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.