Hello Rio Hondo Family. Welcome back, to the second half of the 2020 – 2021 academic year. One year ago, I stated in my Flex day speech that the Spring semester was more fun than the Fall semester. I was looking forward to writing letters of recommendation, reviewing resumes, signing awarded certificates, Taste of Rio, and of course, our commencement ceremony! And then March happened. The pandemic forced us to migrate our on-campus courses to remote sessions over a weekend. It was an incredible task, but we did it. This task was time consuming and exhausting. But the pandemic has exposed what I’ve known all along. We are a resilient community! As a team, as a family, nothing will keep us from giving our best, our most, so that our students can still get a quality education, even when it seems that the world around is collapsing.
We continue with our remote learning platform because the pandemic rages on. I have students from the Fall semester and from Intercession that have lost family members. Many have had family members infected with Covid 19 and survived but have lingering health issues. My younger sister fought it for 3 weeks before she felt human again. At one point her husband dialed 911 and the EMTs apologized that they couldn’t take her to the hospital because she was not sick enough. She said at that time she thought she was dying. I’m grateful to the powers that be for her recovery. But she still has lingering health issues and it’s been well over a month since she started experiencing symptoms.
The distribution of vaccines is underway, and we can at least imagine the possibility of returning to campus within a year. But we must remember that Covid-19 is still out there. It will not simply disappear because people are being vaccinated. We must continue to be vigilant. Please don’t attend events unless you absolutely have to. Wear a mask to show others that you’re thinking of everyone’s safety. The last request, is that you show compassion. Our student community is a very proud community. Many times they will not share the issues they are going through. To be honest, I’m not sure how I would have succeeded if all this turmoil was around me during my time as a college student. It doesn’t hurt to extend a deadline, allow a “re-take” of an assignment or even schedule a one-on-one zoom session with a student that has fallen behind. They need someone to believe in them. Be that someone.
I’d like to thank President Dreyfuss, for coming out of retirement and bringing stability to our college. During our bi-weekly meetings, her concern for the well being of the college is very evident. She listens, we exchange ideas, and she genuinely wants a pulse of the college from a faculty perspective.
I’d like to welcome our newest Board of Trustee, Kristal Orozco, to the Rio Hondo family. We’ve had very positive conversations and I look forward establishing a strong relationship on behalf of our faculty and our students.
As your faculty association president. I have been honored and humbled that you chose me to represent and serve you. But it truly takes a team to do this job, and we have an incredible team! I want to thank:
· Past President- Jill Pfeiffer
· Vice President- Raquel Flores-Olson
· Treasurer- Jeannie Liu
· Secretary- Marie Eckstrom
· At-Large-Jose Lara and Diana Valladares
· Part-time Reps- Martha Carreon and Alex Dejean
· Membership Chair, Claudia Rivas
· Communication’s Chair, Young Lee
Once again, I also want to take this opportunity remind you to make sure you are a Faculty Association member. Since losing “Fair Share” due to the supreme court decision on the Janus case, you are each partially responsible to make sure you are a member. We do our best to contact all our instructors and HR is very helpful, but sometimes, things happen. If you’re not sure, check your payroll deductions for a CTA entry or contact any of our exec members, we’re all happy to help you.
Lastly, I’d like to welcome our newest faculty members to the Rio Hondo College family.
· Victor Kowalski – Biology
· Marissa Young – Business
· Eric Caesar- Business
Have a fantastic Spring of 2021
and Alex Dejean
The Rio Hondo College Faculty Association is comprised of over 550 full-time and part-time faculty members. About 60% of the members are part-time faculty, ranging from those who teach several classes per term in Communications to hourly instructors who work only a single weekend day teaching a Public Safety class. Since we are involved with higher education, we are part of the Community College Association (CCA), a group representing about ten thousand college professors in California. In turn, CCA is part of the California Teachers Association (CTA) who serves about three hundred thousand educational professionals in the state. We are also part of the National Education Association (NEA) who represents three million members in the country.
The Rio Hondo College Faculty Association is an “agency-fee, wall-to-wall union.” This means that all faculty, both full- and part-time, who work at the college pay dues to the Association, whether they are members or not. Non-members can obtain a percentage of their yearly dues returned by completing the paperwork sent to them by CTA in the fall. Beyond this, there are no advantages to not being a member. There are, however, many benefits to being a member as described below.
Members are able to vote in officer elections and for ratification of negotiated agreements, receive benefits such as promotional items and meals at meetings, can run for Association offices, may attend Community College Association conferences, and have greater levels of paid representation in arbitrations with the District.
Since membership in RHCFA also confers membership in the California Teachers Association and National Education Association, members receive a whole slew of additional benefits which include the following:
The majority of your dues go to CTA who use the funds for membership benefits (which can be accessed here), advocacy, scholarships, and other purposes related to education. Some of your dues go to CCA and NEA who also provide services and benefits to faculty (NEA benefit information can be found here). A small portion of your dues are retained locally. Note that all faculty at Rio Hondo College pay the same dues, regardless of being a member or not. There is little benefit in not being a member. If you are unsure of your status or want to join, please contact us.
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