Western Michigan University Faculty Struggles for Shared Governance

i_228Western Michigan University Faculty Struggles for Shared Governance

 Unlike many colleges and universities, Western Michigan University Faculty are represented by a union. Currently they are negotiating a new contract. But it’s not just about wages and benefits. Much of the focus of the negotiations will be over the struggle between the competing models of corporate vs. traditional teaching.

James Pilant

Chief Negotiator Cynthia Klekar’s opening statement | WMU-AAUP Blog

The WMU-AAUP looks forward to principled and transparent contract negotiations. Our priority for these negotiations is to ratify a contract that revitalizes Western Michigan University’s core academic mission. WMU has earned a reputation for quality instruction based on learning, inquiry, and discovery. In order to maintain this reputation we must remain steadfast in realizing our ultimate purpose: to provide an educational experience that prioritizes student success, offers creative learning opportunities, and preserves the value of a Western Michigan University degree.

In recent years, we have lost sight of this ultimate purpose. The corporate model now dominates our short-term and long-term planning and has permeated our campus culture to the extent that an instructor’s “credit-hour production” is now the measure of professional competence. We must reverse this trend and return to the university model that values students, not for their tuition dollars or as credit hour producers, but as creative and independent thinkers, capable of discovery, innovation, empathy, and critical inquiry.

via Chief Negotiator Cynthia Klekar’s opening statement | WMU-AAUP Blog.

For more in-depth information, you can go here: http://wmuaaup.net/2013_advocate_fall.pdf


 From Around the Web.

From the web site, Chicago Reporter.


There are things in life you are probably a lot better off not seeing. Based on what I’ve read, sausage-making is high on that list. Based on what I observed Monday, faculty senate deliberations would be, too.

It was the last spring semester meeting of the Urbana-Champaign Campus Senate of the University of Illinois. Among the issues discussed was a resolution re-emphasizing the organization’s support of academic freedom, fair employment practices and the appropriate autonomy for departments in determining curriculum and hiring. The point of raising these issues was to address two matters of growing concern: job security among non-tenure-track faculty and the employment status of Research Scholar James Kilgore, who was informed on April 9 that his contract with the university would not be renewed.

While a resolution was adopted, little was resolved.

The critical details have been left to a special ad hoc committee announced by Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise. But faculty members are concerned about the committee’s membership, the scope of its assignment and the timetable.

Of course, the elephant in the room here is the Kilgore matter, which was not expressly discussed. Even allusions to his case were rejected as personnel matters. At this point, though, privacy is a moot consideration. Nothing could be more public, given the media coverage, including the Monday delivery to campus administration of a petition of support for Kilgore signed by 310 Illinois faculty members. (Several national Kilgore petitions at change.org have been signed by more than 2,000 persons.)

“It’s been all over the damned newspapers,” notes Cary Nelson, professor emeritus at Illinois and former three-term president of the American Association of University Professors. “They’re trying to create the senate as the only place on earth where you can’t mention his name. ” Kilgore’s name has been mentioned quite a bit recently — not just in newspapers and online, but in meetings on the power of academic units to decide how best to determine their research balance, offer curriculum and hire the people who will carry it all out. And his name has been mentioned in connection with the opportunities we want to provide to formerly incarcerated persons — opportunities that benefit entire communities, as well as the individuals themselves.


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