Welcome to the Oakland University AAUP Chapter web site


Covid-19 Employee Emergency Fund Notice

Documenting the COVID-19 Impact at Oakland University Best Practices
as Identified by the AAUP Chapter at Oakland University

OU and OU-AAUP extend current contract agreement

Oakland University and the American Association of University Professors –Oakland University Chapter have announced the ratification of a one-year contract extension to the current Faculty Agreement. The current agreement will now expire at midnight on August 14, 2021. The Letter of Agreement regarding the extension can be found on the OU-AAUP website here and full details of the 2015-2020 contract that has been extended can be found on OU’s website here.

"Our teams worked quickly and collaboratively to ensure important continuity for Oakland University faculty and students in such difficult and uncertain times," according to a joint statement issued by Joi Cunningham, OU’s Assistant Vice President for Academic Human Resources, and Amy Pollard, Ph.D., OU-AAUP Executive Director.

C. Michelle Piskulich, Ph.D., Interim Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost for Oakland University added, "We are very thankful to the AAUP for their partnership, understanding and cooperation to extend the current agreement by a year so that we can focus our collective energy on serving our students and working together to get through this pandemic."

# # #

About the AAUP-Oakland University:
The Oakland University faculty, through the American Association of University Professors, plays a vital role in Improving the quality of Oakland University; Protecting academic freedom and tenure; Involving faculty in university governance; Upholding faculty rights and due process; Improving salaries, benefits and working conditions; Lobbying for faculty interests at the state and national government levels. Learn more at: http://www.oaklandaaup.org/

About Oakland University:
Oakland University is a doctoral, Carnegie Classification R2 "High Research Activity" university located in Oakland and Macomb counties, Michigan. The main campus is located on 1,443 acres of scenic land in the Southeast Michigan cities of Rochester and Auburn Hills. The university also maintains program space at the University Center in Clinton Township and at the Anton/Frankel Center in Mount Clemens. Oakland university offers bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees and certificate programs and is dedicated to delivering a distinctive college experience. At Oakland, the student experience is enhanced as students work alongside inspired faculty and community mentors in the laboratories, field and corporate workplaces settings. Students enjoy small class sizes, countless research and social opportunities and a high rate of job placement after graduation. In fact, 96 percent of OU graduates stay and work in the state. This rich campus atmosphere is complete with residence halls, Greek life, Division I athletics and more than 300 student groups that lend to the total college experience. Learn more at https://www.oakland.edu/.


Statement of Solidarity Against Racial Injustice

Greetings Members,

Thanks to the diligent efforts of our Bargaining Team, Oakland and the OU-AAUP have reached a tentative one-year extension to the Faculty Agreement. So that all faculty have an opportunity to ask questions and have their concerns addressed, we will be holding 3 town hall-style virtual meetings next week via Google Meet and a ratification vote will be held electronically shortly thereafter. Meetings will be held at the following days and times:

Wednesday, 6/10, 10am
Wednesday, 6/10, 12pm
Thursday, 6/11, 2pm

To join the video meeting, click this link: https://meet.google.com/dro-jddc-zzf
Otherwise, to join by phone, dial +1 925-587-6907 and enter this PIN: 343 211 997#

Below are both the Tentative Agreement as well as our Bargaining Team's Summary of the plan.

Tentative Agreement
Bargaining Team's Summary

We want to thank the members of our Bargaining Team (Doug Wendell, Lori Ostergaard, Cara Shelley, Jen Thor, Chaturi Edrisinha, Scott Barns and Bob Fetter) for all their hard work and due diligence!

We look forward to seeing everyone next week.

Yours in Solidarity,
Amy

Online Survey Report

Greetings Members,

Two quick things to report.

As many of you have already heard, all Oakland classes will be strictly online through all of the Summer sessions. Oakland and OU-AAUP signed an agreement extending the contract exception regarding voluntary online instruction for Summer. No decisions or agreements have been made regarding Fall 2020.

In light of this decision to move entire courses online (as opposed to the mid-semester crisis transition we all faced in early March), OU-AAUP has created a brief, 10-question survey to solicit member feedback on issues and concerns related to preparing, maintaining and running online courses. Survey results are gathered anonymously. They will be shared with both Oakland and the OU-AAUP membership once gathered.

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. Collecting a large number of responses will allow us to understand the small and large-scale issues facing our membership at this time and give us a voice to advocate for faculty rights and student needs.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfk_Z2BRoZyL58fE7hZRW-PhO83PbiQx2HrqiiYewXgvsPQAQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

If you have any questions or concern, reach out to me (pollard@oakland.edu), Scott Barns (barns@oakland.edu) or any member of the Executive Committee. To stay connected, check out our website (www.oaklandaaup.org) and follow us on our Facebook page (OU AAUP & Friends).

Happy last week of Winter 2020!

Yours in Solidarity,
Amy

Greetings Members,

Oakland and OU-AAUP have reached an agreement on tenure clock extensions and review modifications as relates to COVID-19 disruptions. I am attaching the document here, but want to make sure a few key points are highlighted:

If you have any questions or seek further clarification, please reach out to me (pollard@oakland.edu), Scott Barns (barns@oakland.edu) or any member of our EC.

Yours in Solidarity,
Amy

Greetings Members,

As of 5pm today, March 11th, Oakland University has suspended all face-to-face instruction, effective until April 25th. Online instruction goes into effect on Monday, March 16th, giving faculty and students a few days to prepare for the changes. The ramifications of this change in instruction will be wide-spread, varied and, to some extent, unforeseen. Members of your OU-AAUP Executive Committee met with the Administration today to share information and concerns and to think through possible problem areas and potential solutions.

The second of the two emails coming from the University this afternoon contains critical information about myriad forms of online instruction tools and resources, as well as contact information to support those instructions. OU is confident its computer network has the bandwidth and storage space to handle the increase in usage by faculty and students. They will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed. We on the OU-AAUP Executive Committee are brainstorming ways to further support faculty moving to fully-online instruction and we hope to see support at the departmental level as well.

Here is what we know about what will remain open and operational:

Key Points of Contact

We will continue to work toward collaborative solutions with the Administration as issues arise in order to make sure both faculty and student needs are met as effectively as possible given the new circumstances. Please feel free to reach out to your Executive Committee with questions/concerns and stay connected via social media (Facebook: OU AAUP & Friends) and our website (oaklandaaup.org).

Yours in Solidarity and Good Health,
Amy

Teaching Resources, Research Updates & Guidelines and Collaborative Problem Solving

The Oakland University faculty, through the American Association of University Professors, plays a vital role in:

For more information, contact:

Scott Barns, Executive Director
201 Pryale Hall, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309
(248) 370-2005; Fax: (248) 370-2004
E-mail: barns@oakland.edu

Recent News:

Greetings Members,

There is a great deal of uncertainty facing us at the moment. Two particular areas of concern for many members are the upcoming merit reviews materials due May 15th and the review/tenure schedule. We do not have all the answers to your questions, but I'd like to share what information we have at the moment.

Merit:
We spoke with Oakland regarding the current merit review cycle and their position is that the collection of merit review data should proceed as scheduled due to the fact that over ten months of the review cycle were complete before the COVID-19 crisis period began. We are aware of the potential problems with this data collection and have informed Oakland about possible shortcomings. We encourage faculty to indicate in their merit review reports any ways in which the COVID-19 closures and move to online instruction have impacted their work. Oakland has stated that these amendments should be taken into account when calculating merit scores. We would also like to encourage faculty to reach out to me (pollard@oakland.edu), Scott Barns (barns@oakland.edu) or any other members of the Executive Committee if you are encountering difficulties compiling the reviews. We need a sense of how easy or difficult this data collection by the middle of May will be in order to present that feedback to Oakland.

Review/Tenure Schedule:
Discussions are ongoing with Oakland regarding possible extensions to the review/tenure cycles beginning Fall 2020 and beyond. While both sides agree that faculty should not suffer any undue harm throughout the review cycle due to the current crisis, we have not, as of yet, reached a consensus on how best to implement the changes to the review/tenure cycle to ensure that protection. We promise to continue to engage in collaborative discussions with Oakland and advocate for the best interests of our members.

We know there is a great deal of uncertainty not addressed here and we continue to tackle each issue that is presented to us as efficiently and effectively as possible. Please reach out to us with questions and concerns. It's incredibly important for all faculty voices to be heard at this time, especially without our physical presence on campus.

Take care and try to enjoy the sunshine!
In solidarity,
Amy

Greetings Members!

Happy almost mid-semester! I’m sure everyone is bogged down with a million responsibilities and obligations at the moment. The groundhog did not see his shadow, though, so the end of Winter term is closer than we think! In the midst of mid-semester chaos and busyness, please take a few minutes to read about what your union has been up to and the ways in which you can become active with our membership here on campus.

Bargaining Updates
The pre-bargaining faculty surveys are now live. Every member should have received an email from Scott Barns with the links. For easy access, here are the links again.
All faculty survey: http://www.oaklandaaup.org/bfsurvey_20.html
Special Lecturer: http://www.oaklandaaup.org/bfsurvey_20sl.html
The surveys will be live through the end of day, Friday, February 14th. It’s really important every member fills out the survey in order to give our bargaining team as accurate of a picture as possible about the memberships’ needs and priorities.

We have begun the process of arranging meetings with individual units to discuss bargaining issues. So far, thirteen units have scheduled visits, beginning in early March. Check with your department chair to see if your unit has a meeting. Department chairs, if you have not yet set up a meeting and wish to do so, please reach out to me ASAP so we can make arrangements (pollard@oakland.edu).

Open Positions
The search for a new Executive Director for our union has officially been launched. The job listing can be found here: https://www.unionjobs.com/listing.php?id=16786

Four At-Large Executive Committee Member seats will be open at the end of the summer. Elections for these positions, which can be held by any union member, will occur in late March, after the General Meetings. Please contact Anne Zacharias (switzer2@oakand.edu) if you are interested in running for a position. Alternately, members may make nominations from the floor at the General Meetings on March 17th or March 18th.

Advocacy
SAVE THE DATE! On Wednesday, March 11th, we will be bringing Rudy Fichtenbaum, President of the national AAUP, to campus as a guest speaker (https://www.aaup.org/news/rudy-fichtenbaum-elected-aaup-president#.Xjmq5C2ZMUE). Rudy’s talk will focus on academic freedom and campus advocacy. We hope to have a huge turnout in order to welcome Rudy and to see our membership joined together in solidarity, sharing in a message important to us all! His talk, followed by a Q&A, will begin at 5pm in the Oakland Center, Banquet Room B.

Another way we had hoped to make our voice heard on campus is by re-establishing regular meetings between the OU-AAUP Executive Committee and Oakland’s Administration. Unfortunately, at this point, President Pescovitz has declined to meet with members of our union’s executive body until negotiations have been completed and, as of yet, no meeting with Provost Lentini has been set. One meeting over the course of an academic year is simply not enough between these two bodies, and we will continue to advocate for these meetings in a positive manner in order to foster a sense of collegiality and open communication.

We have, however, been fortunate to continue our working relationship with the OUSC. We’ve met with current OUSC President, Destinee Rule, this year and held discussions about the ways in which areas of concern for students and faculty intersect. Sharing our different perspectives on these issues has been productive and enjoyable.

Faculty Tenure Forum
On Saturday, March 28th from 11am-1pm (OC, Lake Superior), we will host a faculty tenure forum in order to help shed light on the process as outlined in the current Agreement. Faculty who have recent experience in the review process will be on hand to offer advice and field questions. Lunch will be provided and space will be limited. Be on the lookout for an upcoming email with specifics about how to sign up!

Good and Welfare
We’ve created a new Facebook page (as opposed to a group) so please head there and give us a like: OU AAUP & Friends. Since this is a public page, feel free to invite your union-loving, academia-loving friends to like us as well.

The Advisory Forum will meet on the following dates during Winter semester: 2/11, 3/4 and 4/16 in KL 225B. Winter General Meetings will take place on Wednesday, March 18 from 2-3pm in the OC, Gold Room B and on Thursday, March 19 from 12-1pm in the OC, Banquet Room A.

Please reach out to any member of your OU-AAUP Executive Committee with any questions or concerns.

Yours in Solidarity,
Amy Pollard, President
Oakland University Chapter AAUP

You can find more information about our faculty union at our website:
http://www.oaklandaaup.org. And follow us on Facebook: OU AAUP & Friends

Greetings Members!

Just a quick note with a wish for all to enjoy a very relaxing, energizing break and Happy Holidays!!!

Bargaining Updates
Our Advisory Forum is hard at work creating the pre-bargaining faculty survey that will be sent out in late January/early February. The Advisory Forum will gather the responses and create a report for the Executive Committee and the Bargaining Team in order to help establish faculty needs and priorities heading into this summer’s negotiations.

In order to ensure as much faculty feedback in the bargaining process as possible, Doug Wendell (Lead Negotiator) and I will be arranging meetings with individuals units. We will send out an email to Chairs at the beginning of the semester to offer our availability and work to set up meetings with as many units as are interested in meeting in order to discuss specific concerns and address what questions we can at this point. Beth Wallis will also remind members of the Advisory Forum to bring this opportunity back to their units as well.

Advocacy
As we head into the winter semester and summer negotiations, please take the time on campus to advocate for those around you, whether it be fellow faculty members, students or staff. Sometimes we all just need that reminder that we are infinitely stronger as a union body when we work for each other, and those not lucky enough to have an organizing body, together. As Mother Jones reminds us, “You ain’t got a damn thing if you ain’t got a union!”.

Another way we hope to make our voice heard on campus is by re-establishing regular meetings between the OU-AAUP Executive Committee and Oakland’s Administration. Ora Pescovitz and Jim Lentini have agreed in principle to regular, informal meetings between the two bodies moving forward in order to foster a sense of collegiality and open communication, and we are grateful for this as we genuinely see it as an important step in relationship-building.

Good and Welfare
We’ve created a new Facebook page (as opposed to a group) so please head there and give us a like: OU AAUP & Friends. Since this is a public page, feel free to invite your union-loving, academia-loving friends to like us as well.

The Advisory Forum will meet on the following dates during Winter semester: 1/13, 2/11, 3/11 and 4/16 in KL 225B.

Winter General Meetings will take place on Wednesday, March 18 from 2-3pm in the OC, Gold Room B and on Thursday, March 19 from 12-1pm in the OC, Banquet Room A.

Please reach out to any member of your OU-AAUP Executive Committee with any questions or concerns.

Yours in Solidarity,
Amy Pollard, President
Oakland University Chapter AAUP

You can find more information about our faculty union at our website:
http://www.oaklandaaup.org. And follow us on Facebook: OU AAUP & Friends

Greetings Members!

We have less than a month to go in our semester! Hopefully everyone is keeping their heads above water (or snow??) and enjoying faculty life at OU. Here is a brief update on what your OU AAUP Executive Committee has been up to since the beginning of the term.

Election Results
Our most recent election finished up last Friday and the results are as follows: Beth Wallis will be our new Vice President, Kevin Murphy will continue on as our Grievance Officer, Diane Hartmus will continue on as our Contract Officer, and the Bargaining Team put forward on the ballot, led by Doug Wendell, was approved as well. Thank you to everyone who ran in this election. The more involvement we have in our union, the stronger our faculty voice will be!

Fall News
The Executive Committee appointed Jen Thor as Assistant Grievance Office this fall. She joins us to learn the ropes and assist Kevin Murphy with his duties but does not serve as a voting member of the Executive Committee.

The union has hired Brittany Kleinschmidt, last year’s Student Congress Vice President and current OU Senior, as a communications intern. We’re excited to have a student working with us and hope she can work with us to help build a more cohesive, solid social media base.

Kevin Grimm will lead our search for a new Executive Director. Kevin, along with the other committee members, will conduct the search in the winter semester. As they finalize the process and begin the search, the committee will give members a better sense of the process and final timeline. For those of you who don’t know, our current Executive Director, Scott Barns (who has been with us for twenty years) will retire at the beginning of November, 2020.

Know Your Rights
Over the past several months, the OU AAUP has authorized several contract exceptions having to do with promotion procedures. While these contract exceptions have been required for a wide variety of reasons, we do want to make sure all faculty are prepared for upcoming review and promotion procedures and that they seek out the answers to questions they may have well before any potential due dates arise. The winter semester is a good time to review The Agreement and reach out to our Executive Committee should anything remain unclear. In addition, we will be hosting seminars in late March that will focus specifically on this topic.

Coffee Break
I plan to make myself available a few times a semester for coffee and a chat for anyone who is interested. First coffee break will be next Tuesday, November 26th from 11-12pm. I’ll be hanging out in the OC at the tables by the coffee counter. Pop over to say hi if you’d like.

Good and Welfare
We will have a Dues Holiday for the month of December! Our union finances our strong and we know how much our members appreciate the break at this time of the year.

We’ve created a new Facebook page (as opposed to a group) so please head there and give us a like: OU AAUP & Friends. Since this is a public page, feel free to invite your union-loving, academia-loving friends to like us as well.

The next Advisory Forum meeting is December 4th, 2019. Winter General Meeting dates should be available shortly.

Please reach out to any member of your OU-AAUP Executive Committee with any questions or concerns.

Yours in Solidarity,
Amy Pollard, President
Oakland University Chapter AAUP

You can find more information about our faculty union at our website:
http://www.oaklandaaup.org. And follow us on Facebook: OU AAUP & Friends

Greetings Members!

Now that we all have hopefully settled into our semester routines, I wanted to give you a brief update on what your OU-AAUP Executive Committee has been up to these last few months.

Election Results
Last spring, our membership elected/re-elected the following members to the Executive Committee: Amy Pollard (President), Joy Jiang (Treasurer), Allison Bohn (At-Large Member, SL), Helen Levenson (At-Large Member) and Karen Miller (At-Large Member). Huge thanks go to our out-going representatives: Tom Discenna, Mark Navin and Cara Shelley. All of your hard work and dedication is appreciated and valued. I want to offer a special nod to Tom for the insane amount of time and effort he spent on union-related issues over the last two years and the way in which that support extended to the entire faculty union body here at Oakland. And to remind him he is stuck with us for one more year as the Immediate Past President (sorry!).

Fall News
Fall elections will be held in late October/early November. We will be holding elections to determine Vice President and the Bargaining Team Slate. The Bargaining Team Slate being proposed by the Executive Committee is as follows: Doug Wendell (Lead Negotiator), Scott Barns (Executive Director), Robert Fetter (Chapter Lawyer), Lori Ostergaard, Chaturi Edrisinha, Cara Shelly and Jen Thor. The Nominating Committee will present candidates at our General Meetings in late October (dates below). Nominations can also be made from the floor. In addition we will be seeking ratification of both our Contract Officer (Diane Hartmus) and Grievance Officer (Kevin Murphy).

We are also in the process of beginning our search for a new Executive Director. We expect to have a job posting go live sometime in the next couple of months and will be forming a search committee shortly to handle the work from there.

Know Your Rights
Due to some issues that came to light over the summer, we want to make sure all members know their rights should they find themselves the focus of administrative investigations on campus. In almost all cases, union members are allowed to have a union representative serve as a support person during said investigation. Furthermore, the administration should make faculty members aware of that right. Paragraph 66a of our current Agreement makes this clear, as does the University’s own policies (for example, Policy 711d). If any member feels these rights have been infringed upon, please contact any of our OU-AAUP officers to discuss further.

Another issue that came up over the summer and was thankfully resolved very quickly was the issue of how CAS faculty searches are run. A set of rather onerous and impractical guidelines for how faculty searches must be run were handed down to CAS chairs over the summer, but after a quick response both from the OU-AAUP President and the department chairs, members were assured by Oakland that these guidelines were suggestions as opposed to mandates. Academic Freedom in the hiring process is crucial to ensuring a thriving, well-rounded and subject-specific excellence within our units here at OU.

Solidarity News
Last October the Golden Grizzlies Food Pantry was established here on campus. The food pantry, managed by Raenece Johnson and located in the room 49G of the Oakland Center, offers some equity repair to students who might otherwise struggle in and out of the classroom due to food insecurities. The Executive Committee voted unanimously in favor of supporting this organization for students and has donated $1,000 to its coffers. We encourage faculty members to make contributions when and where they can: https://www.oakland.edu/osi/pantry/

UAW Members across the country are into their third week of strike action. Members across the Detroit and Metro Detroit region would welcome any shows of solidarity our union members may wish to offer. I’ve visited the Hamtramck plant a couple of times on behalf of the OU-AAUP and know that the Warren and Lake Orion plants are also enthusiastically sharing their picket lines with any and all supporters: https://uaw.org/gmbargaining/#picketfinder

Good and Welfare
Our fall General Meetings will be held on Wednesday, October 23rd from 2-3pm in the OC Michigan Room and Thursday October 31, noon-1pm in the OC Banquet Room A (food provided starting at 11:45 am). We hope to see as many members as possible at one of the two meetings!
Fall Advisory Forum Meeting will be held at Noon in KL 225B on the following dates: 10/14, 11/14 and 12/4.

Please reach out to any member of your OU-AAUP Executive Committee with any questions or concerns.

Yours in Solidarity,
Amy Pollard, President
Oakland University Chapter AAUP

A Summer’s Axe

I suspect that most of you had thought you had heard the last from me with my message from the end of winter term. You will be forgiven the mistake as the message was entitled “A Farewell Axe.” However, I always say to the Executive Committee at the end of the year that our work is concluded, unless something goes awry.

Well...

We learned late in June that the College of Arts of Sciences, under the direction of Academic Human Resources, has made substantial and ill-considered changes to faculty searches currently underway in the CAS. These changes interfere dramatically with the faculty’s contractual obligation to provide discipline-specific recommendations on hiring matters. Moreover, they impose entirely unwarranted and inappropriate strictures on the processes used to hire new faculty. The directives issued by the CAS include:

1. The Search Chair needs to meet with the Associate Dean to discuss the pool of candidates prior to starting the rationale for the phone interviews.
2. All candidates must give a 30 minute teaching demonstration on the same topic which will be attended by students, faculty and a designee of CETL.
3. All candidates brought on campus must meet with representatives from the Research Office at the time of the on-campus interview. Either Michael Spires or his designee need to be provided with guest access to the People Admin search prior to the visit.
4. The Research Office will provide an assessment of the candidates to the Department and the Dean’s Office (Associate Dean and Dean) as well as the Provost’s Office after their meeting and before a final candidate is forwarded.

There is, to be sure, a great deal here to find objectionable. These new directives violate the clear language of paragraph 34 of the collective bargaining agreement as well as Board Policy 750 which provides clear instruction on the conduct of searches. These strictures impose a particularly brutal kind of cookie-cutter approach to disciplinary differences assuming that faculty in Physics, Music, and Philosophy can all be vetted using the same criteria for what constitutes appropriate research and teaching. On a fundamental level the directives violate the principles of shared governance and academic freedom which the AAUP has established and which provide the foundation for a university worthy of the name.

The chairs of the CAS have already issued their strong objections to these violations of long established and contractually mandated processes. The AAUP has also protested these changes and we are framing a grievance should Oakland choose to move forward with these intrusions into our rights under the contract. As you will recall this is not the first time that Oakland has tried to alter search processes and we proved successful in rebuffing their efforts in past. I have every expectation that we will be victorious again.

I will certainly keep you informed as the situation unfolds. In the meanwhile it may be helpful if you take a moment to express your displeasure regarding this issue to whatever ear or inbox you feel appropriate.

Enjoy the rest of the summer. It is never dull...

Tom Discenna
President, Oakland University Chapter AAUP

A farewell (for now) axe

Elections: I am pleased to announce the results of our recent election and welcome some new members to the AAUP Executive Committee. Amy Pollard, our current Vice-President has been elected as President, and Joy Ruihua Jiang has been elected as Treasurer. Karen Miller will be staying on as an at-large representative as will Helen Levenson as an at-large representative for untenured faculty. Finally, we welcome Alison Bohn who has been elected at-large representative for Special Lecturers. I want to thank everyone who participated in this election especially those individuals who volunteered to serve by running for these positions. The strength of our association lies in the willingness of our members to give of their time and energy to serve the greater good.

I would also like to take a moment to recognize two individuals who will be leaving the Executive Committee at the end of this term. Cara Shelley has represented Special Lecturers on the Executive Committee as well as on the Bargaining team. Having worked with Cara now for four years I have come to admire her as a voice of calm and compassionate reason with an unerring eye for detail that has served us all as members of the union. In addition, Mark Navin has done an outstanding job as AAUP Treasurer these past two years and, as I will describe later, has extended himself for the good of our association in numerous ways. His energy, devotion and critical eye have been of enormous value to us all. Please take a moment to thank both Mark and Cara for their work on our behalf.

Speaker Series: At the last General Membership meeting I had the pleasure of announcing that the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series of public lectures will be taking place this fall. Today, I am delighted to announce that AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum has accepted our invitation to address the Oakland University community in the fall of 2019. This lecture is entirely due to the hard work of Steffen Puwal, Jacob Becker and Mark Navin. Details are still being worked out but I hope that you will agree that this is an exciting opportunity to engage with our national leaders on issues of academic freedom, shared governance, and the role of collective bargaining in insuring the values of higher education.

Academe: The Academe article on our campus safety issue will be available online as soon as this Friday. Be on the lookout for an email regarding the contents of the May issue.

Finally: This will, in all likelihood, be my last message to the membership as President of the OU chapter. I joined this union in 1993 as a Special Lecturer when then Rhetoric, Communication and Journalism chair Jane Briggs-Bunting insisted that if I was going to advise the campus radio station that I have the protection of our collective bargaining agreement to shield me from the trouble she was certain that I was going to get myself into. I’m not sure that I quite lived up to her expectations in that regard but I recognized the strength of our collective voice in allowing me to use mine and, by extension, the students I advised. On a more pragmatic level, the health insurance plan that the AAUP bargained for allowed me to continue my career in academia when health problems would have seriously derailed my ambitions. I have always believed that my career in the academy is owed in no small part to this chapter and the people who make it up. These last years have been a privilege to give back some part of that debt and to serve this association that has done such a service for me. I want to thank each and every one of you for this opportunity and for all that you do to support this chapter of the AAUP.

Gratefully,

Tom Discenna
President, Oakland University Chapter AAUP