Student Trustee’s Report . . . was brief and difficult to hear. (sorry)
President’s Report called on Earl Dowling again to present about new initiative to recruit African American students. Members of the Diversity Initiative Advisory Committee were introduced including faculty and staff as well as community representation (faculty included Dana Thompson, Counseling; Linda Elaine, English; and Theo Darden, Criminal Justice; Academic Affairs leadership included Emmanuel Awuah, Assoc VP Academic Affairs).
Jim Bente was called on to present preliminary results of the PACE survey which explores the internal college climate (will be used to triangulate with two other significant surveys’ results which are not yet available). Bente explained our results in leadership style with great pride, showing an increase in ratings showing our improvement within the “Consultative” or Level 3 (of 4) Leadership style among all the constituency groups. He reviewed the top five specific questions that got the highest ratings as well as the five questions that received the greatest improvement since 2010. He also reviewed several college-specific questions that improved significantly since 2010. Bente was very enthusiastic about the results overall and stated that the quality of the climate is very strong.
Trustee Savage asked about the number and rate of responses. Response rates overall were very high in all employee categories and there were over 700 respondents total.
Employee and Community Comments
Glenn Hansen, President, COD Faculty Association: Good evening, I’m Glenn Hansen, President of the Faculty Association and Faculty Senate.
As summer begins, finally, we can look forward to working on issues that confront us all, without contract negotiations looming on the horizon.
I’d like to welcome many new faculty to College of DuPage. I hope you enjoy your time here as much as I do. We also wish farewell to many who are retiring this month due to pension reform or are being displaced by the “Return to Work” legislation. We will miss your contributions and the students will miss your wisdom.
You, the Trustees have several important issues on your agenda, from the workplace survey to the future mission of the College. I hope you consider the data carefully.
Of particular interest to the Faculty is the contract extension. It’s been an interesting process to say the least. When the topic of extension surfaced again in late October / early November we were interested in solving problems the existing contract created for all parties. Money was not a serious topic as other contracts had already been extended at 3% on the pool.
The process moved along well with in-depth discussions of the limited number of issues brought to the table in mutual agreement. In February, I mentioned to a few Trustees that we were negotiating an extension. This precipitated a change in the tenor of the negotiations and and the topics being discussed. The end result was a withdrawal of 2 key issues, delayed implementation, and some displeasure on both sides.
I have talked with several of you about the implementation timeline. Since the time that our contract was signed in 2012, we have resolved several problems through discussion, grievances, arbitrations, and Memos of Understanding – probably more MOUs than I have signed in both previous contracts. This extension solves more issues.
The biggest issue concerns online instruction. Since August 2012, VP Kartje and I have agreed that online instruction is not a new delivery method. It’s time now to move into the 21st century. Another year of paying instructors per head serves no one. Associate Deans must calculate load in multiple ways for adjunct and full-time faculty. Professors don’t know their loads until 10th day, and students are not served well by this uncertainty. Who wants to teach in an environment where you don’t now your load until 10 days into the semester? We need to promote innovation. Implementing the new approach of a “class is a class” now encourages more faculty to teach online and should not cost the college any money.
Let’s not spend another year working through problems, please modify your agenda item to implement the contract now.
Eva Maria Raepple, Professor of Philosophy, spoke about the importance of an outdoor site where students can come into direct contact with the environment. The goal of environmental ethics is to come to terms with our human power over the environment and our responsibility to it. Books and lectures are important tools, but we need to bridge the gap so that students have direct experience with the environment. Raepple argued that having an outdoor demonstration site is essential to have on campus even while she supports the new partnership with the Forest Preserve District.
Chris Goergen, Professor of Political Science, addressed the board about the loss of wisdom and experience as our retired faculty are being forced to stop teaching. He read quotes from several colleagues who wrote farewell emails and expressed sorrow at the loss to students. He argued that other colleges have found ways to work within the law regarding annuitants
Parker Rechsteiner, Editor of the Courier and Honors student implored the trustees to keep the Community Farm on campus because it teaches sustainability in a more visceral way. He referenced the recent White House report on climate change and also tied the Community Farm to the new branding of the “New School of Thought.” The Farm may not be “essential,” but we should not be limited to the essentials.
Isola Metz, community member, asked that the Community Farm not be completely removed from campus. Not all students will go off campus. A creative way to keep the Farm experience on campus should be found, such as using a rooftop. Many different disciplines and programs can be touched by the issues of growing food. She made several further comments about learning lessons from gardening and also made the point that the Farm could be used for outreach and appeal to community members. She also mentioned Nature Deficit Disorder. She said that she would like to see a picture of the college president standing with the beautiful harvest bounty as a PR shot.
Adam Andrzejewski, For the Good of Illinois, spoke about high property taxes, declining property values, and increasing student debt in the face of rising tuition. He asked the board if it is being diligent in spending money. He asked Breuder to cut his own compensation, freeze the property tax levy, and freeze tuition.
Sam Ortega-Guerrero, outgoing Student Leadership Council President, spoke about his personal accomplishments at COD and personally thanked President Breuder for his mentorship and guidance.