Friday, March 28, 2014

The FA's EC, and Your First, Very Important Vote as Members

by Sarah Gutowski, Chair, New Member Mentoring Program
Last month I wrote about what to do if you witness a violation of the contract (see our Grievance Officer!). Today, I want to remind you about the existence of the FA's Executive Council (EC). If you would like a particular issue brought to the attention of the FA (separate from a grievance) your EC Representative is the person to go to.
It's not quite beach weather yet. But one can dream . . .
(Unless one has 60+ papers to grade. Back to work, you!)
The EC Representatives act as liaisons between the union's membership and its officers. You may have noticed, however, that our officers are pretty approachable and easy to speak to, so the other significant function of the EC is that it occasionally acts as a decision-making, or governing, body within the union.
Because that's a fairly important charge, EC Representatives are elected by members within their academic areas (although some academic areas are grouped together). This is one of the reasons it's so important to become a voting member of the union. (If you haven't yet, please do!) And to find your EC Rep, visit the FA's web site at
The Executive Council meets monthly throughout the academic year to discuss the business of the union and its membership. You can find the minutes of past EC meetings archived at Looking through some of these documents might give you a better idea of what kinds of concerns the EC meetings cover.

And, if a spot on the EC is ever free in your subject area, I strongly urge you to consider running for the position of Representative. I was a member of the EC as an adjunct, representing the English adjunct faculty, and I learned a lot about the union and our college in my time there. Also, service as an EC Rep counts as College-Wide service, which helps around promotion time. 

Of course, some of you may have noticed that the EC was mentioned recently regarding the new Stipulation of Agreement with the College -- the document that will extend our contract to August 31, 2019, providing that the document is ratified by the FA's membership.

The EC has already voted unanimously on this agreement. They know it's a good thing for our membership, full-time faculty and part-time faculty alike. As you may know if you attended one of the three informational sessions that were held on all three campuses this week, the agreement does a good job of keeping or enhancing what works (like our salary schedule and the benefit fund), tweaking what needs fixing (like sick leave for 12 months faculty and the Work Year dates) and getting rid of what doesn't work at all (hello Tenured Faculty Development!).

If you were unable to attend one of the informational sessions, don't worry. Copies of the agreement and official ballots will be mailed to you on April 2, 2014.

Please, please, please: read the agreement, talk about it with your mentor, and then vote. I'm not even going to say which way you should vote  . . . (okay, yes I will, you should vote for the agreement) . . . just VOTE and mail your ballot back to the FA right away. The ballots will be counted on April 17, 2014, and then we, members of both the FA and the College, can move forward. Into things like Priority Registration, and soon after, the end of this crazy spring semester. Yay!

Enjoy the warm (albeit a little wet) weather this weekend!

In Solidarity,



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Attempt at Clarification and an Update

by Sarah Gutowski, Chair, New Member Mentoring Program

My post on Faculty Development and Retraining needs some clarification, I'm afraid. The language of the letter that was sent out by our administration earlier this semester states that "Administration encourages retraining in the following areas: Chemistry, Communications (Speech), Computer Science, Culinary Arts, Geography, Mathematics (Developmental)." To be more clear, the letter should really read that retraining is permitted for certain areas only, and that this list contains some (or all) of those areas.
I mean, really, it would be helpful if they listed the areas in which they allow faculty members to apply for retraining (particularly if there are areas in which they do not allow retraining). Or if they specified the areas where faculty need retraining. Or if they defined retraining. As it stands, the word "encouraging" is ambiguous and a little misleading.
Anyway, the point of this post is to clarify, but I'm not sure if I can (see reasons in the paragraph above). Hopefully I'm not contributing to or causing greater confusion, because as Marie Hanna (our FA Secretary) pointed out, new faculty probably don't need retraining at this point anyway, so this information may or may not be useful to you.
So here's some information that will be more useful! It's an updated list of new members and their mentors! Yay!

(I apologize for the effusion of exclamation marks. I'm a little excited about the prospect of catching up on grading next week. I know: it's sad.)

Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 New Members and Mentors


Grant Campus

New Members  //  Mentors 

Kimberly Coluccio  //  Sue DeMasi
Kathleen Ayers-Lanzillotta  //  Alyssa Kaufman
Margaret Kennedy  //  Jeff Epstein
Jason Ramirez  //  Bruce Seger
Gregory Ryan  //  Tony Zajac
Michael Selmer  //  Al Heraghty
Sharon Gardner //  Maureen Arma
Timothy Giardina //  Ed Chropufka
Timothy Keiley  //  Larry Cavanagh
Edwin Roldan  //  Mohini Ratna



New Members  //  Mentors

Danielle Groneman  //  Theresa Morales
Donna Krompinger //  Joan Horn


Ammerman Campus

New Members  //  Mentors

Melissa Adeyeye  //  Emily Lauer
Raymond Di Sanza II  //  William Burns
Nicholas Giordano  //  Albin Cafone
Elizabeth McCormick  //  Meridith Leo-Rowett
Hsiaofang (Sharon) Huang  //  Vera Hu-Hyneman
Mark Kenny //  Vladimir Jurukovski
Brian Koralewski  //  John Bockino
Rachel Schmidt  //  Cecilia Spellman
Lisa Behnke  //  Catherine Lipnick
Richard Lauria //  Maria Nieves-Alonso
Kim Mokarry  //  Karen Pepe
Michael Riggio  //  Andrea Dunkirk
Dawn Wing  //  Krista Gruber

Eastern Campus

New Members  //  Mentors

Misty Curreli  //   Justin Turner
Jamie Emmetsberger  //  Katherine Aguirre
Todd Gardner  //  Joe Napolitano
Richard Mack  // Johanna MacKay
Heather Mann  //  Paul Anderson
Aimee Mattiolo  //  Jodi Levine
Rachel Millings  //  Erikka Mendez
Meredith Starr  //  Adam Penna
Susan Wood  //  Kristen Cosentino
Adela Johnson  // Penny Bealle
Janet Tierney  //  Nic Pestieau
Yu Zhang  //  Katherine Aguirre

I hope you all have a wonderful Spring Recess.

(Yay Spring Break!!!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Faculty Development and Retraining

by Sarah Gutowski, Chair, New Member Mentoring Program

Not sure if you remember, but back in October I wrote about Conference Attendance and Reimbursement. Hopefully, some of you applied for funding already. If you didn't, don't worry -- you have until September of 2015 to spend your $1500.
In my defense, breakfast in Seattle
 came with a pretty cool view.
If you did apply for funds already, you may have noticed that while $1500 is a lovely and substantial amount of money, it can . . .um . . . disappear kind of quickly when one has to buy a plane ticket to say, Seattle, and one wishes to stay in the conference hotel for nearly, oh, $200 a night. 
Anyway, so what if you use all of your available conference money before the two year period is up -- and you have another very important conference to apply for?
You apply for Faculty Development and Retraining funds, that's what!
Every year, the county provides up to $30,000 in funds for faculty retraining and development assistance. You may remember receiving an email about this earlier in February. You'll get a similar one every year around the same time -- but don't ignore that email! This is a good way to apply for retraining funds for the following year. Take note of the deadline for application (it's April 15), and note that all applications must be submitted, via email, to the Office of the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs -- no more paper copies!
It's good to note, too, that faculty retraining is given first priority. Then, if money remains in the pool, it's awarded for faculty development. And if money is still left over, faculty are allowed to apply for summer development funds -- for the current academic year, not the following.

If that's a little confusing, see this page on the FA's web site. I think it may make things more clear.

This year, the administration wants to encourage the following areas, in particular, to apply:
Communications (Speech)
Computer Science
Culinary Arts
Mathematics (Developmental)
So for those of you who still have conference attendance funds left, relax but think about where and when you might want to spend that money before September 2015 arrives. And for those of you who have blown it all on one fabulous professional development opportunity on the other side of the country (ahem), consider that you can still defray costs for future conference attendance by being diligent and filling out a Faculty/Guild Retraining Application. The worst that can happen is that your request is denied and you'll have wasted a few minutes on extra paperwork -- but if it's granted, you'll be able to hang on to a little more of your paycheck AND be super current in your field.