Mingus Named WMU-AAUP Contract Administrator

MatthewBargaining-unit faculty voted unanimously at the chapter meeting on February 16, 2017, to approve the appointment of Dr. Matthew Mingus, Professor of Public Administration, to the position of contract administrator of the WMU-AAUP, following the recommendation (also unanimous) of the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee on February 10.

With extensive union experience, including service as WMU-AAUP chapter president (2013) and on the 2011 bargaining team, as well as internationally recognized expertise in public administration, Matthew brings a wealth of valuable skills and knowledge to the position.

He will serve as interim contract administrator until the current term expires on August 31, 2017. On September 1, 2017, he will begin a two-year term that runs through August 31, 2019.

We could not be more delighted to have Matthew back on the WMU-AAUP leadership team and appreciate his willingness to serve in this demanding and often difficult job. Please join us in welcoming (and thanking) him.

 

Get involved: Contract campaign training with Kira Schuman Feb. 22-23

“Campus Organizing and Building Your Contract Action Team”
Kira Schuman, National AAUP Senior Program Officer


Two sessions (attend either one):

Wednesday, February 22, at 4 p.m.
Thursday, February 23, at 12:30 p.m.

Both sessions are in 207 Bernhard.


Kira Schuman, national AAUP senior program officer, will lead two training workshops on campus next week to help WMU-AAUP faculty develop new strategies for engaging and mobilizing colleagues during our 2017 contract campaign and beyond. Both sessions will focus on:

  • educating colleagues about union issues
  • activating and mobilizing the faculty to get the best contract possible
  • effective messaging for faculty engagement and community awareness
  • building and sustaining campus and community coalitions.

All dues-paying members of the WMU-AAUP bargaining unit are invited to participate.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about union organizing from one of the best!

Click on flier to enlarge.

kira_flier

 

Contract Negotiations to Start March 13; Kick-off Rally at Montague House

On Monday, February 13, our WMU-AAUP bargaining team met with the administration’s team to discuss the start date for 2017 contract negotiations and other practical and logistical topics related to the bargaining process. The two teams had previously met on January 30 to begin these discussions in response to a proposal from the administration to start negotiations earlier in the year than usual. (The first bargaining session in 2014 was on April 17.)

At the February 13 meeting, our WMU-AAUP team and the administration’s team agreed to a start date of Monday, March 13, and established a schedule of meeting dates for the remainder of the spring semester. The teams will meet for bargaining sessions every Monday afternoon from March 13 through final exam week in April (with the exception of Monday, March 6, during spring break). During the spring semester, our team is constrained to this limited schedule by their academic-year teaching, research, and service responsibilities. Beginning in Summer 1, the teams will increase the frequency and length of their meetings.

In addition to setting out their bargaining schedule for spring, the two teams also exchanged lists of contract articles that the respective sides plan to open and agreed on negotiation ground rules.

Our WMU-AAUP team is looking forward to sharing information about the contract articles and ground rules with the faculty at the chapter meeting on Thursday, February 16, and encourages all bargaining-unit members to attend. Guest speaker Howard Bunsis, professor of accounting at Eastern Michigan University and chair of the national AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress, will open the meeting with a presentation, “A Question of Priorities: Understanding University Finances,” at 2:30 p.m. in the Fetzer Center. The chapter meeting will immediately follow Howard’s lecture.

In consultation with the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee, our team (Chief Negotiator Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham, Whitney DeCamp, Bruce Ferrin, Jeremy Hierholzer, and Mike Miller) has been working to craft proposals for the articles to be discussed during the 2017 negotiation cycle. They also continue to meet with faculty and review feedback from the faculty survey sent out last week. (The survey will remain open until February 22, so please respond if you haven’t already.) The team is also looking forward to receiving additional input and feedback from the faculty at Thursday’s chapter meeting.

To schedule a meeting in your department with members of the bargaining team, contact your WMU-AAUP Association Council representative, call us at the chapter office at 345-0151, or email staff@wmuaaup.net.


2017 NEGOTIATIONS KICKOFF RALLY
Monday, March 13, 2017, 2-3 p.m.

All bargaining-unit faculty, their families, faculty retirees, and allies are invited to Montague House for snacks and solidarity as we send off our 2017 WMU-AAUP negotiation team in style to their first bargaining session. Be there to show your support!

Montague House is located at 814 Oakland Drive. Parking is available at the Little Theater or WMU Lot 10.

Please don’t park at the medical school. They are not nice about it.

Administration Requests Early Start to Bargaining, Teams Meet to Discuss

On Monday, January 30, our WMU-AAUP bargaining team met with the administration’s team to discuss a proposal from the administration to begin 2017 contract negotiations earlier in the year than usual. (The first bargaining session in 2014 was on April 17.)

The administration’s initial request, made informally in December 2016, was to begin negotiating on January 9, 2017. However, this was a nonstarter for our team, who wanted to begin the spring semester by focusing on meeting their new classes. Our team, appointed in December, also wanted more time than would have been feasible with a January start date to build experience working together and to prepare for the bargaining process. Finally, they also felt strongly that they could not go to the bargaining table without having invested the necessary time in meeting with faculty to discuss negotiation priorities.

After consulting with the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee, our team (Chief Negotiator Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham, Whitney DeCamp, Bruce Ferrin, Jeremy Hierholzer, and Mike Miller) declined the administration’s request to start bargaining in January but agreed to hear their proposal to start later this semester but potentially earlier than in 2014.

At the January 30 meeting, the two sides did not reach an agreement on a start date, although both sides agreed that there may be value in exploring the possibility of an early start.

The two teams have arranged to meet again on February 13 for further consideration and look forward to having more to report to the faculty at the special chapter meeting scheduled for Thursday, February 16.

In the meantime, Cynthia, Whitney, Bruce, Jeremy, and Mike have been hard at work preparing for negotiations and attending department meetings to discuss faculty priorities. To schedule a meeting in your department with members of the bargaining team, contact your WMU-AAUP Association Council representative, call us at the chapter office at 345-0151, or email staff@wmuaaup.net.

#StrengthInSolidarity

Click here for the 2017 contract campaign calendar.

U.S. professors take stand against executive order on immigration — we can, too

Thousands of professors from across the U.S. have signed on to a letter protesting the president’s January 27 Executive Order banning the entry of refugees and immigrants from Syria, Iraq, Iran, and four other predominantly Muslim countries into the United States:

“The people whose status in the United States would be reconsidered are our students, friends, colleagues, and members of our communities,” the professors write. “The implementation will necessarily tear families apart by restricting entry for family members who live outside of the U.S. and limiting the ability to travel for those who reside and work in the U.S. These restrictions would be applied to nearly all individuals from these countries, regardless of their immigration status or any other circumstances. This measure is fatally disruptive to the lives of these immigrants, their families, and the communities of which they form an integral part. It is inhumane, ineffective, and un-American.”

Click here for the full letter and instructions for how to sign on.


The concerns raised in the letter are of course applicable to WMU faculty and students. Two incidents that occurred this weekend hit particularly close to home:

  • A Stanford graduate student originally from Sudan was detained and handcuffed at JFK airport in New York on Saturday. The student, a Harvard graduate, is a legal resident of the United States, where she has lived since 1993.
  • Two faculty members at UMass Dartmouth, Dr. Mazdak Pourabdollah Tootkaboni and Dr. Arghavan Louhghalam, were detained at Logan airport in Boston on Saturday on their way back from attending an academic conference in France. Professors Tootkaboni and Louhghalam are both originally from Iran and have legal resident status in the United States. A district court ruling in Boston early Sunday ordered their release and blocks similar detentions at Logan.

In November 2016, the WMU-AAUP faculty voted by an overwhelming margin to approve a Resolution in Solidarity with Western Michigan University Students, including the international and immigrant students for whom the Executive Order raises immediately pressing fears. The Resolution was a good first step, but now we must do more to stand in solidarity with these students and with our international and immigrant colleagues.

What can we do to help?

  1. Talk with students and colleagues. Make sure they know we have their backs, that we will support them, that we will listen to them, and that we will not betray them.
  2. Contact President Dunn and urge him to take a public stand in support of our international and immigrant students and colleagues. Updated January 31: Read President Dunn’s statement here.
  3. Print out a copy of the Resolution of Solidarity and post it on your office door and/or contact the WMU-AAUP office to request a solidarity card for your office door.
  4. Sign on to the Academics Against Immigration Executive Order letter and share it with colleagues.
  5. Join or donate to the American Civil Liberties Union to help them bring legal challenges against discriminatory activities resulting from the Executive Order and follow them on Twitter to stay up to date on their progress.
  6. Participate in demonstrations against the Executive Order and use social media as another way to make visible your support for and solidarity with students and colleagues.
  7. Check in frequently with your favorite news sources to keep informed about this developing story. Things are happening fast and changing constantly and are likely to continue to do so.
    • For example, a federal judge in New York blocked a key provision of the Executive Order Saturday night. On Sunday morning, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement suggesting that it may not comply with the rulings.
    • A White House spokesman now (as of Sunday morning, January 29) “appears to be walking back” the part of the Executive Order that would ban re-entry into the U.S. for permanent legal residents with green cards.

Links to more info about this developing story:

Some Colleges Warning Foreign Students on Travel After Trump’s Immigration Order, by Michael Edison Hayden. ABC News, January 28, 2017.

As protests roiled, professors who were detained at Logan airport waited, by Nestor Ramos. Boston Globe, January 29, 2017.

U.S. colleges rush to help students, scholars affected by Trump’s immigration order, by Valerie Strauss. Washington Post, January 29, 2017.

Sudanese student at Stanford detained, handcuffed at JFK airport, by Queenie Wong. San Jose Mercury News, January 28, 2017.

University of Michigan president states support for international students, by Martin Slagter. MLive, January 29, 2017.

Oklahoma University President David Boren affirms support for students, staff affected by immigration ban in statement, by Greg Brown. Fox 23 News (Tulsa, OK), January 29, 2017.

Colleges brace to shield students from immigration raids, by Alan Gomez. USA Today, January 26, 2017.

Colleges Are Warning Thousands Of Muslim International Students Not To Travel, by Molly Hensley-Clancy. Buzzfeed, January 28, 2017.

Protests erupt at airports around the U.S. following Trump travel ban, Fox News, January 29, 2017.

Protesters Rally as Doctors, Students Blocked From Entering Country After Trump’s Orders, by Eli Rosenberg, Perry Russom and Melissa Buja. NBC Boston, January 28, 2017.

PHOTOS: Thousands Protest At Airports Nationwide Against Trump’s Immigration Order, by James Doubek. NPR, January 29, 2017.

Happy Hour at Arcadia on Friday, January 27, 5-6 p.m.

logo_happy_hourJoin us at Arcadia Brewing Co. on Friday, January 27, 5-6 pm, for the first Fourth Friday Happy Hour of the spring semester.

As we plan and prepare for contract negotiations, scheduled to get underway later this semester, these happy hours are opportunities to enjoy the company of faculty colleagues, build solidarity, and discuss negotiation priorities in an informal and family-friendly environment.

Arcadia Brewing Co. is located at 701 E. Michigan Avenue. Hope to see you there. Dues-paying members: As always, your first drink’s on us.

Meet Your 2017 WMU-AAUP Bargaining Team

Meet the team in person and get the latest news about 2017 contract negotiations at the special chapter meeting on Thursday, February 16. Click here for more information.    


Dr. Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham, WMU-AAUP Chief Negotiator (English)

Photo of Dr. Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham

Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham (PhD, West Virginia) joined the WMU faculty in 2005. Her scholarship focuses on the intersections between gift exchange and capitalism, theories of benevolence, and systems of obligation in 18th-century literature and culture. She is co-editor of The Culture of the Gift in 18th-Century England (Palgrave, 2009) and has published articles in the journals 18th-Century Studies, Philological Quarterly, and 18th-Century Theory and Interpretation, among others. Cynthia served as WMU-AAUP chief negotiator in 2014 and as associate chair of the English department as well as two terms apiece on the CAS Women’s Caucus Steering Committee and Faculty Senate. She has been an active WMU-AAUP Association Council representative since 2011.

Cynthia writes: “Faculty have the right to shape the university’s identity. The administration seems to want to deny us this right by limiting faculty involvement in decisions that impact the university’s core mission and has increasingly emphasized ‘productivity’ at the expense of shared governance and prioritized the bottom line over quality instruction. How a university assigns workload is no less than the measure of an institution’s level of commitment to intellectual inquiry and to the cultivation of critical thinking and democratic citizenship. Along with the team, I will work hard to defend our professional autonomy and academic freedom.

“How a university assigns workload is no less than the measure of an institution’s level of commitment to intellectual inquiry and to the cultivation of critical thinking and democratic citizenship.”

Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham

“We must stand up and make the case for renewed investment in the university’s core academic mission. It is unacceptable that a university should seek to subsidize its misplaced priorities, including bloated salaries of administrators and coaches, at the expense of excellence in teaching and research.”


Dr. Whitney DeCamp (Sociology)

Photo of Dr. Whitney DeCamp

Whitney DeCamp (PhD, Delaware) joined the faculty at WMU in 2011 and is associate professor of Sociology and Associate Director of the Kercher Center for Social Research. He teaches and conducts research primarily in criminology, focusing on copyright and intellectual property law. His work appears in Youth and Adolescence, Sport and Health Research, Survey Practice, Psychology of Popular Media Culture, and Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, among other journals. He has served several terms as the WMU-AAUP Association Council representative for Sociology and was recently elected to the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee.

Whitney writes
: “Serving the faculty by representing them at the bargaining table is an honor and a privilege. Each member of the team brings different strengths to this work, and it is my hope that my expertise in law and intellectual property will serve the team and the faculty well. I look forward to working with this great 2017 team.”


Dr. Bruce Ferrin (Marketing)

Photo of Dr. Bruce Ferrin

Bruce Ferrin (PhD, Penn State) has been teaching and conducting research in logistics and integrated supply management at WMU since 1998. His work appears in the Journal of Business Logistics, Decision Sciences, Journal of Supply Chain Management, International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, and Industrial Marketing Management, among other publications. He serves on the Faculty Senate Committee to Oversee General Education and co-chaired the Ad Hoc Committee on Gen Ed. Bruce is also on the Executive Council for the Integrated Supply Management Program in the Haworth College of Business and the HCOB Advisory Council of the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. He has been active in the WMU-AAUP for many years, serving as chapter treasurer in 2012 as well as several terms on the Association Council and Executive Committee, to which he has recently been re-elected.

Bruce writes: “Having worked at several universities where faculty do not have collective bargaining representation, I understand clearly its importance and value.

“We must maintain constant vigilance to protect academic freedom, faculty rights to create and maintain university curricula, and our rights to participate in shared governance, all of which I intend to fight for at the bargaining table.”

Bruce Ferrin

“In my capacity as a member of the WMU-AAUP Exec Committee, I witnessed the administration’s inappropriate treatment of faculty members accused of disciplinary infractions, experiences that strengthened my commitment to protecting the due-process rights of WMU faculty. We must maintain constant vigilance to protect academic freedom, faculty rights to create and maintain university curricula, and our rights to participate in shared governance, all of which I intend to fight for at the bargaining table. Collective bargaining representation is essential if we are to succeed in these objectives.”


Professor Jeremy Hierholzer (Aviation)

Photo of Professor Jeremy Hierholzer

Jeremy Hierholzer (MA, Western Michigan) is an FAA Certified Airframe and Powerplant mechanic with Inspection Authorization who also holds a private pilot certificate. He teaches aircraft systems for mechanics and pilots, reciprocating engine overhaul, and turbine engine systems. Before joining the faculty at WMU in 2012, Jeremy taught composites, turbine engines, electronics, and aircraft systems at Southern Illinois University and Purdue University. His expertise includes performing heavy maintenance on the Pratt and Whitney JT8D turbine engine and maintaining single-engine and light twin-engine aircraft. He has published a number of papers on preventive maintenance, investigating and analyzing engine and landing-gear failures, and safety behaviors of maintenance students. Jeremy serves on the New Faculty Orientation Committee and as faculty advisor to the WMU chapter of SkillsUSA. He recently joined the WMU-AAUP Association Council.

Jeremy writes: “My reasons for stepping up to serve on the 2017 bargaining team are simple: It is the job, if not the calling, for faculty to motivate, stimulate and educate our students. The only way we can achieve these important objectives is if we have a positive and equitable work environment, affordable health care, and a competitive compensation package so that we can focus our full attention where it belongs: on our students, our research, and the wellbeing of the institution.”


Dr. Michael Miller (Human Performance and Health Education)

Photo of Dr. Michael Miller

Michael Miller (PhD, Western Michigan) directs the master’s program in athletic training and has done extensive grant and contract work since joining the faculty at WMU in 2002. He has co-authored five textbooks as well as numerous articles, which appear in the Journal of Athletic Training, Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, Athletic Training & Sports Health Care, and other publications. Mike serves on the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board and the Faculty Research and Creative Activities review committee and previously served on the Graduate Studies Council and the Campus Planning and Finance Committee. His service includes a term on the Association Council and as the WMU-AAUP Contract Administrator.

Mike writes: “I am looking forward to bringing to the table this year my past experience as contract administrator, which included supporting and assisting the 2005 bargaining team. Additionally, because of my disciplinary interests and experience, I have been able to build trusted professional relationships with colleagues in the healthcare industry who can provide us with valuable data and insight into how healthcare costs are assessed and distributed. Finally, I will bring to the table the temperament to engage in negotiations, even when they might become tense, and I am fully prepared to stand my ground on behalf of the faculty.”


Dr. Lisa Minnick, WMU-AAUP Chapter President
(English and Gender & Women’s Studies)

Photo of Dr. Lisa Minnick

Lisa Minnick (PhD, Georgia) joined the faculty at WMU in 2004. Her teaching and research focus on language variation and change, historical linguistics, feminist and queer linguistics, and linguistic applications to literature. Her work appears in Language and Literature, Language Variation in the Secondary English Classroom, Varieties in Writing in English: The Written Word as Linguistic Evidence, and elsewhere. Her book, Dialect and Dichotomy: Literary Representations of African American Speech (Alabama, 2004), was an American Library Association CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. After several terms on the Association Council and serving on the 2011 bargaining team, Lisa became chapter president in 2013 and was re-elected in 2014 and 2016. Elected to the AAUP National Council in 2014, she also joined the national AAUP Executive Committee last year.

Lisa writes: “Since the intellectual character of any university is determined by its faculty, participation in shared governance is central to our work. The collaborative work between faculty and administration that happens during our contract negotiations is a perfect opportunity to reclaim our rightful place in helping to determine the priorities of the institution.

“It is up to all of us to remind the administration and the public that a ‘national top 100 university’ invests in its faculty.”

Lisa Minnick

“We have an outstanding team this year, and they will be extraordinarily well prepared at the table. But they can’t do this work alone. As always, the faculty’s standing in solidarity with our team will be critical to their success. If you care about shared governance, academic freedom, and investing in the core academic mission (and who among us doesn’t?), we need you to join us in saying so, loudly and repeatedly. We will keep you informed about developments at the table and about contract campaign events, but we’ll also need you to hold up your end by attending chapter meetings and events and especially by standing with our team. It is up to all of us to remind the administration and the public that a ‘national top 100 university’ invests in its faculty.”