Margaret L. Cohen - 2014 FAC Representative
Position: Undergrad Adelphi
Division: UMUC Adelphi
Program: Global Business and Public Policy
I began with UMUC in 1987, as an instructor in the European division, teaching law, labor relations and philosophy. When I returned to the States, I taught as an adjunct from 1998-2006 in what became the Department of Global Business and Public Policy, and have been a Collegiate Professor since August 2006.
In the latter capacity, I served as Course Chair for Business Ethics and Employment Law, and as faculty advisor to the Global Business and Public Policy online student club. I have made presentations at UMUC conferences on Teaching Ethics Across the Business Curriculum, and at the SHRM Student Club, on the Employee Free Choice Act.
Before election to FAC, I attended and gave testimony at the Work Group on Adjunct Faculty and Graduate Students in the University of Maryland System, a workgroup convened by the Maryland legislature. The ultimate result of that group’s efforts was a new Adjunct policy, now approved by the Board of Regents and to be put into effect this fall. Implementation at UMUC includes a pay increase for adjuncts, the first in 8 years.
I have served on the Council of University System Faculty for the past year, and have worked, with my UMUC colleagues there, to bring shortcomings in UMUC shared governance to the attention of CUSF and of the System Chancellor.
As a member of our Faculty Advisory Council for the past two years, I have worked with like-minded FAC members to protest defects in shared governance, to propose changes in UMUC grievance procedures to better protect faculty, to fashion means to better communicate with faculty, and to critique methods used to massively transform the curriculum and culture of UMUC.
Before coming to UMUC, I practiced union-side labor law and worked as a legal editor on various employment and labor law publications.
I seek reelection to our Faculty Advisory Council because I continue to be concerned about the massive transformation of UMUC, a university that has historically fulfilled an important educational and social mission, and has provided creative and accomplished teachers an opportunity to participate in that mission.
I remain concerned about class sizes and about increasing mandated uniformity in teaching methods and in the assessment of student accomplishment. I remain concerned that UMUC has taken a direction in the treatment of faculty that suppresses individual contributions and special abilities born of real-world experience—what makes our faculty so unique—and that will reduce the ability of faculty to give our extremely diverse student body the individual attention that is often the basis of their individual success.
There has been little FAC or faculty input in the changes effected over the past two years—other than individual faculty participation in structured exercises, predetermined by administration or outside consultants. Once decided upon or implemented, administration has sought, and sometimes not received, FAC approval.
FAC has protested this lack of shared governance to our Provost, and our CUSF members have reported this significant shortcoming to the Council of University System Faculty, and to the Chancellor of the Maryland University System. As a consequence, UMUC administration appears to be making greater efforts to inform FAC before academic and other institutional changes are made, and to seek some input.
Much more needs to be done, however, to enable UMUC to maintain its status as a world-class educational institution, and to protect and advance the individual and professional interests of its world-class faculty. For this reason I ask my colleagues for the privilege of continuing to serve your interests, and those of our remarkable students, as a member of the Faculty Advisory Council.