Recruiting Fresh & Diverse Perspectives to FA Council
by Jeanine Sepulveda
We are getting to that time of year again, in which we consider our roles in service to the college and select a committee for our future governance. To shed some light on what it’s like to serve on Faculty Assembly Council and offer a gentle nudge to anyone who may be considering joining, I thought I would summarize my experiences as both a member of FA Council as well as a member of FA Executive Board (FA Exec).
I joined the FA Council when it was first formed in Spring of 2014. My goals at the time were to become more familiar with our working conditions and contract and learn how we, as faculty together with the district, establish or modify these working conditions. What I learned early on in my experience as a council member is that I could be a voice, advocating for faculty that may struggle with challenges centered on their particular role on campus. I brought my perspectives as a classroom faculty member in the sciences, a lab instructor, the primary caregiver for two young kids, and as a colleague relatively early in my career. My voice was balanced by others on the council who represent various disciplines, non-classroom faculty, preferred instructional modalities, career stages, family structures, and more.
More recently, as a member of FA Exec I have taken over the role of FA Treasurer and worked to facilitate the information flow between the Exec, council, and faculty with respect to FA expenses, contributions and a balanced budget. In this role, I’ve also been a part of conversations that dive deeper into the nuances of negotiations and gained a greater appreciation for how we negotiate as a collective bargaining unit with the district. As I end my two-year term having served on Exec with a successful and collaborative team, I want to say “Thank you” to the council and fellow Exec members for their leadership and advocacy towards preserving and building upon our working conditions as full-time faculty. Mary, dara, Mark and Brad are an exceptional group of colleagues. I have confidence in and respect for their leadership, and I have confidence for the newly elected FA Executive Board leadership: Mary Gross (President), dara (VP), Annie Ngo, and Billy Gunn.
Bring your voice to the table
FA Council has been busy working towards addressing the needs of our faculty as we negotiate a new agreement and extend our contract, support faculty involved in investigations through our Ombuds, negotiate memoranda of understanding with the district and address concerns and questions from individual faculty members. By having diverse representation on council, issues from across the campus can be brought to the table.
As a gentle nudge to consider joining the council, I encourage you to sit in on a meeting and gauge whether your particular role/area of campus is represented. Are there working conditions questions you have? Are you hoping to learn more about our contract and how we work with the district? Are you a tenure candidate exploring governance participation opportunities? Please reach out if you have any questions and consider bringing your voice to the room when we tackle issues that ultimately shape our future here at MCC.
What do colleagues that attend our meetings have to say?
“As the Vice President and President Elect of the Academic Senate I have attended the Faculty Assembly meetings regularly for the past two years, providing a bridge between the Academic and Professional matters and working conditions issues. I’ve had a great experience collaborating with the Faculty Assembly Council and leadership to serve our faculty colleagues in order to achieve the best possible outcome. Both bodies, Academic Senate and Faculty Assembly, have one shared goal to serve our faculty in important issues that will impact them inside and outside of MiraCosta College. The professional and productive collaboration created between the Academic Senate and Faculty Assembly will benefit all faculty represented by both bodies. I’m looking forward to continuing and building on this collaboration as both bodies are going to welcome new members.”
"I really value hearing the efforts of the FA Council to represent the interests of all faculty. As a non-classroom faculty member, and a working mom, I'm interested in sharing my perspectives, too. By sharing my needs with the executive committee, the better they can advocate for them. Attending the open meetings has been a great way to be seen and heard. I'm definitely interested in getting more involved so I can continue to have a voice."