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DECEMBER 2013, issue 4, volume 1: 
 From the Chair...           Promises of Governance          Council Updates           Calendar 

Governance Connections Newsletter for 2013-14

Photo of Jason Rivera, College Council Chair
Jason Rivera,
College Council Chair

Wishing a Happy New Year

As this edition of Governance Connections goes to print, we are gearing up for finals and winding down for the Winter Break. Thank you for a very productive and transformative fall semester. For more information on what’s going on in governance please read this edition of Governance Connections and feel free to visit the governance website and review any council agendas, minutes, and supporting documents. 

During this festive time of the year, I want to offer my thanks for the opportunity to serve you and the College. I also encourage you to reflect on the magic of this Winter season. Because it has been a challenging year of changes big and small, we can lose sight of how truly special Montgomery College is. Please reflect on the lives you have touched and your wonderful contributions. Whether or not you celebrate the holidays, I hope the spirit of the season fills you with hope for a brighter New Year. May you continue to find ways to give of yourself in the coming year. I truly believe that it is in giving that we receive. On behalf of governance, I wish you a happy holiday and wonderful New Year!

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Photo of Dr. Tacy Holliday, Governance Coordinator
Tacy Holliday, PhD,
MC Class of '03 and '10
Governance Coordinator

The Promises  of Governance:  Mutual Communication and Feedback

 

"Be sincere; Be brief; Be seated."

Franklin D. Roosevelt 

 

In the spirit of Roosevelt’s sage advice above about communication, I will keep this month’s article short. By reading the council highlights in this newsletter, you can see that the councils are busy working to represent you on a number of issues. To represent effectively, they have to fulfill the promise of keeping their constituents informed. At a basic level, this is done by posting minutes and agendas on the governance website and when council members talk with constituents. The College Council’s Communications Committee and I are working on ways to improve how we share information about governance issues. The challenge is ensuring that information is readily available while also making sure that the amount of communication is not too much or too little. Determining this for an institution of Montgomery College’s magnitude is a work in progress, as is to be expected, so I would like your help to do so.

I would like to hear how you prefer to receive information about governance. Would you like to be able to sign up to receive updates from certain councils so you can control the amount of governance e-mail you receive? Should a printed version of the newsletter be available for students and employees who do not have easy access to a computer? You are welcome to share your answers confidentially here: http://svy.mk/II0i9U.

I look forward to receiving your feedback. Thank you.College.

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Images of Snowflakes

Council Updates

Academic Services Council

The Academic Services Council has been working on several areas this fall, including quiet study space options for students across the College and changes in the winter session schedule. The Council obtained additional information and updates about specific important issues, including Chartwell’s catering services, the College’s Safety and Security, and late registration. This winter, the Academic Services Council will obtain more information and have discussions regarding library services and the Instructional Materials Affordability and Accessibility Committee.

The council is also developing a list of academic services staff and faculty for enhanced constituent communication and outreach. In keeping with communication, the council encourages members of the College community to join them this winter and spring at an upcoming meeting. They are planning a “meet and greet” outreach reception before our meetings at the Gaithersburg Business Training Center, Germantown Campus, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.

 

Administrator Council

The Administrator Council meets the first Thursday of each month at 2:30 p.m. in the Mannakee Central Services Building, Board of Trustees Room. The December 5 meeting included guest presentations and/or updates from Dr. Sanjay Rai, interim senior vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Tacy Holliday, governance coordinator, and Sarah Espinosa, college ombuds. Several of the Council members are actively engaged in one or more of the academic restructuring workgroups. The entire Council is looking forward to participating in a conversation with the board scheduled for December 16.

 

Employee Services Council

The Employee Services Council (ESC) met on Thursday, November 21 and discussed the following topics:

Dr. Steve Cain, the College’s chief of staff and chief strategy officer, had asked the Employee Services Council to review a new proposed award based on suggestions that would save the College resources and money (as part of a green initiative).  The Employee Services Council Ad-Hoc Recognition committee, which was already charged with reviewing the entire recognition section of the College’s Policies and Procedures (P&P), also reviewed this proposed new Efficiency Award. The committee felt that this proposed award was very similar to an award for Employee Suggestions, which is already part of the overall recognition section of the P&P. The committee and the council as a whole voted to propose that the Efficiency Award and Employee Suggestion Award be merged together and that the committee’s  recommendations for doing so would be integrated into their overall recommendations for changes to the recognition section of P&P.

The Employee Services Council in conjunction with the Administrator Council was charged with making some recommendations that would help both employees and their supervisors understand what the commitment to be involved in governance really means. Many governance members are involved in much more than simply attending a meeting once or twice per month. Most councils have subcommittees or ad-hoc committees that also require members attention.  It is challenging for governance members to give full attention to their jobs while also giving their full attention to the important work of governance.  For these reasons both the ESC and the Administrator Council have been asked to provide some guidance for both employees and supervisors when the question of service in the governance system arises.

At the College Council level, Julie Foster, ESC chair, is spearheading the preparation efforts for governance nominations/elections, and her Nominations/Elections Committee is seeking members to help with this effort.

 

Faculty Council

The Faculty Council has been discussing the College’s common requirements for each course syllabus, which can include items such as the College support services, etc. This can make syllabi two or three or more times longer than it would be if it only contained the course material. In order to save on resources and to help ensure that all required information is given to the students, a motion was made at a Faculty Council meeting and passed that an online source be prepared that has all the noncourse related information so that only a link can be provided on each syllabus. 

The council also heard updates on the academic restructuring, and council members are still working to ensure a smooth transfer to the new system, especially with respect to the department chair position.

It has been brought to the attention of the Faculty Council through its constituencies that there is some unease about the transparency and faculty input (or lack thereof) toward the General Education Program and its assessment. This work currently falls under the Collegewide Curriculum Committee, a subcommittee of the Faculty Council, and the council is currently discussing ways to help that committee effectively do this work productively and maintain communication with the College. Included in these discussions is the possibility of reinstating the General Education Committee.

 

Germantown Campus Council

In November, Dr. Sanjay Rai, Germantown vice president and provost, updated the council on campus activities, and the council discussed several new issues, including classroom scheduling, signage on campus, and quiet study areas on campus. In December, the council heard constituent concerns regarding issues affecting the campus and the College and heard a presentation about emergency management from Carlo Sanchez, the College’s public safety training officer. The council continued discussions from the November meeting on quiet study spaces on campus.  The council’s first spring semester meeting will be Tuesday, January 28 from 4-5 p.m. Please note that this is an irregular meeting schedule from their typical first Tuesday of the month meeting date.

 

Operational Services Council

The Operational Services Council (OSC) highlights from November included:

• Responses were made to constituents about improving e-mail distribution lists and after-hours security in the Mannakee Central Services Building.

• Sarah Espinosa provided a presentation on the new Office of the Ombuds.

• Carlo Sanchez, the public safety training officer, discussed the College's upcoming safety training program, with a discussion on possible subjects, target audiences, and effective presentations.

• The council submitted comments on the proposed Acceptable Use Policy and Research Misconduct Procedure.

• A constituent provided a presentation on bike path issues in Montgomery County, looking for ways that the College can support possible proposals.

 

In December, the OSC agenda included:

• A presentation on the proposed FY15 budget for Administrative and Fiscal Services.

• A discussion on the MC2020 FY16-20 Initiatives.

More details about both meetings are available under the OSC minutes.

 

Rockville Campus Council

The Rockville Campus Council meets the first Tuesday of every month on the Rockville Campus in the Provost Conference room located in the Gordon and Marilyn Macklin Tower, Room 103.  At each meeting so far this semester the council has had constituents come forward with concerns and the council has addressed all of their concerns, are working on them, or has solved them.  So far this semester the council has heard updates and learned more about the computer use policy at the campus libraries from Tanner Wray, director of college libraries and information services. The council has also learned about the new food services contract adopted by the College’s Office of Auxiliary Services and the council has learned what the Welcome Centers are doing and about the over 5,000 students they have served so far this year.  John McLean, director of planning and design, informed the council of the upcoming capital improvements so that council members could learn when campus entrance signs will finally be replaced. The council is also working on building a relationship with the Combat to College Program, encouraging food donations for the Women and Gender Studies Program’s food cart located on the second floor of the Gordon and Marilyn Macklin Tower for any constituents to take from when in need, and improving the safety for instructors in the South Campus Instructional Building. The council would like any constituent members to join them at any upcoming meeting and read the council meeting minutes to learn more.

 

Staff Council

The Staff Council continues to find relevant ways to serve and inform the staff of Montgomery College. Since the November governance newsletter the council has had four visitors.  Carlo Sanchez, public safety training officer, briefed the Staff Council on upcoming campus and College safety training initiatives. Dr. Janet Wormack, interim senior vice president for administrative and fiscal services, addressed concerns about the College’s recent bonus and pay performance. Nadine Porter, the new vice president of human resources, development, and engagement (HRDE), presented HRDE’s focus on efficiency, effectiveness, consistency, and value-added services to the College.  The new college ombuds, Sarah Espinosa, provided an update about the services and number of clients that have been served by her office. Look for more detailed information in the upcoming issue of the Staff Council newsletter. Also, save the date for Staff Enrichment Day, May, 19, 2014.

 

Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus Council

Every council in the governance system begins with two five-minute open comment periods for anyone to address its members with an issue. This can start a process to correct a matter or it can explain complex matters. David Rothman, chair of the Collegewide Curriculum Committee, did the latter at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring (TP/SS) Campus Council and clarified the General Education course review process – an important part of the College’s accreditation process.  If any council constituent has a matter that they would like to share before any council, simply contact the council chair ahead of the meeting or just show up for an open slot. The TP/SS vice president and provost, Dr. Brad Stewart, offered a report on the progress of the repairs to the East Campus garage and short-term parking alternatives. He also explained how budget conditions will impact the College and what all employees, as engaged citizens, can do to help. The council continues to work toward resolving matters on the TP/SS campus, including designating a quiet study space for periods when the library is not open, improving sight lines for exiting parking lots, and improving classroom security.

 

Workforce Development & Continuing Education Council

The Workforce Development & Continuing Education (WD&CE) Council met on November 5 and December 3 and approved action on two different concerns raised by constituents. A letter to the WD&CE faculty promoting governance and faculty participation was approved and will be included in the faculty contract letters mailed in December 2013 through April 2014. Administrative staff members were asked to review concerns raised regarding the functioning of staff in the main campuses, aka “WD&CE staff islands.”  Council member Rick Morrow presented a final report on the results of the council’s communications survey. Discussion continued on concerns raised regarding the College’s Taleo Profile.

The council responded to a referral from the Academic Services Council regarding study areas for noncredit students. Council Member Beth Mole surveyed customer service staff and summarized the results in a spreadsheet. During this review concerns were also raised regarding the availability of other College resources such as computer labs and tutoring. The council will also consider these resources and possible recommendations in the upcoming year.

 

MC Governance

In addition to these newsletter reports, all 12 councils and the College Council post minutes detailing the discussion items that occurred in each public meeting. Click on any of the menu links to your left to see the minutes from each council! 

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