Category Archives: Leadership

CODFA Leadership Blog
Announcements and commentary from the CODFA President and Vice President.

Message from CODAA President Cheryl Baunbach-Caplan | April 29, 2023

Please express my graditude to all CODFA members for the amazing support we received at last night’s Board meeting. Everyone who spoke delivered powerful and compelling messages that drove home the need for robust counseling and advising support for our students, as well as recognizing the dedication and expertise of every part-time counselor and advisor. The respect for the important roles we play at the College was tangible. I believe the sea of red shirts backing up the speakers is something the College will not be able to dismiss.

On behalf of all the part-time counselors and advisors, we thank you for your support.

CODFA Pres Goldberg Comments to the BOT | March 16, 2023

Good evening,

My name is David Goldberg. I teach political science and am proud to serve as the president of the College of DuPage Faculty Association. I am also a resident of the district.

Tonight it is my honor to extend a heartfelt congratulation to four candidates recommended for tenure. The awarding of tenure is a significant accomplishment in the career of a faculty member. The first of what we all hope will be a career filled with accomplishments.

Beyond the students and departments who will benefit from these new faculty, their tenure contributes to strengthening the College of DuPage as an institution.

The hiring of new faculty and awarding of tenure is an investment by the Board of Trustees, and the community they are elected to represent, in the future health of the institution and confidence in our ability to successfully continue to realize our primary reason for existence: to educate the residents of District 502.

Four new faculty is a smaller number than in years past.

It begins to feel like a “faculty hunger games.”

Four retirements in the counseling department over the past five years, with one replacement faculty.

A lot of attention is currently paid to mental health. The emotional well-being of our students.

COD received in excess of $20 million in state and federal assistance to help during and after the COVID epidemic.

How many new full-time faculty have been hired to address the growing mental health crisis with the embarrassment of riches?

One. One person.

Faculty and other college employees who interact with students on a regular basis see the impact of the crisis, and beyond our individual faculty efforts, it feels like there is little institutional effort to address this.

It cannot be addressed solely by software fixes, technological fads or AI bot scripts.

It cannot be addressed by stackable credentials in mixology and sewing.

It cannot be addressed by well-intentioned slogans on a t-shirt.

It can be addressed by devoting the required existing resources to strengthen the faculty who exist to serve the needs of students.

Let’s keep the hunger games to the realm of film and literature and stop cannibalizing for unclear purposes.

Finally, I would like to congratulate the painters, groundskeepers, mechanics & carpenters association and the administration for coming to an agreement nearly eight months into negotiations.

Thank you.

CODFA VP Arnott-Hill Comments to the BOT | March 16, 2023

Hello and good evening.

My name is Elizabeth Arnott-Hill. I am a professor of psychology and the vice president of the faculty association.

I am pleased to see four of my colleagues recommended for tenure tonight and heartened to note that their tenure recommendation is properly tied to the student success component of our strategic long-range plan. I hope it goes without saying that student success, a term we hear a lot these days, is not possible without a strong and well-supported faculty. Faculty are fundamental to student success. We certainly aren’t the only piece of the puzzle, but we are an essential one.

In recent years, the number of full-time faculty hired and subsequently approved for tenure has declined. We have core disciplines, like math, which is down approximately 10 positions from a decade ago. Faculty who provide essential services to our students, like our counseling team, are down a number of positions, even though demand for their services has steadily increased. At the same time, faculty are being asked to do more work outside of the classroom, often in the name of student success.

Each month, the board hears presentations from my faculty colleagues about their outstanding work for the college – new grants, new programs and certifications, community outreach programs, OER textbooks, field study and study abroad programs, and accomplishments with student clubs. This is work that supports our students and promotes COD in the community. As our ranks diminish and our workload increases, our ability to engage in this high impact work is restricted. If our goal is student success, it is imperative that our numbers remain adequate to serve our student population directly. We also need adequate faculty so that the hours we devote to implementing the initiatives developed at the administrative level are distributed in such a way as to not to take away from the time we have for our students. Fewer full-time faculty plus more hours devoted to new initiatives does not add up. Additionally, it is essential that such college wide plans are vetted in a way that increases the likelihood that they will have demonstrable positive effects, that they are given adequate time for implementation, that concrete data regarding impact is clearly communicated, and that initiatives which are determined by evidence to be without merit are discarded.

As we look ahead, it is imperative to not only think about making changes that are flashy and disruptive, but also to remember that we can’t ignore the fundamentals. Our institution is only as strong as the quality of education that we provide. And quality education requires faculty.

COD Board of Trustees Election Endorsements

The COD Faculty Association PAC, Friends for Education 502, has made its endorsement decisions for the April trustee elections!

Haroon Atcha is our first endorsed candidate. Haroon is a COD alum who has earned his PhD in political science and is a data scientist and higher education activist devoted to improving equity.

To learn more about Haroon and donate to support his campaign, please visit his website:

Our second endorsement is Christine Fenne, an incumbent board member. Christine running for re-election to College of DuPage Board of Trustees to increase enrollment, improve completion rates and build better board relationships with faculty, students and administration.

You can learn more about Christine on the Friends of Christine Fenne Facebook page:

CODFA PAC Endorsed Candidates: Haroon Atcha (L) and Christine Fenne (R)

CODFA Pres Goldberg Memorializes Prof Tom Robertson in Comments to the BOT | Dec 15, 2022

Good evening. Tonight we mourn the loss of Professor Tom Robertson. Tom was a professor of Automotive Technology who passed away unexpectedly over Thanksgiving weekend. After serving as Treasurer of the College of DuPage Faculty Association for more than ten years, he decided to turn his energies elsewhere. Faculty Senate had planned to honor Tom’s service in advance of his passing. That planned resolution took a decidedly different turn after his passing. The comments below were written by English professor Tim Henningsen. Thank you, Tim, for your eloquence in the face of adversity.

While Tom won’t be in our presence to hear the following words, many of them would still be the same if he were here.

First and foremost, Tom was an outstanding teacher. He was beloved. Students in the auto tech lab were proud to have him. They would brag to other faculty about him. They were excited to showcase their diagnosis of the vehicles when they’d learn something, hoping to impress him. He’d often keep his poker face on while inspecting his students’ work, and he’d push them to learn more.

Tom was a generous and ever-present colleague. He was our CODFA Treasurer. He was a division curriculum chair. He was always reliable, and stepped up when colleagues couldn’t. His long tenure with CODFA meant we relied on him for institutional history. He had an incredible memory.

Tom was simultaneously a mechanic and an academic. He was a community college graduate himself, attending Baltimore CC where he studied automotive technology. He earned his bachelor’s in automotive science from the Pennsylvania College of Technology, and later obtained a master’s in teaching and learning from the University of Illinois. He had industry experience, working for Ford and Chrysler. He was always tinkering with something, always craving learning.

Tom was a noonballer, that’s our colloquialism for a bunch of old and slow COD employees who play gym rats over our lunch breaks. Tom wasn’t the most athletic player. A colleague recently joked that he would “cringe when [Tom] launched a 3-pointer.” But Tom was often the happiest guy out there, and it was a joy sharing the floor with him.

Tom was a midwesterner. Minnesota-bred, which usually means kind, honest, hard-working, and a sense of humor which was admirable, though not always enviable (his email signature for years, read: “No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.”). That’s Tom.

Tom was a husband and an adventurer. Many of our faculty colleagues know Tom’s widow, Pika, quite well. They traveled the world together, enjoying jaunts to Australia, Dubai, Germany, Japan, Ireland, Morocco, France, Spain, England, Alaska, Hungary, and Hawaii. He was, it seemed, in constant motion. We wish the very best for Pika, and hope she knows that we love and support her.

Tom was a volunteer. He worked locally for Sycamore Youth Baseball, umpiring and coaching kids in the community. He volunteered with the Boy Scouts, teaching worldly survival skills. And there are countless other community programs, ranging from Minnesota to Maryland, where Tom helped his fellow neighbors.

Tom had just turned 43.

In the face of this adversity I am proud to say that our institution is rallying together. Dean of Business and Applied Technology Kris Fay has been beyond supportive to help Tom’s students and colleagues on Monday morning, and in helping establish the scholarship in his name.

Ellen Farrow of the College Foundation has been helpful and supportive as well. Tom’s friend Bob Clark, professor and coordinator of the HVAC program. Bob has been tireless in his efforts on Tom’s behalf. I can say with some certainty he hasn’t had much time to sleep in the intervening days as he works to make personal and professional arrangements.

Tomorrow the College will undertake the Celebration of Life in Tom’s honor at the Automotive Tech center at 3pm. Bob assured many “Tomisms” will be shared.

Last week, Faculty Senate voted to make a sizable donation in Tom’s name. In addition, noonball players also have taken up a contribution.

Colleagues and friends across the institution have come together in Tom’s honor, his wife and his students. This is a testament to how stand together to support each other.

Please visit to contribute in Tom’s name.

CODFA Pres Goldberg Comments to BOT Special Meeting | Nov 10, 2022

Good evening.

Tonight is an important milestone in the past, present and future of the College of DuPage.
The Board of Trustees deserves our respect and admiration for the work they have put in to close this chapter. Thank you.

In September of 2014, under the leadership of my predecessors Glenn Hansen and Richard Jarman, the College of DuPage Faculty Association overwhelmingly passed a resolution of no confidence in the presidency of Robert Breuder. By that point faculty concerns and complaints had been expressed through every available channel, including to the board of trustees and the press. We were summarily gaslit and ignored until Breuder arrogantly played fast and loose with an Illinois governor and millions of tax payer dollars. It took potentially criminal action until faculty concerns were taken seriously. Reporters from the Chicago Tribune listened to our concerns. Thank you, Stacy St. Clair and Jodi Cohen.

Trauma is a word that has entered our national lexicon. This institution was traumatized by Robert Breuder’s presidency. A climate of fear and intimidation, violation of public trust, misuse and mismanagement of taxpayer support, and outward displays of substance abuse at a minimum. All of which occurred with the explicit support of his sycophants on the board of trustees and in senior administration.

The subsequent board, the Clean Slate, did us no favors. They betrayed our confidence and exacerbated the existing dysfunction at the college, while further weakening the relationship with faculty and college employees. This included jeopardizing our accreditation and lowering our much-vaunted bond rating.

No, trauma is not too strong a word.

We can’t fully move forward until Breuder’s craven, self-serving minions are no longer associated with and employed by the college, but you could start by removing the bronze deer at the foot of a failed water feature. That would be another step in the right direction.

So, thank you to Chair Dunne and this Board of Trustees for helping us move forward with this chapter.

CODFA President Goldberg Comments to the BOT | Oct 20, 2022

In March 2019, CODFA’s table team and the board’s emissaries met for the first time. Those negotiations went on more than six months until the end of September. In between we met bi-weekly, required a federal mediator, and COD faculty voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. It was a contentious process.

Today the current and predicted internal, local, and national conditions are different.

  • A Pew Research poll from September 2021 shows a strong bi-partisan majority of Americans view unions in a positive light. Workers at Starbucks and Amazon have made unprecedented gains.
  • 9% inflation is the highest in 40 years.
  • Recession fears loom on the horizon, nationally and globally.
  • Locally, COD students, faculty and employees are returning to a “new normal” with some trepidation and a high level of change fatigue.

Against this backdrop, our members were surveyed, and a strong majority supported entering into talks on extending the existing full-time faculty contract, as opposed to full negotiations. We asked administrators, as the board’s representatives, on three separate occasions. Each time, the request was rebuffed with little serious explanation.

It is unfortunate, to put it mildly, that the board has no interest in engaging in extension talks and prefers full negotiations.

We think the interest of the institution as a whole is best served by a limited discussion. Several years of peace and stability across the institution are well deserved.

Therefore, our preference is to have a serious conversation about extending the existing contract and discussing an MOU for any current issues – but this should not be misinterpreted as weakness or lack of resolve on our part.

Our Negotiations Team has been hard at work over the past several weeks, focusing on scope and content of proposals. Our resolve is strong, we are disciplined, and tireless in our efforts.

The faculty who are here tonight in support, as well those you will hear from shortly, are reasonable and fair, and they expect the same in the coming weeks and months.

We are eager to begin negotiations and engage at the table.

Thank you.

CODFA Pres Goldberg Comments to the BOT | Aug 19, 2022

Good evening. It feels great to be back on campus at the start of a new semester.

Today, the faculty panel on four connections was strong. The break-out session on stress and burnout led by Counseling Faculty Silvia Donatelli and Dennis Emano provided explanations and ways to address the growing challenges a lot of us face. Given the strong faculty turnout I think this panel was timely and needed. We should consider a check in later this semester.

On my way to and from the MAC yesterday I encountered students and parents walking their schedules. Eager to start their college experience from the looks of it.

A big part of this in-service week’s success is due to the diligent efforts of Tina Bures, Jenn Kelley, and Nicole Matos. Thank you for your work. It makes ours easier and allows many of us to focus on Monday morning.

Much of what makes COD a great place to attend is the people that teach and work here. That starts with hiring committees. The search committee process is problematic to say the least, across a number of areas.

To be clear, I am not referencing any current faculty search committees.

There are a number of problems from minor to potential ethical lapses about which we should all be concerned.

The high turnover and missing out on good people from vice-presidents, directors, managers, groundskeepers and associate vice presidents is an issue.

Outgoing employees should not populate committees to pick their successors. That is a conflict of interest without extenuating circumstances.

There are three large issues that need to be addressed immediately:

1. Timing

Most searches in the academic world are announced via discipline and area specific communications earlier in the fall. Jobs are announced internally, externally, locally, nationally and internationally. The committee is convened begins the process and by mid-spring is having on campus interviews and making offers.

At COD recently, search committee work starts at odd times. Some began in the summer when at least 1/3 of faculty are not on campus. This is not the norm and not consistent with our best practices. The outcome is we are not getting the best applicants, who in many cases have already accepted positions elsewhere.

2. Training of Committees and conducting their work

Greater direction and training of all search committees is needed on campus. That’s hard to do when there is so much turnover in HR.

If the will of the committee is routinely ignored or overruled, that has a trickle-down impact on morale. People don’t want to work on committees for dozens of hours over months and months when there is a pre-determined outcome. This is bad for our institution.

3. Lowballing Candidates

From groundskeepers, faculty, student assistants, to upper management, applicants are turning down positions because they can earn a better wage/salary elsewhere. Beyond understaffing key positions, it hurts our reputation as an attractive place to work that attracts the best candidates.

Given the economic circumstances, this is not the time to lose candidates as it is, anecdotally, a reason frequently given.

Replacing permanent positions with interims that last for a significant time also hurts our internal culture and has been noted both internally and externally. It’s time to remove the interim label from so many.

Timing, training and lowballing need to be addressed.

This is not a contractual issue. It is an issue that this board can and should address by clarifying the process for everyone involved.

Thank you.

CODFA VP Elizabeth Arnott-Hill Comments to the BOT | April 21, 2022

My name is Elizabeth Arnott-Hill. I am professor of psychology at COD, and I currently serve as the vice president of the faculty association.

First, I want to express my appreciation of the hard work of the faculty, staff, and administrators who have worked diligently to prepare for next week’s HLC visit. I have every confidence that your excellent work is going to pay off.

As we near the end of the semester, I have been reflecting quite a lot, as I typically do this time of year, about my students and their outcomes, in my courses and also more generally as they pursue future endeavors. Like most professors, I have lofty goals for my students. I want them to develop academically but also as people; growing in general knowledge, but also in cognitive, interpersonal, and even basic life skills. I hope that education changes their lives for the better, as it has mine, and I hope I can be a small part of that process.

It is with those ideals in mind that I struggle when I hear the value of education being reduced to metrics. As a social scientist I am a firm believer in using evidence to make decisions. However, I also know that complex things rarely have simply definitions, much less explanations or solutions.

As we comb through survey results and benchmarking data, I would like to encourage us as an institution to think more deeply about how we are serving students instead of focusing on how to simply improve numbers by developing one-size-fits-all solutions. It is my hope that we can broaden our definition of “student success” beyond a final grade in a course. To draw valid conclusions, we must recognize that one outcome cannot reflect the myriad goals and experiences of our students. Single quantitative measures are not sufficient to measure the multitude of qualitative experiences. And an overemphasis on these single quantitative measures could potentially blind us to the richness of the story our data have to tell.

Thank you.

CODFA Pres Goldberg Comments at Special BOT Meeting | March 21, 2022

Good evening.

Tonight, the board votes on proposed tuition and fee increases for the fall of 2022. This is not an easy decision, especially given the number of students at COD who face financial hardship before and during COVID. I hope that the board will make the correct decision to propose modest increases for the health and longevity and work to assist students for whom even modest increases can be a significant obstacle in their pursuit of higher education.

Tonight board members will also hear a presentation on student success indicators. According to the presentation in the board packet, the information relies heavily on the Baldrige Criteria.
The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program sounds prestigious and is worthy of a bit more attention.

It is housed at the Commerce Department and applies primarily to the private sector including health care, businesses and non-profits. In 2014-2015 the last two years for which data was available, there were six schools total that applied.

Baldrige was first instituted under a previous administration that, unfortunately, still casts a long shadow over COD. It might be worth considering wandering into the early 21st century in developing appropriate metrics to pursue success at COD.

Before going any further I would like to turn your attention to the slides on pages 8-9 of tonight’s board packet. Please look carefully for use of “students” anywhere on those two pages.

While I was unable to find any mention of students, “customers” appear prominently and account for 8.5% of the total weighted value. I couldn’t find faculty either, but will save that for another meeting.

If we have only customers and no students, it calls into questions the very value of higher education. Customers exchange money for a product or service of value. Higher education is not transactional and should not be treated as such.

Student success is narrowly measured as a grade of C or higher. In looking at a number of other community colleges participating in the benchmarking project, many had goals including increasing enrollment and strengthening retention, but I did not see a narrow, superficial definition that includes a metric that is very specific and cannot be compared across disciplines let alone colleges.

It’s unfortunate that attempts to measure what we do as a college are reduced to a customer consumer relationship and the shallowest of measures of helping students accomplish their goals.

We already have a student success plan. It’s called teaching and learning.