What future will you choose?

Recently, something rather momentous happened for us.

Something good.

Something that would have been impossible a few years ago.

On April 27th, the MCCCD Governing Board voted to approve a 4% salary increase for all Maricopa employees, retroactive to January 1st of this year. For faculty paid on a nine-month schedule (those who don’t get paychecks for base pay over the summer), the lump-sum increase for the first half of the calendar year should show up in today’s paychecks. For faculty paid on a year-round schedule, the payment will come on 6/17.

This action marks a change in attitude that sharply contrasts with the decade of neglect that preceded it. Furthermore, the adopted plan allocates additional 4% salary increases for us in each of the next four years…unless a new Board rescinds it.

I want to explain how those of us who support our Faculty Association made that happen.

In the 2018 and 2020 elections, our Faculty Association engaged in high-effort (and high-expense) pushes to elect pro-education, pro-student, and pro-employee members to the Governing Board. We gained significant ground in those elections. In fact, in 2020 we swept the table, with all four of our endorsed candidates winning their seats. A new Board brought a new attitude, and with it came victories for us all.

Through advocacy and negotiation (and at times, through litigation) our Faculty Association secured a seat at the table. As a direct consequence, we see our Residential Faculty gaining respect from the District: leadership now confers with us about potential policy and budgetary changes, administration shows heightened awareness of and respect for our academic freedom, and the Governing Board moves to acknowledge our value by increasing our compensation. These changes represent the fruit of a strong Faculty Association — one made strong by faculty support.

Right now, we see MCCCD reviving because of our united efforts. As our Faculty Association changes the power structure, we create a new framework where our working conditions can improve.

Ultimately, you get to choose whether or not we keep our Faculty Association strong. So, which do you prefer? For a Residential Faculty member, this year’s 4% raise would pay their annual Faculty Association dues more than five times over. Will you join to ensure that we have the strength to keep winning victories for you, or will you roll the dice and trust your future to luck? Will you invest a tiny fraction of your gains to keep our successes coming, or will you risk the chance that we have to endure another lost decade?

You get to choose.

Sasha Radisich
Faculty Association President

Governing Board Address 4/27/21

President Sullivan, Governing Board Members, CEC Members, and Guests:

Tonight is my last address to the Governing Board on behalf of the Faculty Association. As of May 11th, my term will be over and Dr. Sasha Radisich (GCC) will be assuming the presidency, supported by Professors Camille Newton (SMCC) as President Elect and John Schampel (PC) as Past President.

I am very proud of the work that the Faculty Association and residential faculty leadership have helped to accomplish this year. Even in the midst of a pandemic, collaborative work continued on important initiatives and projects benefiting students, staff, faculty, and the Maricopa system. From the Faculty Agreement, to the Employee Compensation Philosophy, to the Committee on Academic Freedom, extraordinary (even historic) accomplishments have been achieved through collaboration with staff, adjunct faculty, and district and college leadership.

The relationships that have been started or developed more deeply have been most rewarding and made my term as president less contentious and more collaborative, allowing for greater progress on the important work we all have before us. I will always remember the colleagues I have come to know and the good, and difficult, work we have done together. I do regret that all our meetings were virtual, precluding the normal face-to-face interactions that I find essential for collaborative work and relationship building. On the upside, I have the dubious distinction of being the first Faculty Association President who never held or attended a single meeting in person/face to face for their entire term of office! Certainly not what I expected or set as a goal for my leadership of the Faculty Association! But we make do, and rise to the task before us. I hope my rise met the challenges before me and that the Faculty Association and Maricopa as a whole benefited from my time as President. I am grateful to the Faculty Association Officers and Faculty Executive Council for their unwavering support and counsel and for entrusting me with the responsibilities and duties of this office. I literally could not have done it without you! It was an honor to serve and one of the highlights of my career.

As most of you already know, I have spent most of my life at Maricopa, predominantly at Mesa Community College, where I started as the young kid of a professor running around campus with all the other professors’ kids, chasing rabbits and lizards and having lunch with all the faculty in the Kirk Center, yes, all the faculty fit into one room! Some years later I continued as a student, eventually joining the faculty, where I served as Department Chair, Faculty Senate Vice President and President, FEC Representative, Faculty Association President Elect and President. During that time, I also watched as my kids and grandkids became students at MCC, CGCC, and SCC. I have spent a lifetime watching, participating, and advocating for the mission of the Maricopa and its positive impact on students, employees, and communities. On July 1, 2021, I am retiring, and as a proud alumna I will continue to watch and advocate for the success of Maricopa.

Given my long, deeply personal investment in Maricopa, with your indulgence, I would like to share some parting observations and concerns in the hope it helps Maricopa to move successfully into the future.

Participating in system-level leadership over the past two years has made clear to me that our biggest challenges aren’t new revelations for most of us, but it is critical that we find a way to resolve them so we can move forward. We can’t continue to be okay with the status quo of an organizational culture that doesn’t work yet still doesn’t change and a lack of focus on systems (“little s”) that will help us to operate as a System (“big S”). I don’t want to suggest no progress has been made in this regard, it has, especially recently. But this piece is hard for us, and we must continue our progress with a strong sense of urgency if we are to break through.

Another critical challenge we must overcome is our inability to create a positive experience for students before they show up in our classes. We know the contributing problems — students have a really hard time registering for classes, gaining access to an advisor, navigating financial aid, getting their questions answered. We know these critical student processes need more resources, such as more advisors to provide more student contact and a more streamlined process with consistency between colleges. Employees are doing their very best to work with the tools and processes available to them, but they are overwhelmed and understaffed. More people who provide that broader, deeper student service are part of the solution, as are technology and streamlining consistent processes across the colleges. We have studied this problem at great length, yet it remains unsolved.

I suggest that if we think seriously about the causes of these seemingly intractable problems, we might find that they share a root cause.

Maricopa’s culture has long exhibited an unwillingness to face, acknowledge, and act to change difficult patterns, including the impact of recent history and events involving the prior Governing Board and former Chancellor Harper-Marinick. In addition, Maricopa culturally embraces a parochialism that stifles not only our understanding of and ability to work across colleges and the district office as a system, but also undermines our willingness to change the culture that facilitates this parochialism.

Please understand that I am not trying to pick a fight. I have a deep and abiding love for Maricopa as an institution and for its employees, its students, and the communities it serves. But I do feel an urgent and pressing need to call for Maricopa to come together as an institution to address these issues head on, right away.

We know that Maricopa exists to help students succeed and build a better life for themselves and their families. And caring about and valuing our employees positions all of us to succeed and build a better life for ourselves, our families, our students, and the communities we live in and serve. It will be hard work, but we have survived a recession, a year of pandemic, and a system shutdown. I have full confidence that we are capable of not only surviving, but thriving.

Thank you for your time. My deepest gratitude to all the amazing people that I have met and worked with over my years at Maricopa. I will miss you but I know that the work we have done will position Maricopa to continue its mission of bringing success to all who come to them, whether student or employee or community member or governing board member. As we owe it to those whose legacy we seek to fulfill, what we do from here is our legacy.

Patrice Nango

4% Salary Increase

Colleagues,

I’m so excited to share that the Governing Board just voted unanimously (7-0) to approve the 4% salary increase for faculty, adjunct faculty and staff! And all increases are retroactive to the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester.

What a difference an education friendly Governing Board can make! Not to mention the support and leadership of the Chancellor and a crack HR leadership team who believe that employees are our most valuable asset and thus must be compensated appropriately. Their hard work and commitment to the new Employee Compensation Philosophy resulted in the Governing Board’s approval of a long overdue 4% increase. There is still work to be done to align MCCCD salaries with the market, but this is a great first step!

Have a good evening!

Patrice Nango
Faculty Association President

Pension Event

The Faculty Association is a member of the AZ Retirement Security Coalition (ARSC), which is dedicated to protecting our pensions through legislative support and member education. Please join us in an educational presentation that features the Director of the AZ State Retirement System as our guest speaker. The benefits of ASRS, the differences between ASRS and a 401(k), and other retirement security information will be discussed.

REGISTER HERE
Direct Link: https://actionnetwork.org/events/pension-pitfalls-making-the-right-choices
To retweet the link on Twitter.
To repost the link on Facebook.

I hope you’ll join the Faculty Association at this important and informative event!

Stay well,

Patrice
Faculty Association President

Message from Provost and FA Leadership

Good evening, all,

A joint email from Interim Provost Eric Leshinskie and Faculty Association leadership welcoming faculty back to the semester is below. I hope you have all had a chance to read the last email from the Chancellor with the exciting news that password reset is ready allowing access to Canvas and your district email again!

Thank you all for being patient while IT worked tirelessly to get us to this point. Updates will be sent as things develop, so watch your email or access the status update site.

Stay well,

Patrice Nango
Faculty Association President


Email from the Office of the Interim Provost

Chandler-Gilbert | Estrella Mountain | GateWay | Glendale | Mesa | Paradise Valley

Phoenix | Rio Salado | Scottsdale | South Mountain | Maricopa Corporate College

Dear Faculty,

We hope this message finds you safe and that you are doing well despite what we all realize are very challenging personal and professional circumstances. We want to sincerely thank you for your patience throughout the week. Communication is coming to you from many angles and, when email is interrupted, it makes communication even more challenging. But, we are pleased to share that Maricopa is moving in a positive direction for a successful restart of the spring semester on Monday, March 29.

Password reset 

Earlier this afternoon, you should have received either a text, personal email, and/or work email regarding the necessary steps to reset your password. Steps were outlined for the Self Service option; however, if you are unable to use the Self Service option, you can use the chat feature on the idme.maricopa.edu website to verify your identity in order to have a password link sent to you. The chat support will be available for faculty and staff today until 10:00 p.m. Please note, you may experience a short wait while our chat teams work to get employees verified. Chat support will also be available Friday (7am-10pm), Saturday (8am-8pm), and Sunday (8am-8pm). Please have your government-issued ID available via webcam for verification purposes. The chat feature can also assist you with questions regarding the multi-factor authentication.

Canvas Access

Once you have reset your password, you will be able to access Canvas. We encourage you to do so as quickly as you can to make any necessary adjustments. We do know some students currently have access to Canvas, and all students will receive instructions to reset passwords Friday morning. Messaging, co-developed by our LMS Core Team, FEC Leadership, and the ASA Division, has been placed in Canvas to provide information for students.

Flexibility and Care

We all recognize that this has been a challenging situation and has disrupted instruction. We also understand that despite our best communication efforts, students may still have challenges through Monday and beyond. We respectfully recommend the following for your consideration:

Reflect on your chosen due dates for quizzes/tests this week. We anticipate that Monday and Tuesday may have students still reconnecting, but we hope not many. A slight delay in when work is expected to be submitted or completed may go a long way in easing student concerns. Although the final decision is yours, we strongly urge you not to set any hard deadlines before Wednesday (3/31) to avoid penalizing students suffering through the same technology and connectivity issues that have affected all of us this week.

For those 8-week classes now scheduled to commence on 3/29, please do not immediately drop a student as a no-show on day one or day two. We request you allow until Wednesday before doing so, and we encourage you to keep the lines of communication as open as possible with your students.

Faculty communication is our most effective way to reach students. You know your students best.  Please reach out to them as frequently as you can, reassuring them that we care about their success and are available to support them during this challenging time. In particular, please try to contact any student who has not returned to your class since spring break. It is possible they need help, and your voice might be the one that keeps them engaged and learning.

Collaboration and Support

We have learned from our response to the pandemic that we are stronger together. As we restart instruction on March 29, we will be better able to support our students if we collaborate and support each other. Please reach out to the adjunct faculty in your divisions/departments to see if they need assistance. Rely on your local CTLs, Faculty Developers, and colleagues who can help you with Canvas needs. Connect with your division/department chairs for updates and information. Consult your Dean or VPAA with questions or if additional support is needed. Collectively, we responded well to supporting our students when we returned to instruction one year ago. We are very confident that collectively, we will do the same this year.

Finally, as we all are experiencing stress and uncertainty, please do take time to take care of yourself.  We have all been moving at a non-stop pace for the past year. Take time for you…for each other…so we can collectively support our students.

Please note a second communication will be sent Friday, March 26, with detailed information about the optional semester extension.

Sincerely,

Patrice Nango, Faculty Association President
Sasha Radisich, Faculty Association President-elect
Eric Leshinskie, Interim Provost