The following is a synopsis of Harold’s Address to National AAUP.

Shared Governance in a Post Collective Bargaining Environment
by Dr. Harold Damerow
Senior Professor of Government and History
Union County College
Cranford, New Jersey 07016

Updated and Revised Remarks made at Session 7C
Community College Faculty in Action: Organizing Our Nation's Open Access Institutions
American Association of University Professors
June 17, 2016

I have taught at Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey, since 1967 and am retiring effective July 1, 2016 Union County College has been my life. I am saddened that I leave with my College being sanctioned by the National AAUP. Our next step must to be: how do we get off the sanction list.

Union County College was founded in 1933 as a public works project for unemployed teachers and recent high school graduates. When federal money ran out, we became a private junior college and stayed that way until 1982 when we merged with the Union County Technical Institute to become the public comprehensive community college for Union County, New Jersey. We have two boards: a private self perpetuating Board of Governors which retains title to the property on which our main campus is located and a public Board of Trustees. Joint Board of Trustees and Board of Governors meetings are held regularly, major Board committees have joint membership, but the public Board has ultimate legal authority and approves resolutions. Victor Richel is the long time chairperson of the Board of Trustees.

The local chapter of the American Association of University Professors dates back to about 1967 and helped to push for shared governance structures embodied in the Faculty By-Laws. We started at what are now called an "advocacy chapter." Since 1975, we have been a collective bargaining chapter, first under NLRB and then under the New Jersey Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC).

I am not a labor lawyer but New Jersey labor law limits negotiations to mandatory areas of bargaining concerning wages and working conditions. What in many states are voluntary areas of negotiation are not bargainable in New Jersey. Most aspects of shared governance which concern professionals can not be discussed at the bargaining table. Until the expiration of our contract in 2012, the CB agreement contained provisions dealing with many areas of shared governance. Our Faculty By-Laws, the creation and modification of academic departments, criteria for reappointment and promotion, manner of revising curricula were referenced in the contract. Management challenged all of these provisions and filed a scope of negotiations petition with PERC. The chapter had known for many years that our contract contained provisions which could not be enforced but our previous College presidents had accepted these provisions because they shared a sense of collegiality. When PERC ruled in October 30, 2014 (P.E.R.C. NO. 2015-24. STATE OF NEW JERSEY BEFORE THE PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION In the Matter of UNION COUNTY COLLEGE, Petitioner, -and- UNION COUNTY COLLEGE CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS,Respondent. [Docket No. SN-2013-001]), many of the challenged provisions were found to be non-negotiable.

Almost as soon as the PERC decision was handed down, the current McMenamin Administration proceeded to dismantle the basic governance structures which had operated at the College since the 1970s. The structure of governance provided though the Faculty By-Laws was ignored and a new, what I would call, pseudo governance structure was imposed. The Faculty Executive Committee was replaced by College Leadership Council. Regular faculty meetings were replaced by a College Assembly. Existing faculty committees, except for those dealing with personnel matters, were changed to include staff persons with the right to vote. Academic departments were replaced with divisions. Management appointed deans replaced chairpeople elected by their departments. At division meetings and at the College Assembly meetings voting is prohibited. These changes are the subject of the AAUP "Report on Union County College, N.J. (NOVEMBER 2015)" approved by the Committee on College and University Governance and authorized for publication on the AAUP website and in the Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors. This will be voted on at the general meeting to censure the Union County College Administration. [On Saturday, June 18, 2016, the Annual Meeting of the American Association of University Professors voted to place Union County College on its sanction list for violating the academy's standards on shared governance.]

My presentation here is to initiate a discussion of how can collegiality and shared governance be protected, restored, and/or created at community colleges when labor negotiations can no longer be used to safeguard them? Union County College remains a collective bargaining chapter and we are currently in negotiations for a successor agreement for the contract which expired on August 31, 2015. The chapter leadership and the bargaining team are busy negotiating and fending off many unreasonable demands such as, initially, demanding that we teach 21 credit hours per week instead of the usual 15 credit hours. That outrageous proposal is no longer on the table but other unreasonable proposals remain.

Defending our membership and our union consumes most of the energy of the chapter. Fighting for restoration or changes in the new pseudo governance structure imposed on us has taken second place to defending the union. Our financial resources are strained and our efforts to fight for shared governance continually run into the brick wall of "management prerogative." So many times our competent chapter attorney, Carl Levine, has had to advise me "yes, they can do that. It's management prerogative." Management can schedule your classes and demand a four or five day schedule. Management can create a new category of employees (new at UCC) called administrative lecturers. We can't file an injunction to stop them. We can only go to PERC and argue that they belong into our union. Where is the line when "management prerogative" becomes arbitrary and capricious? How much opposition can be expressed without risking a charge of insubordination? Should management be able to use reappointment, promotion, and tenure review to intimidate dissenting voices? Should not tenured, but tenure track faculty, have to ingratiate themselves to the management team or should they be evaluated by their peers on merit?

Our membership is angry but also dispirited. A recent survey of the full-time faculty disclosed the depth of their resentment of the changes imposed on us. National AAUP has a copy of the survey and its results.

Even after National AAUP sanctions our College Administration, the open question remains what next? I do not believe that we will ever go back to the status quo ante. And I do not believe that the current President will make adjustments to their pseudo governance structure while she remains at UCC. UCC is currently preparing for a Middle States re-accredidation. But Middle States has changed its standards used for re-accredidation and, it seems to me, no longer supports the traditional values on which institutions of higher education are built. The new focus is not on academic excellence--of course lip service is paid to this value--but on learning outcomes and graduation rates.

When faculty personnel folders must include a management generated spreadsheet on course completion rates for each course taught by the faculty member and a faculty statement on what he/she will do to improve their completion rates, then lowering standards and grade inflation appear to me to be rational responses to these demands. Our Middle States report has broad participation and many committees of faculty and staff but it is not a self-study. The report is carefully edited and micro-managed by top administrators. The new Middle States guidelines are being used to force changes in our programs and teaching methods. Middle States has become a tool to force compliance with management's vision of our college's future. What the faculty professionals think is irrelevant. We are labeled as being greedy, lazy, and opposed to change. The same educational philosophies and pedagogies which destroyed much of our public secondary school system are being applied to the community college. How do the professors fight back?

It seems to me the fight can not be won simply at the local level. Without National AAUP involvement, both through the bargaining and governance side of the organization, our local UCC-AAUP Chapter would have failed. I thank you for the help received and for the assistance to come.

But more needs to be done and we need delineation of the national problems facing community colleges. Our College President may be an extreme example of the new type of college chief executive but she is not alone and she responds to national demands.

National AAUP, in cooperation with other organizations, needs to create national guidelines on what shared governance means. The existing policy documents read well but they do not provide specific guidelines, and certainly not specific guidelines that apply to community colleges.

For example, what roles should academic disciplines play within community colleges? At UCC, I used to be within the Economics-Government-History Department. For many years now, there has been only one economist within our department. How to evaluate the quality of his academic knowledge has been an issue. Does it not take a professional colleague to evaluate an economist or historian or whatever? We are now in the Social Science, Business, and History Division. The new dean of the division has an education degree and some business experience. He has no subject knowledge in most of the areas which he "supervises." How can standards within academic disciplines be maintained when the "supervisors" have no real knowledge of what should be taught within a course? The difference between an American historian and a European historian is lost on most of our new administrators.

A second example, what should be the role or voice of the Faculty within a community college.? Should there be general meetings of all the full-time members of the Faculty, a Faculty Senate, or a College Assembly? Is voting on proposals a requirement for shared governance? How many community colleges, including those without local AAUP chapters, have some sort of shared governance? How far can faculty go in opposing "educational innovations" which have the effect of lowering standards? What roles should adjunct faculty play within a governance system? A colleague at UCC has repeatedly asked out Academic Vice President: "what does the faculty own?" What is the general condition of shared governance at the community college level?

A third issue for National AAUP to address concerns the many missions of the community colleges. A lot of what we do is post secondary education but not necessarily higher education. Career and job training programs are an essential mission of the community colleges. While many career programs have career ladders leading to four-year degrees, many do not. Many community college nursing and law enforcement programs lead to jobs after graduation with an associate's degree. But some graduates move on to four year programs. Some career and job training programs are not intended for transfer. What voice should faculty teaching in career and job training programs have in how these programs are created and evaluated? What does National AAUP have to say on these issues? Does AAUP have a position on developmental education? Does every student have a right to succeed? What responsibility does the faculty at community colleges have to bridge the achievement gap?

Fourth, I would like to have National AAUP produce a guide on the state of community colleges in each of our fifty states. While there are many shared problems facing all community colleges, indeed all colleges, there are also many differences. From what I understand, California, Florida, and Texas have huge community college systems. I am not too clear on how things work there or even in nearby New York or Pennsylvania. New Jersey has nineteen community colleges functioning largely independent of each other.

Fifth, I have raised the issue of Middle States. Different regional accreditation associations have different standards. National AAUP should monitor and have a voice in what these organizations do. Are the new Middle States standards acceptable to AAUP?

The American Association of Community Colleges is the main voice for community colleges, but its voice speaks for trustees and college presidents. The AAUP should build beachheads and present a faculty perspective to its leadership.

The Obama Administration has an extensive education agenda. Much of it does not include a distinct faculty voice for the future. Indeed, the push for increasing graduation rates and other "objective measures" of evaluating colleges has come from government.

While education is seen as the ladder for upward mobility, there is talk about making community colleges tuition free, and there are moves to reduce the debt burden for students, the role of the faculty is rarely mentioned. The demands to lower educational costs, increase graduation rates, and measure learning outcomes often impact negatively on the faculty. The shift from full-time faculty to part-time lecturers is driven by economics and not by academic considerations. The push for online and distance education seems driven by business considerations rather than educational quality.

May 30, 2016
June 8, 2016
Updated June 21, 2016