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!