Helen Bieber, an APSCUF member for more than three decades and state secretary since 1998, retires this summer.
When delegates convene for legislative assembly in September, a familiar face will be missing from the front of the room. Helen Bieber, statewide secretary for 18 years, retires from Kutztown University this summer.
“She’s been involved for so long,” said Don Mayer, a retired Shippensburg University professor and APSCURF delegate who worked with Bieber on faculty negotiations teams. “It’s not going to be the same.”
But APSCUF itself is not the same as it was when Bieber joined in 1982.
“When I sit up there (at legislative assembly) and I look out at the delegates, I think the makeup of the delegates has certainly changed,” she said.
There are more women, Bieber observed of LA attendees and executive council members.
“Our mission hasn’t really changed,” she said. “I think our challenges have changed, and so we’ve had to adapt — to face the challenges.”
And to face them together, she said.
“It’s faculty looking out for faculty,” she said of APSCUF. “We all have the same vested interest. If there’s somebody that is in need of some help, you have an entire union behind you.”
Bieber has lived that tenet since childhood.
“Dad was a shop steward,” she said. “I remember at one point, his union went on strike, and he was ill and not able to walk the picket line. I walked it for him. He was bound and determined that there would be a Clinton that was on the line.
“Unionism has always been very strong in our family. That was just something that he instilled in me.”
Bieber contributed to such solidarity in her time with APSCUF, colleagues said.
“Helen has been someone everyone could depend upon no matter the issue or problem,” said Ruth Perkins, assistant professor and research services librarian at Kutztown, who has known Bieber about 10 years. “Helen doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind. The value of that trait was an important lesson.”
Such action is critical, Bieber agreed.
“Bad things happen if good people sit there and say nothing,” she said. “Everybody can sit and complain, but nothing is going to change if people don’t step forward to make the change. Everybody needs to have involvement more so than just being a member. Being an active member is really what’s more important.”
Bieber said she won’t be completely absent from the organization once she has more time for trips to Mexico. She plans to participate in APSCUF’s retirement arm, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Retired Faculties.
“I think I’d be drawn and quartered if I didn’t,” she said.
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An active member
Helen Bieber, an APSCUF member for more than three decades, has served on executive council since 1998 — a total of nine terms. She worked on the faculty negotiations team for the 2003–07 and 2007–11 contracts and chaired ad hoc committees on video conferencing and telecommunications. This on top of duties as department chair of Kutztown’s department of electronic media.
She also has deep roots in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from Clarion University, and she taught at Indiana University of Pennsylvania before Kutztown hired her.
Lisa Demko, executive secretary, right, explains her job to faculty intern Dr. Raymond Feroz. Photo/Kathryn Morton
Two Clarion University professors each are spending a week in APSCUF’s Harrisburg office learning more about statewide duties as part of the association’s faculty internship program.
Dr. Raymond Feroz, professor and chair of allied health, human services and rehabilitation, spent May 16–20 in the Harrisburg office to observe the spectrum of union administration and interact with staff members.
"I found the APSCUF internship experience to be incredibly helpful and informative for an incoming chapter president," Feroz said in a summary of his week.
Dr. Ellen Foster, associate professor of English and modern languages, is slated to intern July 11–15.
APSCUF's faculty and coaches orientation summer internship is for APSCUF members who have some local APSCUF responsibility and are interested in expanding a working knowledge of the union. The program aims to prepare APSCUF members for increased local and/or state responsibilities. Click here to download an application and more information about hotels, travel, and meals. Questions? Email Lisa Demko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash spoke last week on The Rick Smith Show about higher-education funding. Click here to listen to his complete interview.
This week, WESA in Pittsburgh talked with Mash about universities transitioning to per-credit tuition. Click here to listen to his complete segment. (Pro-per-credit tuition sources declined to be interviewed.)
Click here to read APSCUF's position statement on per-credit tuition programs.
Click here to read APSCUF's press release about today's contract negotiations.
Here’s the slate of officers elected at APSCUF's April legislative assembly:
President: Dr. Kenneth M. Mash (East Stroudsburg)
Vice president: Jamie Martin (Indiana)
Secretary: Michele Papakie (Indiana)
Treasurer: Chris Hallen (Bloomsburg)
Coach executive leader: John Gump (Kutztown)
Audit committee: Eric Hawrelak (Bloomsburg), B.J. Mullaney (Cheyney); and Itzi Meztli (Slippery Rock)
Budget committee: Debra Cornelius (Shippensburg) Joe Miele (East Stroudsburg), and Susan Drummond (Indiana)
From left are former APSCUF President William Fulmer, Clarion University; former Mansfield University field hockey coach Diane Monkiewicz, who introduced Distinguished Service Award winner Betty Wesner; Wesner; and APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash. Photo/Kathryn Morton
Betty Wesner won APSCUF’s Distinguished Service Award — which is given to members who voluntarily contribute their time and skills to the functions of APSCUF at the statewide level — at the organization's legislative assembly in State College last week.
Wesner is retired from Kutztown University, where she was field hockey coach. Click here to read more about her.
For some, this was a final legislative assembly in their current leadership positions. State President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash expressed his appreciation for the service of: Steve Hicks, immediate past state president, of Lock Haven; Helen Bieber, secretary, retiring from Kutztown; Beth MacDaniel, chapter president, retiring from Clarion; Jean Jones, chapter president, retiring from Edinboro; Brendan Finucane, Shippensburg chapter president, who did not run for reelection; Mark Staszkiewicz, chapter president, retiring from Indiana; Keith White of Kutztown, stepping down from his position as coach executive leader; and Paul Quinn, outgoing Kutztown chapter president.