Thursday, November 14, 2013


JOB SECURITY:  What does it cost KVCC?  NOTHING.  How does it benefit KVCC?  Job security for part-time faculty would ensure that the college retains great instructors, continuity of instruction throughout a department, students who look for particular instructors from one semester to the next, people who have real-world working lives outside of academia and who enrich their courses with specialized skills . . . and after the KVCC Federation of Teachers Operation Bookmark, students can say with authority, "Now I Know...".

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Look for a reminder in your mailbox, 10/28 - 11/2.

Campus Equity Week (CEW) is a week of education and activism
to shine a spotlight on our increasingly stratified higher education system:
At the core of the inequities that pervade higher education is the crisis of contingent faculty employment.
Campus Equity Week was devised by faculty activists in 2001 in order to 
highlight the appalling working conditions of the majority of the faculty the 
impact of those working conditions on the quality of education
Quality education depends practically and ethically on 
professional and just working conditions for all faculty.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

OPERATION BOOKMARK: A roaring success

Jarek Marsh-Prelesnik informs another student with a bookmark.

Caroline Hains handed out 100s.

Co-Pres Catherine Barnard, event organizer, with member Caroline Hains at the Tower entrance.

Catherine and Caroline distributed over 500 bookmarks in an hour.

Co-President Kelly O'Leary and organizer Marie Rogers made serious business an enjoyable task.

Only a few $10 union t-shirts remain.  Hurry and get yours.

Jackie Neil, WPE Rep, distributed bookmarks at the Flag entrance.

Even the Public Safety officers showed the love!

Which person hasn't had a pay increase in three years? Jean Snow knows.

Add caption

John Saillant ran through a pile of bookmarks.

Students now know, thanks to John Saillant's efforts, that part-time faculty are in the majority.

Kevin Wordelman replenishes Jackie Neil's and Karen Bennett's supply of bookmarks.

Karen Bennett stands in the shadow of the Flag entrance where hundreds received bookmarks from her.

KVCCFT PRIDE: Marie Rogers and Jean Snow, two of our greatest promoters, both were full-time faculty for over 35 years.

Monday, October 21, 2013

We got a jump on Campus Equity Week!

The KVCCFT will be greeting visitors, students, staff and faculty at the doors of the TTC and AWH Campuses on Tuesday, Oct. 22, with bookmarks that raise awareness of part-time faculty's tenuous position at the college, despite making up 77% of its total faculty.

Read WHY we need to raise awareness.   . . . and now, you know.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


We are pleased to announce the West Michigan Federation of College Educators Community Outreach grant.  In a joint effort among the Teaching Assistants Union (WMU), Professional Instructors Organization (WMU), and the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Federation of Teachers (KVCC), the Community Outreach Grant is designed to offer both monetary support and access to our service-minded membership.   ANY UNION MEMBER of TAU, PIO, or KVCCFT (WMFCE) is eligible to nominate a charitable organization.

NOMINATIONS ARE DUE BY October 31, 2013. 

Below is a brief outline of the program’s goals, award amount, nomination criteria, and timeline.  As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact

To nominate an organization, please complete the fillable PDF form available HERE. If using the PDF form, first download it to your computer.  From there you can fill it out and "save as" your file name.

Send your completed application to

Summary of Program
In an effort to expand the philanthropic endeavors of the West Michigan Federation of College Educators, and its member unions, the WMFCE Community Outreach Grant is a one-year commitment to a Kalamazoo based charitable organization.  The mission of the program is to:
  • Provide financial support to a member nominated charitable organization
  • Offer the selected organization access to our members for volunteer opportunities
  • Provide information to our membership regarding the charity’s specific goals and programs
  • Commit to a minimum of one charity event that aligns with the organization’s current charitable programs
  • Expand WMFCE’s community relationships with a focus on those outside the sphere of current relationships 
Award Amount
  • A one-time $1000 grant that may be used for any organizational expenses or programs that meet the nomination criteria.  WMFCE reserves the right to direct that grant money be spent on specific programs or costs.
  • The ability to create a relationship with our members, including action calls for volunteers, information dissemination, and other communications.
  • At least one collaborated event coordinated by WMFCE.  Subsequent events may be created at the discretion of each union’s executive committee.
Selection of Organization
An organization can only be nominated from a current, active WMFCE member.  The nominating member must complete the basic grant application after approval from the nominated organization.  The Outreach Committee will review applications and select three for consideration.  The final vote will take place at the end of the year Holiday party/membership meeting of WMFCE in December.  The winning organization will be notified before the end of the year.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What should the KVCCFT do for Campus Equity Week, October 28-November 2?

Campuses around the nation are joining together to highlight the plight of part-time faculty. Let the KVCCFT know in what actions you would be willing to participate during Campus Equity Week

Campus Equity Week 2013 Button

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MEMBERSHIP MEETING, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013

Join your part-time colleagues in room 2520 at the Texas Township Campus at 10:00AM.

If you haven't yet signed a membership form or received a member benefits packet because you want to know more about the KVCC Federation of Teachers, we'll be there to answer your questions.

We will also be looking ahead to what lies before us as the first part-time faculty union on KVCC's campus.  We are bargaining our first contract, and we need to energize for the winter . . . speaking of which, have you seen the pay date calendar for 2014?  Our first pay period had been set six weeks into the semester.  Members complained and the Union took action.  

Hope to renew acquaintances and meet new faces!

Catherine Barnard and Kelly O'Leary, Co-Presidents

Monday, July 8, 2013


Michigan college graduation and student loan default rates examined in report

11:00 PM, July 6, 2013   |  
Students at 19 Michigan colleges and community colleges are enrolled in schools where borrowers are likelier to default on a loan than full-time freshmen are to graduate, an analysis of federal data shows.
Two Michigan community colleges challenged the report, saying the numbers are inaccurate and misleading.
In a new report, “In Debt and In the Dark,” the Education Sector identified 514 of what it calls “red-flag colleges,” schools where the percentage of borrowers who started repaying loans in 2009 and had defaulted by 2012 was higher than the school graduation rate. A look at the report by USA TODAY focused on 265 of the 2,711 colleges where at least 30% of students borrow.
Nationwide, nearly half the schools that meet that criteria are operated by for-profit colleges, the data show. About one-third are public community colleges. In Michigan, nine of the 19 schools cited in the report are community colleges, including Henry Ford Community College and Wayne County Community College District.
Seven of the Michigan schools are various branches of Baker College, including those in Allen Park, Auburn Hills and Clinton Township. The Metro Detroit campus of the University of Phoenix is also on the list. Baker College did not respond to several calls seeking comment.
“These colleges should set off a red flag in the minds of prospective student borrowers — and their parents,” said Andrew Gillen, research director for Education Sector, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank on education policy that gathered the federal data. “Many students at these colleges will, no doubt, take out loans, graduate and get good jobs. But the high default rates and lower graduation rates suggest that many will not.”
WCCCD said the 7% graduation rate cited in the study is inaccurate and is actually between 28% and 29%.
“WCCCD is the largest urban community college in Michigan and one of the largest urban community colleges in the nation,” Chancellor Curtis Ivery said in a statement. “More than 80% of our students are on some form of financial aid. This is the highest number of students on financial aid in an educational institution in the state. To compare our numbers with any other institution is disproportionate and misleading. Over the past five years, our students have experienced the most drastic economiccircumstances in our lifetime. Our mission is to serve the people of Wayne County with higher educational opportunities that help improve their lives. Our graduation rates reflect our success.”
Henry Ford Community College said using the federal graduation measure, which calls for community college students to complete their degrees in three years, isn’t a fair measurement.
“Our students often follow a different path to graduation and completion of their goals,” the college said in a statement. “Many transfer to four-year colleges and universities and, if this data is added to the picture, the completion rate for Henry Ford Community College is 37%. Most of our students attend part time because they must work and raise families. ...
“Our students take five years or longer to complete their degree, not three years. At five years, the graduation rate plus the transfer rate is nearly 50%. Measures have been put in place to improve the default rate, including tightening the admission process. However, it will take a few years before we’ll see the impact.”
The Education Sector analysis, a snapshot of data from the U.S. Department of Education, looks at U.S. colleges where at least 100 borrowers started repaying loans in 2009 and the equivalent of at least 250 full-time students were enrolled in the 2009-10 academic year, the latest year for which complete data are available.
The flagged schools are in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The analysis comes as Congress decides whether to intervene to stop interest rates on new federally subsidized student loans from doubling.
Leaders of community and for-profit colleges have long argued that graduation and default rates have more to do with the challenges faced by their students, who are among the neediest and most likely to struggle academically, than with the quality of their institutions. Also, each number counts different populations and applies only to subsets of students — those who borrow and those who began attending the college as first-time, full-time students.
Nevertheless, the two data sets are the federal government’s “best estimate” for identifying and holding accountable schools that are eligible to receive federal student aid, Gillen said.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bargaining Team Workshop

Members:  Bring a sack lunch and sound in on what has happened, is happening, and will happen in our negotiations with KVCC:
Monday, July 8 at noon . . . TTC - Room 7334.

Friday, June 28, 2013

GRCC to Offer Healthcare to Adjuncts!

On a positive note, GRCC will offer healthcare to 70 adjunct faculty members who will qualify under the Affordable Care Act.

$31,050 Pay Raise for the President at GRCC!

According to the MLive article, Steve Ender, President at GRCC will be receiving a 17% pay raise even though enrollment is declining and salary increases for others have been frozen.

Sunday, June 23, 2013



If you have any concerns regarding the number of sections you will be teaching this Fall, Your Bargaining Team will be holding two informal informational sessions:

  • Wednesday, June 26 at 5:00 pm in our Cafeteria, and
  • Thursday, June 27, at Noon in our Cafeteria.
The purposes of these sessions is to let you know what impact, if any, the Affordable Care Act could have had, KVCC’s initial response to the ACA, and the result of negotiations by your Bargaining Team.

Please contact the Bargaining Team at if you cannot attend either session but have questions that you want addressed.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Thank you!


While it is easy to thank the messenger for good news, it was the hard work of many people who made the contact hour change possible.  It's important to acknowledge those who had direct involvement in the resolution of the class scheduling which would have affected the salaries 82 p/t faculty members:

The 50 KVCCFT members and supporters* who stood in Marilyn Schlack's office to present the Unlawful Labor Practice Charge showed courage, demanded the law be acknowledged, and stood up for what is right and ethical.

The bargaining team (Kelly O'Leary, Kevin Wordelman, Jon Curtiss, David Dobbie, Jean Snow, Randy Pomeroy, Dave Paul, John Tucker, Meredith Timpson, Carol Weatherford) who have met hour after hour, without pay, making sure the wording for the agreement was in our best interest and wouldn't take "no" for an answer from the administration.

The organizing team* have planned the actions, such as the presentation of the "charge" to Marilyn Schlack and the Art Hop, in order to apply pressure to the college administration to negotiate fairly.

The concept developers* who designed our logo, bookmarks, and posters.  

Our colleagues* who placed phone calls to members inviting them to attend our activities.

Our colleagues* who passed out 1,200 bookmarks at the Art Hop and had meaningful conversations with the community about the plight of our part-time faculty.  

Lastly, a debt of gratitude is owed to our students, their friends, and their parents*.  These students have taken a stand for the part-time faculty by writing letters, passing out bookmarks, sharing our information with others, and using their free time to assist us in getting our message across.  They are passionate about what they believe in and it's impressive to see these young adults stand shoulder to shoulder with us as we tackle tough concerns.

This battle is won, but know that the war continues.  Salary, evaluations, etc. are up for negotiations next and we will need your assistance as we once again ask the college to make a serious commitment to us as we have to the college.  This last resolution gives proof that weare strongest together!  So when asked to participate in KVCCFT activities, help us make a difference, and please consider joining us.  Our strength is in numbers!

Catherine Barnard

* I did not ask permissions to use names.