Wil Maui, a long-time member of the business faculty at Northern Marianas College, said yesterday that he will appeal his recent termination from the institution.
Maui said he strongly disagrees with the accusation that he was insubordinate, leading to the termination of his employment contract.
He cited the email communications between NMC and himself, saying he was simply asking for clarification why he was being told to teach new courses only in July 2013, within a month before the semester starts, which he said is a violation of his contract. He said he was simply asserting his contractual right.
Maui was terminated on Aug. 20 for refusing to teach three new courses that NMC required him to teach at the beginning of this fall semester. He said this additional workload violates Section 3(E) of his Instructional Faculty Contract. This specifically states that, “except by request of the faculty member, no one currently employed under an Instructional Faculty Contract shall be assigned to more than two new courses in any semester. Such a faculty member shall receive a full semester’s notice that he/she will be assigned a new course.”
Saipan Tribune learned that with a typical teaching semester’s load of 15 credit hours, faculty employed under the Instructional Faculty Contract are expected to teach not more than four different preparations.
In its notice of suspension/termination, which was signed by Business Department chair Chavel Green and concurred by NMC president Sharon Hart, Ph.D., on Aug. 20, NMC cited Maui’s insubordination as the main reason for his termination.
Maui was one of nine faculty members who were earlier issued advance notices that they will be potentially affected by a new minimum qualification policy that the Board of Regents later adopted on Aug. 7.
Based on the termination letter, Green stated that Maui refused to teach the courses assigned to him—an act of insubordination that also constitutes non-performance of his duties.
Maui began teaching computer application classes at NMC as an adjunct instructor in 1992 while employed full-time at the CNMI Department of Commerce. In 2002, Maui was hired as a full-time computer applications instructor at the Business Department and stayed in that position until his termination last week.
While he agrees that a policy on minimum qualification is needed, Maui disagrees, however, with the current language of the policy, the process in which the policy was developed, and the manner in which the policy is being implemented.
“The current language of the policy is biased toward academic courses taken by a faculty/applicant and does not take into consideration teaching experiences at the college level—especially experience teaching at NMC. It is primarily because of this bias that the nine faculties are being deemed unqualified to teach courses they helped developed and have been teaching for years,” according to Maui.
The other contentious language in the new policy, he added, is that “the ultimate arbiter of qualification of a faculty member is the chairperson of the department in which the faculty member teaches or prospective faculty member will teach.” “This language can lead to arbitrariness and abuse of power, which is happening right now,” according to Maui.
He believes the policy’s adoption did not follow best practices of shared governance, which is required by NMC’s accrediting commission.