Urgent Signature Gathering Help!


Last weekend two of our faculty sat in front of a public library in District 3 and gathered 50 signatures each for two of our endorsed candidates in a few short hours! Wow!! That helps us out a lot, but we have many more signatures to go.  

Imagine how many we could collect if there were 10, 15, or 20 of us out there gathering signatures these next few Saturdays!

How Much Time Do We Have?

We have about 4 weeks left to collect approximately 1,000 signatures for each candidate PLUS another 400-ish for a margin of error to offset any signature challenges. That’s about 1,400 signatures for each candidate to ensure we have great candidates on the ballot for these crucial seats on our Board. Unfortunately, we are not as close to these goals as we would like to be.  We still need 500 signatures for Marie Sullivan and 300 signatures for Donna Davis, so every signature that you can collect in the next four weeks makes a difference. Your efforts here will determine whether we lose in July or win in November.

What Can You Do to Help?

It is absolutely essential that we have as many volunteers as possible collecting valid signatures at every opportunity:

  • Help canvas in front of libraries in District 3 (Marie Sullivan & Kelli Butler) and District 4 (Donna Davis & Kelli Butler).
  • Circulate signature sheets to your friends and neighbors who reside in District 3 and District 4. This is really easy if you’re having a BBQ for July 4th and can hit up 15-20 of your family and friends to sign for our candidates. 
  • Knock on the doors of 20 of your voting-eligible neighbors and ask for their signatures.

Showing up to do this work not only gets this critical job done, but it sends a powerful and important message to our candidates that we are organized, we are capable, and we will have their backs.

Next Steps

View our Upcoming Events. Pick the events you will attend and register. If you want to circulate petitions among your people, download the petitions and carefully read the instructions

Please forward this along to people you know. Help everyone who cares about students and the future of the Maricopa Community Colleges understand what’s at stake. Make this a priority.  Make this happen. It’s up to you.

Barry F. Vaughan
FacPAC Chair

FEC Update: 5.24 Governing Board Meeting

Happy Summer, colleagues!  Congratulations on your excellent work in another challenging year.

The Governing Board meeting this week (May 24) was another significant milestone for faculty:

  • At the meeting the Governing Board approved a 4.13% pay increase for employees for the second year in a row as part of the District’s Multi-Year Strategic Compensation Plan. (Please see the forwarded email below from Chancellor Gonzales.)
  • Additionally at the meeting, there was a first read of changes to the Faculty Agreement and an overview of the next steps for reconstituting the Faculty Administration Collaboration Team (FACT). The Governing Board meeting recording with that presentation should be posted soon.

The Faculty Association helped to make these Governing Board events possible: As last year’s FA President Sasha Radisich notes, “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. A new Board brought a new attitude, and with it came victories for us all.”

We are in another Governing Board election cycle, and your support of the Faculty Association–and thus the Governing Board candidates who support education in general and the Maricopa Community Colleges specifically–allows the progress seen at the May 24 Governing Board to continue.

Thank you to those who were instrumental in the development of the compensation plan and the revision of the FACT structure:  Chancellor Gonzales, who established the Advisory Budget Council and presented the option for a new FACT structure to the Governing Board; the Maricopa HR department, including Faculty Administrator Frank Wilson, who developed and recommended the compensation plan to the Board; and Faculty Association leadership, who pursued the necessary steps to ensure the restoration of the role of faculty in District shared governance.

Thank you for your continued support.  Let’s keep the progress going!

Camille Newton
Faculty Executive Council President

Governing Board Address 04/26/22

Good evening, everyone.

My year as President of the Faculty Association flew by quickly, and tonight I give my last address to you. As I reflect on it all, my thoughts keep drifting to the Indian parable of the six blind men and the elephant. Encountering an elephant for the first time ever, the men touch the creature to try to learn what it is. The one who feels its side says that an elephant is like a wall; the one who feels its tusk counters – no, it is actually like a spear; the one who feels its tail argues that it is like a rope; and so forth. After the elephant leaves, they have a lengthy and heated argument about the issue, with each man certain that he alone knows the truth. I don’t remember the story’s exact ending, but I believe it involved filing a Resolution of Controversy, followed by expensive third-party mediation.

Although thousands of years have passed since its writing, this ancient story’s message still remains relevant today: since we each only see a small piece of our big and complicated world, we shouldn’t expect that our limited experience paints the complete picture. To fully understand any situation, we need to get input from all the different vantage points. Additionally, disagreements don’t always mean that someone is right and someone else is wrong; often, it means that both viewpoints are simply incomplete.

In the world of higher education, this concept is neatly summarized in the phrase “shared governance.” While the common interpretation of shared governance revolves around decision-making authority, the core idea really comes back to the six blind men and the elephant: no one person has enough information to fully understand any situation, but we can’t make wise choices without that understanding. Shared governance says that we should gather input from as many different angles as possible to build a complete picture of the situation before we decide how to proceed.

Luckily for Maricopa, Chancellor Steven Gonzales sees shared governance not as a box to check but as a philosophy to embrace. He has the humility to admit that he doesn’t know everything (sorry for letting the cat out of the bag, Chancellor), and he has the wisdom to get the vital missing information from others before making his decisions. Better still, he’s proselytizing about shared governance throughout the District, and as the philosophy spreads it is causing our decisions to improve.

As just one example, consider Maricopa’s budget process. We used to choose budgets with a level of secrecy that fell somewhere between “masonic rituals” and “nuclear launch codes.” I’ve literally heard college presidents tell me that they would learn their own college’s financial allocation for the next year while listening to the Governing Board budget presentation. Chancellor Gonzales changed all that. Last year he created the Advisory Budget Council to bring a collaborative approach to our District’s budgeting process. By construction, this Council brings together administrators from both the District office and the individual colleges, as well as faculty and staff, to help craft the District’s budget. By increasing the diversity of viewpoints our budget process immediately began to benefit: new perspectives raised new questions, which led to new data analyses, which led to new revelations, which took the budget in new directions. The budget proposal you are currently considering changed dramatically as a result of this shared governance, with our deeper understanding of underlying issues molding the shape of the budget to better fit the actual needs of our District. We were able to present you with a wiser budget because we are wiser when we work together.

This year I’ve been overjoyed to see our District’s pool of wisdom swell as our decision-makers poured in the input from many talented and hard-working faculty members. I’ve been delighted to see those decision-makers also splash in the perspectives of our phenomenal staff (under the wildly talented leadership of Shannon Monge and Ana Chandler). I’ve even had the honor of adding my own drop of wisdom to the District’s ample pool. I can’t wait to see how this dramatic expansion of our perspective transforms our decision-making process in the future, but I plan to be around to see it bear fruit.

As I said earlier, this is my last Governing Board address as Faculty Association President, but I am not saying “goodbye.” I’ll be around – one more drop in the pool of our collective wisdom, one more voice in our shared governance chorus. So, rather than saying, “goodbye,” let me instead offer up a traditional American farewell between people who plan to reunite soon:

“Happy trails to you, until we meet again….”

Thank you – now, and always – for your time.


3/22 GB Resolution Regarding FACT

Last week, residential faculty began to express nervousness after the Governing Board unanimously approved an item through their consent agenda whose operative portion reads as follows:

The Chancellor is charged to create and implement a new structure that overcomes the current challenges and provides both Residential and Adjunct Faculty individual and appropriate voice and representation in policy recommendations, as required by shared governance and accreditation criteria, by no later than June 30, 2022. Upon implementation of the new structure, the currently existing FACT structure will be dissolved. Further, the Chancellor is charged with recommending to the Board amendments to the Faculty Agreement that align with the new structure no later than December 1, 2022. For no period of time should a Faculty Agreement cease to be in effect.

This resolution could make anyone with institutional memory justifiably anxious, given that it sounds like a return to the Bad Old Days when a (drastically different) Governing Board unilaterally retired our Residential Faculty Policy manual (“the RFP”) and simultaneously abolished Meet & Confer. However, in reality this resolution represents the height of shared governance: it actually grew from a November request by the Faculty Executive Council (FEC) to decouple the residential and adjunct faculty workplace negotiations in order to accelerate both processes.

First, some recent history. FACT began in early 2019 in the wake of a Governing Board decision to end our existing policy negotiation process (“Meet & Confer”) and begin a new and untested replacement: the Faculty Administration Collaboration Team, or FACT. For its first task, FACT needed to quickly craft a new combined workplace contract for both residential and adjunct faculty: the Faculty Agreement (FA). To meet their tight timeline, FACT borrowed heavily from existing policies – primarily the now-expired Residential Faculty Policy manual (itself the result of four decades of accomplishments by the old Meet & Confer process). The Team did remarkable work, producing a first draft for a new policy contract in a relatively short period of time. However, given their time constraints, the Team deferred all points of disagreement for future negotiations, focusing exclusively on the completion of this flawed-but-functional document.

In February of 2021 the Governing Board approved the freshly minted FA, and FACT transitioned from the completed goal of policy compilation to their new goal of policy negotiation. Here, the process began to fail as its fatal flaw became increasingly clear. Undeniably, residential faculty and adjunct faculty perform a similar duty in the classroom. However, beneath that similarity lies a profound workplace asymmetry: full-time, tenure-eligible employees have more rights, more obligations, and a more complex relationship with their employer than part-time, at-will workers. Suddenly, FACT began to ask adjunct faculty to weigh in on nuanced issues of residential employment that lie outside of both their experiences and interests, which significantly slowed down the negotiation process. Additionally, since both groups wanted to focus on issues relevant to their own circumstances, the FACT meetings effectively became two simultaneous and overlapping conversations. The Team found it impossible to give either set of issues sufficient focus and attention to make suitable progress, slowing negotiations even further.

By November, FEC realized that the design flaws in FACT sabotaged its ability to negotiate changes to workplace policy in a quick and efficient manner. As a result, faculty leadership reached out to Chancellor Gonzales with wisdom that dated back to the Industrial Revolution: efficiency requires specialization. The faculty leaders urged the Chancellor to split FACT into a dedicated process exclusively focused on resolving residential faculty workplace issues and a separate, dedicated process exclusively focused on resolving adjunct faculty issues. Ultimately, specialized processes will benefit both groups by bringing clarity and focus to the team’s missions. Last Tuesday’s Governing Board resolution granted FEC’s request. The Chancellor is now collaborating with both residential and adjunct faculty to determine the shape of our replacement for FACT.

To summarize: at FEC’s request, Maricopa is replacing a unilaterally imposed process that was created without any faculty input. The Chancellor is relying on faculty feedback to shape the new process. This entire situation reflects our District’s new focus on shared governance and workplace democracy.

In short, something good just happened in Maricopa.
Sasha Radisich, Faculty Association President

Governing Board Address 3/22/22

Good evening, everyone.

Ah, springtime: when a young man’s fancy turns to tax preparation! Despite Benjamin Franklin’s observation that “nothing is certain except death and taxes,” polls indicate that about 70% of American adults fear the process of preparing their returns. It’s easy to understand that fear when you consider that we collectively spend an estimated 2.6 billion hours per year working on our taxes – the job is big and complex, with lots of opportunities for costly mistakes.

With these worries in mind, the IRS created the VITA grant program, which stands for “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.” For over 50 years, this initiative has offered free tax preparation assistance for the people who need it the most, such as low-income, elderly, disabled, and limited English-speaking taxpayers. The IRS partners with local non-profit organizations to provide this assistance throughout the country. In the Valley, non-profits such as the the City of Phoenix, the United Way, New Leaf, and Masters of Coin are VITA partners: together, they provide the funding to help at-need taxpayers with this important service.

Now, that funding is a necessary piece of the puzzle, but actually preparing the taxes requires additional resources, and that’s where the Maricopa colleges enter the equation. For over a decade we have provided the venues where this free tax preparation occurs, with space donated by Estrella Mountain, Gateway, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, and South Mountain. Additionally, Maricopa faculty have given their time and expertise to help fulfill VITA’s mission locally, training the volunteers needed to get the work done. To be clear, we’re talking about a LOT of work: every year, the local volunteers prepare the tax forms for tens of thousands of community taxpayers, securing millions of dollars of refunds for our county’s neediest members. Our community owes a debt of gratitude to professors Lynn Clark, Vanessa Logan, Doug Northway, Mark Sassetti, Kortney Song, Annette Torrey, and Bill Wyngaard, along with retired professor Jim Simpson, for generously providing their time and expertise to make this project happen.

The program works. It’s straightforward. It’s effective. It’s good. Of course, for Maricopa faculty, “good” just isn’t good enough. Sure, VITA serves community members by handling their taxes, but what about the other side of the equation? The faculty involved with the program realized that we could squeeze even more benefit out of it by expanding the preparer training into a full-blown educational path. So, our faculty took the program to the next level. Working through the instructional councils, they created a related certificate program where the training taken to become volunteers (combined with the experience they gain from voluntarily preparing tax returns) would get students ready to take the IRS’s Enrolled Agent Examination, which would then launch them into a lucrative career in the field of tax preparation. So now, in addition to helping tens of thousands of community members navigate the often overwhelming and frightening task of tax preparation, we’re simultaneously creating new high-paying career opportunities for the student volunteers on the other side of the desk. In the business community, that’s what’s known as a “win-win.” 

Thank you for your time.