When I started teaching at BMCC 10 years ago, I found a vibrant community of experienced teachers. It used to be that when you came to BMCC, you bought a house, perhaps had a family and became a valued community member. These "elder" faculty knew a lot and were more than willing to share their wisdom on subjects, including how to engage students, develop new courses and construct schedules that worked across disciplines.
These elders are for the most part gone.
What we now have is a disjunct faculty with a core group of what has been referred to as "trouble makers," myself included.
I am now one of the few long-term faculty members struggling to provide institutional memory for those few new full-time faculty who need help navigating the demands of teaching at BMCC.
Unfortunately, way too many of these bright new faculty leave after a few years, either driven out by an irrational administration or because they do not see BMCC as a place to build a career.
I can list some recent losses off the top of my head and they include Jay Udall, Caroline LeGuin, Paul Williams, Doug Rice, Andy Veh, Joanna Goff, Joe Buglione, Shannon Overbay, Mary Gallo, Sara Reyburn, Vicki Horneck, Phil Wright, Katherine Knaack, Larry Eddy, Heather Schlessman, Theresa Pihl, Joe Streetman and Mark Lazich.
The good news is that many of these teachers have gone on to find jobs where their talents and potential for growth are appreciated. The reports that we get back are promising. Even with financial constraints, community colleges elsewhere are building programs, developing engaging and challenging curriculum and nurturing the talents of long-term, full-time faculty members.
The unfortunate news is that I no longer encourage people to apply for teaching positions at BMCC. I have seen too many teachers damaged emotionally as well as financially by the reckless hiring and firing that has taken place in recent years.
I told a student about my applying for another position and she replied, "that would be OK, but you are needed here, this is where you can make the most difference."
The question we are all asking ourselves these days is "should we stay or should we go?"
The recent implementation of the administration's contract makes that question much easier to answer.