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Letter to the editor: ‘Work to contract’ issue, De Anza needs stronger leadership

Meredith Heiser-Duron, Guest Contributor

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Dear Board, Chancellor, and College Presidents,

 

I am here in my office on Tuesday grading the last 20 papers in Poli 1, which I could not finish over the holiday weekend. However, I find my mind drifting to the “work to contract issue” and what it means in terms of respect for/collaboration with faculty. I am not sure those of you at the highest levels can see this from the individual faculty point of view, so I want to make my view clearer.

Last week, I was on a hiring committee conducting interviews for a new political science faculty member. That took 10 hours of time. In the few weeks before that, I spent about 30 hours reviewing faculty applications. Next week, hopefully, the hire will take place. So in this last month, I put in over 40 hours not covered in my contract. I have frequently done this in the past.

I did not do two things last week I wanted to do: attend the chancellor’s open office hour and attend the Foothill president’s governing town hall. I have debated whether or not to attend graduation on June 29 (my last day of work) and have decided I will probably sit in the audience out of respect for the students. Moreover, as a retiree, I would still work on the bond campaign in the fall, but not under these working conditions. My FA colleagues are in Sacramento today and tomorrow trying to get the CCC Chancellor to revise the new funding formula and put the money for the 115th community college into the whole system. I plan in about two weeks to attend the Board of Trustees meeting to make the point that most faculty (part time and full time) work like dogs and need some sign of respect. Platitudes and cliches just don’t cut it when faculty are killing themselves.

Where is your leadership in this? If it is there, please point it out to me. If there can’t be a pay increase of any kind, could the district reach out in some other way? I am looking for three things as I leave this institution, which I have worked hard to shape: respect, leadership and real collaboration. I hope I find some before June 29.

 

Respectfully,

Dr. Meredith Heiser-Duron

 

Editor’s note: This letter was sent to the Foothill-De Anza District Board of trustees, Chancellor Judy Miner, and to the Presidents of Foothill and De Anza colleges. It is used here with permission form Heiser-Duron.

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