15th BOT Speech 26 May 2015
I was struck last week at the special budgetary meeting by the powerful visual of the college administration sitting at the large rectangular table working with the college’s Board of Trustee members. The seating was informal, as far as I could tell, and Deans sat next to Trustee members, who sat next to Vice Presidents. Despite the several dramatic moments of tension between newly elected and long time Trustee members, it was clear that everyone sitting at the table cares deeply about the college and its future. I do value and appreciate that.
Dean Blair has served as my interim dean for the last several years, in what I know has been at times a very challenging position. I want to formally thank her for her work on behalf of students and faculty. As you know, her position will soon be filled temporarily by Dean Kris Good, who will become the defacto General Education Dean. I’m looking forward to working with Kris, who I have found to be a clear and thoughtful communicator. Dean Brandon Tucker has done exemplary work over the last year, very quickly stepping into his new role. Dean Kim Hurns has worked to bring order to some very challenging situations, not the least of which is her ongoing work with the Evaluation committee. Dean Val Greaves has been working double time this year, first as the Nursing department chair, and now as the long awaited Health Dean. We are fortunate in having such fine people step forward to serve. I know that they take their responsibilities seriously, and want them to know that their faculty appreciates them.
I spoke briefly to you last week about negotiations, and how surprised we were at Mr. Entenman’s unzipping of the contract. In the past, working with VP Kruzel as Chief Negotiator, there had always been a connection between the parameters set in our pre-negotiation talks, and what actually happened during negotiations. As you no doubt know, despite the ongoing progress happening each week during negotiations, it appears Mr. Entenman has called in a mediator. It is hard not to look at Mr. Entenman’s actions as Chief Negotiator as some sort of retribution for my declining this past fall to undergo mutual gains bargaining training with Dr. Bellanca’s leadership team. As I tried to make clear then, mutual gains training does not heal broken environments, and has been proven only to work in climates that already function with trust. There are ways to improve communication and to restore trust. I would so like us to work on that together.
Lastly, as someone who has advocated for the student writers and editors of the Washtenaw Voice to have an advisor since Mr. Gave left the paper in December, I’ve asked repeatedly for the students working on that paper to be included in the decision making process. When I last brought up my concern, I was assured that the advisor position would be posted sometime in May. I asked at that time whether the position would be a full time position, and was told there had not been a decision made about that yet. It will be May for 5 more days – I very much hope that a full time advisor position will be posted soon, and that the student writers and editors who have already committed to working on the paper for the Fall term will be able to participate in the hiring process for their next advisor.