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.

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.

Samantha Morgan, COD Alum, Comments to BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Hello, my name is Samantha Morgan. I am a COD alumni. I graduated from COD just last semester. I am really fortunate to have gone to COD for the first three years of my college career.

I am going to talk about my past, present, and future college life. In the past, I never thought I would be here today speaking to all of you about what I have gone through and taking you through the path that has led me to who I am today. When I was 4, I was diagnosed with a learning disability in reading, writing, and speech. When I started at COD, my first step was to reach out to the Access of Accommodations. I was then given a staff member who would help me through my journey. Everyone knew who I was and were always willing to help me. I then started to get involved in classes that I really enjoyed which were education classes. All of my classes in the education department have impacted me so much and inspired me to be a better future teacher.

If I did not have the support from COD faculty members, I would not have been inducted into phi theta kappa and Kappa Delta Pi, which later I served as the KDP president. Been selected to help start a chapter of Best Buddies at COD and later served as the secretary. Finally, I would not have been apart of the Student Education Association and served as the social chair.

In the present, I am currently at Lewis University majoring in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Special Education. I am currently in the Student Illinois Education Association. Also, I’m currently starting a chapter of KDP and Aspiring Educators at my school.

In the future, I will have completed my bachelor’s degree. I want to help inspire kids to do their best. One of my past teachers is legally blind and would always say “if I can do it, you can do it”. I want to teach my future students the same lesson.

After listening to my story, I want to point out a final note, COD faculty members are all near and dear to my heart. They deserve all the praise since they help and inspire so many. Without giving all the faculty here at COD the opportunity to be treated and paid fairly, students would not be as well off as they are. I am so passionate about educators since I am becoming one myself. Let’s make a change for the better and improve our
futures by being fare to COD faculty members. Thank you

Elsa Moore, COD Alum, Comments to the BOT | Sept 19, 2019

First, I would like to thank the Board of Trustees for their time; as
well as allowing me to speak in support of the full-time faculty at COD.
I am a proud member of the 2018 graduating class. As I look back at my
COD experience, I truly appreciate and value the time and commitment
my professors put into my education.

As a mother of 3, a wife, a student, and full-time employee, my
time is precious. I did not want to waste my efforts in a program that
wasn’t designed for excellence. This is why I chose COD’s Early
Childhood Education program instead of another. I appreciate the high
expectations set by all my professors, general education and degree
program alike. They spent countless hours designing and implementing
a curriculum based on research, years of experience, and best practice.
These professors spent time getting to know their student’s strengths and
challenges; they worked with you to help you achieve your goals;
whether in class or online.

Now, as my own son is looking into various community colleges, I
have strongly urged him to consider COD. I’ve encouraged him to look
into COD because of the professors and their dedication to their
students, education and this institution. These professors are what make
COD a quality college. They are the driving force behind the
programming offered here. As such, the professors deserve a fair
contract that compensates them fairly; recognizes their levels of
expertise and respects the integrity of their chosen fields.

Nemanja Kuzmanovic, COD Alum, Comments to BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Good evening to the Board, faculty, and community members present tonight. My name is Nemanja Kuzmanovic. I am a resident of District 502 and an alumnus of the College of DuPage Engineering program. After my two years in the Engineering Pathways program I went on to earn my Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During my time at UIUC I received over seven thousand dollars in merit-based scholarships due to my success as a transfer student, a very rare feat for a student of my demographic at a public university. Prior to my graduation in May 2018 I happily accepted a career opportunity in Carol Stream IL, allowing me to return to my beloved hometown in DuPage county.

I owe a large part of my success as both a student and a practicing engineer to my education at the College of DuPage. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance of faculty at this college, particularly Dr. David Smith and Dr. Scott Banjavcic. The relationships I built with my professors and fellow students at COD made me fall in love with academia and inspired me to pursue a graduate degree in mechanical engineering in hopes of one day becoming an educator at this college; allowing me to positively impact the lives of students in our community. College of DuPage full-time faculty are among the highest paid community college faculty in the country for a reason: and that is the immense impact they have on community members striving to make a difference in their lives, the lives of their loved ones, and their community by pursuing an education.

I fear the current contract proposed to the faculty by the Board of Trustees, and failure to address the faculty’s substantial concerns with the offer, will force many of the amazing professors at this college to seek employment elsewhere. I know that as a student I would not want my performance in a course to be evaluated based upon unmeasurable subjective criteria. I wouldn’t be happy if my calculus professor handed me back an exam and said, “You answered every question correctly on the exam, but I didn’t think you wanted the A enough, so I gave you a C.” I believe that this contract, and the inevitable departure of unfairly compensated and unrecognized faculty, will deteriorate the standard of education at the College of DuPage and soil its reputation nationwide. Students in our community, such as my sister who plans to attend COD next fall, will be deprived of a quality education and the opportunity to utilize their potential to achieve great things like I was able to.

I kindly ask the Board to reconsider their offer to the faculty before it is too late. Thank you all for your time, and I hope you have a great evening.

Kimberly Sexton, COD Alum, Comments to the BOT | Sept 19, 2019

Good evening. Thank you all for your time. My name is Kimberly Sexton. I am honored to be here tonight to speak on behalf of the full-time Early Childhood faculty. Without these individuals I would not be where I am today. My journey at the College of DuPage started off without very much direction. This is because at an early age I was diagnosed with learning disabilities. All of the education and skills I learned from teachers starting in elementary school through high school prepared me for a job, but not a career.

When I left high school I knew I wanted to work with children. While looking for a career path, I went to the counseling department at COD and left in tears. This was because I was told my success rate would not be high in the education field due to my learning accommodations. Despite their opinion I took an Early Childhood class and found my niche. I wanted to be part of helping intervene when young children needed help. I wanted to assist children in not only getting the help they needed, but also allow them to explore the world around them.

While pursuing my degree, my personal life presented challenges that caused me to have to put my education second to my family. Some of my professors noticed a decline in my focus. It was then that they took the time outside of the classroom to assist me in getting my education and personal goals back on track. I was successful in these classes because of the hands-on curriculum that the Early Childhood professors presented us. It forced us to deal with real scenarios that are common while working in this field.

I now stand before you as a graduate of the Early Childhood program at COD. I can personally say that without the full-time faculty being available outside of the classroom, I wouldn’t be as confident in my current position as the Educational Director at a local preschool. My preschool has partnered with the Early Childhood program to allow the current ECEC students to receive hands on field experience. These students are not only gaining experience for their future careers, but also bringing current practices with them in the class that are valuable to my teachers and current children in my program.

The time that the ECEC faculty invested in not only myself, but all of my peers was more valuable than words can express. This created and fostered and environment that made all of the students comfortable and ready to share what they had learned outside of the classroom to help push each other to get the most out of our time at COD.

Dr. Michael Duggan, Counseling Faculty, Comments to BOT | Sept 19, 2019

My name is Dr. Michael Duggan. I’ve been a counselor for students with disabilities here at the college for 16 years. I always tell students I am one of the luckiest guys in the world because I get to go a job every day I genuinely, passionately love. I had the honor or meeting many of you when I received the Outstanding Advisor Award back in May. I’ve also received the Outstanding Divisional Faculty Award, Club Advisor of the Year award, and been a finalist for the Overall Outstanding Faculty award several times previous but never winning. I like to think I’m the Susan Lucci of COD….

As a Counselor—myself and all my other Counseling faculty colleagues listen to students often when they’re in the darkest of times—when they’re having a panic attack over coping with an abusive family member, facing depression when they’re feeling isolated and alone, or anxious when they’re not sure how to face this complex world we live in. Here at COD I’ve had the honor of establishing Autismerica, a support group for adults on the autism spectrum, the COACH program which provides vocational training to adults with intellectual disabilities, and most recently, a mentoring program for COD Buddies. I’m so incredibly proud of this school for supporting these efforts, and so incredibly proud of my fellow full and part-time counselors who inspire and encourage students and myself every day. if any one of them were up here they could share similar stories of their own amazing endeavors they have taken on out of a love for students. They are a special group.

The passion for wanting to make a difference I think is the common thread of everyone in this room, including you, the Board have in common. We are all willing to do whatever it takes, even taking risks and putting ourselves in difficult positions that stretch ourselves if we believe in our hearts it will make a difference. When I wrote the original program proposal for our COACH program for intellectual disabilities, it was rejected. A year later, I tried again, and it rejected….and rejected….and rejected….On my fifth try, and, with a new institutional direction and brave administrators and board members perhaps like yourself you took a risk and it was funded. Now, just two years later this June, we celebrated our first graduation. I know some of you were there for it and if you were, you know there wasn’t a dry eye in the house seeing these students beam in pride as they walked across the stage!

Please, please, look into your hearts and work with us to find a resolution to this contract. Make the concessions that need to happen to end this. The things we are asking for—which my colleagues will do a much better articulating than I ever could—are the very same things that allowed us as counselors to develop the programs here at COD we are all so very proud of. I know you are all good people who care about doing what’s right and are passionate about making the world a better place. I see it when our President is comes to our Autismerica meetings interacting with concerned parents and our students, I see it when Board Trustee Dr. Dunne unveils a support program for STEM students, I see it when Trustee Holan attends our COACH graduation. The hours upon hours of negotiation meetings, administrators engaged in concession planning, and concerned faculty like myself losing sleep could be used developing all kinds of new innovations that would make us all proud. Let’s end this and talk about the programs and services we can develop together. I know we, the faculty have lots of great ideas, and I bet you, as the Board do as well. I believe in us all. Thank you.

Molly Scranton, COD Student Comments to the BOT | Sept 19, 2019

My name is Molly Scranton. I’ve been a student of COD for about three years now. I am speaking today because I am one of many COD students whose life has been significantly impacted by our teachers.

Three years ago, I thought I would never graduate from high school; and college was a distant goal I couldn’t hope to reach. After developing debilitating chronic migraines during my freshman year of high school, I dropped out. I dropped out again from online classes and a third time when my ability to keep up with homework fell short of frequent bouts of pain. At twenty years old I was convinced it was too late, and I would never be able to go to school again. The future was gray.

Then, I found COD’s free GED program. Despite persistent insecurity and doubt, I applied. My professors gradually prepared me to take the GED test, but more importantly, they prepared me for a future where I could succeed in spite of my limitations. The program had felt like my last second chance, but my teachers turned it into the first step in my continuing education. I wanted to keep going—to learn more, to think bigger, to challenge myself. Immediately after passing my GED test, I applied to College of DuPage to earn my associate’s degree.

Professors at COD don’t just teach in the classroom—their impact ripples from teacher to student to community. My professors were bridges, changing my course over obstacles instead of avoiding them for fear of failure. Through the Food Security Initiative and similar teacher-sponsored projects, I researched through experiential learning, developing leadership skills, interpersonal communication, and a variety of other skills necessary for the world that waits for me beyond COD. My fellow interns and I have increased awareness for campus resources like the Fuel Pantry, educated about food insecurity on campus, and hosted weekly harvest sales. Students like me work to feed our community and pass down the knowledge our teachers gave us. Three years after starting my first GED class, I am now myself a continuing education teacher, planting seeds in the community that helped cultivate my own future.

Teachers are role models, are bridges, are community leaders. They are not textbooks that can easily be substituted or replaced. That’s why I will always stand in solidarity with teachers. No matter the outcome. Because Teaching Matters.

Robert Moorehead, Assoc Prof of Sociology, Comments to BOT | Sept 19, 2019

I’m Robert Moorehead. I’m an associate professor of sociology here at COD. I want to talk to you about how our teaching matters because in the general public and on the board, there seem to be some misconceptions.

Before coming to COD, I taught at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. I taught students from all over the world. I helped them adapt to life in Japan, and to develop the skills they needed to succeed.

Before then I was doing research on a Fulbright fellowship also in Japan, working as a Spanish to Japanese interpreter, translator, and assistant teacher at a Japanese elementary school with a group of immigrant families from South America. My ethnographic fieldwork focused on the barriers to immigrant families’ success.

I brought these skills here to COD, and I draw on this experience consistently in my classes. I promote language classes and study abroad. I introduce students to the discipline of sociology, and I help them analyze our complex racial and ethnic landscape. I teach them analytical skills to understand our social world, and how to have courageous conversations about difficult topics.

I also offer a kind ear and advice to students who are struggling because they’re homeless. Or they’re near tears because our class discussions closely mirror the challenges they face daily. Or they’re trying to get their lives on track after a sexual assault and the prosecutor just dropped all charges. Or they have a loved one in rehab. Or they’ve been the victim of domestic violence. I’ve even saved a student’s life by having police go to his home before a suicide attempt.

As my colleagues and I do all this, we see our teaching devalued by a contract offer that would make us responsible for pretty much everything, from student self-esteem to raising money for the college, to community service, in addition to all we’re already doing. Our starting pay would be cut by $15,000, paying people with advanced degrees and expertise less than I earned with a bachelor’s degree more than two decades ago. When you add in vague criteria for promotion and a slower pace through the matrix, faculty also end up living on smaller retirements. COD has the highest paid administrators in the state, and wants to cut faculty pay.

We hear bold promises of COD becoming the cultural destination of the area, $4 million here, $50 million there. We’ve sat through presentations in which Dr Caputo assured us repeatedly that all is well with the college’s finances, that there’s no problem, that we’re doing great. Until the talk comes to the very people directly responsible for student success: the faculty. Then suddenly the college is a pauper in dire straits.

It seems faculty aren’t as sexy as shiny new buildings, new gadgets, or software packages. But our working conditions are students’ learning conditions. We all deserve better.