I write this last column of my first year as Guild President and am reflecting on the year that has no parallel in our history as a college. In normal times, change is often scary and hard, but in a global pandemic, it’s difficult to move things in different directions when all people want is consistency and security. I’m the first to admit I am one of those people and may have mentioned before that I’m a planner through and through. This pandemic has taught me that the best laid plans do change and that I have to be patient with the process. I’ve spent most of my columns this year talking about change, patience, and resilience, things that, even though they go against my very Scandinavian nature of loving calm and consistency, I’ve become quite practiced at as a spouse of a musician for over 20 years and surviving through some turbulent teenaged years with my older son. But work challenges are different.
Being new in a leadership position like this has a steep learning curve that is only compounded by our current situation. One of the hardest parts of not being together in a face-to-face environment is not having the small moments of time where we have hallway chats, where I could get to know you, my colleagues, a little better, and to hear your concerns or ideas in a casual way. Email is great, but it is much more formal. Zoom has replaced these informal chats, but they still need to be scheduled unlike the “bump into” conversations I think many of us miss. Regardless, I am grateful when you reach out to me to share a perspective, request guidance, or just to check in. But in a strange way, I’m also grateful for the conflict that sometimes arises when we cannot quite get our points across in an email the way we would in conversation. Those conflicts and misunderstandings remind me that while my Executive Board and I may know what’s going on with our administration and within the negotiations process, not everyone knows or understands how things work. Like with my instruction, looking for ways to make things clearer for my students and for them get more out of their experience with me as their professor, I want to be that leader who helps her colleagues make sense of what our union does and makes change easier to accept. The work for improving our lot as a body of unified faculty never stops and it’s always changing.
With that, again, I do not do this job alone and I am so grateful. I want to take a little more of this column to recognize our 2021-2022 slate of Exec members with a special thank you and shout-out to John Fuhrmann who was a most excellent secretary:
Julie Gamberg, 1st VP
Juliann Wolfgram, 2nd VP
David Hassett, Operations Officer
Nare Garibyan, Secretary
Cindy Pollack, Grievance Officer
Rich Cortes, Public Information Officer
Nune Yegayan, Garfield Steward
Mike Scott, Budget Representative
Caroline DePiro, Chief Negotiator
Finally, I want to thank our Past-President, Roger Bowerman, for helping me grasp my role as Guild President so much better. I have relied on Roger’s guidance and advice this past year as a seasoned Guild leader. Like so many of our past leaders, I look forward to the continuation of his service in formal and informal ways. We have incredible resources among our ranks who do not see their service to our Guild as something with an end date. That is special and remarkable, and it says a lot about our college community. With the sage wisdom and institutional knowledge of our “old guard” (and no, I’m not calling you old!) and the fresh perspectives of mid-career and new faculty, this is what makes our Guild work functionally. I’m proud to continue to serve a remarkable group of faculty members who truly do care about one another and our students.
Please have a restful, relaxing, and rejuvenating summer and we will do it all over again in the fall, strong and resilient.
With respect for all you do and in unity,
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