Month: April 2014

We View 2013-2014

Posted on

Hello, GRCC faculty colleagues –

That wascally wabbit did it almost evwy time. No matter how vewy, vewy quiet Elmer was, he always ended up as fodder, or should I say FUDDer, for Bugs’s pwanks.* Let’s see if that even wemotely wesembles anything cartoonish at GRCC this past year.

At a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, at least a couple of hundred of employees served on about 50 faculty hiring committees, reviewed hundreds if not thousands of applications, interviewed hundreds of applicants, and recommended the hiring of a lot of people we think will be good, many of whom have gone through this whole ordeal twice, because, not very long ago, most of these same positions were posted as temporary full-time at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars for which at least a couple of hundred of the same employees reviewed hundreds if not thousands of applications, interviewed hundreds of applicants, and hired a lot of people we thought were good. Along the way, we lost a Blackboard specialist, the secretary to the college president, an associate dean, and our provost.

Federal law was passed to provide affordable health care. In response, GRCC raised tuition and budgeted money to pay for the increased health care costs, then spent the money on other things when the law was delayed, and then limited the hours of employees who might qualify for GRCC health care so that they wouldn’t qualify for it even if it were affordable. Now those valued employees not only don’t have GRCC health care; they don’t have as much work, either.

Full-time faculty spent hours, hours and more hours producing pi to the nth humongobytes of information to document meritorious job performance, thereby providing lots of work for department heads, program directors, associate deans, ESPs and a host of other employees. For better or worse, meritoriously documenting what we do has become a part of what we do that makes us meritorious, making the new evaluation system, to some degree, a boot-strapping economy unto itself.

Student evaluation of faculty expanded to every faculty member, classroom and non-classroom alike, every class, every semester. Students spent uncalculated class time filling in hundreds of thousands of little bubbles on thousands of pieces of paper. May the bubbles burst!

The Board of Trustees was evaluated, too – a self-evaluation. They picked the categories they wanted to be evaluated on and gave themselves an average of 4.1 on a five-point scale.

The administration implemented training for on-line master course development amidst great angst. Then they unimplemented it.

In the last couple of years, the Academic Governing Council became increasingly efficient, meeting fewer times to pass X number of new policies. We now have a total number of Y policies. At a rate of X new policies per year, in Z years we’ll have (X x Z) + Y policies, giving us more policies than we can keep track of much less adequately administer. Unless we hire more people to weview them all.

We were all asked to complete multiple surveys, the college president invited faculty to meet with him, 182 faculty members completed a survey about GRCC leadership, a Faculty Voice Committee met with the college president, he came to faculty department/program meetings, and the results so far are . . . (cathartic drum roll) . . . next year, we’ll be asked to complete multiple surveys, the Faculty Voice committee will probably meet with the college president, and he may attend faculty department/program meetings.

I sought better communication with the Board of Trustees via private, informal conversation. With a couple of trustees excepted, I ended up with monologues at their board meetings.

Enrollment was down. Again.

In Lansing, in obedience to the Commandment to honor thy father and thy mother, our elected officials continue to limit pension benefits.

Even winter played a looney tune this year, burying us in snow. Now, finally, warmth and color have weturned. Spwing bwings daffodils and wabbits, and in my yard I’ve seen bunnies do binkies. But wait. The final pwanks! In the shadow of the Lyon Stweet parking wamp, there is still deep snow, cold and cwusty, the last in Gwand Wapids, I bet. And we’ll be dodging potholes all summer long, holding our bweath for 2014 – 2015.

Fred van Hartesveldt
Faculty Association President

*Merely Elmer Fudd’s pronunciation of “pranks.”

Advertisements

Armen Award Winners Announced

Posted on

The Armen Awards, sponsored by GRCC alumnus Armen Oumedian, are designed to inspire innovative teaching practices and focus on service learning.  The 2014 award winners have been announced!

First Place ($3000 award) – Sarah Krajewski and her Biology for Educators course, partnered with Immaculate Heart of Mary School.

Second Place ($1500 award) – Bethann Talsma and her Office Etiquette and Ethics course, partnered with Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids.

Third Place ($750 award) – Jolanta Lanier and her Personal Health Course, partnered with the American Cancer Society.

Other Finalists:
Hope Hagan and her Business and Technical Writing course, partnered with Covenant House
Aleta Anderson and her Introductory German course, partnered with Palmer Elementary School
Dr. Sherry Knoppers and her Community Transcultural Nursing Course, partnered with South End Community Outreach Ministry
Gayl Beals and his Automotive Job Training Course, partnered with Mel Trotter Ministries.

Congratulations to the 2014 Armen Award winners and all who participated!

End of Year Faculty Association Meeting

Posted on

Faculty Association meeting next week Friday, May 2 at 10am – Music Building, Second Floor Recital Hall.

All GRCC faculty are invited to attend!  Adjunct faculty, this means YOU – there will be discussion of the proposed new adjunct faculty representation on the Faculty Council.  Come and let your voice be heard!

Meeting notice and agenda: Faculty Association agenda 5-2-2014

As usual, coffee and donuts will be provided, just in time to get ready for bathing suit season!

Faculty Council Minutes

Posted on

Minutes from the April 11 Faculty Council meeting are available under the Member Resources link.

Highlights include:

  • Publication of the new contract is progressing!  The first draft has been sent to administration for approval and signatures.  Many thanks to everyone who gave time to the proofreading process!
  • Budget & dues proposals for 2014-15
  • Discussion of the proposed Adjunct Representative council position
  • Discussion of the intent of the administration to keep non-tenure employees under the 30 hour cap to avoid offering health coverage under the ACA

Retirement Celebrations!

Posted on

Two esteemed faculty members are retiring at the end of this year – join them in celebrating their contributions to GRCC!

Jonathon Russell has taught photography in the Visual Arts Department since 1977 and will be honored at a reception on Wednesday, April 23 from 1-3pm in Room 428 Main.

Dr. Robert Long has taught in the Biological Sciences Department for 38 years and will be honored at a retirement social on Thursday, April 24 from 3-5pm in Room 125/127 Calkins Science Center.

Faculty Council Meets This Friday

Posted on

The agenda for the upcoming faculty council meeting is available under the Member Resources menu link.  Once again, representatives highlighted in yellow are those whose terms are expiring at the end of this year.  Faculty in those departments should be sure to choose a representative for the new term beginning in Fall 2014.

New Faculty Association Proposal for Adjunct Faculty

Posted on Updated on

From Fred van Hartesveldt, President of the Faculty Association:

Hello, GRCC faculty colleagues:

An ongoing topic of discussion this year at Faculty Council and among Faculty Association officers and negotiating team members has been adjunct faculty representation, communication and work load. We have about 575 adjunct faculty members this semester, more than two adjunct faculty for each full-time faculty member. Adjunct faculty members contribute about a third of the Faculty Association revenue. Faculty Association resources expended for adjunct faculty have grown tremendously. This has been much of the work of only a handful of full-time faculty members – the negotiating team, grievance representatives and myself.

Your Faculty Association officers, negotiating team members and I believe that we can better share the resources and responsibilities of the Faculty Association and improve Faculty Association representation for all faculty. Long-term changes, through changes to the Faculty Constitution, should be considered and decided upon by Faculty Council and the entire Faculty Association membership. If constitutional changes are to be considered, it would take time and under our by-laws can’t be done until next year. However, an immediate option endorsed by the Faculty Association negotiating team and myself is to engage an adjunct faculty member to represent and advocate for adjunct faculty above and beyond the duties of the Faculty Council adjunct representatives. This work will include:

  • responding to adjunct requests for information,
  • communicating with adjunct faculty,
  • representing adjuncts regarding contractual responsibilities, benefits, disciplinary matters and grievances,
  • working with the Faculty Council adjunct representatives and periodically reporting to Faculty Council, and
  • working with appropriate administrators, Faculty Association officers and negotiating team members regarding adjunct concerns.

This work will start next fall and pay three hours of release time to an adjunct faculty member. If it succeeds or at least shows sufficient promise, the work may continue in the Winter 2015 semester and beyond. My guess is that this work will take several hours a week; the compensation can be adjusted if the actual time is more or less than expected. If you’re an adjunct faculty member interested in doing this paid work in 2014 – 2015, please reply to this email. The pay rate will be the overload rate of the faculty member doing the work, and the work does count towards the cap on work load for adjunct faculty. You’ll be required to keep track of your time and the work you do. This work as yet has no job title; as the work evolves, so might an appropriate title.

The over-riding intent of this is to strengthen the Faculty Association as one group of all faculty by distributing Faculty Association workload, resources and representation to better include adjunct faculty. If it’s a bad idea, it can end as quickly as it begins; whether or not it works, it can inform Faculty Council’s consideration of constitutional changes in 2014 – 2015.

Faculty Council discussed this topic this past Friday, April 11, so feel free to contact your Faculty Council representative about it. This will also be on the agenda for discussion at the Faculty Association meeting on Friday, May 2.

Fred van Hartesveldt
Faculty Association President.