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Negotiators for APSCUF and the State System met Aug. 25–26. Click here to read today's press release.

The next faculty negotiations session is scheduled for Aug. 31. The next coach session is slated for Sept. 19.

Members, click here to sign up for text-message alerts about future contract news.

LA callAPSCUF leadership talks via conference call with legislative-assembly delegates before today's vote.

APSCUF’s legislative assembly today voted unanimously to send a strike-authorization vote to campuses. Click here to read the press release.

A faculty contract-negotiations session began today and concludes tomorrow. The next coach session is slated for Sept. 19.

Members, click here to sign up for text-message alerts about future contract news.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 08:49

APSCUF life: Improving his environment

This summer, APSCUF is going behind the scenes to show how faculty members and coaches continue to devote themselves to affordable, quality education even when class is not in session.

MorganPaul Morgan is a professor of professional and secondary education at West Chester University. Photo courtesy of Paul Morgan

Paul Morgan typically starts out the academic year with 50 advisees. However, as more students add his department as a concentration, the West Chester University professor usually ends up with 100 advisees at the end of May.

Attending to professional and secondary education students is one of the many duties to which Morgan devotes himself on campus. It isn’t uncommon for his responsibilities to roll over into his evenings and weekends.

“If I’m not in my office, it doesn’t mean I’m not working.” Morgan said.

Morgan has no typical workday because much of his profession depends on him being accessible outside traditional class and office time, typically requiring a 60-hour workweek to meet all of his obligations, he said.

“During the academic year, there is no free time,” he said. “I do what is necessary to take care of my responsibilities and try to enjoy what’s left.”

Morgan is also involved in environmental sustainability efforts on West Chester’s campus. For several years, Morgan was the faculty adviser for the campus’s EARTH Club, which strives to educate students on environmental impact and promote sustainability efforts across campus. Morgan also held leadership positions on campus for West Chester’s Office of Sustainability, which promotes environmental sustainability on campus and in the local region.

Morgan’s environmental sustainability efforts aren’t limited to the university. He also serves on the board of the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research, and he heads an initiative to provide teachers in the Philadelphia School System with information on environmental sustainability that they can incorporate into their professions. Morgan is working to procure a grant to fund this long-term project, which he hopes teachers will use to give back to the community.

Morgan’s interest in environmental studies began in graduate school, where he ultimately decided to focus on the philosophy of education, along with his passion for the natural world, he said. As far as a profession in teaching, Morgan attributes this to his sentiment for working with young adults, since that stage was an especially influential time in his own life.

“I feel fortunate to be able to spend so much time with people who have so much potential,” Morgan said.

Although Morgan maintains a high level of involvement and adherence to his environmental-sustainability efforts, he said he is devoted to his students and campus responsibilities.

“Teaching comes first,” he said. “That mean everything else comes second.”

This philosophy comes with a price, Morgan said. Having married three years ago, Morgan said he is now realizing the difficulty to maintain a boundary between his personal and professional lives.

“I wish people would understand that teaching, when done well, is an art that requires tremendous amounts of creative and performance energy,” Morgan said.

—Corrinne Rebuck, APSCUF intern

Several months ago, California University of Pennsylvania informed the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties that faculty layoffs were possible at the start of the 2017-18 academic year. Even after several meetings during which APSCUF requested information and sought alternatives, the leaders at California University plan to move forward with layoffs. Click here to read APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash's statement.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016 08:22

APSCUF life: Extracurricular opportunities

This summer, APSCUF is going behind the scenes to show how faculty members and coaches continue to devote themselves to affordable, quality education even when class is not in session.

Shane

During my interview for my current position at Shippensburg University in 2005, the search-committee chair explained that many of my responsibilities would center on communicating between the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Services. Although I am officially housed in the Department of Chemistry, I am also responsible for teaching senior-level pedagogy courses for pre-service secondary science teachers and supervising student teachers in classrooms throughout central Pennsylvania. As anyone familiar with academia will attest, crossing the boundaries between different colleges on a university campus is certainly a challenge.

I, however, have come to enjoy this aspect of my work, even though it necessitates my attending more than the usual number of meetings, serving on more than the usual number of task forces, and writing more than the usual number of reports. With my serving as chair of the Department of Chemistry for the past five years, my extracurricular responsibilities have greatly increased. In the past year, for example, I have written accreditation reports for the American Chemical Society and the National Science Teachers Association. I also wrote our mandatory, five-year departmental review and arranged for two external consultants who were impressed with what our department accomplished with respect to teaching and undergraduate research with minimal time allocated in our workload and with basic resources. This is all in addition to lesson preparation, classroom instruction, office hours, and the standard slate of department chair responsibilities. The latter have grown as faculty positions are cut and administrative positions are created. Few, if any, of us have “summers off.”

Of course, routine tasks can be tiresome, and they sometimes seem to offer no tangible benefit. Much of this, however, recedes into relative insignificance since I am able to have such a diverse and rich career serving future chemists, science teachers, regional schools, and departmental and university colleagues. I am able to make professional contributions via publications and conference presentations in chemical education and science-teacher education. I’ve also had the opportunity to develop a STEM-specific Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program for second-career teachers, and Shippensburg University is being considered as one of the partner institutions for the Woodrow Wilson National Teaching Fellowship program. The chemistry department also hosts an elementary chemistry day camp each summer that just celebrated its 10th anniversary. We still hear from students years later about how this outreach effort positively impacted their lives.

Although it was something I’ve never intended on doing, I took my interest in the historical interactions between science and religion and developed a course for our honors program as well as in-demand outreach to churches in the region. This has enabled me to be one of the “go to” people in science-teacher education for how to prepare teachers to present concepts with religious implications.

I am grateful to Shippensburg for all of these opportunities to teach and serve. In particular, I deeply respect the work that our APSCUF colleagues do to preserve our multiple roles as teachers, scholars, mentors, grassroots university leaders and reformers, and community liaisons. Our jobs extend far beyond the basic classroom and office-hours requirements.

Joseph W. Shane is an associate professor of chemistry and science education at Shippensburg University.

 

Friday, 12 August 2016 08:25

Why an APSCUF internship is for you

Intern Corrinne

Mansfield University student Corrinne Rebuck, center, listens to the communications presentation at APSCUF's July executive council meeting. Rebuck worked in the state office this summer, and today is the final day of her communications and government-relations internship with the union. Click here to learn more about future APSCUF internships.

I originally applied for the APSCUF internship out of curiosity about how unions operate and are involved in politics. I soon discovered I would receive much more out of this internship than I originally anticipated.

From writing blog posts to experiencing the political process in the Capitol, I quickly realized I had a lot to learn and that this internship was going to provide me with the experiences I desired.

One of the first things I learned was the impact politics have on APSCUF’s interests and issues. Making sure I was up-to-date on news and legislation was one of my favorite tasks during my internship, especially since I was a few minutes away from the Capitol.

Communication experience was another large element of this internship, and I had the opportunity to be highly involved in multiple communication projects. I was especially excited to participate in these projects because they were a great way to get to know some of the faculty members across the State System. Through these projects, I learned how valuable good communication skills are in the professional field and that there is always room for improvement.

The associate director of communications was excellent in distributing critical feedback on the work I submitted and providing me with multiple opportunities to put my newly acquired skills into practice. I wrote several blog posts, assisted in newsletter releases, and proofread multiple documents for the organization.

You may still be wondering why an APSCUF internship is for you. I can assure you this experience provided me with several networking opportunities where I could further figure out the career direction I wanted to pursue. Many of the professionals I met are alumni from the State System schools, so I was able to network with several individuals who had similar backgrounds as mine.

When you intern for APSCUF, you will be treated as a regular staff member, not an intern. From Day 1, I felt like part of the staff, and I was included in almost anything the staff thought beneficial for me. The staff is also more than welcoming of new ideas and shows a continued willingness to answer a multitude of questions.

As a student, this internship is a great way to have an inside look into what makes our universities work — the faculty and coaches. Having a union to support these influential people in our lives is vital, as many of the issues they face run parallel to our educational experience.

I would not have realized how important APSCUF is to our universities had it not been for this internship. Experiencing the political process, learning excellent communication skills, and gaining an inside look into our faculty’s union are just a few of the beneficial elements you will gain from this internship. My time at APSCUF has certainly been beneficial for my future career endeavors.

Corrinne Rebuck is entering her senior year at Mansfield University, where she majors in human resources and political science.

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Contact APSCUF

319 North Front Street
Harrisburg PA 17101
717-236-7486
or 800-932-0587
qualityeducation@apscuf.org
Click here for directions

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