Teachers cry foul, as Maricopa Community College District set to change faculty input process

Recently, the Maricopa Community College District made a major announcement that they would be eliminating their football program. It was a decision that will have have a major effect on students and staff.

Soon, they will make yet another major decision that could have a huge impact on faculty, going forward.

The MCCCD Board wants to end "Meet and Confer" sessions with instructors at the community colleges. Faculty reps are nervous, saying this could have a big impact on students. Board officials, however, say teachers are nervous over nothing.

"This is a non-issue," said Laurin Hendrix, President of Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board. "I don't see the concern. They want to have input, and they will continue to have input. No one is advocating for the faculty not to have input."

Some faculty members at the community colleges across Maricopa County, aren't buying it.

"All of this is ultimately about what's good for the students," said Mike Mitchell, President of Maricopa Community Colleges Faculty Association.

The worry is the end of the "Meet and Confer" process means the end of their say in the District.

"The 'meet and Confer' process is a problem-solving process where the faculty meet with administrative partners to discuss issues of mutual concern about the operations of teaching and learning in the district," said Mitchell.

Problem solving, however, isn't what Hendrix sees, when looking through the last two years of meetings.

"As I look through them, the problem is I don't find any entries where they talked about any academic issues," said Hendrix. "I don't find any minute entries. I don't find any agenda entries. All they talk about is compensation, benefits, and accountability or a lack of accountability."

"If faculty become increasingly alienated in that process, it becomes a far less attractive places for teachers to teach," said Mitchell.

Hendrix wants to scrap the meetings, but has no plans in place at the moment. The vote on it is set for next week.