Madame President, Governing Board members, Chancellor Gonzales, CEC, colleagues, and guests,
Good evening! I am Patrice Nango, philosophy faculty at MCC and currently serving as Faculty Association President. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this evening.
I’d like to welcome our new GB members, Susan Bitter Smith and Jacqueline Smith, and congratulate them on their successful election campaigns. In addition, congratulations and welcome back to Tom Nerini and Linda Thor, who waged successful re-election campaigns to serve another term on the Governing Board. I would also like to extend congratulations to Marie Sullivan on her second year as Board President and Tom Nerini, who will serve as Board Secretary. The faculty look forward to collaborating with all of you this next year on the essential work that is before us to make MCCCD the destination for student success, thriving employees, and strong community partnerships. Education can change lives, and MCCCD is a powerful engine in providing the means and the opportunities for people to successfully pursue their education.
2021! A new year begins! While 2020 was a year fraught with challenges and conflicts, it was also an opportunity to take a closer look at how we do things in Maricopa and what was working and what was not. At the speed of light we had to transition to a virtual workplace and learning institution, and that speed, let’s just say, was new to us. Faculty, staff and administrators were challenged to not only embrace this unprecedented virtual reality, they had to do it quickly and successfully. Students’ educational lives and progress were at stake, and most students were not prepared to or even interested in going 100% online. But, transition quickly we did and the 2020 academic year finally came to a reasonably successful end because everyone pulled together, collaborated, refused to let things slide, and kept students front of mind.
As we begin 2021, there is still much work to be done. It is our fervent hope that faculty leadership and the Governing Board can work together on important issues of mutual interest, employing our complementary skill sets and knowledge to problem solve rather than simply defend our varying positions. We are committed to systemic institutional shared governance, which to us means commitment to collaboration and not to combat; to learning and growing together and not to dividing and demonizing; and to engaging in honest dialogue and not avoiding difficult conversations.
Shared governance can seem messy and time consuming because it requires that we listen to and build relationships with all stakeholders. But ultimately it builds trust among participants because of the requirements to listen, openly discuss, identify shared interests, and work together to problem solve and build consensus. We won’t agree with each other all the time, but we can learn to find acceptable solutions through the shared governance process. Faculty leadership is eager to participate in the building of relationships and trust through the implementation of shared governance throughout Maricopa. We offer our time, knowledge, experience, energy, and commitment to the systemic institutional implementation of shared governance because we know it will have a profound and positive impact on our students, employees, community, and the Governing Board. As was articulated by several Board members at the conclusion of their recent on-boarding session, “We have a lot of work to do!” Yes, we do! It’s time for all of us, the people who comprise and represent Maricopa, to work together to make MCCCD the destination for student success, thriving employees, and strong community partnerships. A new year is before us–shall we begin?