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.

 

Association Council recommends faculty approval of solidarity resolution

WMU-AAUP Association Council Recommends Faculty Approval of
Resolution in Solidarity with Western Michigan University Students

Letter to the faculty from WMU-AAUP President Lisa Minnick

November 15, 2016

Dear colleagues,

After a lengthy and intense discussion at the WMU-AAUP Association Council meeting last Friday, the AC voted to draft a resolution to express support for WMU students in response to disturbing incidents that have occurred on our own campus and others over the past week.

Once drafted and circulated, the proposed resolution was approved 44 to 1 in a secret-ballot vote (plus one abstention) of the WMU-AAUP Association Council, Executive Committee, and officers, who now recommend full faculty approval. All members of the WMU-AAUP bargaining unit will soon receive an electronic ballot to vote on whether to approve.

Click here for the text of the proposed WMU-AAUP Resolution in Solidarity with Western Michigan University Students.

As most of you are aware, many of our students have reported feeling unwelcome, vulnerable, and even fearful for their safety and wellbeing or for the safety of classmates. Students of color, LGBT students, international students, and other minority students report feeling particularly vulnerable since the presidential election last week.

At a student-organized meeting on campus on November 10, I listened to what many of these students had to say. Their reports were chilling and disheartening: Some of our LGBT students said they will not be going home for Thanksgiving next week because family members have told them that they are not welcome, or they are afraid to go home because of concerns about increased hostility from relatives who do not accept their sexual orientation or gender identity. International and immigrant students report that they are fearful of attacks and deportation. More recently, some students have reported harassment on the street or on campus and finding notes on their cars with racial or homophobic epithets.

In other contexts, I have had occasion to observe that the intellectual character of a university is determined by its faculty. While that is critically important to our role at Western Michigan University, intellectual character is not the only kind of character that matters, nor is it the only kind that faculty model regularly for our students and community, even though we may not always be fully aware that we are doing so. Our ethical principles and moral convictions are critical to our work as faculty members, and never more so than when they are being tested, as they are now.

Listening to these students at the meeting last Thursday, it occurred to me that they might appreciate a reminder of how seriously we take our charge to do right by them, not only intellectually but also as the mentors and role models we are for them.

I brought this topic to the Association Council last Friday, and the result of that conversation – which was intense, passionate, painful at times, but also inspiring – is the proposed Resolution in Solidarity we present now for your consideration.

We understand that some of our colleagues may not be comfortable with this resolution or its intentions. We hope that you will be willing to engage in a dialogue about how we can best honor our commitments to one another as a faculty as well as to our students at a time when some of them feel that they have reason to be afraid for their lives.

The next meeting of the WMU-AAUP Association Council is Friday, January 20, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. Association Council meetings are open to all bargaining-unit members, and we encourage you to join us on January 20 so that we can all listen to and talk about the diverse perspectives our colleagues bring to these issues. We’ll meet in 157 Bernhard.

As individuals, we don’t need to have felt unsafe ourselves to understand why it is important to make a public statement in solidarity with our students. Even those of us who have never been targeted or felt vulnerable because of the color of our skin, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, national origin, or religious beliefs can of course empathize with those who have. And sadly, many of our faculty colleagues have felt this way themselves, including right here on our own campus. It is important that we stand with these colleagues, and I look forward to our conversations in the near future – and I hope at the January 20 AC meeting – about how we can all do a better job of that.

But today I am asking you to consider the proposed WMU-AAUP Resolution in Solidarity with Western Michigan University Students.

The Association Council and I understand also that there may be concerns about the possibility of causing hurt or distress to students who may not be members of protected groups but who may also fear backlash because of their political beliefs. We share these concerns and have crafted the resolution to try to make clear that we are here for all Western Michigan University students, even while we are also trying to address the immediate safety concerns that disproportionately affect students of color, LGBT students, and international students.

Many thanks in advance for your thoughtful consideration of this important matter.

In solidarity,
Lisa

Lisa C. Minnick
President, WMU-AAUP

Proposed WMU-AAUP Resolution in Solidarity with Western Michigan University Students

Recommended by the WMU-AAUP Association Council, Executive Committee, and officers, for the faculty’s consideration. WMU-AAUP bargaining-unit members are now voting on this proposal, with votes due electronically by 4 p.m. on Friday, November 18. More information about the proposed resolution is available by clicking here.

Proposed WMU-AAUP Resolution in Solidarity
with Western Michigan University Students

Whereas the Board-appointed faculty of Western Michigan University, represented by our collective-bargaining chapter of the American Association of University Professors, stands for academic excellence, shared governance, higher education as a public good, and academic freedom;

Whereas our core academic mission includes the work of instruction, research, scholarship, creative activity, and professional service;

Whereas this work is foundational to the development of our students as knowledgeable and engaged citizens, informed participants in the democratic process, and possessors of a spirit of tolerance and acceptance;

Whereas the intellectual character of a university is determined by its faculty;

Whereas the faculty therefore also appropriately models character for our students and for the community in other ways, including with respect to our ethical principles and moral convictions;

Whereas these values inform our understanding and acceptance of the immense and humbling responsibility that we carry in the form of our students’ trust in us: that we will treat them with respect, with fairness, with compassion, and with generosity of spirit;

Whereas the faculty takes seriously its role in modeling, teaching, and facilitating critical thinking and respectful discourse;

Whereas we recognize the challenges inherent in the exploration of controversial issues and ideas as well as the intellectual growth that can result from engaging these ideas respectfully and thinking critically about them;

Whereas many Western Michigan University students are now feeling vulnerable, unwelcome, or even fearful for their safety and wellbeing or for the safety and wellbeing of their classmates;

Whereas every student is welcome at Western Michigan University and deserves to feel accepted, included, empowered, and safe here;

Be it resolved that the Board-appointed faculty of Western Michigan University, individually and collectively, stands in solidarity with the students of this university and extends to them our attention, our understanding, our support, our advocacy, and – when and if they need it – our protection, at this singular moment in our nation’s history and always.

2016 WMU-AAUP officer elections

Status

Information about ballots, candidates, and voting procedures

WMU-AAUP logo with "vote" button

Ballots for the 2016 WMU-AAUP presidential, vice presidential, and Executive Committee election will be arriving in the HOME mailboxes of dues-paying bargaining-unit members via U.S. mail beginning Saturday, October 22, 2016, and continuing through the week.

Your individual ballot will include the candidates for chapter president and vice president, along with your college’s candidate(s) for the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee, as well as a proposed change to the chapter’s constitution and bylaws regarding an adjustment to the dates during which officer elections are held.

(Click here for list of candidates.)

If you don’t receive your ballot at your home address by Wednesday, October 26, please contact the WMU-AAUP office at 345-0151 or email staff@wmuaaup.net to make sure your contact information is up to date.

Completed ballots must be received by the auditor’s office in the self-addressed, stamped envelope enclosed with your ballot no later than 12 noon on Monday, November 14.

Thank you for participating in this important process.


2016 Candidates for WMU-AAUP President and Vice President:

President: Dr. Lisa Minnick (English and Gender & Women’s Studies)
Vice President: Dr. Carol Weideman (Human Performance and Health Education)

2016 Executive Committee candidates:

Note: Executive Committee terms are staggered, with the terms of half the seats expiring in even-numbered years and the other half in odd-numbered years.

College of Arts & Sciences — Humanities (2-year term through 12/31/18)

Candidate: Dr. Ashley Atkins (Philosophy)

College of Arts & Sciences — Social Sciences (to complete term ending 12/31/17)

Candidate: Dr. Whitney DeCamp (Sociology)

Haworth College of Business (2-year term through 12/31/18)

Candidate: Dr. Bruce Ferrin (Marketing)

College of Education and Human Development (2-year term through 12/31/18)

Candidate: Dr. Tim Michael, Human Performance and Health Education

College of Health and Human Services (2-year term through 12/31/18)

Candidate: Professor Susan Kay Nelson, APRN-BC (Bronson School of Nursing)


Executive Committee members whose terms continue through 12/31/17:

College of Arts and Sciences – Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Dr. Todd Barkman (Biological Sciences)

College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Dr. Betsy Aller (Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering)

College of Fine Arts

Dr. Andrew Hennlich (Frostic School of Art)

University Libraries

Dr. Sharon Carlson (University Archives)

Center for English Language and Culture for International Students (05/31/17)

Professor Tudy Boldin (CELCIS)


Executive Committee members rotating off 12/31/16:

Serving on the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee involves a significant time commitment and a tremendous amount of responsibility. Our four outgoing members are people of courage, vision, wisdom, passion, and — thankfully and necessarily — humor. We are going to miss working with these amazing colleagues. Please join us in thanking them for their outstanding service. They brought a lot to the table, and their extraordinary efforts will be paying dividends to the chapter and to the faculty for years to come.

College of Arts & Sciences — Humanities: Dr. Kent Baldner (Philosophy)

College of Arts & Sciences — Social Sciences: Dr. Bilinda Straight (Anthropology)

Haworth College of Business: Dr. Dan Farrell (Management)

College of Health and Human Services: Dr. Mary Peterson (Audiology)

 

 

 

 

“Who Are My Union Reps and What Do They Do?”

Thank you to all faculty who participated in the recent WMU-AAUP faculty survey. Chapter officers, staff, and Executive Committee members have been working on analyzing the raw data collected from over 200 participants, including qualitative analysis of nearly 500 comments, to produce reports for the faculty. We will soon have a lot more to tell you about the survey results, but for now, we want to provide information in response to what emerged as a key question across a number of faculty comments on the survey: “Who are my union reps and what do they do?”

Based on your feedback in response to survey questions about the roles of department and college-level representatives, we sent an email out to the faculty in February 2016 in response to that question, including individualized information for each faculty member about their department and college representatives.

In that message, we included a brief description of these roles, as well as who is serving in them, so that bargaining-unit members will have a clearer picture of how the organization functions to advance faculty interests. We are posting the information here (along with this link to the list of college and department representatives, including contact information) for ease of access and future reference. The information below also fills in more details about the specific responsibilities of chapter officers than was included in the February email message.

Association Council and Executive Committee

The WMU-AAUP is a grassroots operation, governed by chapter members as a whole, with elected departmental representatives forming a body (the Association Council) that oversees policy and practice and whose members help to support faculty in their respective departments.

In addition, a smaller committee composed of elected college-level representatives (the Executive Committee) works with the elected and appointed chapter officers to guide much of the daily business of the WMU-AAUP chapter.

The governance structure of the WMU-AAUP Chapter is one in which chapter members lead the organization through their own participation at chapter meetings, by electing and providing input and feedback to their department- and college-level representatives, and by electing and communicating with chapter officers.

President and Vice President

The WMU-AAUP’s elected officers include the president and vice president, who are elected directly by a vote in which all dues-paying bargaining-unit faculty are entitled to participate. Lisa Minnick (English and Gender & Women’s Studies) is the chapter president, and Brian Tripp (Biological Sciences) is the vice president.

The chapter president’s responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • facilitating the daily operations of the chapter
  • working with the Executive Committee on policy matters
  • working with the Association Council to keep information flowing (in both directions) between the faculty and the chapter leadership
  • supporting and facilitating the work of the other officers and the negotiation team
  • meeting regularly with senior administrators on behalf of the faculty
  • answering contract questions
  • responding to faculty concerns
  • representing the chapter to the news media
  • following developments in higher education, labor law, and collective bargaining
  • serving ex officio on the negotiation team
  • representing the chapter at university and community events

The vice president’s responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • chairing the personnel committee (conducts annual reviews of the office staff)
  • recruiting and training volunteers
  • organizing activities to increase faculty involvement and investment in the chapter
  • representing the chapter on university committees.

Secretary and Treasurer

The chapter secretary  and treasurer are faculty colleagues who come from the ranks of elected members of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee nominates candidates for these positions. These nominations must subsequently be approved by the Association Council.

The chapter secretary is Tim Michael (Human Performance and Health Education), and the treasurer is Sharon Carlson (University Libraries).

The chapter secretary’s responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • overseeing the recording, preparation, and submission of minutes for meetings of the officers, Executive Committee, Association Council, and chapter
  • serving on the chapter’s policies and procedures committee
  • handling correspondence
  • serving on the editorial board of the Advocate newsletter.

The chapter treasurer’s responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • chairing the chapter’s budget committee, which develops and recommends the annual budget and dues structure (both of which the treasurer presents to the Executive Committee, Association Council, and chapter as a whole for consideration and approval)
  • working with staff to produce monthly financial reports
  • overseeing the financial well-being of the chapter.

Contract Administrator, Grievance Officer, and Public Relations Officer

In contrast to the secretary and treasurer, the contract administrator, grievance officer, and public relations officer are not required to be members of the Executive Committee to be candidates for those positions and may come from the faculty at large. Candidates interview with the Executive Committee, which sends its nominations to the Association Council for consideration and approval.

The contract administrator is Kate Langan (University Libraries). John Saillant (English) is the grievance officer, and Cathryn Bailey (Gender & Women’s Studies) is the public relations officer.

The contract administrator and grievance officer often work in collaboration, and their responsibilities occasionally overlap. Their duties include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • answering contract questions and helping faculty solve problems
  • identifying potential contract violations
  • keeping the Executive Committee informed about any developing contract issues
  • holding workshops to help educate the faculty in contract matters
  • helping with tenure and promotion appeals
  • analyzing contract language and making recommendations to the negotiation team
  • working as chapter liaisons with administrators in resolving problems, interpreting the contract, and representing faculty interests
  • reviewing and making recommendations on Department Policy Statements (CA)
  • reviewing faculty appointment letters for contract compliance (CA)
  • providing support and representation for faculty in disciplinary cases (CA)
  • providing support for faculty in individual grievance cases (GO)
  • preparing and filing chapter grievances (CO)
  • handling requests for arbitration and unfair labor practices (GO).

Since Michigan’s so-called “right to work” laws were passed, the public relations officer has primarily concentrated on:

  • membership recruitment and retention
  • developing membership campaigns
  • holding lunch table discussions on issues of interest to the faculty
  • engaging new faculty
  • overseeing forthcoming redesign of chapter website
  • working with officers, staff, and the Executive Committee on communication and outreach strategies.

Click here for a complete list of all WMU-AAUP officers, Executive Committee members, and Association Council representatives, along with their contact information.

 

 

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.

Dr. Cathryn Bailey named new WMU-AAUP Public Relations and Communication Officer

Dr. Cathryn BaileyThe WMU-AAUP Association Council has confirmed the appointment of Dr. Cathryn Bailey, Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, to the position of Public Relations and Communication Officer for the chapter. She has previously served as Senior Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program (now Department) at WMU. Her appointment is effective beginning July 2015.

Please join us in welcoming Cathryn!