Author Archives: BOT Blogger

Professor Jane Ostergaard, Architecture and Construction Management, Comments to the BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Last week I received an email from one of our graduates, Dan Rodawold.

Before I read his email, I would like to share Dan’s story to illustrate the many ways COD faculty contribute to student success. Dan came to the college as a Presidential Scholar who was attracted to us for financial reasons. Beyond being a good student, Dan took advantage of the many opportunities COD faculty have created for our students. We provided him experiences that exceeded those he would have had in the first two years at most 4 year universities.

These opportunities were available to Dan because faculty worked to make them available.

Because we work with local high schools, Dan came to COD having already received dual credit for his High School CAD drafting class.

Because our faculty wrote a grant proposal and secured funding to create a summer design-build studio, Dan was able to participate in this opportunity. In this class, Dan and his peers worked with clients, the village of Glen Ellyn, and college officials to design and construct a pavilion for the Fuel Garden. You can see it on the south side of the Health Sciences Building.

Our architecture faculty are involved on the national level with the Coalition of Community College Architecture Programs. One of our faculty members is a founding member of the coalition and is currently serving as vice president of the organization. Another member of our faculty received the coalition’s outstanding faculty award in 2018. Because of this work by our faculty, Dan had the opportunity to submit a design for the CCCAP 2019 Student Design Competition in which he received an honorable mention. It was the third time our students have participated in this national competition and Dan was the third student to receive an award.

Our faculty create transfer opportunities for our students. Dan first came to COD intending to transfer to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a school we have a strong transfer relationship with. Dan was able to visit the campus with one of our faculty members who is routinely invited to be a guest studio juror. Next, Dan though he wanted to transfer to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, another school we have developed a transfer agreement with. Finally, after attending a college event in Chicago with over 60 University Architecture programs in attendance, Dan decided to transfer to Ball State University. Our faculty have been members of the organizing committee for this event for over 15 years, and it is because of the work of our faculty that Dan had many options to consider for transfer.

Dan had opportunities to succeed here because of the work we do. Our faculty secured funding for the design-build project. We participate in national organizations. We are advisors for clubs. We develop relationships with universities and high schools. We organize advising and outreach. And we create innovate curriculum. We do these things because we are highly qualified education professionals. We do these things because it is the right thing to do for our students, not because it’s on a list of duties written by an administrator at a school in Ohio.

Dan’s email reads:

Hi Mark and Jane,

I am sitting in studio right now working on our first project and figured I’d email you guys and let you know how Ball State has been so far! The transition has been extremely easy, and I don’t feel the least bit behind any of my peers here. Actually most of them are very impressed with the work in my portfolio and are often asking me for help with things.

On that note, the preparation and knowledge we received at COD regarding anything from design to programs have been amazing tools that not everyone here knows super well, I’m actually teaching a large majority of the studio how to use Revit when I can.

My studio is currently working on a mixed-use building in Brooklyn that should address social and economic issues such as gentrification and community within the neighborhood. Hopefully when I come home for fall break I’ll be able to stop by the studios.

Best Regards,
Dan Rodawold

Dan’s story is not unique. The faculty members in this room could likely share thousands of stories just like Dan’s. There are countless examples of COD students being well served because of the opportunities faculty create for our students.

Our work is student success! And we deserve a fair contract because our students matter, and because teaching matters.

George Kennett, COD Student, Comments to the BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Over the course of the night, you have heard, and will continue to hear, both rational arguments and heartfelt pleas to agree to the Faculty Association’s demands. To you, I offer neither of these. To you, the Board, I offer only my frustrations. I’m a student, and a taxpayer, and it is frustrating to say the least, that I might not have class to go to in a couple of weeks. I know that the President, Mr. Caputo, put out a statement that all students who would be affected by a strike would be compensated. I know this was meant to reassure us, but what I took from it was that it’s cheaper to refund the tuition for every student affected, than it would be to just give the teachers what they’re asking for in the first place. It’s not like this institution can take another hit to its reputation. Breuder got a $700,000 golden parachute, and I wonder how much negotiation went into that decision.

If Mr. Napolitano would like to come down here and start running a class on his own, he’s more than welcome to. In the meantime, I would hope that he puts resources where they need to go; With the teachers. That is, after all, the job to which he was elected. The system by which a college is run is relatively simple: Students learn, teachers teach, and administrators put money where it needs to go. I’m here doing my job, my teachers are doing their jobs, where are you?

Miles Knight, COD Alum, Comments to BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Good evening Board of Trustees. My name is Miles Knight and I graduated with an Associates Degree in Science as well as a degree in the arts in 2016 at College of DuPage. During my time at College of DuPage, I had several roles I took on: a Student, a coach of two wrestling teams, President of the Student Education Association, I was even a part time Chappy Mascot (“Go Chaps”). As a student at COD, I was lucky to have professors that cared so much about my success in the classroom that they would take time out of their day to have extra office hours or answer my frantic emails at 3:30 in the morning. Very true story, thank you Dr. Hill in the math department. I also must commend the physics department. They helped me develop a growth mindset and showed me what the true meaning of hard work is. They supported me at my lowest lows as well as my highest highs.
One of the coaching jobs I had during my time at COD was brought as an opportunity from my professor April Zawlocki. She took the time to see what my interests were and to recognize how she could help me progress toward my goals. She didn’t just see me as a student ID number or grade, but as a person with dreams, goals and passion.

Along with April, I had several teachers, counselors and the student life office support me in re-establishing the Student Education Association. That club started with only one other student and I. By the end of my 2 years as co-president I am proud to say that we had 10-12 consistent members each semester and at a maximum of approximately 20 members. That club supports passionate future educators by providing professional development and volunteer opportunities as well as opportunities to discuss current political events. This club’s growth and accomplishments would have been nothing but a dream without the support of the full-time faculty at the College of DuPage.

After COD I went on to Northern Arizona University where I achieved a 4.0 GPA and graduated Summa Cum Laude this past May with a degree in Physics and Secondary education in physics. I remembered feeling nervous my first semester at a University. I thought about how I would compare to those who started their career there. But through the determination I developed at the College of DuPage I felt more than prepared for any challenge that came my way at the University. I even found myself better prepared than my classmates who had not started in a community college. Now, straight out of college, I am teaching Honors Physics and Chemistry at Metea Valley High School in Aurora. Ranked 29th in the state of Illinois by U.S. News.

All of these accolades stem from the amazing faculty here at College of DuPage. The full-time faculty most definitely deserve a contract that reflects their support, dedication and hard work. Thank you for your time today and thank you faculty for everything you have done for me.

James-Oliver Mack, COD Student, Comments to the BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Hello, my name is James-Oliver Mack, and I am starting my second year at the College of DuPage.

The integrity and efficacy of any educational institution relies on the educators within that institution. The College of DuPage is able to boast such a wide variety of outstanding educational programs because of the educators tirelessly working for this institution; improving, executing, and expanding on these programs. Devoted and effective educators are necessary to maintain the quality of this institution for both current and future students. Without these teachers, this institution will be unable to appropriately serve this community with the sort of high-quality education it deserves. The only way to attract and retain such high quality educators as those the College of DuPage currently has is to fairly compensate and respect those educators.

During my time attending the College of DuPage I have encountered many professors that embody the attitude, devotion, and experience quintessential to providing a meaningful and high-quality education to students. Professor Henningsen and Professor Bowers — both of whom teach writing & literature here — have encouraged me to pursue my passion for creative writing and to consider literature in new and exciting ways. Professor Henningsen encourages his students to consider the broader implications of the liberal arts and the value of literature to all students no matter their field of study. Professor Bowers supports his students in developing their writing skills with exciting prompts relevant to the real world. On the other side of campus, Professor Haque fosters a kind and encouraging environment for her chemistry students. She uses her experiences working in both the industry and as a professor to support students through the process of learning a subject considered difficult by many.

Professors Henningsen, Bowers, and Haque are just three examples of the many wonderful faculty working at this college, enthusiastically supporting and fostering their students and their education. Professors such as these deserve recognition for the time, energy, and care that they put forth in an effort to maintain and cultivate the quality of this institution. These teachers are published; they have PhDs; they can go teach at four-year institutions. But they chose to teach here. That is why I, and many others, choose to learn here.

Thank you.

Professor Diane Gryglak, Medical Assistant Program, Comments to the BOT | Sept 19, 2019

One of my colleagues retired in July. I was on the search committee for her replacement. She was the only full-time faculty in Phlebotomy EKG and Clinical Lab Science Programs. It was a difficult position to fill because it requires specific credentials and teaching experience. These programs lead to national certification and require clinical internships. We needed to find someone who would build and maintain relationships with the COD community. These were tough shoes to fill; but we found someone. She was offered the position and accepted. Our new colleague had a signed employment agreement, a signed coordination agreement and her name was visible on all her classes. She spent significant time being mentored by our retiring full-time faculty member.

Less than two weeks before fall classes started, her offer was rescinded. She was offered only a 12 hour part-time position. This happened the same week that other new full-time faculty were called and asked if they would give up their FT job for a part-time job. It was the same week that ads were posted for my job along with 140 or so, of my colleague’s positions. I see no other purpose for all these moves then to limit the number of FT faculty in the possible event of a strike.

So now the Phlebotomy EKG certificate programs have no one at the helm. There are 5 part-time faculty trying to hold it together. We love our part-time faculty, but they all have full-time jobs elsewhere.

I would like to read from an e-mail that was sent to the retired faculty member’s personal e-mail. It is from the organization that certifies our graduates in Phlebotomy.

I have been trying to verify the dates that a student was in clincals. The school doesn’t seem to have a replacement ready to handle things yet and simply hangs up on me, and e-mails are returned.
They didn’t offer any assistance or provide any response except to say you’re no longer there. I’m just glad I found your personal address on one of the forms. It would have been a shame to have to delete these students through no fault of their own.”
From Iris McLemore, Evaluator for American Society of Clinical Pathologists Board of Certification.

The rescinding of an employment offer not only hurts future recruitment of qualified faculty. In this case, it hurts students, programs and the community.

Leaving this program with no full-time faculty will have lasting effects for years to come. If we are all interested in student success, then please consider reinstating this important position.

Sally Newton Fairbank, Coordinator of Paralegal Studies, Comments to the BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Good evening. I am Sally Newton Fairbank, Coordinator of Paralegal Studies at COD. In 2006, I was hired from South Suburban College 2006 to begin the paralegal program here, and I am very proud of it. Our students get good jobs and their employers sing their praises. Many go on to law school and are now practicing attorneys. You just heard from one of them, Margaret Herrmann, who completed our program and is now a patent attorney.

I am here to talk about how the administration’s proposal to adjust the faculty salary scale so that it no longer gives credit for advanced degrees will be detrimental to our program, our funding sources, and our students.
The proposed pay scale is NOT in line with our peers. Recently one of our adjuncts, Carol Carlson, left to coordinate the paralegal program at Harper College. She taught many law-related classes here, and had won numerous awards. Carol wanted to stay here and teach, but there was no full-time faculty position. Her pay at Harper takes into consideration her law degree, her years of working as an attorney, and her teaching experience. It far exceeds what is being offered by COD in its contract proposal. I asked her if she would come back to COD if there were a position open, and accept the salary that administration seeks to pay new faculty. She said no, much as she liked COD, she wouldn’t take a pay cut to teach here.

Harper College is our competition. If Harper pays its faculty more than COD, that’s where the good teachers will go, and students will follow. Competition is increasing. Recently faculty members at both Morton College and Triton College have asked me for advice in setting up new paralegal programs at their schools. With more programs opening, there will be more competition for students as well as qualified faculty. Don’t we want COD to be the first choice not only for area students, but area faculty as well?

COD’s proposed salary scale will have an impact on outside funding. An area professional I spoke to recently was considering funding a scholarship for COD students, but is now reconsidering, after learning of the administration’s plans to disregard advanced degrees in its salary scale. If COD is no longer interested in recognizing and paying top talent, this individual will take his donation dollars elsewhere.

Isn’t it ironic that an institution of higher learning doesn’t value higher learning? We tell students to come here to broaden their opportunities and increase their earning potential. If they earn a Ph.D., we might even put them on our webpage as a poster child for the success that our students can achieve. Yet, if those same former students would want to teach here, we would give no credit on the salary scale for their degree – they might as well have stopped with their Bachelor’s. It appears that the only time COD cares about their education is when COD is getting their tuition dollars.

A wise person once said, “Don’t tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do, and I’ll tell you what you believe.” COD administrators give lip service to the high esteem in which they hold faculty, with platitudes and praise. We are referred to as “valued faculty” in college communications. However, what COD does is spend its money on building expansions, new buildings, new administrators, and the approximately 15 new navigators, who were hired last year.

Actions speak louder than words. To keep our programs top-notch, to keep our students proud of where they go to school, to keep donors excited and interested in funding scholarships, and to attract and maintain the highest quality of faculty, we need to be offered a salary structure that recognizes professional and educational accomplishments.

Since COD’s inception over 50 years ago, it has grown in stature and reputation nationally. Let’s maintain its quality and prestige by attracting the best teaching faculty in the area, and giving our DuPage County residents a college that they can be proud to attend.

Dr. Julia diLiberti, Professor of Humanities, Comments to the BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Good Evening,
My name is Dr. Julia diLiberti. I am a taxpayer in DuPage County and I also teach Humanities here at the college.

I’m here tonight to offer information as I believe there is some concern about whether or not Full time COD faculty know how to teach. This is surprising to me because every year I’m required to meet with my dean to discuss my teaching goals, changes, and achievements. EVERY YEAR.

The AAUP clearly states, that “Adequate Evaluation Data,” is necessary since, “Casual procedures, a paucity of data, and unilateral judgments by department chairs and deans too often characterize the evaluation of teaching… ”

Another article notes that: “Most institutions say they value teaching. But how they assess it tells a different story.” The article explains that peer review and self-reflection are key to faculty assessment. COD Faculty already engage in many many practices that involve self-reflection and peer review.

We all want good teaching here at COD; there we do not differ. So let me offer some of the ways that will reasonably allow you to conclude that COD faculty can teach.

1. Faculty are vetted through a rigorous interview process before setting foot inside the classroom as FT FAC. (Peer review)
2. CODFA members have a rigorous tenure process. (Admin review)
3. CODFA members are still required to use class evaluation tools, despite reams of credible evidence about how racism and sexism skew the results. Curiously, even those evaluations suggest we can teach. (Tool that does not ask for self-reflection)
4. We write scholarship and other letters or recommendation for students who transfer or get jobs. Their ability to transfer or get jobs suggests we can teach.
5. The HLC didn’t put faculty on probation for any reason.
6. CODFA members have regular discipline meetings where teaching matters figure prominently. (group reflection/group peer review)
7. CODFA members do a phase of program review each year in which teaching matters figure prominently. Group reflection/group peer review)

8. CODFA members have yearly evaluations
9. Faculty engage in teaching squares. We observe 3 other people; we are observed 3 times in semester. We debrief. (Self-reflection and peer review).
10. Some depts have teach-ins where teaching strategies and demonstrations are shared between FT and PT faculty. (Peer review)
11. Faculty belong to the Speakers Bureau: we’re out in the community publicly sharing our craft.
12. Faculty teach in learning communities and in
13. Honors seminars. They teach in front of their colleagues all the time. (Peer review)
14. Faculty teach Field Studies and Study Abroad courses that reach both students and community members. Those courses all get their own evaluation and have a broad reach. Unhappy community members aren’t shy about offering their opinions.
15. We have an FPD liaison who is developing us in all kinds of ways to improve our teaching. (Reading groups, courses, other initiatives too numerous to name)
16. Faculty attend the great teachers retreat, where again, as in most of these other activities we practice peer review and self-reflection.
17. CTE advisory boards let faculty know how to maintain or improve their teaching. (External review)
19.-∞– We create and lead an infinite number co-and extra-curricular activities anyone can come observe and/or take part in. You cannot miss all the teaching that goes on here and in those events.
CODFA members are constantly teaching in the public eye and repeatedly evaluated in the college as well.

The F2 proposal to our contract takes dynamic, organic, advanced practices and seeks to trade those in for a narrow, provincial, and adversarial system of evaluation–the kind that the AAUP actually objects to.

COD faculty have never failed to make good teaching our top priority so these unnecessary proposals to an unbroken system take away our time and energy from teaching. Teaching matters and CODFA members prove their teaching abilities every day on and off campus.

April Zawlocki, Assoc Professor of Education, Comments to BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Good evening, my name is April Zawlocki, and I am an associate professor of Education here at College of DuPage. As faculty, we continue to hear about student success, but over the past few months, it has become clear to me that the administration and board of trustees do not have student success at the forefront of their minds in this negotiation, despite the constant use of the buzzword.

Over the years, students in my education classes have asked me why teachers don’t get involved in politics. I’ve never really had a good response to that question, other than to say that, in general, teachers thrive on relationships.

I’ve dedicated my entire professional life, 15 years, to working with students inside the classroom. Relationships are at the forefront of teachers’ minds each and every time we walk through the door. Just like all of my colleagues, relationships with my students, is what creates student success.

When I began to hear that negotiations were not going as well as we had hoped, I was interested, but believed that everyone was working together to settle the contract as soon as possible.

When my job was posted, however, my feelings about not getting involved in politics took an abrupt turn. I can honestly say that I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. The moment when the institution that I have served for the last 7 years, the institution that I love and promote near and far, the institution that I represent at conferences and meetings, the institution that I even want my own children to attend; when this institution made the conscious choice to post over 160 jobs to replace full-time faculty, should we go on strike, I realized that I could not stand by and watch the actions, which speak much louder than words, the actions tell me that I am not valued at the College of DuPage. THAT was the moment I got involved.

Since that moment, I have learned that the actions of CODFA bring people together. The actions of CODFA remind me how valued I am, how important I am to student success. I am so incredibly proud to be a member of CODFA. I now have the distinct displeasure of understanding first-hand how decisions of a few can have a lasting impact on many.

Years from now, when we look back at the contract negotiations of 2019, board members will be different and most likely the administrators will have moved on, but faculty will remain. We will remember. We will remember how we have been marginalized and how we have been treated, lied about, intentionally painted in a negative light. We won’t forget.

To my children, and to all children in this room, remember YOU have a voice and you can stand up for what is right. Do not let other people try to silence you or force you into unfair situations.

To the board, please let your actions speak louder than your words and prove to these future COD students that you truly do believe in student success.

Sofia Morales, COD Student, Comments to the BOT | Sept 19, 2019

My name is Sofia Morales, I am a College of DuPage student. I’m currently working to earn my Associate in Arts degree and my long-term goal is to become a special education teacher. Currently I’m a member and actively involved with IEA (Illinois Education Association) and SEA (student education association). I am the Kappa Delta Pi President of College of DuPage.

The faculty here at COD have made such a positive impact on my college experience. They show me that I should never give up on myself and they’re always there for me when I need help. I have had a learning disability my whole life and it can be so difficult for me grasp new concepts and perform well on tests.

Luckily, the COD faculty has been very supportive of me and work to understand my learning disability. They go above and beyond to make the material manageable. I believe the COD faculty have done so much for many students like myself and they deserve to have a fair contract. I stand with the COD faculty.

Nicole Ruiz, COD Student, Comments to BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Hello, My name is Nicole Ruiz. I am secondary education history major, and this is currently my third year attending COD. When I first started school back in the fall of 2017, I had the very inaccurate idea that my community college experience was simply going to be me going to class, and then going home or going to work at my part time job. However since then, my college experience has been quite the contrary. I have developed some amazing relationships and connections with the faculty that have shaped and supported me into the person that I am today.

Through COD, my involvement with being apart of the Student Education Association, a club for aspiring educators, I have learned the importance of having a board and administration that support the people that are in the classroom everyday and that make the most impact on the students. However, in recent events, this has not been the case involving the faculty here at College of Dupage. With $187 million dollars in funds, it’s extremely difficult to understand why the board has been more interested in unnecessary renovations instead of salaries in which my professors deserve.

It’s obvious that there’s been a decline in enrollment at COD, and with these capital projects and renovations, you’re in hopes that it will attract new students. However, along with the affordable prices, the relationships and community in which College of Dupage has to offer will be the sole reason why people decide to go here instead of straight to a four year college. And I’m sure my peers will agree with me that this is what we have found. We’ve found amazing professors and faculty that have guided us to learn and grow beyond the classroom, and to be prepared for whatever path we decide to take on life.

My professors have the opportunity to positively impact so many more students than just me. And as a future educator, I am showing my full support for the faculty here at COD. While it may seem that your college years may be far from you, mine are now. And by not negotiating a fair contract with the College of Dupage Faculty Association, you’re showing me and every other student that enrolls here that their success doesn’t matter.