also busy hosting forums that included but were not limited to topics related to benefits, Workday challenges, and general information on the Contract. This was very helpful because we collected a lot of feedback on issues that will help prepare us for our contract reopener next fall. However, in response at least in part to our concerns, the college is forming a Focus Group to explore the challenges related to Workday and we hope to be part of that effort not only better understand this platform, but to help simplify some of the processes that have frustrated so many, including HR folks themselves. Stay tuned! 

We also hosted a forum to collaborate with Department Chairs to answer questions regarding the contract, but also to get their input on how we can better inform Faculty. This was a very well attended event, and we look forward to doing this again next year as this keeps everyone better informed and on the same page. Things flow better when everyone is familiar with the Contract so we appreciate the fact that so many Chairs attended in a mutual effort to share information.

  1. Governance: In years past, our Faculty Council governance group once included and collaborated with labor groups across the college. This was to ensure inclusion and to collect multiple perspectives on matters that arose. While we have continued to discuss issues offline, the latest “shared governance” model has not included representatives from our labor groups, until now. I am pleased to share that I recently started attending the Faculty Council meetings to not only hear and attempt to address their concerns, but to suggest items of concern for them to consider that do not fall within our purview. We will continue to collaborate in and outside those meetings as this clearly helps us all stay aware of matters that concern faculty. 
  1. Covid policy: By now you should be aware that the college has begun to pivot away from some of the remaining Covid mandates that were still in place. This means that faculty can REQUEST but NOT REQUIRE masks in the classroom. However, you can require masks in office spaces and other small areas where movement and spacing is limited AND when you cannot relocate. We appreciate that not everyone has the same views or the same health concerns on this topic but that we have continued to be respectful of those differences. The college administration has assured us that they will continue to be as flexible as possible and do their best when to accommodate those with documented health concerns. I am not aware of many instances where at least some accommodation has been denied but please feel free to reach out to me if you have such a concern but feel the college has fallen short on supporting you as needed.
  1. Lobbying Efforts: The changes to our Constitution required the aforementioned edits to our web page, but one other addition is a new link called “Organization Resources.” This is now in place to help other 2-year and 4-year institutions who are attempting to organize their respective Chapters.

We have been asked by colleagues at various colleges and universities as well as by our new partners at A.F.T. for guidance in this regard. As such, we have begun participating in various lobbying activities on their behalf. But make no mistake, these efforts will serve us well down the road when issues specific to higher education come up at the state and national level. There is strength in numbers, so we are very proud to be playing an integral role in the advocacy of our own institution as well as that of others, and on matters related to academic freedom, tenure, and Labor across the state. Of course, the time is near again for us to advocate for the college at The County Council Budget hearings. We will be there as we are each year to do so as asked.

  1. Ombudsman: We continue to appeal to the college to fill the position of Ombudsman here at MC. Those who have served in this position in the past have been incredibly useful and helped resolve many challenges in the past. This position was initially filled as part of our Middle States Self-Study feedback years ago and we feel strongly that this serves the college community quite well as this is a neutral third party.
  1. Academic Affairs: The turnout for the Academic Affairs meeting during Professional Week was outstanding. It was a real pleasure to hear from administrators from 4-year institutions about our students and the reputation we have across the college in numerous programs. Congrats to all those who have recently started new programs, earned grants, or forged new articulation agreements with 4-year colleges and universities!
  1. Enrollment: We are excited that the number of students and enrollment itself across the college is slightly higher than projected although still early to determine the ultimate outcome. Right now, the college offers about 67% of courses as F2F, and the rest are almost evenly split by D.L. and S.R.T. but final numbers will be determined later after late start classes have begun. We are dropping less sections than in the past but still many more than is desirable, so ongoing efforts to move to a year-long course schedule are still quite critical. The impetus for these changes is to afford students the opportunity and option to plan their schedule for Fall and Spring well in advance and to know with almost absolute certainty that certain classes will run. This also gives the college more time to add sections, make format decisions based on those numbers, and ensure instructors are available / assigned.
  1. Payroll: We continue to work with HR on a myriad of payroll and compensation issues. This includes errors on union dues deductions (only 2-3 thus far), flex spending errors, and deferred payroll payment plan mistakes. While there are on occasion data entry errors, most of the time this comes back to quirks and the limits of Workday, which they are attempting to address. Unfortunately, this at times is more complicated than it should be and HR only has so much maneuverability with Workday.

But we cannot stress this enough: IT IS YOUR JOB TO REGULARLY DOUBLE CHECK YOU PAY STUBS FOR ACCURACY. Finding a mistake month or just weeks down the road can prove to be quite inconvenient when they find errors and must come asking for money back…, or there are inadequate funds in your flex spending account! Mistakes happen and we try to monitor this as best we can, but there are a lot of you, lots of varying job/leave circumstances, and few of us…., and really is your responsibility. If you have a question about your pay or deductions, email payroll@montgomerycollege.edu and feel free to copy myself or Tim Kirkner IF your concerns are not addressed.

Also, please know that if you go out on FMLA type of leave for any length of time, you will likely be removed from the deferred payment plan automatically and be back on the 10-month plan. This is a complicated Workday issue and not one that can be remedied easily anytime soon. :0(

  1. Short term sick leave: Short term sick leave (less than 2 hours on a day) for some Counselors has been confusing issue in Student Affairs due to inconsistencies in P&P vs. HR directives and how applied. But we are happy that Counselors across the college who need sick leave for less than 2 hours on a particular day do not need to utilize Workday or process any paperwork for that matter. Making arrangements / notifying the Chair and making up this time as appropriate is all that is required. Adhering but not abusing this arrangement keeps everyone a bit happier and away from Workday…, at least for this issue!
  1. Tech it Out: When we find things that WILL interest you, we will share them. There is a relatively new IT training offering called “Tech it Out.” It is online, quick, easy, come and go as you need, and only for an hour. This meets on Fridays at 2pm but you need to register. Last week I learned some useful quick tips on Outlook and other topics. But I also learned about upcoming trainings for “Yuja,” which allows you to embed videos into lectures or into content in Bb without having to use YouTube or other apps. The college has purchased a license for this so it will be free for you! Learn about these kinds of things and more here so I urge you to check it out.
  1. Collaboration: We continue to meet with Senior Management on a regular basis but also as needed to address issues that come up on a variety of topics. Sometimes the solutions come quickly but sometimes the problems that we share are new to those who oversee those areas. When these issues are complex and need substantial time and input, we wait for follow-up, or we form work groups to explore these issues further. One such pressing issue relates to office hours and how / where those hours are spent. We expect that this group will get started soon and are happy to have the opportunity to explore this topic with Management. We hope they share the need for the office hour policy to evolve just as modes of instruction have evolved over the past 2-3 years.  
  1. Required trainings: Do not forget about Required Trainings! Most are online and less than 60 minutes. Go to Training and Professional Development in My MC main menu and look for Required Trainings on the right side of the screen.
  1. IT Support: We are looking into the availability of IT Support over the phone on weekends, especially Sundays. We know that your work is not M-F, it is not 9-5, and challenges with email and/or My MC can happen at all hours. Therefore, support in off hours is critical. Stay tuned.

Please watch your emails for information regarding upcoming Focus Groups and Forums. This is just one way you can connect with us, provide feedback, and make a difference.

On behalf of The Chapter, be well and reach out when you need us!

Tito

AJ (“Tito”) Baca Jr., Ed.D.

College Email Distribution Lists

Hi,

We heard from several folks that they might not be getting emails when sent messages are sent via campus or collegewide distribution lists, such as “Full Time Faculty” or by campus like “Full-Time Faculty GT.”

If you want to see if you are included on one or more of these lists, follow the directions below.

  1. Type Full Time Faculty or Full-Time Faculty TP, RV or GT in the “To” section of a new email.
  2. Press the small + sign in front of that email distribution list.
  3. Click ok to expand the list.
  4. Search for your name and make sure it is spelled correctly
  5. If your name is there, be sure to check any other distribution lists that you feel you should be included on as well.
  6. If your name is there but you are not getting messages, check Clutter and Junk folders.
  7. If your name is NOT there, contact the most Senior Administrative Aid in your Department and ask that your email be added / edited as needed. You may want to copy your Chair as well.

But please make sure it is not there before reaching out to these folks.

Hope this helps!

Tito

MC-AAUP Spring 2023 Opening Meeting

Hello Colleagues,

The much deserved and well-earned break is coming to an end, but I hope it was restful and all that you needed. If you were able to avoid the various ailments floating around, good for you!

We are back next week after the holiday on Monday. So, Tuesday the 17th, the Professional Week starts with the College-wide Opening Meeting. This will be held at 9 a.m. in the Cultural Arts Center on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus. We hope to see you there, but this will be live streamed as well.

At this meeting, Dr. Williams will share a presidential address and details regarding the MC Strategic Plan refresh. There will also be a student panel discussion along with other speakers who will briefly present on matters relevant to our return. For additional details about the Spring 2023 Professional Week and other scheduled meetings, please visit the Spring Opening Meeting website.

After the college-wide meeting has concluded, ALL full-time faculty are strongly encouraged to join us for our AAUP Opening Meeting. You may recall that this will be a very important meeting! At this meeting we will discuss in detail the Strategic Plan that we have been working on for the past year. This includes changes to our Bylaws and our organizational flowchart, which align with our main long-term goals of improving outreach and member engagement.

So, we really need / want your participation and feedback as we share critical information that will help guide us for years to come. We will also discuss many of the matters we have been addressing, on your behalf since we last met in August. It is an extensive list to be sure. Further, we want to recognize those who are retiring and have given so much to MC. So please join us online at:

MC-AAUP Spring 2023 Opening Meeting

Jan 17, 2023, 11:15 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Meeting ID  935 0093 5904

Invite Link   https://montgomerycollege.zoom.us/j/93500935904

Lastly, we have VERY EXCITING news that you will NOT want to miss! When I say EXCITING, I mean it!

See you Tuesday!

Best,

Tito

Your MC-AAUP Renewed! Strategic Planning Forum (Online) on 12/7 at 4pm!

Hello Faculty Colleagues,

By now, you likely know that the Executive Committee has been working on a Strategic Plan for our Chapter over the past year! During that time we have held open forums and trainings to help us better understand how we are doing as your union representatives. Further, we have explored best practices related to labor group organization in higher education to help guide us moving forward. 

The culmination of all this work will be January 17th at our opening meeting (ONLINE). This is when we will hold a full member vote on some significant changes to our bylaws that will help to better position us moving forward.

However, we are required to provide advance notice of any proposed bylaw changes. Therefore, we  would like to invite you to one last open forum on this matter on December 7th. It will be at this time that we share our ideas and proposed changes, but also solicit your feedback. This will afford us one last opportunity to consider edits and changes before our draft is finalized and put forward for a vote. 

If you are not sure about what we do, much of which is behind the scenes and without a lot of fanfare, you were strongly encouraged to attend. We work on your behalf every day! So, this is not only an opportunity to find out more about the work we do, but also to have a say in how we do that work in the future.

Please join us as your time allows, even if just for part of this meeting. Your participation and support is critical to keeping you informed and to the effectiveness of the Chapter.

Topic: Strategic Planning Forum
Join Zoom Meeting
https://montgomerycollege.zoom.us/j/92443970281

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Meeting ID: 924 4397 0281
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Hope to see you there!

On behalf of The Chapter,

Tito