Wilkes University AAUP Newsletter May 2016
Meet the Faculty: Dr. Abas Sabouni Whatâ€™s your favorite part of your working environment? The favorite part of my working environment at Wilkes is the support and encouragement that I received from my colleagues at the Engineering and Physics department as well as university administration, particularly Dean Hudson, Provost Skleder and President Leahy. Research interests/successes/challenges? My research deals with concepts and novel ideas for biomedical devices. These devices have significant potential to transform into commercial products for the biomedical industry with applications in both research and therapeutic use. For example, one of my research interests is to develop a real-time, high-resolution noninvasive system for brain treatment. This research will significantly expand our ability to study the human brain by allowing us to excite specific regions of the brain using magnetic fields, in a noninvasive manner, via a novel application of transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS. What are your teaching interests? I really enjoy the courses involving mathematical applications to
engineering problems. I also like courses that require studentsâ€™ creativity, such as design courses. As a researcher in an applied electromagnetic field I appreciate the importance of mathematics and programming background for students. How do you think you best serve the Wilkes community? I believe my research, and students involved with it, will serve the Wilkes community. Involving students with research will increase student interest and participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It will provide professional growth for under-served students.
How has your time at Wilkes been so far? This is my fourth year being at Wilkes. So far I thoroughly enjoy working with young people and am able to establish a rapport with them.
Inside this Issue: Marywood Faculty and the NLRB
2 Sharing Notes: AAUPâ€™s Northeast Alliance Conference 2 From the President 3
Wilkes University AAUP Newsletter Marywood University Faculty and the NLRB By Dr. Mischelle Anthony English
2015-2016 has been a year of struggle for Marywood University faculty and administration. Each Alliance chapter president has given support to Marywood Faculty’s letter to the National Labor Relations Board. Check out the history of their struggle and a copy of the letter below, at their Marywood AAUP chapter website: http://mufacultyassociation.com/
Sharing Notes: AAUP’s Northeast Alliance Conference
By Dr. Mischelle Anthony English
During 2015, five new or revived AAUP chapters in Northeastern Pennsylvania joined national faculty efforts to bring ethical practices and authentic shared governance to our higher education workplaces. Misericordia University hosted the first annual conference of this AAUP Alliance on Saturday, February 27th. Dr. Mark Painter, Professor of Philosophy, coordinated this all-day invigorating event. Along with Misericordia, Marywood University, Keystone College, Kings College, University of Scranton, and our own Wilkes University chapter (revitalized since 2011) make up the Alliance. In the wake of Marywood University’s recent faculty firings, students there have begun efforts toward a regional student-led group that reconfirms a strong tenured, full-time faculty as a necessary part of higher education’s promise. Their series of petitions to the administration there is a testament to the important distinction between a student-faculty mentoring culture and a corporate customer model which now degrades the American university structure. This corporatization tends toward the 1975 U.S. Steel model, a type of workplace authoritarianism, according to Drs. John Hinshaw and Elaine Bernard, Labor
Historians at Lebanon Valley College, and Harvard University, respectively. What does Alliance membership mean? Chapter members have discovered, in these several months, common issues across campuses. At the February conference we examined national and regional trends in topdown corporate models of governance, increasing administrative control of curriculum, faculty and nonadministrative staff salary freezes or cuts coupled with increasing workload-all steps in a retreat from a more democratic campus workplace. Faculty from our state governing board, Drs. John Hinshaw and Timothy Blessing, joined speakers from the national AAUP headquarters in Washington, D.C. The conference theme, “Best Practices in Higher Education: Grounding Priorities in the Common Good,” hearkens back to AAUP’s 1940 statement: “The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition.” Academic freedom, our speakers reminded us, is a public right for the common good, not the good of an individual or even university. We work together as academicians, as leaders in our respective fields, as appointees to our universities. And though our workplaces are now weighted more toward non-instructional employees, it is the Faculty who must maintain
purview over curriculum and research. Our place in the checks and balances, democratic model of higher education demanded by our accreditor, Middle States, is shared governance at its best. Session topics included: • Shared governance as democracy in the workplace • “Intoxicating marketing” v. academic freedom • Sustainable wages as part of a green campus (AASHE STARS model) • Strategies for practical, measurable solutions • Contingent faculty rights and advocacy • Marywood University’s crisis: The Dickeson Model and program prioritization Wilkes Chapter President, Dr. Philip Simon, and I (as immediate Past President) participated in the conference. It was heartening to see both our Provost and CAHSS Dean at this Alliance event, also. The Alliance conference is an annual event. Plan to be part of the conversation in 2017! As Northeastern Pennsylvania faculty share information and strategies between campuses, we hope to empower each other in our explorations and mentoring, our struggle with administrative pressures that threaten our curricular integrity, and our loyalty to and joy in this academic life of reflection and critical thinking in our world.
May 2016 From the President By Dr. Philip Simon Performing Arts We are moving rapidly toward the end of our second semester, and it seems that we just began fall classes yesterday. We all feel the passage of time, and “wonder where the time has gone.” If you are like me, that wondering includes the sense that we could have accomplished more. It has been a steep learning curve in my first semester as president of the Wilkes Chapter of AAUP, and I feel like the semester is over before I have accomplished anything even though I know that our advocacy for such things as faculty and administration shared governance, and fair salaries for faculty and staff are long-term pursuits. I can point to a few accomplishments and initiatives in the works as perhaps a good start. We had a successful Meet the New Deans TGIF last semester, co-sponsored by AAUP and Provost Anne Skleder. We participated in the formation of a Northeast Pennsylvania AAUP Alliance and participated in its first conference, and we continue to work
behind the scenes to advocate for a strong faculty voice in shared governance. As I have learned more about the politics on our campus, I have also become more resolute in my belief that faculty must be proactive, perhaps even aggressive, about issues that directly affect our professional lives. You can do this, and have a personal voice in supporting AAUP’s efforts, if you join our chapter and the national organization and attend meetings. We have tried to move our monthly meetings around so that more of you can attend, and we will continue to seek other ways to engage more of the full and part-time faculty. I do not see AAUP on our campus in an “us against them” role, but I do believe that we have seen some recent administrative actions and initiatives that cause us to be concerned about protecting and fostering shared governance and academic freedom at Wilkes. None of us can do this alone. I learned at our first Northeastern PA AAUP Alliance conference that when we work together for the common good, we can effect meaningful, lasting change.
In this newsletter you will read more about the Alliance conference, meet one of our newest faculty colleagues, and hear from one of our most respected colleagues about the need for a more forthright commitment to shared governance on the part of our administration. We need you to take an active role in AAUP: first, by joining the organization which represents the entire profession and works on many levels nationwide to protect and grow the academy; second, by joining us as we meet to discuss, and take action on, those issues which we consider important to our students and professors. Every one of us has a vested interest in the expectation that our administrative leadership will see us as colleagues, engage in transparent, shared decision making, and work with us for the common good. There are few decisions on this campus in which we should not have a say. It is up to us, as a strong, collective body of professional educators, to ensure that we have a say in every decision which will impact our students and our livelihoods.
Wilkes University AAUP Newsletter AAUP Vice President Needed Colleagues, please consider getting involved with AAUP next year in any of the following ways: • Volunteer to run for an office. Currently we need to fill the Vice-President’s position, a three-year commitment. • Volunteer to serve on a committee. We will need to break down into several committee’s next year to serve a larger agenda. • Attend meetings on a monthly basis to stay informed and offer your ideas. We need fresh faces and new ideas to strengthen the membership and solve problems. I am grateful to Mischelle Anthony for her excellent work on several projects, including this newsletter and her advice and council as Past President; to Morgan Clevenger for his great work as Secretary; to Jennifer Thomas for serving as Member-AtLarge; and to Helen Davis for keeping track of the books as our Treasurer. We have a great leadership team moving into next year as we welcome Member-At-Large Sean Kelly back from his sabbatical, and I hope we can expand the number of people actively involved in the direction of AAUP on Wilkes’ campus. -Dr. Philip Simon
Wilkes University AAUP Chapter Wilkes University 84 West South Street Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766 Phone: 570-408-4529 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wilkes University AAUP Officers: • President: Dr. Philip Simon (Performing Arts) • Secretary: Dr. Morgan Clevenger (Entrepreneurship, Leadership Studies, Marketing) • Treasurer: Dr. Helen Davis (English) • Member-At-Large: Dr. Jennifer Thomas (Psychology) • Member-At-Large: Dr. Sean Kelly (English) • Immediate Past President: Dr. Mischelle Anthony (English) Newsletter Production: • Nicole Kutos, Integrative Media and English, ‘17
To Join AAUP: To join the AAUP, please go to http://aaup.org/membership and hit the “membership” button at the top. You can hit “join” from the drop-down menu. Membership dues are based on a sliding scale, tied to your annual salary. Benefits of a membership include a year’s subscription to Academe, the bimonthly magazine of the AAUP; and lower rates from Liberty Mutual on home, auto, and renter’s insurance. Members also receive a discounted price on The Chronicle of Higher Education. Of course, the biggest attraction of an AAUP membership is the ability to collectively shape the direction of Wilkes University with the best colleagues in the world.
Our Spring 2016 chapter newsletter.