New Faculty and Association Council Luncheon Sept. 16

New members of the board-appointed faculty at WMU are invited to the WMU-AAUP New Faculty and Association Council Luncheon on Friday, September 16, at 11:30 a.m. in 157 Bernhard.

This is an opportunity for new colleagues to meet faculty from across the university and to get acquainted with their faculty union officers and their college and department representatives. New faculty members and WMU-AAUP Association Council representatives should have already received their invitations to this special event. (Please contact if you’re a new hire or an AC rep and have not received your invitation yet.)

The luncheon will feature special guest speaker Dr. Risa Lieberwitz, Professor of Labor and Employment Law at Cornell University and General Counsel of the American Association of University Professors. In addition to her appearance at the luncheon, Dr. Lieberwitz will also give a public presentation, “The History, Uses, and Abuses of Title IX,” at 4 p.m. on September 16. (More information about that here.)

The luncheon will be followed by the regular Association Council meeting, which begins at 1:30 p.m. and will also be in 157 Bernhard.

We understand the challenges that new colleagues can face in their first years on campus and how isolating it can sometimes feel when you’re new in the department. We are fortunate to have a wonderful community of faculty here at WMU, and we encourage our new colleagues to join us at the luncheon to meet and socialize with other new faculty and their union reps while also learning more about how the WMU-AAUP serves the faculty and the kinds of support and resources that are available to union members.

Especially in a national and regional climate that continues to challenge our claims to decent pay, benefits, and working conditions, we as university faculty must work together to make the case for higher education as a public good. As educators, researchers, artists, and scholars, professors are uniquely qualified to lead these discussions. Getting to know each other is a great way to start to come together as a united faculty who can make our case effectively, especially as we prepare for contract negotiations next year.


Meeting on university finances January 24

WMU-AAUP Meeting on University Finances
with WMU President John Dunn and
VP for Business and Finance Jan Van Der Kley

Friday, January 24, 2014, at 2:30 p.m.
Room 204 Bernhard Center

A special Association Council meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 24, at 2:30 p.m., in room 204 of the Bernhard Center, to discuss university finances with WMU President John Dunn and VP for Business and Finance Jan Van Der Kley.

All Association Council representatives are encouraged to attend and to invite other interested colleagues. Please bring your questions for President Dunn and Vice President Van Der Kley, or just come to listen.

Colleagues interested in university finances are directed to check with their department’s Association Council representative(s) to the WMU-AAUP (pdf list of reps at the link) for information about the WMU audited financial statement for 2012-13. You may also want to view the WMU university budget and financial planning documents linked below in advance of the meeting:

See the glossary of terms at this link for information about the line-item labels on WMU financial documents.

Hope to see you there on Friday!

Other relevant reading material is available at the following links:

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

GuideStar pages (financial and other information about nonprofit organization):

Information on how to read financial statements:

Government Accounting Standards Board documents:

GASB does not allow links to individual pronouncements, so click on this link to the GASB Pronouncements page and scroll down to the links to Statements 4, 61, 63, and 65 to review the accounting standards followed by WMU in the 2012-13 financial statement attached to this email.

On university budgets and athletics:

Equity update and WMU-AAUP communications

Since Monday, September 10, emails from the WMU-AAUP to the faculty (i.e., mass emails sent from our wmuaaup account) have been blocked by the WMU server from delivery to wmich addresses.

The first blocked email we are aware of was one we sent on Monday morning, September 9, and again on Tuesday, September 10, with the subject line “Sept 10 paychecks and gender equity adjustments.” It was a reminder that the one percent increase faculty would start seeing in our September 10 paychecks was an across-the-board increase negotiated in 2011 and not an equity adjustment. That message was also posted to the Chapter blog and is linked here.

The block remained in place all last week and still remains, although it was supposed to have been corrected by late Wednesday, September 11, or early Thursday, September 12, and we were in fact told by WMU email tech support last week that they believed it was fixed. However, we discovered on Friday, September 13, that the block was still in place when we attempted to send out a subsequent equity update. What you are reading now is the message we attempted to send to the faculty on Monday, September 16, which was also blocked.

Because of these issues, and because we have no way to predict or prevent their possible recurrence, we encourage you to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar on home page), join the WMU-AAUP Facebook page, and/or follow the WMU-AAUP on Twitter so that you will receive important information without delay.

Now, about equity:

As some of you may have seen last Friday, September 13, on the  blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account, or as you may have heard from your Association Council representative (i.e., department rep), I got an equity update later in the week, although the email I sent out to the faculty on Friday to disseminate that information was, as I’ve already mentioned, also blocked.

The gist of last Friday’s update is that no one got an equity adjustment in their September 10 paycheck because the process has been delayed on the administration’s end. I have no idea how long a delay we are looking at, but I have the impression that, unfortunately, we are not likely to see a quick resolution.

Of course the administration should have communicated this to the faculty (along with an explanation) in advance of the first Fall 2013 paychecks, rather than just leaving everyone wondering, not to mention leaving a lot of significantly underpaid colleagues devastated when they saw no adjustment in their September 10 paychecks and believed they’d been passed over. The good news in all this is that there is still hope for these colleagues, but I wish they could have been spared the unnecessary hurt in the meantime.

There’s more about all this here, although not much more, unfortunately, because we still don’t know very much. So I really hope the next thing we hear about equity comes directly from the administration to the faculty. Our colleagues will be understandably disappointed when they hear about the latest delay, especially after all the delays and problems we’ve already experienced in this process, which began with a negotiated agreement in 2008 to conduct an equity study in order to determine the scope of the problem. It continued in 2011, when we negotiated an agreement that requires the administration to take action during the 2011-14 contract period on the significant salary disparities documented in the studies.

It’s also disappointing that the administration does not seem to have made it a priority to inform the faculty — which they ought to have done before the first fall paychecks were issued — about what appears to be a significant change in its plans for correcting long-standing salary inequities experienced by many members of the faculty.

I wrote to Provost Greene on Sunday, September 8, to ask him for information about what we should expect on September 10 and to reiterate a point I had made to him several months ago, which is that the faculty needs (and deserves) information from the administration about how their individual cases have been decided. I also informed him that I would be contacting the faculty on September 9 to remind them about the one percent ATB so that there would be no confusion.

Now, over a week after our first payday, the faculty still has heard nothing from the administration. A lot of people on this campus have not been paid fairly; that has been unequivocally documented in the studies. We have a signed Letter of Agreement from the 2011 negotiations that requires them to take action to correct those inequities. Many of our colleagues have been waiting a long time for redress, and they deserve an explanation for why they must now wait even longer. I wish I had one to give you.

In other news, the WMU-AAUP will host Angela Hewitt from the national AAUP at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, September 20, in rooms 105-107 of the Bernhard Center (immediately following the Association Council meeting). She will help us build faculty engagement for a successful contract campaign. All bargaining-unit members are invited to attend, and I hope to see a lot of you there. We have a very tough negotiation coming up, and we are going to need to be organized and ready for it. Angela is coming here to help us with that, but faculty support campus-wide is going to be the key. Please join us if you can.

In solidarity,

Lisa Cohen Minnick
President, WMU-AAUP
Associate Professor of English
and Gender & Women’s Studies
Western Michigan University
814 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008

The Equity Wiki Is Up!

Join the WMU-AAUP Equity Wiki

At the WMU-AAUP Association Council meeting on Friday, March 15, a central topic of discussion focused on faculty concerns about the “Gender Pay Equity Adjustments 2012-13 – Guiding Principles & Process” document circulated to the deans in early February by the WMU Office of Academic Affairs. As we discussed at the February AC and Chapter meetings, and as we’ve written elsewhere on this blog, many colleagues have questions as well as serious reservations about the process as it is described in the document and as it is being implemented in various departments and colleges.

So, what’s new?

At the Association Council meeting yesterday, a number of new questions and concerns arose. Specifically, we were all astonished to learn from others at the meeting that one or more of the following scenarios applies to many of the faculty members who were present at the meeting and who represent multiple departments and nearly every college:

  • Colleagues in their departments had been appointed to the equity committees in their colleges without their knowledge.
  • Equity committees in some colleges have scheduled meetings coming up very soon (i.e., next week), previously unbeknownst to them.
  • The equity committee in their college had already met, previously unbeknownst to them.
  • There is no faculty representative on their college committee from their department, as far as they know.

Additionally, from the AC reps’ reports yesterday, we also learned that the processes and procedures seem to be varying widely from department to department and college to college. (For example, committee representatives are elected by the faculty in some departments and appointed by the chair in others.) While we agree that one size rarely fits all, there seems now to be a great deal of additional (and understandable) confusion among faculty because the procedures now being implemented seem inconsistent with the guidelines and/or with what they had otherwise been led to believe would happen in their department or college.

Now, what about the wiki?

Serious communication problems have plagued the equity process from the beginning, and the Office of Academic Affairs continues to decline to communicate directly with the faculty about it, which results in ongoing concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding the project. Needless to say, this has been frustrating for all of us.

However, we can take action to inform and empower ourselves, including by collecting and sharing information. At the AC meeting yesterday, many colleagues spoke up to share their knowledge and observations about what is going on with the equity process. Those of us who were present found their contributions to be extremely helpful, relevant, and important enough to document and share with other colleagues. In fact, several colleagues proposed that we find a way to document and disseminate the information and reports that were being shared.

This is where the Equity Wiki comes in.

So, what is a wiki, exactly?

A wiki is a kind of blog that functions collaboratively and can be a highly efficient and effective way to get up-to-date information out to our colleagues very quickly. A wiki is different from an ordinary blog, though: In addition to having access to read the material posted here, all users also have the ability to add information directly.

The purpose of the Equity Wiki, then, is to create a clearinghouse for information about how the process is unfolding in the various departments and colleges across the WMU campus by collecting examples, experiences, and stories from individual faculty members campus-wide. The Equity Wiki is open to all members of the WMU-AAUP bargaining unit as a source for accessing information about what is happening with the process.

We invite you to share your knowledge with other WMU faculty colleagues by posting information and news there where we can all access it quickly and easily.

Who can see what we post on the Equity Wiki?

The Equity Wiki is is a private site, which means that only members can view or post content.

What if I am not a fan of learning a new technology?

We totally get that. We chose WikiSpaces as the host for the Equity Wiki because of its user-friendliness and (relatively) gentle learning curve. Like you, we are also learning as we go. And we will help in any way we can. This is an experiment for all of us. If it works well, it could be a powerful resource for faculty in all kinds of ways, including in relation to the equity process but in other situations as well. So we are enthusiastic about the potential here but also well aware that sometimes things don’t work out the way we hope they will. We hope you’ll be willing to join us in this experiment, take some time to explore the site and see how it works, and join the conversation.

Join the Equity Wiki now!