We want to recognize and extend our appreciation to the non-classroom faculty who continued working over the winter break and welcome back the classroom faculty to a new semester that will prove to be a challenging time. A quick review of events with respect to the Senate, Administration and Board of Trustees is in order.
We began the Fall semester with the ill-conceived SUNY Seamless mandate still unsettled. The Academic Senate determined that the College-wide Curriculum Committee could discuss a new proposal to bring us into compliance with the MtP, whereby the CWCC responded conscientiously with a proposal. This proposal was crafted as a result of months of deliberations with the Administration, Chairs, NCCFT, SUNY, faculty and students. As this proposal was being processed through our governance structure, the Administration crafted a resolution https://www.nccft.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/101414.pdf for the BOT to adopt, that rushed the process. What is most disturbing to us is that the Administration knew fully the plans and procedures that were in place and yet still moved forward with this resolution to mischaracterize to the BOT our failure to act in good faith and demonstrate their need to insert themselves in order to bring the College into compliance. Although the campus governance process had already been addressing the MtP mandate, the Senate responded to the BOT resolution professionally and the new degree requirements have been approved and are being aggregated for logistical implementation. And, the Deans remain silent.
With triumph and glee, the Administration then crafted another resolution https://www.nccft.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/111314.pdf for the Board. This time it was to direct the Developmental Education Committee to lower the cutoff scores that require students to take the placement exams for Math, Reading and English. This issue is already addressed in several of the DevEd charges this year and the committee has been working on it. Nassau Community College faculty showed up in large numbers to address the BOT Academic Affairs Committee concerning this resolution. (A word about the Academic Affairs Committee – the membership is fluid based upon which BOT members are available on any given night). The Committee announced that they noticed the number of faculty at the meeting and wanted to hear from them. However, the Committee members spent so much time discussing the concept, intent and wording of the resolution without our input, they voted on the resolution, announced they were running out of time and would only allow one or two speakers to speak. And, the Deans remain silent.
Since that time, the DevEd Committee has been able to obtain some data from the Administration and is reviewing it. Meanwhile, the BOT is insisting the Committee provide monthly progress reports to the Board and the Board believes this is their prerogative as part of the shared governance process. The position of the NCCFT is this may be a violation of the terms and conditions of employment and ask the Senate to continue their work within the scope of their established process.
At the December 2014 Board meeting, our Administration, once again, joyfully brought the BOT a resolution https://www.nccft.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/120914.pdf. This time, they want to change the degree requirements that were just approved by the Academic Senate, (of which the Administration are a part of and vote). In addition, a review of this resolution is demonstrative of the disregard for process and application as it is fraught with errors and nonsense. And, the Deans remain silent.
This past week, the Administration, embarrassed by the mistakes in the last resolution, produced an updated resolution https://www.nccft.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/011315.pdf for the BOT to enact regarding our degree programs. Since the CWCC already has within its charges to review the NCC degree requirements, this is nothing new. It is within the scope of responsibilities of the CWCC to constantly review our requirements. As a matter of fact, the CWCC just spent over a year deliberating, formally and informally, with all the stakeholders and proposed and recommended an entirely new set of degree requirements for the AA, AS and AAS programs which was just approved by the Senate, President and BOT. Faculty members from across the campus have been speaking at the BOT meetings, attempting to explain our governance process. What we hear back is our process is unacceptable, our solutions are unacceptable and our commitment is unacceptable. The Board seems to believe that, much like their appointments to the Board, our curriculum is politically motivated. What they do not seem to recognize is we are the Senate, Chairs, Classroom Professors, Professional Faculty Unit, , Counselors, Librarians, Academic and Club Advisors, Technologists, Technicians and we are all the NCCFT. And, the Deans remain silent.
The Board of Trustees does not consult with faculty on matters of Capital expenditures or Operating Budget. We have Senate Committees that are involved in these issues, such as the Planning Committee, and it seems the Administration brings “the message” or, “a message” to the Board. This academic year, the BOT has revivified the Academic Affairs Committee. The process involves the Administration writing resolutions for the BOT’s consideration when they disagree with the will of the Senate. Since the Administration has representatives, including the Deans, assigned to each of the Senate Committees and to the Senate itself, we must wonder why the administrative representatives and Deans do not speak of their concerns during the vetting process. Instead, these administrative representatives report their observations to the Administration and/or BOT and assist in crafting mischaracterizations of the governance process, then allowing these mischaracterizations to be presented to the Board where they translate into a BOT resolution. We urge all members of the Bargaining Unit to be mindful of this and take precautions to ensure another faculty member be present at all meetings with the Administration. Whether the meeting is private or public, on or off campus, this is necessary to ensure an accurate accounting of events, understandings in spirit, intent and word. We cannot allow any mischaracterizations to be crafted in order for the Administration to scheme with the Board. And, the Deans remain silent.
We ask that the Faculty remain united and committed to our values and governance process and not to become complicit in the schemes devised by our Administration and Board. Remember this commitment when we consider what happened to the last President who wanted to dismantle our entire structure.
And, the Deans remain silent!