Wrapping up the May 2014 Meeting: Thanks for Visiting Our Blog!

At the most recent meting of the COD Board of Trustees, May 22, 2014, important topics of discussion were the college’s new budget and five-year plan, as well as a proposed new academic building. There was also a long consent agenda, adopted without discussion, that included many construction bids, purchase orders, and personnel decisions. The faculty contract was extended for two years. For more details, please read the posts below in full and reference the board packet, which can be found at this link: http://www.cod.edu/about/board_of_trustees/pdf/packets/2014may22packet.pdf

COD’s FY2015 budget was formally presented last night. The public has 30 days to comment. Budget documents are posted on the College website, linked from this page: http://www.cod.edu/about/office_of_the_president/planning_and_reporting_documents/financial.aspx (Scroll down below the Annual Financial Reports.)

The purpose of this blog is to provide almost-real-time reporting from College of DuPage Board of Trustees meetings. The next meeting will be Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 7pm.

Posts from previous meetings, going back to December 2013, appear below. To suggest a correction of any error in these posts, please email codfaboardblog@gmail.com.

We encourage anyone who has questions or comments about the meetings to direct them to COD’s Trustees, elected representatives who oversee the College of DuPage on behalf of the citizens of the district. More information about the BOT and the trustees can be found here: http://www.cod.edu/about/board_of_trustees/

More information about the College of DuPage Faculty Association can be found at our website, codfaculty.org. CODFA is composed of the members of the full-time faculty and elects its own officers and Senate. This blog is a project of the Communications Committee of the Faculty Senate.

May 22, 2014 – Post 4

New Business: For Approval

1. The historical preservation policy was unanimously adopted.

2. The resolution in support of awarding baccalaureate degrees was moved. An amendment was worked out with Trustee Svoboda (read by President Breuder) that reaffirms our commitment to the two-year college mission. The amended motion passed unanimously.

3. Homeland Security Training Center ICCB application passed unanimously.

4. The faculty contract extension passed unanimously without discussion.

5. Compensation increases also passed.

6. New AAS Degree in Game Animation and Design also approved.

7. Board of Trustees budget approved for FY15.

Announcements

Trustees reported on their work in Springfield at a Lobby Day with the Community College Trustees Association and with the COD Foundation. Of note, work with legislators on getting reimbursement for veterans benefits. The trustees also shared several anecdotes from graduations and community outreach events.

Next meeting Thursday, June 26, 2014, 7pm.

Adjourned.

May 22, 2014 – Post 3

The Consent Agenda

No items were pulled for discussion. Secretary O’Donnell read the full agenda. These are listed in the board packet and include bids for construction and maintenance items, purchase orders for equipment and services, personnel actions, and construction change orders.

The Consent Agenda was unanimously approved by roll call.

For Information: New Business

Discussion of the New Teaching and Learning Center: Trustee Savage asked for projected enrollment based on demographics such as k-12 enrollment. Trustee Svoboda mentioned that alternatives for additional space might be found, such as renting space. Trustee Hamilton raised again the issue of how we should understand the five-year plan vs the budget in relation to our responsibility to taxpayers. She requested an analysis of usage in the buildings so that the needs can be understood more clearly. What are the risks in the face of the trends? Hamilton continued by saying we have to monitor our spending and be analytical in making a decision. She said she looks forward to working on the project.

Breuder responded by saying, “I don’t have a need to build another building” and that it would be easier not to; however we are oversubscribed at key times, and if the growth prognosis is good, no matter where the growth comes from, we need more classroom space.

Breuder asked administrators to address the issue. EVP Joe Collins spoke to ongoing scheduling problems especially at certain times, and as we grow new programs, we will have even more students. VPAA Kartje referenced the issue of teaching classes in spaces they are not designed for, as well as direct conflicts between programs. West side of campus has many specialized classrooms for vocational/technical programs but can’t accommodate the general education courses that the students in those programs also need. The deans were also called to speak and mentioned issues specific to their divisions.

Breuder recapped the issue and called it a “no-brainer.” Trustee Svoboda addressed the difficulty of teaching classes in spaces that are not appropriate for the subject matter.

May 22, 2014 – Post 2

(Reports, Continued)

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.
Thank you.

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.

May 22, 2014 – Post 1

Call to Order, Roll Call, and Approval of Agenda

All are present. Agenda unanimously approved.

Presentations

  • Naperville Center. Presentation by Bailey Edward architecture firm representatives. Five goals of renovation including added light, new student assistance area. Themes of the renovation, including landscaping, are discovery and transformation. Landscaping will be constantly changing (not clear whether this will be a natural process or involve constant replanting). Building is being re-engineered for energy conservation. Color and “layering” in design adds to feeling of discovery. Some walls will be transparent. Slides showed interior and exterior views. There were several favorable comments and questions.
  • Model UN. Professor David Goldberg, Political Science, reported on a trip to Charlotte, NC with students and co-adviser Professor Christian Goergen. The Model UN team won five awards and competed successfully against teams at the national level. Our students were among the best prepared. Two students spoke about their experiences researching their topics in advance, debating with other delegates, and negotiating resolutions. The club president mentioned his appreciation of funding for the team since they were able to focus on their mission rather than fundraising. He emphasized that the central goal of Model UN is to pursue excellence and reinforce character. “The measure of a college is not its aesthetics but the excellence of its students.”
  • Budget. Glazer, Sapyta, and Vergilio represented the Finance and Budget office. The budget has to be available for public comment for 30 days. Budget environment includes the State of Illinois with its debt and pension liabilities unresolved. Assume that state funding will continue to be only partially paid with 8 out of 12 payments in budget; assume that Veterans scholarships will remain unfunded (about $800k). Several board decisions have hedged COD against these issues. Extensive construction and renovation will give way to maintenance – our oldest building will be from 2009, which reduces our liabilities. Labor costs include increases in salaries, higher health insurance costs, and new staff. In presenting the budget highlights, Glaser mentioned that while some people feel that the college is all about landscaping and construction, the priority reflected in the budget is teaching & learning. Slides and detail were drawn from the “Budget Book” provided to the trustees (this post will be updated later with a link to budget information provided to the public, assuming we can find it). http://www.cod.edu/about/office_of_the_president/planning_and_reporting_documents/financial.aspx
    Five-year plan based on continuing increases in enrollment, but significant risks in loss of state funding, “cadillac tax” against health care plans.
    Trustees Savage and McGuire asked questions… There was some exchange over projected increases in enrollment; it was mentioned that there is likely to be a “top” to the number of students we can bring in.
    Trustee Hamilton raised concern about depending on enrollment growth in order to fund a new building project – that growth is not reflected in the five-year plan. Breuder addressed this in terms of choosing between conservative fiscal management and “rolling the dice.”
    Summer enrollments are down overall, here and elsewhere, which projects enrollment going down for Fall.
    VP Dowling was called on to present an internal campaign, “Chaparral Pride,”
    in which stories are being collected among people who work all around COD (not just in admissions) who are recruiting new students to meet a new record high enrollment for Fall 2014.
    President Breuder said that he wants to budget conservatively so that extra revenues can be used later, rather than having to ask for budgeted funds to be given back.
    There was quite a bit of discussion about this topic with Trustees asking questions and Breuder and Glaser responding. Breuder mentioned several times that there are 4% salary increases across the board to all who work at COD and that is a significant budget factor.

 

May 22, 2014 – Meeting Preview

Tonight’s board packet can be downloaded in full from this link:
http://www.cod.edu/about/board_of_trustees/pdf/packets/2014may22packet.pdf

To make the packet easier to review, save it to your computer and open it in Adobe Reader. Under the View menu, select Navigation Panels, then select Bookmarks. An outline of the full document will appear on the left side of the pdf.

Items of note from the agenda:

  • The Consent Agenda includes a number of substantial construction bids.
  • New Business Item (for Information) 10.A.2 gives details of a proposed new academic building.
  • A two-year extension of the contract for CODFA, the full-time faculty association, is up for approval.