by Andrew Kissinger, Intern
A few weeks ago, APSCUF held its 181st meeting of the Legislative Assembly. During this time, delegates from each of the 14 universities converge to discuss ideas, receive reports from statewide committees, and vote on both organizational policy changes and resolutions. One such resolution – a moratorium on the per-credit tuition pilot proposals – passed unanimously. The resolution reads:
"APSCUF requests that the Board of Governors refrain from approving any additional undergraduate per-credit tuition pilot programs until there is enough time to study the effects of the already approved pilots."
The pilot programs already in place at Clarion and Millersville Universities will, according to the Board of Governors, help these schools generate new revenue. Next fall, similar programs will be implemented at Bloomsburg University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), potentially generating $3 million a year for three years, which will be paid by State System students and their families.
The widespread implementation of such pilots without knowledge of their full impact is irresponsible. Act 188, which created the State System and the Board of Governors, clearly dictates that the system is "to provide high quality education at the lowest possible cost to the students."
As it stands currently, a student at Bloomsburg taking 12-18 credits per semester pays an annual tuition rate of $6,820. Under the per-credit pricing model, a student taking 12 credits will still pay $6,820, but a student who wishes to take 15 credits – the number necessary to graduate in four years – will pay an annual rate of $8,520, an increase of $1,700 or 25 percent. A student taking 18 credits will pay $10,224 annually, a staggering $3,404 – or 50 percent – increase in one year.
One must wonder if these programs help or hinder the mission of the State System under Act 188. These pilot programs come at a time when the average Pennsylvania student already graduates from the State System with over $30,000 in debt. From a national perspective, Pennsylvania ranks third-highest in student loan debt. Nearly 80 percent of PASSHE students accept some form of financial aid. These tuition increases will place an even greater financial burden on students and their families.
When the State System was created in 1982, the Commonwealth covered 65 percent of college costs. Today, state financial support covers a mere 25 percent of college costs, an abysmal number that will plummet even with the institution of these pilot programs.
The delegates of APSCUF show resolve in asking the Board of Governors to halt these tuition pilots. It is more than reasonable to request and study the impact of the established pilots before similar programs are established at any other universities.
by Jonathan Persinger, Communications Specialist
It is with great sadness that we at APSCUF wish to pay tribute to Professor Burrell Brown: educator, civil rights leader, California University Chapter President, Statewide Vice President, member of the Executive Council, negotiations team member, colleague, husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
Burrell’s contributions to California University of Pennsylvania, where he taught since 1989 as a professor of Business and Economics, are unquantifiable. He was described by his students as a down-to-earth instructor who would always do everything in his power to help, and his colleagues routinely described him as a man who cared enormously about his students. As both a professor and a Department Chair, Dr. Brown was known for his feverish work ethic and his strong sense of commitment. In every sense of the word, he was a leader.
The epitome of a union stalwart, Burrell’s tireless involvement with APSCUF included serving on four negotiation teams, chairing the Health Care Cost Containment Committee, serving as statewide Vice President, and — most recently — serving as Faculty Officer-at-Large for the Executive Council and chair of the personnel committee. Over the last several months, he had taken on working with faculty at Cheyney University, which he visited frequently, to assist our faculty with the many complex issues on that campus. A visit from Dr. Brown to the State APSCUF Office was always appreciated by his colleagues and APSCUF staff. Though always hard at work — often seen writing fervently before a meeting even began — he easily built a feeling of camaraderie with all who worked with him. In all he did, his caring, his devotion, and his integrity burned brightly.
“He was the kind of person you could call friend, and you’d know he’d be there to have your back at any time,” said Bill Chabala, Burrell’s friend and fellow negotiations team member. “He was extremely thoughtful and extremely optimistic. Even when faced with challenges, he could keep people calm, analyze a situation, and come up with a win-win.”
Burrell’s other achievements were just as great — if not greater — than those within academia. He was very passionate about civil rights, heavily involved with a number of organizations dedicated to the success of African-Americans. These accomplishments included serving for 20 years on the Legal Counsel to the Pennsylvania State NAACP, and being a founding member of the National Black MBA’s Pittsburgh chapter. Burrell helped found the Homer S. Brown Law Association, an organization dedicated to formulating goals for African-American lawyers, law students, and the community at large. He also served as President for all three of these organizations.
Other organizations of which he was a member included the Governor Advisory Commission on African American Affairs and the Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness, on which he served as Chair.
His ceaseless work and achievement both in the academic field and outside of it won Burrell numerous awards, some of which included the Pennsylvania NAACP President Service Award, the California University Award for Distinguished Service, and recognition in Who’s Who in America. Though these accolades were deserved, it was Dr. Brown’s tireless passion for teaching, as well as writing and speaking on diversity, which motivated him to attain such success.
The loss of a man with the character, spirit, and heart of Burrell Brown is an enormous loss to the organizations and communities of which he will always remain a part. The basis of a union is solidarity, to come together and stand strong in the face of immense hardship. Truly, this loss is the greatest hardship we at APSCUF could face. We will stand strong together, union brothers and sisters, colleagues and friends, and we will remember fondly and be motivated by the life and accomplishments of Professor Burrell Brown.
by Jonathan Persinger, Communications Specialist
Professor Helen Bieber, Secretary of the Executive Council and Chairperson of Kutztown University’s Electronic Media Department, has experienced a number of turns in her career of more than 35 years. She’s worked teaching 8th and 9th grade math, producing local programming, for the Miami Herald, and teaching video production/communication law at the college level. In 2013, she even brought home a Crystal Pillar award to Kutztown.
Not only is she secretary on the Executive Council — which works to make sure the policies and instructions of the Legislative Assembly are carried out — but she is the longest-serving member of the EC in its history.
As Secretary of the Executive Council, Bieber’s duties include maintaining a record of EC meetings and assemblies, along with roll call and ensuring proper and accurate counting during votes and elections. With the help of APSCUF’s Lisa Demko, she ensures accurate minutes and documents are kept.
Bieber first became associated with APSCUF when Jim Tinsman, former State President and KU faculty member, encouraged younger members of the faculty to become involved at the state level.
“He called me personally and first got me involved with an ad hoc committee,” Bieber said. “Which led me to becoming an alternate delegate, then a delegate, after which I made a decision to run for office. The rest, as they say…is history.”
Bieber hasn’t spent her entire career in education. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Mathematics from Clarion University, she taught 8th and 9th grade math. While pursing graduate education, her previous experience as a student worker in Clarion’s College of Communications led her to pursue an assistantship and a master’s in communication from her alma mater.
But even when working in cable production and at the Miami Herald, Bieber couldn’t shake the desire to teach. She became involved with a Junior Achievement program in order to teach young people about video production.
“I ended up leaving my job, going to the University of Miami for a semester teaching Video Production courses, decided to stay in higher education, and never looked back,” Bieber said. “I knew I had to teach.”
These practical experiences have led Bieber to take a hands-on approach in regard to teaching.
“For students to understand the intricacies, the aesthetics, the process…they have to do it themselves, get their hands-on practice, critique themselves and each other and improve,” Bieber said. “Being able to say that I’ve been there and done that lends some credibility to what I’m teaching.”
In addition to her classes and EC duties, Bieber is heavily involved with student media productions at KU. In 2013, she and her students were awarded a Crystal Pillar award by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Her students swept the nominations
“I have been assured that the members judge our students on the same criteria as is used for judging entries of professionals,” Bieber said. “We’re not cut any slack because they were student productions. So that was a tremendous boost and a validation of our work and our students’ talent.”
Having put in more than 30 years at KU, Bieber hopes to make sure that when she leaves her department, it is left in good hands and with a solid footing. In the meantime, she offers some advice for students pursuing a career in video production.
“More and more companies are looking for means to get their messages out. Don’t feel the only doors open are the traditional ones,” Bieber said. “Students need to pursue what they’re interested in. The opportunities may not knock a second time.”
Helen Bieber currently teaches at Kutztown University. You can find more information on her courses & her work at the KU Department of Electronic Media website.
Earlier today, the Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, released an audit of Cheyney University. The Association of Pennsylvania State College and Universities Faculties (APSCUF) represents the over 6,000 faculty and coaches of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), including over 100 faculty and coaches at Cheyney.
APSCUF President, Dr. Kenneth M. Mash, issued the following statement about the audit:
“The 18% cut to Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities in 2011 has caused significant damage to our colleges and our students. It should come as no surprise that Cheyney University, the smallest of our universities, faces dire circumstances. This cut began a vicious cycle. It’s hard to attract and retain quality students without adequate funding. Low enrollment then leads to even less funding for the university. It is tragic that this cut would threaten the existence of the Commonwealth’s only state-owned Historically Black College and University (HBCU) – the oldest HBCU in the country.
“While the financial situation at Cheyney is indeed dire, it is not fatal. All parties – lawmakers, the State System of Higher Education, students, faculty, and administrators – must come together to preserve a university that has an important role in the 21st century. It is a place that is uniquely positioned to provide opportunities for students to succeed. Cheyney’s faculty are actively involved in ensuring student success.
“Every one of our 14 universities has struggled as a result of the 2011 cuts. Key programs have been eliminated, class sizes have grown, and student services have been reduced. At the same time, the costs to students have escalated. At the system’s inception, the state covered 75% of the costs of college. Today, that state support has dwindled to 23%, shifting the burden to students and their families.
“The solution for Cheyney, as I see it, is two-fold: increase the state appropriation to the state system, and second, take immediate measures to increase enrollment. APSCUF and our faculty across the system are committed to do whatever we can to see both happen. Cheyney University is a Pennsylvania jewel, and we look forward to working with the Chancellor, University officials, lawmakers, Governor-Elect Wolf, and all others who respect the university’s past, as well as its future.”
On Friday morning, December 12, 2014, negotiators representing the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) and the State System of Higher Education met in Harrisburg. The collective bargaining agreement between the parties expires on June 30, 2015. APSCUF's negotiators focused on the Association's priorities of ensuring the availability of quality public higher education for Pennsylvania's working families and the ongoing need to attract and maintain high quality faculty to service students at Pennsylvania's 14 public universities. On Friday, APSCUF also announced that APSCUF Vice President Jamie S. Martin, Ph.D. of Indiana University of Pennsylvania will serve as the faculty negotiations team chairperson. Negotiators will next meet on March 20, 2015.
Legendary jazz artist, Phil Woods, wrote the following letter to President Welsh about keeping all music alive at East Stroudsburg University (ESU), including their choir. If you have not done so already, please consider signing the change.org petition to Save ESU Music. Also, you can find up-to-date information on the Save ESU Facebook page.
This is an appeal for James Maroney and the American Songbook.
I know that ESU can exist without a military band marching around urging young brutes to inflict concussions on each other. And terminating the jazz department is understood – it will be extinct soon due to a lack of interest and extreme fossilization. But it seems rather short sighted to cut a program that is America’s only original art form.
And a school without songs is doomed. Amusing aside: music schools don’t have school songs or football teams.
But a University without vocal music would be barren indeed. I cannot imagine no Gershwin, no Porgy, no Bess? No cowardly Lion? No Ellington sacred music? No Chanson d’amor? No Sondheim? No “America the Beautiful” by Irving Berlin? Just the awful “Star Bangled Banner”? No Bernstein “West Side Story”. No “Carousel” or “Oklahoma”? No Judy singing “Have Your Self a Merry Little Christmas” and “Easter Parade” is a deal-breaker. I for one need calendared reminders.
So what is left but a bunch of hip-hoppers and rappers with guitars turned up to 11!
The bebop grapevine says you are firing all music people then re-staffing when needed. I would suggest keeping Prof James Maroney. He is one of the finest vocal teachers I have ever known and I have met many. He recently took his ESU choral group to the White House. D. C. loved it.
Please keep Jim Maroney