Read the full NCHEMS report

The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems this afternoon released its full report of its review of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. Click here to download a PDF file of the report.

After Chancellor Brogan’s retirement annoucement, APSCUF looks forward to collaboration with State System

Chancellor Frank T. Brogan speaks at Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education’s Advocacy Days media event in April at the Pennsylvania Capitol. APSCUF file photo

Chancellor Frank T. Brogan today announced his Sept. 1 retirement from Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. Click here to read the State System’s press release. Click here to read APSCUF’s response.

APSCUF-KU president calls for “equal seat at the table”

APSCUF-KU President Dr. Amanda Morris’ comments as prepared for the July 13, 2017, Board of Governors meeting:

Good morning. My name is Dr. Amanda Morris and I am an associate professor at Kutztown University and I serve as the KU APSCUF chapter president.

Over the past year, I’ve had meetings with some of you, with our own administrators at KU, with legislators and the one thing we have in common is that we all say that we need to collaborate and cooperate more. But we cannot collaborate and cooperate if you shut us out of the decision-making process. So I am here today to request equal representation for faculty on any task force or committee that is created to develop an action plan in response to these consultants’ recommendations.

We expect an equal seat at the table so that faculty can help fix our system. We want to participate in developing solutions with you. And there is precedent for this. I want to draw your attention to two things in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

First of all, in the beginning of current CBA there are several side letters, many of which establish what are called “joint labor-management committees.” This is all I’m asking for. A joint labor management committee that will figure out how to respond to and incorporate the recommendations the consultants have provided.

Secondly, the “purpose” section of our contract says, “APSCUF and the State System of Higher Education, desiring to cooperate each with the other in mutual respect and harmony” – and I think we can all agree, there hasn’t been a whole lot of harmony in the past year, and there hasn’t been a whole lot of mutual respect.

This is an opportunity, right now, this moment. Show us that you want to work with us. If you want faculty buy-in to whatever it is you think you’re planning to do, you’re going to need faculty to be part of the process. Work with us in mutual respect. Collaborate and cooperate with us in some semblance of harmony.

APSCUF represents the faculty. We are the ones who work most closely with students in the classroom, through advising, even one on one mentorships that extend far beyond their graduation. We want what is best for them.

I want to draw your attention to a line in Article 4 of the CBA. Article 4 is Duties and Responsibilities of Faculty Members and the last line in section B says “faculty members have the responsibility to perform other tasks characteristic of the academic profession, and to attempt honestly and in good conscience to preserve and defend the goals of the Universities including the right to advocate change.”

Members of the Board, chairwoman Shapira, Chancellor, we as faculty have a duty and a responsibility to be involved right now with this issue, with this report. And the Board of Governors and the State System have a duty and a responsibility to include us as equal partners at the decision-making table. Bring us in. Let us help you decide the best course of action in response to the NCHEMS report and maybe, just maybe, we might achieve some harmony and mutual respect.

Read Dr. Kenneth M. Mash’s remarks to the Board of Governors – July 13, 2017

APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash’s comments as prepared:

Chairwoman Shapira, Governors, and Chancellor Brogan,

We, like many others in this room and in the Commonwealth, anxiously awaited the NCHEMS presentation that was delivered yesterday, and we are looking forward to greater detail in the upcoming report next Friday. We are still processing all that was in that presentation, but when it comes down to the suggestion that we all need to pull together, we are certainly willing to pick up an oar and do our part.

With that in mind, we would like to suggest that we meet at the negotiations table prior to the expiration of our existing contract to see what we may do with respect to one of NCHEMS’ specific recommendations. That is, I give my commitment to you right now to approach the APSCUF leadership to suggest that we immediately try to work on an early and phased retirement proposal that I hope can lead to a side letter. I believe there are things that can be done within the existing law. I hope that the System leadership will join us in this effort so that we can model the new cooperative spirit that Mr. Jones talked about yesterday. I hope, too, that cooperation will carry over to our general negotiations.

With that aside, I believe that the aspect of the report that most stood out yesterday was Mr. Jones’ comment that there was no “silver bullet.” I strongly disagree. One cannot look at the numbers, the 2012 Maguire report, and the recent reports by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and not be struck by the fact that Pennsylvania ranks 46th in the nation in per-student funding of public higher education.

With all due respect to the comments yesterday, a 3.5 percent increase in tuition and corresponding fees — plus whatever increases are passed on campus — does make a difference to the lives of working families. It is not an increase in isolation: It is an increase that builds on consecutive increases. It is an increase that must be understood in the context of increased room-and-board fees.

The simple fact is that when the president of a respected private university can get on the radio and say that it is cheaper to attend that university than it is to attend the nearby State System university, there is a real problem.

We have hit the point where every attempt to save money actually winds up hurting our universities and our students. I agree with Gov. Muller 100 percent. We cannot balance the books off the back of System employees. And we certainly cannot balance the books off the backs of our students and our families.

Our Commonwealth — not our universities — are at a crossroads. Too many still have an anachronistic perspective on what it means to pay for college. They imagine that it is still akin to 1995. It is not even close. As I have said here before, total college costs have skyrocketed.

It is not acceptable that students should have to make the awful choice to indebt themselves for a decade or two, or choose between food and books, or choose to abandon the American Dream completely because they cannot afford the cost.

I wish some of you could experience what my colleagues experience or what our SCUPA colleagues experience when they must look into the eyes of students who say that they just cannot afford to attend college any longer.

It is equally unacceptable to shut down academic opportunities for students and services for students and try to sell them on the idea that this will continue to provide a quality education.

There is, in fact, a “silver bullet.” That lies in adequately making the very real case to all of the Commonwealth’s policymakers that the situation is intolerable. We, like everyone else, do appreciate the increase in a difficult budget year.  But it will be a difficult budget year for tens of thousands of students and their families that will have to pay for college this fall.

Our policymakers must come up with solutions that provide relief for Pennsylvania’s working class. The future of every citizen of the Commonwealth is at risk until they do.

To our students and to families out there I will say this: Despite some of the rhetoric you may hear, the faculty and coaches at your universities have given of their time, money, and energy in pursuit of additional funding.

Our intent is to double down to fight for you to make college more affordable. I certainly hope that everyone involved in this System can make that commitment.

I was actually wrong. It’s not a silver bullet. It’s just the right thing to do.

Thank you for your time.

After NCHEMS presentation, APSCUF awaits details

Dennis Jones, president emeritus of National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, presents initial findings of NCHEMS’ review of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education at the Wednesday, July 12, Board of Governor’s meeting. Photo/Kathryn Morton

Consultants for Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities today presented their initial findings from a systemwide review. Click here to read APSCUF’s response.

APSCUF life: Engagement counts in and out of class

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.

After working as a certified public accountant, I got into teaching 17 years ago. In nearly two decades, I’ve learned that education doesn’t begin at the start of class — nor does it end when students leave the room. I continue to facilitate learning during my office hours, extracurricular activities, and whenever I advise students.

I use my experiences as an accountant to help students understand how things really work in business. Passing the CPA exam was one of my greatest professional accomplishments to date, and I share both insights about the professional work of CPAs and what it takes to pass the CPA exam with my students.

One way our students at Lock Haven University are gaining awareness about the work of CPAs and CPA candidates (individuals working toward passing the exam) is through our student-run CPA Prep Club. During our meetings, local CPAs discuss their work, and we conduct mini mock CPA exams. As the faculty mentor for this club, I have seen how this time spent with students outside of class has allowed students to connect with each other more, with other CPAs, and with me.

We live in a global economy, so it is rewarding to see that a number of students at Lock Haven University take advantage of study-abroad programs. To encourage more interactions with students in other countries, I partnered one of my upper-level accounting students with former students from my term as a guest lecturer in Germany. These interactions and insights proved to be valuable for all students involved in this pilot assignment.

Students today expect more from faculty than ever before, in part, due to use of technology. I welcome students to reach out to me over the weekend with questions or concerns that cannot wait to be addressed until the regular workweek. In addition, on some Sunday afternoons, I offer help sessions for the introductory-level classes, and many students take advantage of this informal way to interact with me and to learn the material more thoroughly.

I also feel compelled to accept some students’ requests to redo exams under certain circumstances and/or take an incomplete over the summer so that they can successfully complete some missed assignments. Their success in learning and applying the course material is important.

Regan Garey is an associate professor at Lock Haven University.

APSCUF life: Service continues during summer ‘break’

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.

I’m often told “It must be great being a professor … you get the whole summer off!” Those of us who teach most likely don’t have many colleagues who have the “whole summer” off. Indeed.

As someone who has taught in higher education for 15+ years, I cannot remember one summer where I was able to spend every day with a cool drink and my feet up, lounging on the patio with nary a care on my mind. And I like it that way. Here’s what summer looks like for this social-work faculty member at Millersville University.

Once the spring semester ends, we enter grades, then a day or so after graduation, those of us who teach summer classes are back in the classroom. In my case, at Millersville University, summer session starts in early May and ends in mid-August. While I don’t carry a teaching load of five classes, as I do in the fall and spring, I teach two social-work courses at the graduate level, and along with them, the attendant grading, discussion, and planning take place. I’m also one of those instructors who, when monitoring and teaching an online class, likes to craft individual responses to each of my students on discussion boards. Time consuming, yes; a great deal of reading, yes; but I hope it enhances and enriches the learning experience for our students. Further, the learning experience is heightened for me, as I absorb a great deal about our students through their posts.

Two courses? Piece o’ cake, right? Sure. But it doesn’t end there. This is my promotion-and-tenure year, so I have to write my P&T application narrative. I have to collate, collect, and search through all of my documents from the past five years. Each day I am not teaching is spent writing and compiling information for the application packet. Remember those days writing your dissertation? Completing the P&T packet is similar to those days, only now I am also teaching, conducting a research study, completing two journal articles, presenting at conferences and working on task forces for the Council on Social Work Education, and meeting with peers to discuss departmental matters and programmatic issues. At least during the summer, I loosen up a bit and allow myself to wear Hawaiian shirts on a more regular basis.

The School of Social Work started a Doctor of Social Work program along with Kutztown University several years ago. So, here at Millersville, we are involved throughout the year with monitoring our advisees’ progress on their comprehensive papers, assisting with their Institutional Review Board applications, and meeting students regularly to provide advice and guidance throughout the DSW process. Did I mention we meet with students throughout the summer as well? BSW, MSW, DSW … our doors are open for all of our students.

Maybe the teaching load is a bit lighter in the summer, but the workload remains constant. That’s a good thing for me because I love what I do, and I love my school and my department. It also helps that I don’t like the beach, but that’s another story. I do have a few more minutes to walk my dog in the morning during the summer, though. Don’t think I am complaining. I’m merely illustrating what all of us in APSCUF do for our departments and schools, and most important, our students. I came to academia late, after spending a number of years in the business world and as a practicing social worker. Fortunately for me, I knew and was well aware that higher education is a calling, and thus there are no 37.5-hour weeks or eight-hour days or summers off. I have found that effective teachers, when they are not teaching, are thinking about teaching.

I appreciate this great profession of ours, and I find myself saying, “I can’t believe I do this for a living now” — even in the summer.

Dr. Marc Felizzi is an assistant professor of social work at Millersville University.

West Chester faculty member begins officer-at-large term on executive council

Cassandra Reyes is no stranger to leadership roles as she takes the reins of one of APSCUF’s faculty officer-at-large positions. Prior, Reyes’ service work has ranged from president of the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences to the executive treasurer of the Camden County Fraternal Order of Police Bicentennial 76 Lodge, where she now is vice president.

Reyes is a professor in West Chester University’s criminal-justice department. This is not her first experience in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education: She received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Between her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Reyes worked as a New Jersey state probation officer-bilingual and senior parole officer-bilingual for 10 years.

On top of service roles in graduate school, such as the Student Cooperative Association board of directors, Reyes worked alongside members of APSCUF.

“This background gave me a strong desire to become a faculty officer-at-large member this year, as the timing in regard to my teaching, scholarship, and service was right to run for the position,” Reyes said.

The new faculty officer-at-large member is excited to gain more insight into APSCUF and to get to know the staff, she said.

“I am looking forward to contributing my time, hard work, and dedication to assisting the faculty and staff as much as I can through my role,” she said.

APSCUF’s work is particularly important now due to the climate of public higher education in Pennsylvania, Reyes said.

“It is important for APSCUF to continue fighting for faculties’ rights,” she said.

Despite her busy schedule and continuous dedication to teaching, scholarship, and leadership roles, Reyes said she always makes time for her husband, cats, and dog.

—Lindsey Newton,
APSCUF intern

* * *
What do faculty officers-at-large do?
• Vote as and are members of the executive council

• Act as tellers during the election of the nominations and elections committee if incumbents are running for re-election
• Serve with the president as the personnel committee

—APSCUF bylaws

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