Summer 2016 promises to be a season of transition at Nassau Community College. For starters, we have this new website, chock full of features that will help us communicate with you more effectively and help you both tell us what’s on your mind and get the most out of your union benefits. Then, there’s the hiring of Dr. W. Hubert Keen as our new president, which we are hopeful represents NCC’s first step across the bridge we’ve been needing so desperately to cross. Members of the elected faculty leadership—from the NCCFT Executive Committee, the Academic Senate Executive Committee, and the department chairs—will be meeting with him in the near future to discuss how we can begin to move forward as in institution. We plan to focus in particular on strategies for strengthening the new sense of collegiality and collaboration we have begun to develop with the administration—the details are below—because the only way to resolve our issues with Middle States efficiently and effectively is for us to work together. The NCCFT has already begun to do its part. In Spring 2016, we established the Ad Hoc Middle States Committee, led by Dr. Evelyn Deluty, Chair of the Academic Senate. This committee has been charged with coordinating faculty participation in the college’s efforts to address the concerns Middle States has raised.
The new sense of collaboration we mentioned above is rooted in meetings that were held between representatives of the faculty leadership and Vice President of Finance, Inna Reznik. The purpose of these meetings was to discuss the college’s financial situation. These discussions were transparent and productive in ways that have not recently been the norm, and we came away with a much better understanding than we previously had of the fiscal difficulties the college is facing. Initially, all parties had hoped that the retirement of 105 full-time faculty in August and December of 2015 would help the college finances in significant ways, but a combination of decreased enrollment, increases in health insurance costs and the cost of living allowance built into our contract, along with the payout the college had to make to our colleagues who retired, left Nassau Community College much deeper in the red than anyone had anticipated.
Obviously, on the whole, this is not good news. The silver lining, though, is that the positive tenor and tone of those discussions led to further talks, in which members of the NCCFT Executive Committee, Interim President Dolan, and Vice President Reznik worked together to try to save the 24 temporary full-time faculty lines that we were in danger of losing. As you know, on June 20th, the Nassau County Legislature approved the college budget, which was passed by Board of Trustees on May 10th. This will preserve 16 of those 24 lines. Once Dr. Keen takes office, we will pursue with him strategies for saving the other 8 lines.
Given that we have lost 20% of our full-time faculty since Donald Astrab’s tenure as NCC president, saving 16 of 24 temporary lines may seem like a drop in the bucket, and, in the larger scope of things, we recognize that it is. Still, we should not lose sight of how important those lines are to the people whose jobs they represent and what our ability to save them says about the strength of our union. As well, we should acknowledge and appreciate the determination of Interim President Dolan and Vice President Reznik to work with us. The success of that collaboration sets an important precedent in anticipation of Dr. Keen’s arrival in August, one that we will work as hard as we have to to build on.
Also, on June 9th, an editorial with the title “NCC: A gem that needs polishing” appeared in the Long Island Herald. Our response appeared in several editions of the Herald, including Merrick, Bellmore, and Valley Stream. You can see a PDF of the letter in the Valley Stream Herald by clicking here.
Finally, please take some time to click around this site and let us know what you think.