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Chaparral 2019-2020: 28.3 Adjunct Junction

Adjunct Junction

By Brian Reff
Second Vice President, Glendale College Guild


Defining Collaboration

When the topic of “Collaboration” came my way, I had to think about it. To me collaboration means two diametrically opposing things: one good and one bad. I had to look up what the word really means.

Here are the definitions I found in my dictionary (Riverside Webster’s II Dictionary, Berkley Books, New York, Copyright 1996):

Collaborate. Verb. 1) To work with others. 2) To cooperate with an enemy who has invaded one’s country. Collaboration, noun. Collaborator, noun.

These definitions seemed a little too similar to one another for me. They both seemed to me to mean cooperation, but the second one had a treasonous meaning to it.

 So, I searched for synonyms. What did I find? Words like cooperating, teamwork and partnering.

I then searched for concepts and found things like “Mutual trust and respect,” “Idea sharing and thinking to accomplish a common goal,” and “Building trust.” When I did this, things became substantially clearer to me.

Based upon history, the negative and criminal meanings of the word “collaboration” weigh heavily on my mind. There were severe penalties for this crime, including execution! Remember that often one is held accountable for their actions. With that I will move on.


Collaboration at GCC

At the college we talk about Collaboration in many ways! These include working with the people in your department, working with people in other departments, working with people in your division and other divisions. Additionally, we are asked to work with administrators and classified personnel.

When I hear the mention of the suggestion that I be a part of a collaboration here at Glendale College, I personally cringe. I find that one needs to define the parameters of the collaboration clearly. Every person involved needs to determine their personal goal and how they fit into the common goal. Sometimes these are contradictory! I find that in order for me to be a truly effective collaborator, I need to be able to trust and respect the other collaborator(s). The people you collaborate with need to be open to other people’s ideas. I can think about a lot of people here who give lip service to this concept, but that is all!

Teamwork. I find that when I know who is supposed to do what and when they are supposed to do it, working as a team is much easier. I also remember the old cliché, “There is no ‘I’ in team”, so I try and park my ego and hope those around me do the same. When we all understand that we can and will be held accountable for our actions, we can be much more effective. I personally find that I am a much more effective collaborator when I listen and am open to the ideas of others. I find that many of the people I work with here on campus are not particularly open to the ideas of others especially if it is different than theirs or conflicts with theirs.

With all my negativity about collaboration, I must admit that I have had some successes doing it here on the Glendale College Campus.

  • Fatema Baldiwala in the English Department and I produced two student cookbooks.
  • Paul Mayer, Beth Pflueger, Ellen Oppenberg, myself and many others helped to get the GCC Food for Thought Food Pantry going and are still working to ensure its continued success.
  • Zohara Kaye, David Hassett and I worked hard to bring membership in the Guild from a mediocre membership rate of about 65% to a very respectable rate of about 95%!
  • Sona Donoyan enlisted me to be a part of last May’s highly successful Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo and has enlisted me again to be a part of the upcoming May 2020, Food and Nutrition Conference.

Important things to remember and to look for:

  • The LA Regional Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry will be on campus two more times this semester. It will be here on Wednesday, November 27, and Wednesday, December 18, 2019. Please tell your students about it and please consider being a volunteer when it is here.
  • The college will be closed for Thanksgiving from November 28 through the 30th, and will reopen on Monday, December 1, 2019.
  • Hopefully you were able to attend Levon Marashian’s award ceremony, lecture and luncheon, on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Levon gave a fantastic presentation!
  • On Monday, December 9, 2019, the Academic Senate will be holding their Holiday Luncheon. Please try to attend! It is a very worthwhile event!
  • Ideally you also completed and returned the Adjunct Reemployment Rights Survey.
  • April 24, 2020, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day is now an official Glendale Community College holiday!

Since this is the last issue of Chaparral for this year and for the semester, I would like to wish you all a fantastic Thanksgiving and a wonderful Winter Break!

Thank you for taking time to read this!

Brian Reff
Second Vice President
Glendale College Guild

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