Save the date: Chapter meeting Friday, October 16

The WMU-AAUP fall chapter meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday, October
16, in room of the 157 Bernhard Center.

Here are some of the agenda items we’re working on for the meeting:

  • Chapter budget proposal for 2016
  • Workload reporting under Article 42
  • WMU support staff unionization effort
  • What do professors do? The Invisible Hours project
  • “Alternative Healthcare Plan” discussions
  • APR&P results
  • Celebrating the national AAUP centennial

Please send your suggestions for agenda items to

All bargaining-unit members are encouraged to attend the chapter meeting. As always, there will be tasty snacks and lively conversation.

Photo of September 2014 chapter meeting

First-work/midterm grade policy and academic freedom

While the administration encourages all faculty to submit first-work and midterm grades, faculty members who prefer to use other methods of communicating feedback to students are within their rights. In other words, WMU-AAUP bargaining-unit faculty are not required to submit first-work or midterm grades.

It is of course important for students to receive meaningful feedback in response to their work and about their progress in their courses. However, the process of calculating and submitting first-work and midterm grades can add considerably to the workloads of faculty who are already providing substantive feedback to their students in more direct, detailed, and individualized ways.

At this point, faculty members have no way to know whether the extra work is justified because no data has been made available to us to demonstrate whether the submission of interim grades into a centralized system is an effective tool for improving student success rates or retention.

Additionally, how faculty evaluate student work is a matter of academic freedom, in accordance with Article 13 in the 2014-17 Agreement. The faculty’s right to academic freedom includes the right to make decisions about how and when to provide feedback.

To summarize, while the administration encourages faculty to submit first-work and midterm grades, you are not contractually obligated to do so. If it is your experience that first-work and midterm grades are helpful to the students in your classes, by all means please submit them as you see fit.

Whatever your decision, the WMU-AAUP leadership respects – and will continue to defend – your right to academic freedom.

What do professors do? The Invisible Hours project

Invisible Hours Planning Meeting
Friday, October 9, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon
Montague House (814 Oakland Drive)

As part of our year-long centennial celebration, Dr. Gwen Tarbox (English) has agreed to head up a project designed to highlight the “invisible hours” spent on the job by WMU faculty members from across disciplines and colleges.

In an environment in which many politicians, educational consultants, and university administrators hold inaccurate assumptions about faculty workloads, the results of the Invisible Hours project can be communicated to a broad constituency, including campus administrators, students, parents, and the public, and provide a useful counterargument.

The project will involve both a quantitative component, as faculty volunteers chart their work hours over a period between January 12 and March 8, 2016, and a qualitative component, as colleagues will be invited to provide short written reflections on the invisible work that they conduct as faculty members.

Faculty members are invited to participate in a planning session for the Invisible Hours project to be held on Friday, October 9, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, at Montague House. At this planning session, participants will set up methodologies, develop a call for project participants, and discuss data collection procedures.

A light brunch (bagels, donuts, fruit, coffee, and juice) will be served at the meeting. There is onsite parking available for attendees in the WMU-AAUP lot behind Montague House.

Click here to RSVP for the Oct. 9 planning meeting.

Thanks in advance to all who plan to participate in this exciting initiative. To learn more about the issues the Invisible Hours project is intended to address, please refer to the links below.

“What Do Professors Do All Day?” by Philip Nel, Kansas State University

“What Do Faculty Do?” National AAUP

“So Much to Do, So Little Time,” by Colleen Flaherty (Inside Higher Education)

“And the Livin’ Is Easy?” by Kaustuv Basu (Inside Higher Education)

“The Math Doesn’t Work,” by Nate Kreuter, Western Carolina University (Inside Higher Education)

“The Hidden Work Life Of University Faculty,” by David Skorton and Glenn Altschuler (Forbes)

“The Long, Lonely Job of Homo academicus,” by John Ziker, Boise State University (The Blue Review)

“Academe as Slacker Heaven,” by Gene C. Vant, Jr. (Chronicle of Higher Education)


WMU-AAUP at Bronco Bash! Friday, September 11, 3-7 p.m.

Join us tomorrow at Bronco Bash to celebrate our first-ever WMU-AAUP Bronco Bash booth!

In addition to welcoming students back to campus and handing out fabulous WMU-AAUP swag, we’ll also be educating the campus community about the role of the faculty in providing a top-quality educational experience for students and the role of the WMU-AAUP in advocating for higher education as a public good.

We’ll be in Booth #222, just off the walkway leading to the main entrance of Sangren Hall with McCracken Hall behind us. From the main entrance of Sangren, follow the walkway out into the pedestrian mall toward McCracken, and after you pass the information booth, turn left onto the next walkway. The WMU-AAUP booth will be the third on your right.

(Click here for the 2015 Bronco Bash map.)

The WMU-AAUP booth will be open and staffed with faculty colleagues from 3 to 7 p.m. tomorrow. Hope to see you there for this fun event and exciting student outreach opportunity!

WMU-AAUP Seita Scholar Gift Card Initiative

In honor of the National AAUP Centennial, the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee is launching a chapter project to raise money to purchase gift cards for students in the WMU Seita Scholarship program. These will be Visa gift cards that can be used anywhere that accepts Visa.

We invite faculty to support this initiative by making contributions in any amount.

In consultation with Seita program staff, we have set January 2016 as our target date for distributing the gift cards to the Seita Scholars. The program staff has outlined the challenges that these students face upon returning to school after the holidays, a critical time of year when finances are often stretched to their limits.

The WMU-AAUP office is now collecting faculty donations to this project, with the goal of raising enough money to fund gift cards for all Seita Scholars, who are projected to number approximately 150 this academic year. Our objective is to provide gift cards in the amount of at least $25 apiece.

We understand that many faculty are already active supporters of the Seita program and the students it serves, and we appreciate your support for this important campus initiative.

If you’d like to join your faculty colleagues as a WMU-AAUP Seita contributor, there are several ways to donate:

  • Send your check (payable to the WMU-AAUP) via campus mail to mail stop 5401.
  • Bring your donation to the WMU-AAUP Fall BBQ on Sept. 8.
  • Stop by Montague House with your cash or check donation. (Note: The office will be closed August 24-September 7 for the semester break.)

At this time, we do not have an online donation option, but we hope to offer one soon.

Thank you in advance for your support of the WMU-AAUP Seita project!

visual image of chapter logo "stronger together"The American Association of University Professors

Kate Langan named interim contract administrator

Interim Contract Administrator Kate LanganPlease join us in welcoming Professor Kathleen Langan (University Libraries) as the interim contract administrator for the WMU-AAUP. A long-serving member of the Association Council, Kate comes to us with extensive understanding of the contract and a strong commitment to serving the faculty and the union. Her interim appointment became effective on July 31, following a unanimous vote of the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee has also voted unanimously to recommend Kate to serve as the chapter’s contract administrator for the two-year term that begins in September 2015 and runs through August 31, 2017. Next month, the Association Council will meet to discuss this recommendation and hold a confirmation vote.

In the meantime, we are delighted to welcome Kate to the leadership team as interim contract administrator, and we appreciate her willingness to take on this challenging work.

WMU-AAUP Fall BBQ Sept 8

Kick off the new academic year, reconnect with old friends, and welcome our new faculty colleagues at the WMU-AAUP Annual Fall BBQ on Tuesday, September 8, at Montague House (814 Oakland Drive). We’ll also be celebrating the AAUP Centennial and the 40th anniversary of the WMU-AAUP!

Please RSVP by Friday, August 14 to or call 345-0151.

Click on image to enlarge.

Flier for 2015 WMU-AAUP Fall BBQRead and sign the AAUP Centennial Declaration here.