BY TAYLOR ROBINSON
- WCCEA President Maryam Barrie delivers monthly speech
Maryam Barrie, president of Washtenaw Community College’s Education Association, addressed the board about her concerns regarding the support faculty will receive if they need to return to school to accommodate the Higher Learning Commission’s new faculty guidelines.
She mentioned that she’s inquired on multiple occasions and while ideas have “bounced across the table,” nothing definite has been discussed.
“I want to be able to say to them and to our community, that our college values and supports its faculty – and for that to be clearly demonstrated in how this issue is handled,” Barrie said.
As a likely outcome of this situation, Barrie urged the board to hire more qualified full-time faculty and “ensure that as we get closer to the HLC’s deadline (September 2017), we remain able to meet our student’s needs,” Barrie said.
She spoke of the board’s inclusion of campus security on the agenda and also urged the board to look into hiring more Licensed Professional Counselors. Two new part-timers have been hired, but Barrie questioned as to whether or not that would be enough to supplement the recent loss of two full-timers, John Rinke and Pat Taylor.
Barrie concluded by mentioning an anonymous letter accompanied by a book she received; William Deresiewicz’s “Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite.” The letter was also addressed to WCC President Rose Bellanca, Vice President for Instruction Michael Nealon, Vice President for Student and Academic Services Linda Blakey, and Dean of Mathematics, Science and Engineering Technology Kris Good, according to Barrie.
The letter concluded by saying, “Happy New Year from just one of the many disheartened, disappointed and sad faculty members who does happen to remember – and believe in – what the purpose of true education is, and who therefore laments how difficult it is to be a good teacher at WCC, given the administrative policies that frame our working conditions do not create the necessary ‘space’ for genuinely good teaching.”
- Humanities instructor requests new vans for educational opportunities
Elisabeth Thoburn, WCC humanities instructor and adviser of the Arts Club, provided public comment concerning the need for newer vans to take students on educational field trips. She relayed to the board that their club is probably one that uses the vans the most to take students off-site. During the board’s comments, President Rose Bellanca mentioned that they have already been looking at possible replacements.
- Former board member’s roles filled
As a result of former Treasurer Pamela Horiszny’s retirement last semester, two other board members have taken on her roles. Trustee Stephen Gill has taken on the office of board treasurer and Secretary Christina Fleming has filled her position as WCC’s Foundation liaison. WCC Foundation works toward assisting students through scholarships and other philanthropic efforts.
- New and discontinued programs
The medical office administration certificate is being discontinued as of Fall 2016, due to an overall low enrollment. The agenda also states that some students have confused this area of study with completing a certified medical assisting certificate. Secondly, the certificate for hospitality management has also been discontinued, due to a low completion rate.
The agenda says that most of the students have received substitutions for necessary courses to complete the program, and “substitutions will be created as needed to facilitate graduation for remaining students.”
The two new programs introduced are a core business skills certificate, and an advanced machine tool programming advanced certificate. The CT certificate provides students with a series of courses in which they’ll gain a “basic understanding of business and the core foundation of business principles.” The certificate will consist of 21 credit hours and is a new program for 2016-2017.
The CV certificate consists of 16 credit hours and students will learn “advanced CNC programming skills. Students will practice the fundamentals of Intuitive Probing Systems and Visual Quick Code needed to create machine tool programs.” According to the agenda, WCC is also working with Eastern Michigan University to develop in the area of 3-D printing.
- Board to continue video recording of meetings
The board discussed the recommendation to continue the pilot program of video recording each meeting. They were presented with the metrics after having posted four meetings total. While some board members questioned whether or not it’s worth the time based on the average number of viewers, others wanted to continue. The cost of producing and posting each video costs approximately $320.
“I have had several people thank us for putting this up, so I do know that some people are watching it and I see this cost as such a small cost – it’s just the fact that we are showing our meetings is a step toward increased transparency,” said Trustee Dave DeVarti.
The original recommendation was to continue the recordings through and including the September board meeting. It was then recommended to continue them through December and was approved.