NMU-AAUP August Chapter Meeting Report

The first NMU-AAUP chapter meeting of the academic year was held on August 23rd, 2017.  Chapter President Brent Graves and members of the Executive Council presented reports to a packed Great Lakes room at the University Center.

There were initial comments on the ongoing Strategic Resource Allocation committees, and the current status of the College of Health Sciences and Professional Studies, which does not have a dean at the present time.

Vice President Lynn Johnson informed the membership of the upcoming picnic honoring new faculty, which will be held at Presque Isle on August 31st from 5-9pm.  The chapter has also been invited to participate in the Labor Day parade in Ishpeming by the local labor council.

Chapter treasurer Carol Johnson gave a financial report on the chapter, which was very positive.  In addition to being in a good financial position, there is currently no increase in dues planned.

Contract officer Leslie Putnam updated the membership on a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) that impacted the current contract.  These included one for contingent and adjunct faculty, who are now only required to inform their department of their desire to teach once every academic year to retain seniority status, and an MOU regarding promotion and tenure.  There is also a plan for contract workshops throughout the year so that faculty can better understand the contract and how it affects them.

Chapter president Brent Graves began by discussing the possibility of using available reassign time to give faculty the opportunity to write grants to bring in more outside funding.  According to Dr. Graves, this year should be spent tackling issues to resolve them before contract negotiations begin next year.

The only new business involved faculty sabbaticals.   Since sabbaticals are intended to give faculty time to focus on research, banking of overload time was ended and sabbaticals are now fully funded.  Most faculty now apply for 2-semester sabbaticals, and are replaced with full-time term appointments, limiting the number of sabbaticals that can be awarded due to budget constraints.  Some solutions were presented to solve the problem, including splitting available funds between one and two-semester sabbaticals, changing the timing of eligibility, monetary supplements for one-semester sabbaticals to aid with travel and research, and replacing faculty with adjuncts and contingents instead of term.  After spirited discussion, a raised-hand vote was taken in which the membership expressed interest in discussing solutions with administration.  A motion was made to table the issue until it could be discussed further in Faculty Council which was approved by raised-hand vote.

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