Category Archives: BOT

Board of Trustees Meeting Blog
Occasional reports on meetings of COD’s Board of Trustees and committees, particularly those of concern to faculty. For complete coverage of Board meetings, access the live streams and/or the recordings of meetings. For more information, visit the COD Board of Trustees website.

Erich Hauenstein, Professor of Mathematics, comments to the BOT | Aug 15, 2019

Good evening, current members of the College of DuPage Board of Trustees, my name is Erich Hauenstein, a Mathematics Professor. I do not know any of you personally, but I have been teaching full time here at COD for the past 30 years and am speaking you tonight on behalf of many of my seasoned colleagues who have 15 or more years of experience at our college. We make up a majority of the full-time faculty and have devoted the prime of our lives and given our best to this institution and our students. Many of us have put down roots, have families like you, and raise children here. In turn, we have trusted in the commitment of the college to support the plans for our lives.

In the early years of COD we saw record enrollments and tremendous growth. Personally, I was fortunate to be an athletic coach and to see my teams blossom to earn multiple National Championships. It was a time of many national accolades for our college.

However, as you well know, these later years have been speckled with controversies and struggles for our institution. The Breuder years were difficult and left a stain on our good reputation. HLC accreditation problems and athletic probation have tarnished our image, and we too have not been left unscathed throughout all of this.

Many of my colleagues including myself have endured a stagnant yearly income, earning less now than we did 6-10 years ago while not only performing the same duties, but being asked to take on more. Our out-of-pocket healthcare costs continue to rise and eat into our salaries, thus the consequences of recent contracts have left our buying power dwindling while the cost of living has steadily risen. And while money isn’t everything, it is the currency that allows us to provide good things for our families.

In Chairman Napolitano’s e-mail today he mentioned a couple of times the need for the board to be fiscally responsible with the taxpayers’ money, and while I agree with that, it does not mean that in an affluent district like our own, where consistent tax money is apportioned towards maintaining excellence in our institution, the board should be tightfisted and miserly with the compensation for the educators that these same taxpayers intended those moneys to support.

In the face of these recent obstacles, this faculty still stands ready and eager to move forward to forge a better, brighter, renewed College of DuPage. In light of all this, we can’t understand why the board’s negotiation team has chosen to take such an antagonistic and adversarial role to these current contract negotiations. It leaves many of us longtime, experienced faculty feeling the board doesn’t really value our extended tenure here and frankly would rather replace us with a newer, cheaper model.

As son to a father who was lead negotiator for the Board of Trustees at a community college in Michigan for over 10 years, I know that you the board have the power and ability to change the current course of these negotiations for the better. We as your faculty ask you to reconsider your stance, so that together with Dr. Caputo we can usher in a new era of refinement and prosperity here at College of DuPage.

Thank you.

Jason Ertz, Reference Librarian, comments to the BOT | Aug 15, 2019

Good evening, my name is Jason Ertz and I have been a librarian and full time faculty member here at COD for 13 years so far. As a librarian, I spend many hours with students and community members assisting and teaching them about information. Its power. How to find it. How and why to evaluate it. And of course why it matters. My work and research here at COD, with the students, the community, and my faculty, staff and administrative colleagues is one of the most fulfilling I have had in my life.

I was raised in district 502 — I am a Downers Grove Mustang. After a tour in the Marine Corps and a couple of universities, it gave me great pleasure to come back to work for this community. The diversity of the student body is why I enjoy my work so much. From the students who are still figuring out their education goals, to the students starting a second career, every one of them makes my work life interesting and engaging. The students who come through the Library desperately wanting to ask questions but unsure how, keep me inspired to teach them how to think about and use information to answer their own questions and ask more sophisticated ones. I love assisting aspiring community members with their business research or their interest in history, poetry or a religion which they are unfamiliar, bringing a cultural foundation to our community. I know myself and my librarian colleagues work tirelessly to help our students become information literate – a key to student success.

As evidence of my commitment to our institution, I am a faculty leader on the Pathways project. I helped research Pathways and how it could best be implemented to our institution, educating faculty on how to make the Pathways process work best for our students, their education, and their educational goals. Even if some of the faculty want to choke me for it. We are on the front lines of our students’ education, helping them transfer to a 4 year school, enter the workforce or apprenticeship programs, and ultimately succeeding. Faculty are making Pathways run and leading it.

In the library scholarship, library anxiety and uncertainty are important concerns for helping students develop the habits and thinking skills of an information literate person. The affective domain, dealing with feelings, emotions, and motivation has a significant impact on learning at large, not just in research and library work. We faculty help students find their passions and education goals, building their internal motivation and positive direction. And we try our hardest to inspire the students in the classroom to WANT to know and the work necessary to create that knowledge that will help them begin to build their careers. We are a kind of leader, or mentor, to our students within the disciplines. It is no mistake that these same affective principles of motivation and emotional development are part of the work of leadership.

Leaders should inspire and motivate in order to help develop exceptional performance and fulfillment within the people from their organization. Actions on behalf of one’s organization speak louder than hollow praise. Fear, disrespect, and division rarely work to motivate or inspire a group of people except for maybe survival. History has shown us, they are used by the worst of rulers. I do everything possible to keep fear, disrespect, and division out of my classrooms and the Library, but my working conditions are students learning conditions. And as I came back from a vacation to a new school year, actions have me feeling terribly disheartened and demotivated. We can do better. Thank you.

Tauya Forst, Professor of Criminal Justice, comments to the BOT | Aug 15, 2019

Good evening,

I am Tauya Forst, an attorney by trade, but a Criminal Justice educator by choice!


They are why we rise 1-3 hours early to complete work at home prior to coming to the college and why we stay up late doing the same. Students are why we are connected to our email and Blackboard while preparing dinner, enjoying cultural events and spending time with our loved ones.

COD faculty have students’ dreams, thoughts, struggles, victories, arrests, and comprehensions ever before us.

Being a professor is not a job… It is a calling which requires complete dedication that supersedes any position I previously held, and I worked on a death penalty case. It challenges me in ways that I could have only dreamed of, but it continues to provide growth in areas which may have been blind to me.

Achieving the COD mission of excellence in teaching and learning requires a collaborative respectful COD team (Board of Trustees, Administrators, Faculty, Staff, and Community Stakeholders). I enumerate each group to remind us not of our differences, but that we are all educators modeling behavior for and with our students. They look to us for guidance and emulate our methods. If COD stakeholders refuse to value its faculty, what behavior are they modeling for our STUDENTS?

How have I seen the college’s excellence in teaching and learning exhibited?

In the Addison model where faculty Bob Clark, Ken Gray and I created success curriculum for the Project Hire-Ed Orientation.

In Elmhurst Citizens Police Academy where (as requested by a student) my husband Richard and I presented legal and emotional aspects of Intimate Partner Violence.

In the classroom, watching students dissect, define, and challenge the Constitution.

Finally, in Barrington where our students were US Supreme Court Justices O’Connor, Ginsberg (the Notorious RBG), Sotomayor and Kagan – seriously…our students, Irene, Aneekha, and Maria literally became these justices as they put on their black robes and told the stories of four remarkable women. After witnessing these students, I am encouraged to keep loving and doing what I have been blessed to do – teach and learn! Because after all putting students first means that all COD stakeholders must highly respect and value faculty.

Therefore, STUDENTS Matter so FACULTY should matter.

Dr. Tim Henningsen’s comments to the BOT | Aug 15, 2019

Board members, President Caputo, President Toler, colleagues. My name is Timothy Henningsen. I am an Associate Professor of English here. I also chair the college’s Composition Program, which has the unique distinction of enrolling more students than any other on campus. I am the Chair of the college’s Instruction Committee, where we work with a variety of constituents, including faculty and administration, to maximize teaching effectiveness at the college. I work closely with our 120 English adjunct faculty to promote our pedagogy and ensure best practices in the classroom. I serve on hiring committees. I participate in campus research projects. I present my work at conferences. And, lest I forget, in addition to all this I teach hundreds of students a year, in face-to-face & online courses. I work a whole heckuva lot. But good God I love my job.

I’ve been asked by my faculty colleagues to say a few words about that tonight, but I’d actually like to talk about that by way of someone else.

On March 10 of this year, the college lost one of our own. Professor of English Eric Martinson passed away after a nasty year-long battle with leukemia. Eric and I were hired together. We started the same day, and had offices next to one another. In a short 5 years, he became an incredible friend to me. But where I really learned to respect Eric was in watching him teach. I marveled at his commitment: meeting with students in his office, emailing them at all hours, staying after class. Always teaching, always advising, always supporting. Even in his final days on earth, lying in a hospital bed after brutal bouts of devastating chemotherapy, he would email former students providing words of encouragement.

He was undoubtedly one of the most beloved professors on campus. Professor Martinson was just 39.

I tell this story not to take advantage of the circumstances in which we, the faculty, and you, the board find ourselves in right now.

I tell it because Eric was like so many of the people in this room tonight. Eric devoted himself to his students. They absolutely adored him, because he cared about them.

While Eric’s story was cut short, my colleagues and I have created a scholarship to honor his legacy here — the Eric Martinson Memorial Scholarship — and I hope all of you would consider a donation. Many of you, including our own President Toler, President Caputo, Professors Hazard, and Evans, and Monnier, and Bowers, and Tipton, and Tungol, and Snart, and McGrath, and Murtaugh, and many, many more, have been incredibly generous already. But perhaps the most telling contribution comes from Barb Groves, who works in the Office of the Provost. Barb’s daughter, Kimberly, took Eric’s composition classes a few years ago. Barb isn’t on campus today, because she is helping Kimberly move into a new apartment. Next Wednesday, Kimberly begins graduate school at Clemson University, where she intends on becoming an English professor. Because of Eric.

He was an exemplar for what I and my faculty colleagues stand for. This scholarship will aid COD students, but it will also honor the unyielding guidance and support that teachers like Professor Martinson provided to so many here. Teaching matters, and Eric Martinson mattered.

Dr. Sam Mitrani’s comments to the BOT | Aug 15, 2019

Hello, my name is Sam Mitrani. I am a full-time faculty member in history.

As my students know, the study of history revolves around the search for the causes of things – We ask “why” questions — why did an economic crisis, a revolution, a war, or a social movement take place?

In that vein, I have to ask – why has the board taken such an aggressive stance against the faculty in these negotiations? Why has the board proposed to destroy our long-standing pay structure and impose an extremely ill-conceived and onerous system of evaluation on us, breaking with the way this school has been run in recent memory? Why would the board try to hire replacement teachers while negotiations are still ongoing? Why would the board make these moves, after faculty have, for years, agreed to give up pay and health care and accepted to do increasing amounts of work on one project after another?

The administration’s attacks on faculty are clearly detrimental to our students and to the whole College of DuPage community.

They seem designed to provoke an entirely avoidable labor dispute – faculty are certainly not itching for a fight, though we are not willing to see our working conditions and compensation undermined.

They also seem designed to demoralize the people who do the actual teaching at this school.

If the administration’s proposals are eventually imposed, they will seriously degrade our working conditions – which are our students’ learning conditions.

As the administration often points out, COD has an extremely talented, accomplished, and effective faculty. I am constantly impressed by my colleagues. The board’s proposals – and its disturbing habit of revoking hiring offers from people who have already gone through all the other steps to be hired here – will obviously make it increasingly difficult to hire and retain faculty of this level in the future. If being a faculty member here is made less attractive, the quality of the faculty will decline, which will obviously negatively affect our students.

How would that make us a “center of excellence?”

The college can clearly afford a reasonable contract. The college stands only to lose by provoking a labor dispute, and/or by imposing a contract that will be demoralizing and worsen teaching and learning conditions.

So, to circle back, why would the board do this? What is the cause of this problem?

I can really think of only two possibilities. Either 1) a significant number of board members really don’t understand the consequences that will flow from these actions. If that is the case, please realize that the path you are embarking on is destructive to this institution, our students, and the community.

Or, 2) some board members are willing to hurt the college, in order to make a name for themselves as anti-teacher, anti-labor politicians, hoping this will somehow help their careers. If this is the case, I urge the other board members to resist this nefarious counsel.

CODAA Leadership Statements to the BOT : Aug 15, 2019

At the Aug 15, 2019 Board of Trustees meeting, leaders of the COD Adjuncts Association commented on the positions they and their members took relative to our contract negotiations.

CODAA President Cheryl Baunbach-Caplan

I am Cheryl Baunbach-Caplan, part-time counselor and president of the College of DuPage Adjuncts Association. I have worked my entire adult life in higher education and have been at College of DuPage for 15 years. Many years ago, as a poor student from the south-side of Chicago, I received full funding to attend the University of Illinois and have dedicated my working life to helping other students attain their academic goals.

Teaching Matters. Principles Matter.

When CODAA was presented with the College’s proposed contingency plan in the event of a strike by the full-time faculty, we discussed it as a board and decided we had to take it to our membership for a vote. When voting closed today, our membership had voted overwhelmingly to reject the Contingency Plan offer. Despite the fact that classes have not yet begun, we had a record turnout at attend our membership meeting yesterday and many more members came to our office to vote last night and this morning. Clearly, they viewed this as a matter of great importance.

In the end, they decided that what was a very lucrative short-term deal, was not worth the long-lasting negative repercussions to the College as a whole. By serving as strike-breakers, we would damage our relationship with the full-time faculty and compromise our union values. And we could not possibly do what is best for our students alone.

It did not escape our member’s notice that CODAA has asked for a living wage and some kind of health insurance benefit in every negotiation since 1985. And that only now, and only briefly, are they willing to compensate us fairly for the work we do each and every day.

The CODAA board has made it clear to our members that our contract requires that they MUST honor the assignments they have already agreed to for the fall semester. However, this does not mean that they must cover any of the work that would otherwise be done by the FT faculty, nor do we give up our constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of speech to show support for our sister union by wearing Teaching Matters t-shirts, or armbands, or talking with our full-time colleagues.

CODAA is asking the College and the full-time faculty to find a way to reach agreement. We understand that CODFA has made an offer for settlement and we urge the board to seriously consider it.

CODAA Vice President Bonniejean Alford

Good evening Board of Trustees and members of the District 502 community. My name is Bonniejean Alford. I am the Vice President of Policy for the College of DuPage Adjuncts Association. I have taught Sociology at the College of DuPage for twelve years and have worked as a practicing Applied Sociologist for more than twenty. While I serve as an adjunct by choice, it does not change how the students view me at the front of the classroom.

I, along with the other 732 members of CODAA’s bargaining unit, provide value and commitment to College of DuPage and its students. We bring with us years upon years of collective experience and expertise in our respective fields. We sacrifice our time, energy, and even money to provide the best educational experience possible to our students, embodying the college mission to provide “excellence in teaching, learning, and cultural experiences.”

We have doctors, nurses, lawyers, welders, accountants, chefs, counselors, editors, police officers, fashion designers, cosmetologists, high school teachers, writers, entrepreneurs, dancers, actors, politicians, and well the list could go on. We bring to the table a depth of knowledge and teaching experience that is not unlike our full-time counterparts. Both are essential to the success of our students.

Our adjuncts, following the vote taken the last two days, as Cheryl discussed, remain committed to this college and all its stakeholders. We WILL honor our contractual obligations, but we will not be taken advantage of, or divided in the base principles we share with full-time faculty.

Principles matter.

Our members can choose to express their opinions per their constitutional right to freedom of speech. We will continue to show commitment to the college and our students by doing our job with dignity and honor, as we always have. However, we will NOT silence our freedom of speech. We will never silence this.

I have in my hand, ready to present to the board tonight, a petition signed by 122 of our members in the last 36 hours. In it, we ask the college to honor the contact clause, which reads….

No non-represented Part-time teaching Faculty member will be paid a credit hour rate that exceeds the lowest credit hour rate for bargaining unit members unless Human Resources, at its sole discretion and after having conducted an internal search, determines that the course requires a specialized highly-skilled teacher. Postings on the internal search shall include required skills.

To do anything else but honor the contract and find a compromise with the full-time faculty would be disrespectful to our students. Thank you for your time.

President Toler’s Comments to the Board of Trustees | July 18, 2019

At the end of June, COD lost a valued colleague, Stephen Schroeder, Professor of Speech Communication. We look forward to celebrating his memory in August, but I would like to say a couple things about him right now because he really did represent what is the best in all of us at COD, not just faculty, but all of us.

Steve taught Speech and he was also a passionate faculty adviser to Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He served on countless committees – including years as a Division Curriculum Committee Chair. All that aside, in a nutshell, he was just someone who made all of us feel like we belonged.

Steve could bring enthusiasm when energy was waning. He could inspire confidence when esteem was not so high. He brought diplomacy, when conflict was around him. But most of all, he brought care and attention and smiles to students. I would often see Steve taking his students to the atrium for some kind of activity. It always reminded me of both the fun and the energy that can and should be found in the work that we do with our students and with each other. We will make sure that this energy and that this sense of belonging lives on.

Faculty are already looking forward to Fall. Some have new programs being launched. Others have new classes. Some have been experimenting with technology or unpacking equipment that they can’t wait to try with their students. Some have been reflecting on the last year and strategizing about how to improve for next year.

Faculty are also anxious to demonstrate to the HLC reviewers the progress we are making on our commitment to good assessment practices.

But we also don’t forget that the reason we have even faced this increased scrutiny from the HLC is largely because of the board and the administration – maybe not all of this board and maybe not all of this administration, but a board and an administration all the same. See, from our perspective, this is an important reminder that the people and personalities may change, but the systems that govern us – specifically, the contract that governs us – endure.

That’s why this work that we are doing right now – and I think you know the work I’m referring to – is another layer in the foundation for the future of COD. We need a thoughtful, strategic foundation that withstands that change but also helps us to move forward and thrive in an increasingly competitive environment.

So we’re coming back excited for a new year, but we’re also coming back ready to stand up for ourselves and our colleagues and our programs and our students.

Because we know that when it’s all said and done…. Teaching Matters.

VP McGrath’s Comments to the Board of Trustees | July 18, 2019

Good evening. Tonight we recognize our colleagues whose retirements are listed in the packet: Franz Burnier and Tom Montgomery Fate. It is hard to imagine the COD English department without them. In particular, Tom Fate is a talented and gracious colleague whose departure will leave a cavernous gap within our ranks He’s taught many of us more than he knows about writing and being a generous and inspiring resource to new and veteran artists. We wish them well.

We also mourn the passing of our esteemed colleague, Speech Professor Steve Schroeder. His skill, intelligence, diplomacy, and personality shaped the College of DuPage in so many ways, and it is impossible to catalogue how important his work has been at our school for our students, faculty, and staff. We will miss him tremendously.

In the heat of the summer, as we look towards the start of school in August, faculty do have a sense that the clock is running out. But our sense of solidarity and our commitment to COD is strong, and we look forward to the horizon with a sense of purpose and unity. See you in August at Inservice.

President Toler’s Comments to the Board of Trustees | June 20, 2019

Even when the weather isn’t telling us that it’s summer, our parking lot does…Summer is a neat time around here.  

We have lots of students who are new to COD.  Some are here to get ahead…some are here to catch up.  No matter what their motivation, I am proud that we have so many full-time colleagues who are here to help them achieve those goals.  I’ve heard our new President talk about the importance of enhancing our image with parents and high school students in our district. One of the ways we achieve this is with high quality experiences for these summer students.  They go home and tell their parents, their friends and maybe even colleagues about COD.

It’s also when we start to welcome students who will join us in the Fall.  We have 29 full-time faculty working as part of the new student advising team to help get these students started on the right path.  In these first three weeks of June, new student advising has served over 550 students. And this is the “slow” summer month.

I’d like to congratulate John Kness for his nomination to serve as Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  In the time that John has been here, I have valued his advice and considered him great resource.  And that says a lot when you consider that I was often approaching him as just a faculty member. Honestly, I think I’m glad I didn’t know his full bio before last week because I probably would’ve felt silly calling him with my questions.  I think it says a lot about COD that we can attract this kind of talent, even if for a short time.

Finally, on behalf of the faculty, I would also like to offer congratulations to Dr. Caputo and thank him for his willingness to serve as our President.  We look forward to working with him as we navigate both challenges and opportunities in the years ahead. Ultimately, as faculty, we stand ready to serve an institution that truly values, supports and celebrates our work with students.  

VP McGrath’s Comments to the Board of Trustees | June 20, 2019

Good evening. Tonight the Board contemplates a proposed budget that we hope is aligned with the fundamentally instructional mission of the College of DuPage. And it is on the heels of an improved state allocation as well. According to the Chicago Tribune, the recently approved state budget provides that “Community colleges will receive a 12.3 percent increase from the 2018-19 school year, up $33.2 million for a total budget of $303 million.” So in addition to our recently increased student tuition, and this improved state funding, it will be telling to watch how and if COD’s reserve fund balance continues to increase as well.

Over time, it is clear that the COD Board and Administration have been very fiscally responsible and conservative in building up a large reserve fund. And for a lot of school boards, no fund balance is too large, especially as they look to an uncertain future and recall unpleasant memories of the recent state budget impasses. But as the saying goes, we fund our priorities. And when we look at the decisions that have been made over time by COD Boards, especially regarding capital projects at this school that have ultimately made for unpleasant headlines, we are left wondering: when you look at the trends (in our audits more so than in our annual budgets), do expenditures at COD reflect the instructional mission of the College of DuPage? Have instructional expenditures increased, decreased, or remained static over the past ten years? When COD receives higher than projected revenue (say, beyond the conservative estimate of a 1% increase in the tax levy), is that planned into instructional expenses, or is it swept into the fund balance?

Ultimately, you are contemplating next year’s budget, but we urge you to reflect on the trends represented in the past ten years of expenditures at this College, and consider the question: is instruction a priority at COD and is that priority reflected in this proposed budget?