21st BOT Speech 8 December 2015
I was heartened to read the two recent statements from President Bellanca stating that the college will be making the case to HLC that all of our full time faculty are indeed highly qualified. Unfortunately, there is a significant gap between her comments and those of our VPI. I hope that tension gets resolved. I should tell you that I finally did get the information about which FT faculty were notified of HLC concerns regarding their qualifications to continue teaching what they teach. For that, I thank VP Kruzel and Marla Stuck. Also, I have yet to hear anything about the “qualified” status of the 107 adjunct faculty currently teaching for WCC, or about what measures the college will be willing to provide these important long term faculty in terms of financial resources or release time should they need to go back to school to continue teaching what they have been teaching.
As one of the few folks who completed last month’s security survey, I should tell you that in my responses to that survey I expressed serious concerns about what seemed to me to be the inherent bias and slant of that survey. I don’t know if the survey comments were made available to you, but I know I was not the only person who filled it out who thought its intent was to justify a move to an armed presence on campus. I know that at last month’s BOT meeting concerns were voiced about the lack of faculty and staff involvement in the campus wide conversations that have been happening about this initiative of President Bellanca’s. I’d add my voice to those concerns – without including faculty perspectives on this issue, I don’t understand the speed with which this issue is moving forward. The recommendation in tonight’s Tab H appears to be written as though approval is expected and all systems are go. One brief survey is not the same as having honest and thoughtful campus-wide discourse.
Shared governance between the WCC faculty and this administration has been in steady decline over the last 4 years. One of the few remnants of that still in place was the courtesy of asking the WCCEA leadership to appoint faculty to committees. To be clear, the WCCEA has the contractual right to appoint faculty to certain committees, but formerly our culture included asking the WCCEA to make having faculty appointments to other, non-contractual, committees. For example, former CIO, Amin Ladha, would ask the WCCEA to appoint faculty each year to his campus-wide Technology committee. Given that HLC is expecting a report from the college this January about how this administration has improved its communication with faculty, I think it would serve the college as a whole for this administration to include more faculty in committees and in campus-wide conversations. If it affects students, it affects faculty. If we are part of the conversation from the beginning, there will be more buy-in campus wide, and we will be able to work together in better ways.
Lastly, I asked 5 distinct faculty members that I happened to run into today what they thought I should tell you. One of them reminded me that many of us working in the classroom are having meaningful and rich exchanges with our students here at the end of the Fall 2015 semester. Teaching here remains rich and important work, and at that level, life is good. I hope that for each you the holiday season is a time of restoration and joy.