Faculty at Northwestern Michigan College could again report directly to the college board at regular meetings, according to the NMC administration. But the faculty says the offer comes with too many restrictions.
The faculty report agenda item has been a point of contention since 2007. That’s when the college board stopped hearing directly from teachers at its monthly meeting. After that, faculty could speak at board meetings for 3 minutes periods during the public comment section of the agenda.
Faculty members say that change helped push them out of the decision making process at NMC. They say it is one reason they decided to unionize more than a year ago. But in a statement released this week the administration says it was the faculty who asked to be removed from the board agenda in the first place.
Bronwyn Jones has been on NMC’s faculty for 29 years. She says since 2007 the faculty has asked numerous times to be back on the agenda. A statement released by the faculty council this week says that in 2014 the council asked the president to reinstate the faculty report to the board. They were told that wouldn't happen. The president said the faculty could continue to speak during the public comment section.
A representative for NMC was not available for comment.
Jones says that even though the administration has agreed to reinstate the faculty report as part of a new contract proposal, the administration would be limited to talking about faculty and student success.
"I think it’s very natural going forward that people are eager to talk about things that are both innovative and that are working," says Jones, "but they also would like to feel comfortable to talk about things that may not be working."
The teacher’s union and NMC have been trying to negotiate a contract for over a year. The faculty report is currently part of that contract negotiation.
Jones says the faculty will keep pushing for a better agreement.