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Chaparral 2019-2020: 28.1 Faculty United

Faculty United

Hope Springs Eternal
at the Start of Fall

by Roger Bowerman
President, Glendale College Guild


How do you welcome in a new academic year?

Isn’t that the question we have at the end of each summer? I know it is for me. And this is particularly true for the 2 years I have served as Guild President. Summer is the opportunity to get some distance from the rush-rush of fall through spring, where most of my time is spent dealing with the issues – large and small – that come with this work. But it is the summer where I can reflect and make plans.

During this period of unhurried musing I came to the realization that the upcoming Board of Trustee election needs to be the focus of our union activities this fall and into the start of spring. We have the unique opportunity to identify and support two candidates – one for District 1 which comprises La Crescenta and North Glendale, and the other in District 5 which lies just south of the 134 Freeway – who will be running without an incumbent. To have one empty position is rare; to have two is unheard of. So the question became: how can your union help make this possible?

The answer lies in creating community and communication. We have to work to create a greater sense of unity and shared purpose: community. In addition, we need to develop ways to disseminate information and help mobilize our membership: communication.

In an effort to form a tighter community, your Guild has undertaken a couple of ventures. The first is the creation of the Guild Reading Group. When I heard Nancy MacLean, the author of Democracy in Chains, speak at the CFT convention last spring, I was inspired and informed. She labeled President Trump as the “Great Deceiver,” whose actions take our attention away from the real threat to Public Schools, Labor Unions, and the foundations of our political system. It is the Alt Right that poses the real threat, and their long-game stealth approach to this goal must be identified and opposed. I knew, then and there, that our Guild needed to learn about this threat, and in summer I conceptualized the way to make this happen. Our Guild Reading Group consists of 20 faculty who want to read and discuss this book. There were more that wanted to join, but we ran out of copies to distribute. What an exciting way to help make stronger connections within our union.

Another way to build community is to share food and comradery. There is always such a great feeling at our year-end party following graduation. So Guild Exec. decided why not hold another such gathering, but in fall? We are in the initial stages of planning an outdoor, family-friendly gathering for later in the semester. While in its early stages, there is discussion of a BBQ, possibly a low-stakes softball game, and generally a chance for us to not only talk with our colleagues, but meet their families as well. I am looking forward to this with great anticipation.

The other main area your Guild leadership thought was important was to help with communication. A year and half ago we asked for volunteers who were interested in becoming Division Liaisons. The idea was to have an avenue for communicating more effectively with members in each academic area. We had 35 volunteers, and things were really looking up! The problem is, there simply wasn’t enough time to coordinate with them. So, with the approval of the membership at our September Membership Meeting, your Guild is piloting a Division Liaison Coordinator position. Open to all members, this person will help utilize our Division Liaisons more effectively, while learning more about how Guild Exec. works. One of our goals is to have this individual provide the means for mobilizing our membership during the upcoming Board of Trustee elections in early spring.

So here we are, the start of a new Academic Year, looking forward to the future we will create together.

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