Good evening. My name is Jackie McGrath. I’ve worked as an English professor at the College of DuPage for 15 years and I am honored to serve as the vice president of our Association. Tonight we call on the board to find a pathway for settling the contract. We request the board of trustees commit to doing what’s best for our students, which is coming to a fair agreement as soon as possible. As ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham pointed out during his address on Wednesday, there are more changes on the horizon for higher education in Illinois and we need to focus our collective efforts on the work to come. Settling the CODFA contract will make it possible for everyone to work together on issues that we all care about a lot, including student success and improved transfer opportunities. Let’s get this done.
Tonight I am grateful for my colleagues and community members for gathering with the COD Faculty in support of a fair contract because teaching matters. COD is beloved, and we all have strong relationships across the district—because of the roles we play at the College, and because we are a part of this community, and because teaching matters. We also have strong relationships withIN the College. Why? Because teaching matters. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: at COD, administrators come and go. Board members come and go. Even students pass through for a short time. But faculty and staff—full- and part-time—are here through thick and thin. And full- and part-time faculty are the frontline educators who persist in the work of teaching our students, no matter what is happening, year in and year out, and we know teaching matters. Our students matter. Our community matters.
And full- and part-time faculty have been through a lot together over the years. COD has put us through the wringer. We have shared memories and shared experiences and shared expertise. And full- and part-time faculty have many common interests and values. We all care about student success. And we all believe that teaching matters. Advising matters. Students matter. Union values matter. Our COD community matters.
The decision by COD to advertise over one hundred part-time 12-week positions shortly before the start of the 16-week semester certainly created another common cause for the full- and part-time faculty at COD, and it did not have to be this way. It’s one thing to make a plan, and it’s another thing to implement it. We are very grateful for the courage and support of our part-time colleagues in the face of such pressure. We are calling for a fair contract, and we think this board can find a way to get there. We are all here tonight to ask the board to show that it truly puts our students first.