APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash’s comments as prepared:
Chairwoman Shapira, Chancellor Whitney, governors, and presidents,
On behalf of my faculty colleagues in APSCUF, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, I want to thank you for engaging in a smooth process that resulted in the one-year contract.
We appreciate the leadership of the chancellor and the board in this regard, and we are glad that our faculty members can, for at least one more year, concentrate without a major distraction their attention on the students and on making our universities the best institutions they can be.
We are also glad that we can focus our organizational efforts on support for our institutions.
Our students are far better off when we cooperate than when we are in battle. We further appreciate what Chancellor Whitney has been saying on our campuses about working together and seriously listening to concerns.
We hope that this is the dawn of a new day where the Office of the Chancellor models behavior that is expected on all of our campuses.
We do have campuses that are led by presidents who truly listen, who demonstrate in word and deed their respect for their faculty colleagues and all of those who work at their universities.
Our hope is that within the System that they are held up as examples of how academic institutions ought to be led.
Not that there is never disagreement, not that there are not hard choices to be made with which we will strongly disagree, but that decisions are duly informed and can be rationally explained to campus constituencies.
Bosses that solely rely on the power of their office rarely find success in any enterprise; with academic leadership, it is a recipe for disaster.
For our System to thrive, we need to stop some of the pettiness that occurs on our campuses. The campus climate ought to be an important factor in weighing the job performance of the campus leadership, and there need to be outlets within the System that faculty, coaches, students, and all employees can turn to and know that their campus concerns are taken seriously.
We would hope that when a campus leader is consistently acrid in word and deed with respect to those who are responsible for carrying out the very mission of the State System that this would be a serious matter of concern for the leadership of the System.
We need to find a better equilibrium, particularly in the world of academic affairs, but also in the world of budgeting and administration. We believe that the State System ought to model that behavior, and that it should be insisted upon for our campuses. The sense we get is that the System is moving in that direction, and we would like you to know that we appreciate it.
There is a far greater role for true input into the operations of our System, and I look forward to having the opportunity to articulate our perspectives in direct conversation with the System’s leadership.
We are fully aware of the challenges that face the System, and we look forward to confronting those challenges together in the most constructive ways possible.
Thank you very much for your attention.
It warrants an exclamation point: The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties and Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education have tentatively agreed to a new contract that would run through June 30, 2019. Click here to read today’s joint release.
On-campus voting dates have not yet been set, and only full APSCUF members may vote on the tentative agreement. Prior to voting, full members will have an opportunity to view the tentative agreement in a secure, members-only area of the APSCUF website. Click here to learn how to become a member. If you’re already a member but not registered to view members-only areas of this website, click here to register.
Last summer, APSCUF went 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. This post is a continuation of that series.
Dr. Lia Paradis has taken on the role of educating future generations, but her work doesn’t stop at the classroom door.
“We’re not just educating students: We’re making sure we create the next generation of educated and trained people who will make sure society runs well,” she said.
In addition to serving as a professor at Slippery Rock University, she also chairs the history department and helps run the Stone House Center for Public Humanities. The CPH helps spread the humanities to students, faculty, and community members through means other than classrooms.
“We run a variety of programming in the community with community partners, local high schools … We have instituted a free library in the town of Slippery Rock,” Paradis said. “We also aid other faculty in their search for the right types of grants to write for their own programs and give students the opportunities to do service learning.”
With a limited number of hours in the day, Paradis often takes her work home with her. Upon review, Paradis found that her weekdays consist of 11 hours of work, several of which she logs before she leaves for work, she said.
Weekends don’t always mean a day of rest and relaxation, Paradis explained.
“Usually on the weekends, I go crazy and sleep in until 7 a.m.!” she said. “Then I make sure to put in at least three hours each day.”
That adds up to a grand total of 61 hours, on average, per week. And while the arrival of summer brings a break for many students, professors don’t completely check out, she said.
“Well, as the chair of my department, I’m expected to be available in the summer,” she said. “I have also taken students on study-abroad trips. Summer is really the time where you get to do the things you need to do to best serve you students.”
Whether it means prepping courses from the upcoming semesters or conducting research to update information on topics they cover, professors never stop working to improve the educational process, Paradis said.
“The notion that professors only work during the semester for the time that they’re in the classroom is extremely problematic,” she said. “People don’t think that a soldier is only a soldier when he or she is actually in a battle situation, or that a surgeon is only being a surgeon for the hours that they’re in the operating room. Yet with professors, there is a misconception that we’re only professors when we’re in the classroom.
“We’re not just educating that child so that only he or she can benefit; everybody that we’re educating is going to be the next generation that teaches the children, that cares for the children, that builds the bridges, that takes care of our environment … We’re not just teaching that student. We’re teaching the next generation.”
—Brendan Leahy, APSCUF intern
Photo courtesy of Lia Paradis.
Clarion University has withdrawn the letter of intent for retrenchment it issued in the spring, removing the concern of faculty cuts at the end of the 2017–18 year. Click here to read today’s press release.
This leaves Cheyney University with a letter remaining, down from five State System universities this spring.
What began in 1937 as a professional association for faculty at Pennsylvania’s teacher colleges has grown into an organization touching the lives of more than 100,000 students and their families each year. To celebrate the APSCUF’s 80th anniversary, members, retirees, and honored guests gathered Sept. 15 at Red Lion Hotel Harrisburg for an evening of awards, memories, and camaraderie.
This slideshow of APSCUF images throughout the decades played during the reception and dinner:
Later, attendees watched excerpts from an interview with Dr. John Pierce Watkins, who was APSCUF’s president 1972–73:
Along with celebrating APSCUF’s 80th anniversary, Rick Bloomingdale, president of Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, right, received the APSCUF Distinguished Friend of Public Higher Education Award. Presenting the award is APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash:
Helen Bieber, retired Kutztown University professor and longtime APSCUF secretary, received the APSCUF Distinguished Service Award. With her are Kutztown University professor Paul Quinn, right, who introduced Bieber, and Mash:
Jerry Oleksiak, acting secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, spoke about the importance of public higher education and APSCUF’s work:
Watch APSCUF’s Facebook page in the coming days for additional photos from the event and last week’s legislative assembly.
Photo/Johnmaslar via Wikimedia Commons
Mansfield University has withdrawn the letter of intent for retrenchment it issued in March, removing the concern of faculty cuts at the end of the 2017–18 year. Click here to read today’s press release from the university.
This leaves Cheyney and Clarion universities with letters remaining, down from five State System universities this spring.
We are proud to have a copy of Works & Days journal on display in the State APSCUF conference room. The entire “Three Days in October” issue is devoted to contract negotiations and last fall’s APSCUF faculty job action.
Learn more about subscribing to the journal here. The Indiana University of Pennsylvania APSCUF chapter also has copies for sale in its campus office.
State APSCUF always welcomes members’ books, articles, recordings, and other scholarly or creative endeavors so we can show them off in our Harrisburg office. Please feel free to contribute your work to the collection, preferably signed. We’ll acknowledge each contribution with a letter of appreciation. Our mailing address is 319 N. Front St., Harrisburg PA 17101. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Today we welcome Andrea Mahoney, left, State APSCUF’s new executive assistant to the president. She will spend the next few weeks learning her duties from Lisa Demko, right, who at the end of this month will retire from APSCUF after more than 30 years.
My name is Brendan Leahy, and I am APSCUF’s communications and government-relations intern for fall 2017.
I am excited for this internship opportunity, which will allow me to bring together my two fields of study into one great experience.
In my free time, I enjoy watching sports, especially Premier League soccer.
—Brendan Leahy, APSCUF intern