Finds guidance at CCA conference
This year, the Advocate plans to publish profiles of CCA chapter presidents. Below is a brief interview with one of those presidents.
Depending on the ebb and flow of campus politics, CCA chapters may experience a range of engagement, from extremely active to less so. Yet, there’s nothing quite like joining together with activists from around the state to get one’s union blood circulating again. This seems to be the case with the Monterey Peninsula College Teachers Association, which sent a group of faculty led by association President Paola Gilbert to the CCA Fall Conference. Here, Gilbert answers a few questions about the renewal of faculty activism on her campus.
Advocate: What made you decide to run for president of your chapter?
Gilbert: I suppose I just went ahead and jumped in. I’m hoping our union will become stronger and more active on campus. I think a lot of people may have forgotten what it’s like to be in a union.
Advocate: What will you take back with you from the CCA Conference?
Gilbert: Besides the legislative update and information on the availability of grants to local chapters joining the local labor federation, there was the discussion of accreditation and how other colleges are being affected. I also found it interesting hearing how various locals are increasing membership. I learned much from listening to the group sessions and when I spoke with other faculty one-on-one. It’s great to get locals from across the state to share “war stories,” so to speak – and to learn from each other.
Advocate: What’s the biggest challenge for faculty at Monterey Peninsula College?
Gilbert: I think the biggest challenge to our faculty is the extra work we find ourselves increasingly doing, much of which is driven by this data-focused environment we find ourselves teaching in, and, of course, all of which is uncompensated (shadow work!). This wasteful work eats up faculty time so that less time is spent on the very things we should be spending that time on, which is interacting with students through grading and one-on-one conversation.
Advocate: Any recent successes that the Monterey Peninsula College Teachers Association has achieved?
Gilbert: I think one success is that even though there is no crisis happening at the moment, we had more members come to our first meeting this year than we’ve had in a long time. I see discussions happening that I haven’t seen in a while, too. But, to be honest, we’re just beginning to move, and I hope we keep moving positively forward.