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.”