Let’s remember all we’ve accomplished
By Lynette Nyaggah, CCA President
As our academic year ends, I want to express my thanks to all those who supported CCA over the past year. It is so easy to focus on our challenges and perhaps the areas where we feel we have come up short, but we should also remember how much we have accomplished.
First of all, I want to thank all of you, the members, for the critical work you do for the people of California. You are our strength and our support. I know you are devoted to your students, and they benefit from all you do to help them in their desire for educational success. You spend hours planning your courses, working in the libraries of our colleges, teaching and counseling students, grading papers, and evaluating the learning that has taken place. You also serve on committees, write curriculum, and importantly for CCA, participate in your association’s activities. You are on Membership Committees, Political Action Committees, Elections Committees, Bargaining Committees and Organizing Committees. You spend countless hours serving your members and ultimately all of us in CCA by what you do.
Second, we must recognize the contributions of our local leaders – the officers, Rep Councils, and Executive Boards. It’s easy to forget that the work of representing members – bargaining, grievances, and training – goes on all year round and is often invisible, especially when our leaders are successful. Those meetings have to be planned, food provided, agendas created, and minutes taken. When members ask for action, our local chapters are tasked with making that happen. Just to get an idea, ask your local leaders how many emails they get every day on union business! Besides our union leaders, we also have Academic Senate leaders who do important work locally to help us with hiring and curriculum and others who sit on our shared governance bodies. Thank you, local leaders!
At the state level
Third, I would especially like to thank the talented and hard-working members who work at state level. The members of the CCA Council and Board deserve our kudos for representing you. Their job is to get information to you and survey you so that they can present your views at meetings as we decide on policy. Please go to the CCA website at www.cca4me.org, and look up your Board member, especially if you’re a chapter leader. Then email them or join our new discussion board through the website and let us know what’s on your mind.
Board members, including the officers, become experts on all the issues affecting community colleges across the state – accreditation, legislation, state budget, programs, bargaining, and grievance rights – as well as national trends such as the attacks on public employee unions and pensions. The Board just had its annual Planning Session and went over our accomplishments in the past year, especially improving communication with you through training and a new website. We also renewed our commitment to getting out in front of attacks on public education and you will be hearing more about that beginning in the fall.
We also want to acknowledge the participation and contribution of the three liaisons on the CCA Board – Theresa Montaño from the CTA Board, Gilda Bloom-Leiva from the NEA Board, and Joan Sholars from CTA-ABC, the body that funds your trustee election campaigns. They add global knowledge to our discussions. We are also grateful for leaders in other venues. Our new statewide Academic Senate President as of July 1 is a CCA member, David Morse from Long Beach. Manuel Baca from Rio Hondo is the President of the Community College Board of Governors and Richard Mahon from Riverside sits on the ACCJC – both CCA members and leaders.
Finally, I want to thank the talented CTA staff we work with. From the field staff, who sit with your bargaining teams, help with grievances and unfair labor practices and set up training, to the statewide experts – Jennifer Baker (our lobbyist), Wendy Plew (our budget and negotiations expert), Dina Martin (our Advocate editor and communications specialist) and Susan Midori-Jones (our staff for processing legislation), we are indeed fortunate to have had so many exceptional staff over the past year. And, of course, countless CTA staff members have contributed to our conference sessions on subjects as diverse as treasurer and membership recruitment training to social justice issues like supporting foster youth and returning veterans to budget and legislation updates. Let’s all remember to express our gratitude to them as they rise to the challenge of helping us with the complex issues which often have ramifications beyond our chapters that we need to be aware of.
I hope that we will all reflect on the fact that we have the best job in the world – being community college faculty – and that we have accomplished great things over the past year. I thank you for your support. Have a peaceful and productive summer!