Teaching and Learning Under Attack at COD

The faculty at College of DuPage is under attack. After 13 months of stagnant negotiations, the full-time faculty at COD do not have a contract. Moreover, the administration has started a very public smear campaign (primarily on the COD website that is paid for with public tax dollars)  that is designed to create negative impressions of what faculty do and what they are compensated for. The administration has a whole office full of “spin-doctors” who are trying to paint a picture of faculty that simply isn’t true. Many of the “facts” that they are publishing are either blatant falsehoods or are only part of the story.

Photography faculty member Glenn Hansen is the president of the COD faculty association and is doing his best to put the basic facts out there in a clear and undistorted way. What’s interesting is that the administration keeps saying “The College” in reference to itself, and “the faculty” in reference to what they are looking at as “the other side.” We have long thought that the college as a whole is a collection of people who are all here to help students learn what they want and need to learn. Separating out any one group makes it tough to get that job done well.

There are many issues in the negotiation process, but one of the “big deal” issues in our contract negotiation is that the administration seem to think that the type of instruction that is done in our program (“studio hours”) is not really teaching. The administration believes that what students do in the studios and labs is “self-directed student activity” and therefore faculty in those areas should be compensated at half the rate of pay because faculty are not prepping, grading or evaluating during that time.

Quote from the COD website: “College of DuPage does not believe the demands on an instructor overseeing an activity class, such as a drawing studio lab, are equal to the demands on an instructor teaching traditional lecture courses. ”

Quote from Joe Collins, COD’s Executive Vice President, when talking about “studio classes”: “There’s no prep, no outside grading — other than he finally grades whatever the drawing is that they do”

So, for the 6 hours each photography faculty member spends in the classroom (or lab, or studio) with a student each week for a given class, they would get paid for only 3 hours. This is because administration believes that the sort of instruction done in that setting is less demanding than a standard lecture class (can you tell that COD administrators don’t actually teach?).

What this would mean in the long run is that we would have to teach one or two additional class sections each semester in order to have a full “load” of classes. Because we’d be spreading ourselves thinner, some of the ramifications of action would be:

  1.  Less time spent with each individual student
  2. Less time spent feeding back to you about assignments that you complete or are working on
  3. Less actual instructional time each class session (administration believes that what we do in the studio is “not instructional”)
  4. Since we’d be teaching more sections, our adjunct faculty would teach less; you’d have less variety in the classroom
  5.   Adjunct faculty would likely be similarly compensated for the work they do, making it harder for us to get really good part-time faculty

What can you do to help?

  1. Repost this blog post wherever you are able to (Facebook, Twitter, your own blog, etc)
  2. Write a letter or email to the College of DuPage Board of Trustees http://home.cod.edu/board/
  3. “Like” the Faculty Association’s Facebook page and encourage your friends, neighbors and fellow students to follow it:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/College-of-DuPage-Faculty-Association/280601578686875
  4. Attend a rally to support COD faculty on April 19th (see image below for details)

After working at COD for the last 28 years, I’ve never seen an administration that is so openly hostile to faculty and, therefore, the students at COD.

Thanks for your support of great teaching and great learning at COD.

Rally to support faculty at College of DuPage

Rally to support faculty at College of DuPage

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2 Responses to Teaching and Learning Under Attack at COD

  1. writingisthinking says:

    Reblogged this on The Harold Lounge and commented:
    I have a friend who teaches at College of DuPage, and this troubles me. This seems like a situation worth following. . .

  2. Annemarie Duncan (rexroad) says:

    Wow….I am astounded. I have taught in pre school programs, grade school, middle school, and college. I know, first hand, that most learning occurs in those “one on one” moments. That’s when concepts are clarified, re-direction takes place, and student-teacher communication and relationships are strengthened! It’s that “personal” touch that the College of DuPage should showcase! It is actually worth more than anyone would be able to actually pay…and COD should feel lucky to get the bargain as it stands now!

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