BOT Letter #4

From: Concannon, Breege []
Sent: Friday, May 02, 2014 9:55 AM
Cc: Adjunct Faculty;
Subject: Vote of no confidence

Yesterday was a very sad day for WCC, as a faculty member I hoped it would not come to a vote of no confidence but I have sat through several board of trustees meetings and watched as you, the trustees basically ignored our requests for better communication and collaboration. This was our last option. It is an awful option but we have been left with no choice.

You are the trustees of our college; that is an important job, and with that job comes many responsibilities. You are responsible for the health of this college, this college is not healthy and the problems are being ignored. You say it is because we don’t want to accept change, that is so absurd as to be almost humorous, but I am not laughing. In my professional, and personal life, I have made changes that are almost unthinkable, I have emigrated to a completely different continent, coming from Ireland, in pursuit of my education, I moved from one side of this great country to the other to finish that education finally ending in the middle, and then I began what was my real goal from the beginning my teaching career. In the course of my 16years of teaching chemistry, I have changed everything I do multiple times, I started with chalk, now I use the internet for almost every aspect of what I teach. I use a new teaching techniques called Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning to enable my students to learn not only chemistry but team work, communication, and collaboration skills. I highlight those terms because I really like those concepts. I have rewritten and changed my course countless times over the years, and still every time I teach it I find new things I could change to make it even better, as it is never perfect, it is always a work in progress. I have changed the way I interact with students as the result of going to professional development opportunities like On-Course, and peer workshops. I have initiated a peer led study group for my students, even though I like to think I should always be in charge of the learning that goes on in my course. I wrote and developed in collaboration with Eastern Michigan University professors a completely new course for WCC, Chemistry for Elementary Teachers. And I am resistant to change!

I love WCC, I love my students, and I love the people at WCC who are willing to share their passion for their subject matter and teaching with our students. WCC has enabled to me to grow and change so much as an educator and person, and it enables our students to do the same. I loved our administration when the door of the president’s office was open to anyone who had a question or a problem, now there are several layers before you can even get near that newly renovated door, and even if you make it that far, it is often closed. My dean Marty Showalter is retiring this year, Marty’s door was an open door, and her office was a place to go ask questions, bounce ideas, and just chat. While I am happy for her to able to spend more time with her family after a lifetime of teaching and working for WCC, I worry that her replacement will be another closed door type of person. Two other deans are also returning to faculty after several years in administration and I wonder why, not because I don’t like change. Why would one leave a department that has the only growing enrollment in the college?
I am not fearful of change, I am however afraid of changes that occur without any thought as to their consequences, I am afraid that money is being spent without thought or over-sight, and I am very afraid that the very people trusted by the people of Washtenaw County with a very important job are failing to do that job, and are being blind-sided by words, statements and pictures without substance or follow-through. We had an in-service speaker this Winter who spoke about the important job the board of trustees and the president do, he spoke of communication and collaboration, we would really like some of that now instead of hearing the same message, we are ready for change, we are changing, can you, the board of trustees change too?

Breege Concannon
Professional faculty
Physical Sciences

(reprinted with permission)


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