As the incoming FAOCC president (my term starts May 1, 2014), I’d like to first thank Kathy Tietge, Neil Lavender, Ted Gordon, Linda Henderson and Maryann Birdsall for their tireless efforts over the last several years. And while the word “tireless” is often bandied about, there’s nothing like a 2:00 AM email to prove it (thanks Kathy). With the support of the rest of the membership, they’ve kept the faculty fires burning.
I’d also like to thank Rob Furstoss (First Vice President), Lynn Kraemer-Siracusa (Second Vice President), Bridget Feneis (Treasurer), and an as yet to be named secretary for stepping up and volunteering to keep the torch going.
And just where are we headed? It would be easy to slide into a Jimmy Carter “malaise” speech and focus on the problems we face: yes, we’re tired of being treated like second class citizens; yes, we’d like true shared governance; and yes, we’d like a fair contract. These are the givens and form the core of the problems we’ll be addressing, and thus our direction.
The air of “change” on campus, from the Guiding Coalition to the exodus of administrators, provides an opportunity to re-examine these problems. And while most faculty I’ve spoken to greet the administration’s initiatives with a healthy degree of skepticism (a feeling I share), we should take advantage of their calls for discussion and dissent and test the waters. If it’s the same old “we’ll give you a chance to talk, but do what we want anyway,” the college needs to be called out and held accountable.
This raises two questions: who’s going to do the calling, and who’s going to do the accounting?
Well, the calling will come from us. There has been a VERY healthy exchange of ideas and push back from faculty at the all schools meetings. How about we build on these efforts? We can use social media, board presentations, and speak out on campus whenever we’re given the opportunity to put the word out and supply the narrative that best represents our current situation: we’re ready to make a deal — we just need a non-dysfunctional partner. There’s already been a wealth of behind the scenes efforts (thanks again Kathy et al). We’ll be continuing them and adding a more physical component. We’re looking forward to leading an active movement for change on this campus – and we’ll need your help.
One continual problem remains where to look for redress. Who is going to look at, for instance, the latest reorganization and say “You’ve now had several reorganizations and things are still a mess. Time to stop the madness.” The answer is the board of trustees. We’ll continue our outreach efforts with them and begin an education campaign, similar to our work with the board of freeholders. And while it has come to naught thus far, we’ll continue to work with the administration: hope springs eternal.
We’ll be using this site as a central place to share information, shape narratives, and get the good word out on the faculty at OCC. This blog will feature regular posts offering a faculty perspective on what’s happening at the college
Finally, we’ve set up a short survey, available through the Members page. It’s open ended, anonymous, and consists of 5 questions:
- Thinking back over the last year or two, what do you think is working well at OCC?
- Thinking back over the last year or two, what do you think are the main problems at OCC?
- What do you think will help address these problems?
- What working conditions would you like the FAOCC to improve?
- What suggestions do you have for improving the FAOCC?
The survey will run from April 17th, through May 6th.
Look forward to seeing you on campus and especially at the next FAOCC meeting, May 7th.