Published: Mar 2 2016 12:00AM
Professor Naranjo began teaching at Montgomery College in 2006. She is currently an associate professor of Spanish on the Germantown Campus, where she also serves as the World Languages coordinator, the Digital Language Lab liaison, and the faculty advisor for the Latino Student Union. Carla recently reflected on her experiences in governance with governance recorder, Cindy McCormack.
MC Governance (MC): How long have you served in governance and in what capacities?
Carla Naranjo (CN): I am new to governance. I got involved in the fall of 2014 as a full-time faculty representative on the Germantown Campus Council. In the spring of 2015, I was pressured by John Hamman (just kidding!) into serving as chair of the Germantown Campus Council. Actually, I was humbled by the nomination and agreed to serve in a capacity of leadership.
(MC): What motivated you to serve?
(CN): I guess I was ready to try something new. I was motivated by getting the chance to work with colleagues from different departments and campuses. In a lot of ways, governance was a bit of a mystery to me so I decided it was time to find out more about how it works, what the challenges are, and what can really be accomplished by having a governance system at the College.
(MC): What is it really like to be a council member? What do you actually do?
(CN): Attend meetings, lots of meetings! There is quite a bit of planning involved and follow-up when a constituent concern is raised. There is so much going on at the College, and being in the "front row" of knowing what is being discussed and considered is very interesting.
(MC): What would you consider a few of the most important accomplishments of governance?
(CN): This is a difficult question for me to answer as I am still getting my feet wet. In general, however, I think that the governance system has given many like me the chance to get involved.
(MC): Do you think governance makes an impact on the College? How?
(CN): I do think it makes an impact. It allows members of our College community to voice a concern or a question in a way that gets noticed. It challenges members of our College community to listen to different points of view and discuss methods of improving the way the College operates and serves our students.
(MC): Are there ways for people who aren't formally on a council to participate?
(CN): Being someone who was one of those people, I know it is not that easy to just "participate." However, having multiple councils that serve different constituency groups and campuses allows for one to start small (for example, by attending a meeting) and then take steps to become more actively involved. One thing that our wonderful provost, Margaret Latimer, does once a month is a campus coffee just prior to our council meeting. Although not a governance event, many council members attend to have informal conversations with our colleagues. It's a great way to catch up and hear about what is going on.
(MC): What advice would you give to someone considering whether to serve?
(CN): I would encourage anyone who is up for the task of trying something new and learning more about the College to serve. Ask a lot of questions. Don't hesitate to challenge or question an initiative, proposal, or procedure that is being discussed. See this as an opportunity to meet and work with fellow Montgomery College faculty, staff, and administrators.