Statement on Selecting NEA-RA Delegate

The COVID-19 crisis and resulting closure of Oakton’s campus makes it impossible to conduct NEA-RA elections as planned.  The AFA Elections Committee is currently working on a plan relying on guidance from the IEA for selecting the NEA-RA delegate in a timely manner while still abiding by the bylaws of the IEA, NEA, and AFA.

Update on Oakton AFA Elections

Update on Oakton AFA Elections (Motion Passed on 5/6):

“The election for the AFA Officers is postponed until after the Illinois state government’s stay-at-home order is lifted and Oakton’s campus reopens.  Following IEA guidance and the AFA’s bylaws, the current officers will continue to serve in their positions after their term expires in a temporary capacity until such time as holding the election is practicable.  Once the Oakton administration decides on a timeline for campus to reopen, the Elections Committee will set a new date for the Officer election and inform all AFA members at least 15 days in advance of the election, in accordance with AFA bylaws.”

Emails to Membership During COVID-19

May 30, 2020

Dear AFA Members,

Your union leadership has a few important reminders and suggestions as we head into summer.

  1. Return to Work Plan:  We are reviewing the College’s Return to Work Plan.  Please let us know if you have any particular concerns.
  2. Fall Courses:  As you know, courses in the fall will be taught on-line (with a few exceptions).  Please be in touch with your chair about whether you would like to do this synchronously or asynchronously.  If your department has guidelines about teaching on-line, please share them with us.
  3. Teaching On-Line -ION Courses:  These are professional development courses put together by a consortium of Illinois colleges and universities.  The office of On-Line Learning at Oakton will pay for one course per semester.  If you haven’t taken any, you should start with the Overview.  The link to register is:  https://colrs.uis.edu/portal/catalog?tab=schedule.  Use Oakton’s discount code: EU207.  Send Ray Lawson, the Dean of On-Line Learning at Oakton (rlawson@oakton.edu) the invoice.  You can also contact your division administrative staff for reimbursement for additional courses using your professional development funds.
  4. D2L Training: Center for Professional Development (CPD) at Oakton is offering classes in D2L.  Here is the schedule:  https://www.oakton.edu/facstaff/entrenous/internal_pages/cpd-internal/workshops/wschedule.php#D2L
  5. Unemployment:  The Illinois Education Association (IEA) is hosting webinars on how to file for Unemployment.  See attachment for schedule and registration.
  6. Reimbursement for Equipment:  We are continuing to work with the College on reimbursement for equipment required to transition to remote and on-line learning.

As always, please reach out if we can help.

Check our website for further details:  oaktonadjuncts.com

In Solidarity,

The AFA Board

May 9, 2020
Last Day of the Semester Virtual Happy Hour–Friday, May 15 at 4pmWe have been thinking about you, and want to see your faces!

Join for Happy Hour on Friday, May 15 at 4:00pm.  Bring your favorite drink, and catch up.

We will host a quick meeting, followed by a casual check-in depending on the number of participants.

If you would like to ask the AFA Board a question in advance, please add it to the form below and we will answer it.

Note: YOU MUST fill out this form to be sent a link to enter the meeting. This is simply to prevent uninvited Zoom bombing guests.  If you want to be included, but can’t figure out the Google form, just reply to this email saying you would like to come.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScS3UHPNf9hwZLU9N-479NYpv74FDr0eGOl1vzoLRO2P0Bthg/viewform?usp=sf_link

May 6, 2020Update on Oakton AFA Elections (Motion Passed on 5/6):

“The election for the AFA Officers is postponed until after the Illinois state government’s stay-at-home order is lifted and Oakton’s campus reopens.  Following IEA guidance and the AFA’s bylaws, the current officers will continue to serve in their positions after their term expires in a temporary capacity until such time as holding the election is practicable.  Once the Oakton administration decides on a timeline for campus to reopen, the Elections Committee will set a new date for the Officer election and inform all AFA members at least 15 days in advance of the election, in accordance with AFA bylaws.”
April 20, 2020

Dear Fellow Oakton Adjunct Faculty Members,

We wanted to let you know about our on-going conversations with the administration during this incredibly stressful time.

First, please let us know immediately if you are having difficulty finishing the Spring semester on-line.  We will be happy to connect you with whatever resources you might need.

Summer: The summer schedule is clearly an issue for many of us.  After full time faculty, seniority remains the underlying premise for who should get to teach first.  However, the presence of already existing on-line classes is also a factor.  If you were offered a face-to-face class for the summer earlier this spring and are being denied an opportunity to teach this course on-line this summer, please let us know.  There are a myriad of special circumstances, but we’d be happy to help you sort this out if you if you feel as if you have been treated unfairly.

Fall: If you tuned into the President’s Coffee & Conversation ( Listen to the recording here )on Thursday, you know that the future is complicated.  For those teaching in the sciences, the cuts have been very severe because of the inability to have labs.  What the Fall of 2020 looks like is very uncertain.  Our best recommendation is to equip yourselves now by taking ION courses and participating in professional development workshops offered by the Center for Professional Development.  Where appropriate, work on converting your courses to on-line courses.  This is different from what many of us are doing now in this remote learning environment, as we will not have the luxury of any assumed synchronous class time.

Unemployment: Should you be denied classes this summer that you were already offered, know that you are eligible for Unemployment Insurance.  The federal government’s CARES Act specifically includes adjunct faculty members and the National Education Association (the national organization of the IEA of which you are a member) worked hard to lobby for our inclusion.   More information can be found on our website:  https://oaktonadjuncts.com/government-programs

Survey:  If you have not had a moment to do it, please fill out the survey we sent out last week.  Here is the link:  https://forms.gle/BnDCwybSGiwrsfL49

It should take less than 5 minutes to complete.

On-Going Conversation:  The preliminary data we received from this survey was quite useful in our conversations with Ileo Lott, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Colette Hands, the Chief Human Resources Officer.  We are advocating for a number of the issues that you all have raised.  We have now received written confirmation that adjunct faculty librarians, tutors, and coaches will be fully compensated through the spring semester.

The AFA Board

oaktonadjuncts.com

 

April 13, 2020Below is a link to a survey from the Adjunct Faculty Association about the impact that the shift to online learning at Oakton because of COVID-19 has had on you.  Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey, as the answers will help the AFA be more effective advocates for all of our interests.  The survey should only take about 5 minutes to complete.  Feel free to share with other Oakton adjunct faculty members who might not be on our list.

 

April 5, 2020

Dear Fellow Part-time and Adjunct Faculty Members,

The AFA (Adjunct Faculty Association) had a meeting Thursday with Ileo Lott, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and with Collette Hands, Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Office.  We will continue to have regularly scheduled meetings with them.  We recognize that there are many issues that are worrisome about the week and months ahead at Oakton, and hopefully the information below will answer some of your questions.  Please reach out to us if you have particular questions or concerns.  We cannot advocate for you if we do not know what issues you are confronting in your division, department, or individual circumstance.

  1. Summer:  As your chair may have informed you, the college is going 100% on-line for the summer.
  • Most classes that were face to face classes will be converted to on-line sections if a pre-existing on-line version of the course exists.
  • The rules of seniority spelled out in our contract continue to apply, making everyone eligible to teach on-line.
  • If you have not completed formal training in teaching on-line (beyond the crash courses of the last few weeks), you are asked to complete trainings that will be made available to you by Oakton and the Center for Profession Development (CPD).  However, you will not be required to do so.
  • But yes, full-time faculty can still bump you.
  • If you feel as if your chair is not following this protocol, please contact us so we can advocate on your behalf.
  1. Faculty covered by 9.2 of our Contract: Librarians, coaches, tutors (embedded and those working in the Learning Center), counselors hired before 2013 will all be paid for all the LHEs originally assigned to them for the semester.
  2. “Paused” course with clinical hours, hands-on music/art, or programs that require student-hands-on practice, automotive, nursing, EMT/Fire fighters, and others, these faculty will be paid but will have to finish teaching the students in their class environments at a time to be determined after the College reopens.  This will be formalized with an MOU (memorandum of understanding) negotiated by the AFA and the college administration.
  3. Technology issues:  If you are having trouble with technology (your computer or wi-fi), please reach out to your dean, your chair, or to IT and copy us.  The college is committed to making sure you have the resources you need.  We will help you hold them accountable.
  4. Professional Development:  Please keep careful track of any training sessions you attend, Webinars you take, etc. These can be counted toward your “Continued Eligibility.”
  5. Classroom Observations: The only observations that will occur this semester are for classes that were initially on-line and for which an observation was required this semester.
  6. Student Evaluations:  Only classes originally on-line will be evaluated this summer.
  7. Participation in the decision-making process:  While there are no adjunct faculty members on the President’s Council or CoCac (Council of Chairs & Coordinators), the AFA is doing its best to raise issues with the administration through regular communication of issues.  Please email us or go to our website and we will attempt to address your concern as soon as possible.
  8. Watch your email for a survey:  We want more information from you so we can continue to advocate your behalf.

Be well!!

The AFA Board

 

3/19/20

Dear AFA Members,

Over the last few days, you have received emails from President Smith and the college regarding Oakton’s continued campus closure through April 24th.  You were also informed about the agreement that has been reached with the staff union.

Please know we continue to advocate to protect your rights and well-being and to seek clarity about how this will impact adjunct and part-time faculty.  President Smith has acknowledged that we are among the most vulnerable populations of employees at the college. However, we are all in uncharted territory.

Please be in touch with us if you have particular questions.  We are aware that there are special issues for library faculty, coaches, faculty-tutors, and faculty teaching hands-on classes.  We know some of you may lack technology or reliable wi-fi. A few steps that would help us help you.

·      If you have not heard from your chair, please let us know immediately.

·      If you have not already done so or need help doing so, fill out the technology survey sent by John Wade.  If that proves too complicated, please simply inform your chair and copy us. Click here to fill it out: Technology Survey

·      Let us know of any other concerns you might have.

·      Share this email with your fellow part-time and adjunct faculty who may not be on our list.

·      If you are living alone, and would like someone to call and periodically check in on you, please let us know.

Stay safe and be gentle with yourselves!

The AFA Board

3/16/20

Dear AFA Members,

We wanted to let you know that we are thinking about you. The Adjunct Faculty Association board members are doing our best to advocate for your health (both mental and physical) and to protect your rights as faculty members.  We have been in touch with many members of the administration and the full-time faculty union.

Unless you are already teaching on-line, the rapid move to on-line teaching clearly adds a layer of uncertainty.  To begin the transition to on-line teaching, please immediately fill out the technology survey sent out by John Wade to let the college know exactly how much access to technology you have.  Here’s the link to the survey.

We also recognize that many faculty are over the age of 60 or have other health challenges.  Others adjunct faculty may also now have children at home, making working from home even more difficult.   We also realize that some of you are not big users of D2L and may have no experience teaching on-line.  We are doing our best to advocate for you on all fronts.

For those of you who are librarians, tutors, and coaches there are other questions about compensation.

The college has established an email to send questions:  coronavirus@oakton.edu

If you email them, please copy the AFA at afaoakton@gmail.com so we can try to track responses for everyone.

We honestly believe that the administration is working in good faith with all our best interests at heart.  Yes, mistakes have been made and communication not as clear as it could have been, but the administration has never faced anything like this themselves.  These are days to be gentle with ourselves and each other.

Please feel free to forward this to other adjunct faculty members, as our list is incomplete.

Please also communicate with us about any other issues we might be overlooking.  CLICK HERE FOR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES.  

Take care of yourselves,

The AFA Board

Academic Continuity and Online Learning Resources/Events

Write Tests Faster; Lay Out Learning Objectives; Make Grading Efficient and Easy

This online seminar, led by Linnea Boyev, will provide easy-to-follow, purely evidence-based, and step-by-step guides to writing objective assessments. Learning Objectives: After completing this seminar, participants will be able to: 1. Analyze objective format questions (multiple choice, true-false, matching) to determine if they give advantage to poorly prepared students or disadvantage to well-prepared students. 2. Reformat poor assessments into valid and reliable tools. 3. Formulate original assessment tools using learning objectives as a starting point. 4. Develop objective format questions to assess critical thinking. 5. Consider contemporary issues of legality and bias in written college assessments.

  • Four (4) Weeks, June 18 – July 16, Sign-up to indicate your interest in participating

 

Helpful Resources: (Updated 4/7)

The Illinois Online Network (ION) is offering a special section of the Overview of Online Instruction starting from April 20, 2020.

If you are interested in taking this ION course, email Ray Lawson and copy your department Chair and Academic Dean. Once he receives your email, he will email you instructions on how to register for this course.

Oakton’s Resources:

Academic Continuity Direct Link

Instructions:
  1. Sign in to myOakton
  2. Teach and Advise in the blue column on the left side of the page
  3. Adjunct Faculty box on the lower right side of Teach and Advise
  4. Academic Continuity (first link in the box under Documents)

OCC Library’s Site: Teaching and Learning during COVID-19

Comcast is Offering Free Internet for 2 Months due to COVID-19

Chronicle of Higher Education: Going Online in a Hurry

Please Do a Bad Job of Putting Your Courses Online

March 2020 AFA Newsletter: Download Here

AFAMarchPage1MarchPage2Download PDF 2020 March AFA newsletter

Come to AFA Board Meetings You are welcome to attend the monthly AFA Board meeting. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 24, at 4 p.m. in Room 1264 in Des Plaines. 

Spring Membership Meeting Friday, April 3, 4 to 6 In RHC The Spring AFA Membership meeting will be held in Room P103 in Skokie. Come learn about what your union has been doing, enjoy some appetizers and sandwiches, and cast your vote for the next AFA president, vice president, secretary, 

and treasurer. You can also learn how adjuncts can make presentations through the CPD, resources our library has for teachers of on-line courses, and what is going on in the various committees adjuncts serve on. 

Nominations for AFA Board Every three years elections are held for the Executive Board of the AFA: the offices of President, Vice-president, Secretary, and Treasurer. Nominations are needed! AFA members may nominate themselves or someone else. If you are nominating someone else, be sure to check with that person to make sure they actually want to be nominated, are able to be an active participant of the union and are aware that offices are for a three-year term beginning in the coming academic year. If nominating someone else, you’ll need their address, telephone number, and email. The nomination form can be downloaded from the AFA website at oaktonadjuncts.com; nominations are to be sent to Nelson Wainwright via his email at nwainwr@gmail.com and must arrive by midnight Monday, March 16. 

More elections Each July we send representatives to the Representative Assembly of the NEA (National Education Association). This is a huge assembly of representatives from unions from all over the nation that will meet in tlanta to approve the NEA budget, set the dues amount, and modify the legislative platform and the NEA by-laws. The election for a representative to attend will be held on both campuses on Tuesday, April 21. 

“Serfs of Academe”? The March 12 issue of The New York Review of Books features a lengthy review of eleven books related to adjuncts and higher education. They range from a ‘satire-cum-horror-comedy’ Adjunct 

(our lives in a nut-shell?) to The Meritocracy Trap: How America’s Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite. For those of us who still have hopes of a full-time position, the article notes that in 2017-2018, there were an average of 122 applicants for every tenure-track position open, in a system resembling “a lottery.” It states that the most obvious cause of adjuncts’ lack of security and poor salaries is the ‘decline in public support for higher education,’ noting that the state investment for each student fell by 26 % between 1990 and 2010, so that the wide gains in salary and working conditions gained by unions hardly keep up. Meet the Trustees You will have a chance to meet and talk with the Oakton Board of Trustees at a reception organized by the AFA. Administrators too often attend. It will be in Des Plaines before the regular Tuesday evening April 21 Board meeting. It is a rare to chat with the Board members one on one, to share your views and to hear theirs. More details to come next month. 

Paper vs Screens The current issue of on-line AdjunctNation features some research on comprehension differences between reading on paper vs reading on digital media. Students certainly prefer reading on their screens, and of course there are benefits to less use of paper. However, in three studies, students were asked to read text in print and on a device. They were then asked to report the main ideas of the reading, list the key points, and give any other information they thought was important. They were also asked how well they thought they had done. They did indeed read faster on screens and felt that their comprehension was better. When questions were general – questions such as what the main idea is – the students’ comprehension was better 

on the screens. On the other hand, when students read the printed texts, they comprehended more when asked specific questions. 

Email your senators Email your senator to support S. J. Res. 56, a bipartisan resolution introduced by Dick Durbin that has passed the House in Washington and is now headed to the Senate. According to NEA, this bill would undo Betsy DeVos’s policy of making “it more difficult for students defrauded by unscrupulous colleges to cancel their federal student debt.” If passed by the Senate, it will take effect on July 1 of this year. DeVos’s policy puts the burden of proof on students and ends automatic loan relief for students whose colleges close before they graduate. 

Wedding Bells are ringing over Spring break for English lecturer Kate Magnuson. Congratulations, Kate! 

Submit a Nomination for the AFA Board by March 16, 2020. All-Member Meeting and Election: CANCELLED: April 3, 2020, 4-6pm, P103, Skokie Campus

Submit a Nomination for the AFA Board by March 16, 2020

CANCELLED: All-Member Meeting and Election: April 3, 2020, 4-6pm

AFA Board Nominations – Spring 2020

The election for the Adjunct Faculty Association (AFA) Board positions will be held
at the spring member meeting on Friday, April 3rd , 2020.
You may submit a nomination for an AFA member for one of the AFA board
positions: President, Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer
Nominations must include the following information.
Nominee’s Name: ____________________________

AFA Board Position ____________________________

Nominee’s Address: ____________________________
____________________________

Nominee’s Phone: ____________________________

Nominee’s Email Address: ____________________________

Send this information to Nelson Wainwright, via email – nwainwr@gmail.com
by Monday, March 16, 2020.

A member may either nominate a colleague or himself/herself for a board position.

The Elections Committee recommends that if you nominate someone else, be sure
 the nominee wants to be nominated,
 the nominee can be an active participant in AFA activities, and
 the nominee knows that the term for a board position is 3 years.

To be included on the ballot, all nomination information must be sent to Nelson
Wainwright via email to nwainwr@gmail.com.
Deadline for Nominations: midnight on March 16, 2020
Nominations received after the March 16 th deadline cannot be included on the ballot.
The AFA needs your nominations and welcomes your participation.

DOWNLOAD NOMINATION ANNOUNCEMENT AND FORM HERE

Nominate an AFA member or yourself for the 2020 NEA-RA. Nominations due February 24 @ 11pm

Dear members,

The 2020 NEA-Representative Assembly (NEA-RA) will be held from July 2nd – July 6th, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Oakton AFA will send an elected representative to the NEA-RA as we have every year. Please consider nominating yourself or another member of the AFA to attend this meeting.

NEA R.A. delegates will be responsible for approving the NEA budget, establishing a dues amount, modifying the Legislative Platform and Bylaws and conducting other business of the Association.

A member may either nominate a colleague or himself/herself for this position by providing the information on the attached form. Required information includes: Nominee’s name, address, phone, and email address.

The Elections Committee recommends that should you choose to nominate someone else, please make sure he/she wants to be nominated and can attend this Assembly. The NEA-R.A. will be held from July 2nd – July 6th, 2020. The NEA-R.A. will be held in Atlanta, Georgia

To be included on the ballot, all nomination information must be sent to the AFA Elections Committee Chairperson Ruth Whitney, via email – aruthwhitney@gmail.com or drop the nomination form off at the DP Library care of Ruth Whitney.

The nomination form is attached to this email. Additional copies of the nomination form can be downloaded from the AFA website at https://oaktonadjuncts.com/.

Nominations received after 11:00 pm on February 24, 2020 cannot be included on the ballot.

The election for the AFA delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly will be held on the Oakton Community College campus on Tuesday, April 21st.

The AFA needs your nominations, your votes, and welcomes your participation.

DOWNLOAD NOMINATION FORM HERE.