Friday, August 31, 2012

VOTE FOR OFFICERS: Your PIO invitation expires tonight, Friday, August 31.

The KVCCFT is grateful to the PIO for allowing us to use their ballot service, first for the survey on collective bargaining issues, and now, to elect officers and approve bylaws so that we may begin in earnest.

We need volunteers to serve on research teams that examine the contracts that other community colleges have in place, that scrutinize p/t faculty policies, that analyze pay schedules, etc.  

Contact the steward of your division if you are interested. 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vote for officers, Thursday, August 30

Thanks to all who attended our first membership meeting at which we announced candidates for officers.  Voting for officers is the first step in establishing our right to collectively bargain.
The second step is voting in bylaws.  You may review them by opening the attachment in the August 7th newsletter  

Tomorrow, August 30, KVCCFT members will receive an invitation from the Professional Instructors Organization (PIO) of Western Michigan University to utilize their voting site at   Once the invitation is sent out, you will have a 24-hour window of opportunity to cast your ballot.

Welcome to an exciting semester!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dismantling the professoriate

On Campus
September/October 2012
Feature Story

Institutions are failing to support their instructional staff. What message does that send students?

Catherine Barnard has been a college psychology teacher for 29 years, the last 16 of them at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan. When she started there, she earned $1,800 per three-credit course. Now, after her years of service, she's worked her way up to $2,478 and holding—and holding and holding and holding.
About 13 years ago, she mentioned to the human resources director that she had completed her doctorate. That's nice, she was told, but don't expect a pay increase because of it.
The subject of relative pay for work actually has come up in Barnard's classes, she says, where "students have said, 'Hey, you get megabucks for helping us here. We only get minimum wage!' I can tell them that, for what I do—preparing for courses and class, teaching in class, grading—those in minimum wage jobs make more than I do. 'If you're looking at me as a highly esteemed faculty member,' I say, 'think again.' Their jaws drop."

Working without resources

Colleges and universities are relying ever more heavily on part-time faculty while failing to support them adequately. The extent of that failure—and its impact on the majority of the higher education instructional workforce—is documented in a new survey long in the making and released this summer by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce.
The Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW) is a group of higher education associations, disciplinary associations and faculty organizations committed to working on the issues associated with deteriorating working conditions for faculty and their effect on the success of college and university students in the United States. The AFT is a leading member of the group and was a chief supporter of the survey.
Currently, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education, 1.3 million of the 1.8 million faculty providing instruction in two- and four-year institutions are part-time or adjunct faculty, teaching off the tenure track. 
Yet, according to CAW, higher education employers pay part-time faculty poorly, fail to provide them the kind of academic and work supports that most professionals rely on to do their jobs, and don't attach rewards or incentives to the credentials their academic employees hold or earn. They also continue to offer part-time employees work deemed "temporary," despite the fact that their reliance on part-time faculty seems to be a permanent trend. 
The CAW survey, "A Portrait of Part-Time Faculty Members," was conducted during the fall semester of 2010 and was open to any faculty member or instructor who opted to complete a questionnaire. CAW received 28,974 responses. Faculty members in part-time positions made up the largest group of respondents, providing 10,331 of the 19,850 valid responses by contingent faculty members and instructors who were teaching at least one course in fall 2010.
The survey's key findings include:
  • The median pay per course, standardized to a three-credit course, was $2,700 in fall 2010, and ranged from a low of $2,235 at two-year colleges to a high of $3,400 at four-year doctoral or research universities.
  • Part-time faculty respondents saw little, if any, wage premium based on their credentials.
  • Professional support was minimal for part-time faculty members' work outside the classroom and for their inclusion in academic decision-making.

Seeking respect

"Clearly, part-time faculty are undersupported," says Bonnie Halloran, president of the Lecturers' Employee Organization at the University of Michigan. "Part-time faculty [at the University of Michigan] have phones, offices and access to support staff through our collective bargaining agreement. But we have less access to professional development opportunities, even though we make up 33 to 50 percent of the faculty across the University of Michigan's three campuses."
At Kalamazoo Valley Community College, part-time faculty comprise 60 percent of the teaching force. They recently formed the KVCC Federation of Teachers and voted to affiliate with AFT Michigan. While salary was one reason to organize, the desire for respect was another. Barnard says her doctorate gives her clout in her profession, but not so much at the college.
"Ironically," says the CAW report, "it appears that those increasingly responsible for educating the undergraduates who reap this earnings premium are themselves excluded from the economic benefits of advanced educational attainment." They've been sucker-punched.
Part-time teaching is not necessarily temporary employment, and those teaching part time do not necessarily prefer a part-time to a full-time position. More than 80 percent of respondents reported teaching part time for more than three years, and more than half, for more than six years. And 75 percent of respondents said they have sought, are now seeking or will be seeking a full-time tenure-track position.
Andrew Jeffery's teaching career shows the pattern: He completed his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Washington in 1994. He interviewed for full-time positions around the country but got no job offers. He started teaching part time at Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., in 1995. Not including a break to teach a half-year full-time stint in Pennsylvania and another yearlong full-time stint at the University of Washington, Tacoma, he's been aiming for an average annual load of 13 classes at GRCC and other local colleges and universities for nearly 20 years.
He's 52 and is still looking for that tenure-track gig. "I'd take the full-time position anywhere in the country for added job security and the way banks look at you."
In addition to gathering information about their academic background and other personal characteristics, the CAW survey asked part-time faculty respondents to provide data for each course they taught—a total of 19,615 courses. Course loads varied significantly among respondents. Slightly more than half taught one or two courses during the fall 2010 term, while slightly fewer than half taught three or more courses.

Exposing the problem

One of the primary features of the academic staffing crisis, says CAW, is that information available on the working conditions of part-time faculty is minimal. The Department of Education used to collect significant data on faculty, but funding has dried up. As a result, the large and growing majority employed in contingent positions are rendered largely invisible, both as individuals on the campuses where they work and collectively in the ongoing policy discussions of higher education.
"In order to a solve a problem, you have to understand it," says Sandra Schroeder, chair of the AFT Higher Education program and policy council, president of AFT Washington and an AFT vice president. "The plight of contingent faculty is one of the most urgent problems we face in higher education. This survey will give us crucial information about the next steps to take toward systemic improvements so that students are better served in our colleges and universities."
"I do love to teach," says Jeffery. "I love the ideas I work with. I love sharing them with others. It's all I ever wanted to do."
He adds: "I don't have a plan B."
—Barbara McKenna
(Download the full report at
Reprinted from the September/October 2012 issue of AFT On Campus.

Friday, August 24, 2012

KVCCFT Facebook Page

Our new Facebook page is up and running!

Please visit the page and "like" it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Labor Day in Detroit

Dear all,

Some of you have asked about visibility events around PWF.

One of the biggest--where we can expect media to look to gauge PWF
support--is the annual Detroit Labor Day Parade, info for which is below.

From AFT Michigan President David Hecker:

"The MEA and AAUP will be joining us and all three unions will have the
same T-shirts, with the only difference being the name of the union...We
will be a mass of Michigan educators marching as one. This is our
parade, with MEA and AAUP as honored guests. The host needs big
numbers. Last year, thanks to your efforts, 300 AFTers marched. We need
to match that and exceed it."

Please send commitments as you have them!

Yours in solidarity,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First KVCCFT Membership Meeting

Reminder: Our first KVCCFT membership meeting is next Wednesday, August
29th from 6:00 to 7:00 PM in TTC room 8570.

We will use this first meeting to accomplish the following:
* Meet the union organizers, stewards, and others who have worked to get
this union going
* Discuss the Protect Working Families campaign, with the goal of amending
Michigan’s constitution to protect collective bargaining rights and
strengthen the middle class.
* Hear the results of our recent survey
*Offer suggestions for our bylaws which will include our membership rules,
election of officers, selection of stewards, and terms for collective

Our new Facebook page is up and running! Please visit the page and "like" it.

The meeting follows the services offered for part-time faculty from 5-5:45
in the cafeteria, student service center, and faculty reception area. We
look forward to seeing you at this historic event! Strongest together!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Officer Candidates for KVCCFT

Although the survey runs only through Sunday, August 19th, we are accepting officer candidates until Wednesday, August 22.  Please respond with your candidacy to  In particular, we need a treasurer to obtain a full slate, but all offices are open to members.  Descriptions of each office appear in the bylaws that were attached to the latest newsletter.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

For Members Only

You should have received the following email message:

You are invited by Professional Instructors Organization
to vote in
KVCCFT Bargaining Survey.

to cast your vote, sometime during the

Voting Time Period:
Thursday August 09 2012 at 6:00PM (EDT)
Sunday August 19 2012 at 11:00PM (EDT)

Security and Privacy Notice:
Your ballot answers are transmitted and stored anonymously and encrypted.


The technology problem has been solved thanks to Kelly.

You should have received your notice and instructions via email.  We are now good to go.

Happy voting!!!


Dear Members,

Thank you for your patience as we work towards getting up and running.  

You will receive a notice giving you directions as to how to vote.  The notice will arrive via email, but as of now, we're not sure when.  It shouldn't be more than a day or so and we will keep you updated and informed of our progress.

Who was it who said technology will make your life easier?  At this time I would like to debate that issue... 

KVCCFT Survey for Collective Bargaining

Hello Members,

Our original survey site, Ballotbin, located in Texas, suffered devastating windstorms that took down its web site and aborted our first attempt at surveying your concerns.

The Professional Instructors Organization (PIO) of Western Michigan University has offered us their voting site ( to survey the issues that will become our collective bargaining platform.  You will receive a notice giving you directions as to how to vote.  Those of you who had already voted will have to vote again, but it only takes a few seconds of your time and a few clicks of your mouse.

Voting opens at noon today, Thursday, August 9, and closes on Sunday, August 19.

If you have any problems logging in at "votingplace" after receiving the e-notice, please contact PIO staff member, Kevin Wordelman, at (269) 290-8656.  If there are any issues that are missing from the survey, please email with your concerns.

Thanks for understanding,

Kelly O'Leary
Leadership Team Member

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We tested several times without problems before mounting the survey.  Indeed, it seems to have crashed.  Kelly O'Leary has notified the webmaster and hopes to hear whether it will become viable again.

If not, we will try another site and email all those who have not yet voted.

We apologize for any inconvenience!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

You will receive a notice in your email from KVCCFT with a link to the survey which represents the most important concerns heard during the membership drive.  Please take the survey before August 22, 2012.  The results will become the Collective Bargaining Platform over the next year.  Results of the survey will be announced at the Membership Meeting.

Interested in an Officer's Position?

If you're interested in the position of Co-President (2), Vice President, Communications Officer, Treasurer, or Steward of Art, Music, Math, Philosophy, Accounting, or Science, please state your interest in an email to before August 22, 2012.  A slate of officers will be announced at the Membership Meeting and Stewards will be introduced.