Covid Corner

Feb 8, 2022

Dear Colleagues, 

Thank you all for your hard work and cooperation throughout the past several months as we worked to keep our campus community healthy by implementing a number of COVID-19 safety protocols. 

To address a question many have asked — all students, employees and visitors must continue to wear masks in indoor spaces on Oakton’s campuses. Higher education institutions, including community colleges, are NOT impacted by the temporary restraining order on the enforcement of mask mandates and other COVID-19 mitigations issued by a downstate Illinois judge last Friday.

As most know, a statewide mandate was issued in August requiring students and employees to submit proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status or enroll in weekly testing. 

We’re proud to say that, to date, 98% of employees and 88% of students enrolled in face-to-face classes are in compliance — far more than many of our peer institutions. 

Special thanks to IT for quickly developing a secure portal to upload vaccination cards and test results. Thanks also to Student Affairs staff for leading the work of tracking student compliance, including communicating with non-compliant students, and Human Resources staff for tracking employee compliance. And of course, we greatly appreciate all of the faculty and staff who continue to remind students of our protocols and connect them with resources to support their compliance. This was — and continues to be — no easy task, and we appreciate your support. 

The College developed a guide to help students understand the steps needed to comply with the vaccine/testing mandates. We encourage faculty and staff to share it with students who may have questions. Students with additional questions or who believe they have been inaccurately flagged as non-compliant should be directed to contact the Office of Student Affairs (Room 2270, Des Plaines) at studentaffairs@oakton.edu or (847) 635-1739.

Here are a few helpful reminders as we continue working to keep our campus community safe and further increase compliance rates.

COVID-19 Testing: 

Free, on-campus COVID-19 testing is available at the Des Plaines and Skokie campuses, Monday through Friday, in partnership with SHIELD Illinois. (Hours and scheduling instructions). The College strongly recommends those in the weekly testing protocol use the on-campus testing services. 

Students and employees unable to utilize Oakton’s on-campus testing program but are completing weekly COVID-19 testing elsewhere can alternatively upload proof of their test via a secure portal.

(Student test result portal)

(Employee test result portal)

Please note: Per the guidance of local and state mandates, at home, self-administered COVID tests cannot be accepted by the College for COVID testing compliance. Off-campus tests must be processed through verified third parties – such as pharmacies, other SHIELD sites or approved testing labs. Acceptable off-campus testing must include both identity verification and accompanying documentation – whether electronic or in hard copy form.

Reporting positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts:

Students enrolled in classes with an on-campus component and employees that report to campus (regardless of vaccination status) are requested to self-report in the following categories:

  1. Testing Positive for COVID-19, 2. Experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, 3. Having had close contact with a person known to have tested positive for COVID-19, or 4. Having had close contact with a person experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Students should self-report to the Office of Student Affairs at studentaffairs@oakton.edu or (847) 635-1739, and employees should self-report by emailing covidhr@oakton.edu.

Individuals determined to be possible close contacts will be contacted by the College’s contact tracing team to inform them of next steps. 

Visit the Return to Campus section of the College’s website: www.oakton.edu/return for more information about Oakton’s COVID-19 protocols. Students with additional questions should continue to reach out to Student Affairs, and employees should contact Human Resources. Faculty members may also consult their Deans for guidance in addressing specific in-classroom situations related to student mandate compliance. 

Thank you all once again for your continued cooperation as we navigate COVID-19’s evolving challenges while fulfilling our mission of empowering and transforming students’ lives by providing high-quality education opportunities. 

Sincerely,
President’s Council of Oakton Community College

OCC Covid Testing Schedule

Getting A Covid Test at Oakton

Your Role in Protecting Our Community

COVID Syllabus Recommendation

SP22 Student Compliance Process

Emails to Membership

News:Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Dear Fellow Part-time Faculty Members,

As the year winds down, there are a few important reminders.

  1. Enrollment continues to decline, meaning fewer sections available for us to teach.  Please do your part and remind students to register.  You can find some “talking points” to share with your classes or post in your D2L course shells.
  2. The AFA is hosting an end of the year gathering for all part-time faculty Sunday, May 22nd 1-4pm at North Branch Pizzeria in Glenview.  AFA members are free/non-members $35.  Please RSVP immediately.
  3. Finally, voting to ratify our tentative new contract ends at midnight on Thursday, May 12th.  If you are an AFA member, you should have received a personalized link to vote.  Please email afaoakton@gmail.com if you believe you are a member and you have not received your link.
  4. Mary Johannesen-Schmidt from the Center for Teaching Innovation at Oakton put together this helpful video on navigating the new MyOakton layout:  https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c3hQFbVrffe
  5. If you have comments or suggestions about the new website, submit it via a new Web Update request system called Lytho. A link to the form to request website updates is available in the College Relations channel of the myOakton portal, titled “Web Update Request Form”  https://oakton.ignite.inmotionnow.com/work-requests/submit/10259814

Hopefully this summer will bring some rest and time to reconnect to our own senses of purpose and joy.  These have been a long few years and burnout is real.  Know your union leadership is always here to help make your life at Oakton better in any way that we can.

Cheryl L. Thayer-President

Mary Hope Griffin-Vice President

Adjunct Faculty Association

January 26, 2022
Dear Fellow Adjunct Faculty Members:
After nearly nine months of weekly negotiation sessions, on Friday, January 21, the AFA and College negotiating teams met for 14 hours.  At the end of that time we agreed to many important items for the 2021-2025 contract for adjunct faculty and reached a Tentative Agreement.  After the language has been formalized memorializing the agreement, we will be able to share it with you all in more detail.
In the coming weeks, we will host several town hall meetings to highlight how the contract has changed and answer your questions.  The membership will then be offered an opportunity to vote to ratify the agreement. Once the AFA membership votes to ratify the contract, the College negotiation team will bring the contract to the Oakton Board of Trustees for approval.
The AFA Board and the AFA Negotiation Team will provide updates as more information is available.  Please continue to read your emails and check the AFA website for more details in the days and weeks ahead.
It’s important for you to know that only members may vote to ratify the contract. You can sign up to become a member by joining any time from now until the vote is held. For more information about joining go to the AFA Website.
In solidarity,
Cheryl L. Thayer, Ph.D.
President, Adjunct Faculty Association

January 6, 2022

Dear Fellow Adjunct Faculty Members,

We hope this new year finds you healthy.  We have a few important pieces of information to share as we begin this new semester.

First, despite our repeated efforts, the administration’s decision regarding the offering of spring classes is final.  Classes for Spring 2022 begin on January 18th in the modality (F2F, online or synchronous online) assigned.  Please watch your email carefully for an invitation to an all faculty meeting sponsored by OCCFA to which President Smith, Dr. Lott, the Provost, and Dr. Brooks, the Vice President for Student Affairs to discuss student compliance with Covid protocols.  A syllabus statement about Covid-19 protocols has been approved and is also forthcoming from your dean.

If you have specific concerns, please feel free to reach out to the AFA at afaoakton@gmail.com or join us on Wednesday, January 12th 5-6pm for our meeting via Zoom at this link.  If you have a compromised immune system or other medical condition requiring accommodation, please complete this form and submit to HR.  The college will be providing KN-95 masks to all employees.

Secondly, On January 4th, you should have received an email from Academic Affairs with the subject “Course Enrollment Notification.”  This notification was to comply with a new legal requirement stemming from HB 0375 which was signed by the Governor on August 6, 2021. The bill was enacted into law as Public Act 102-0260, effective January 1, 2022.  You will receive such notifications 30 and 14 days prior to the start of each semester.  Read more about this at our website 

Finally, contract negotiations are on-going.  We are hoping that the end is in sight, but for now the provisions of our old contract remain in force. Please remember, only AFA members can vote on the new contract.

Have a safe and productive semester.  Remember we are here to help!

Why Did I receive an email “Course Enrollment Notification”

On January 4th, you should have received an email from Academic Affairs with the subject “Course Enrollment Notification.”  This notification was to satisfy a new legal requirement stemming from HB 0375 which was signed by the Governor on August 6, 2021. The bill was enacted into law as Public Act 102-0260, effective January 1, 2022.  You will receive such notifications 30 and 14 days prior to the start of each semester..

Essentially,   HB 0375/PA 102-9260 amends various Acts relating to the governance of public universities and community colleges in Illinois. At least 60 days before the start of a term, requires the governing board of a public university or community college district to notify an adjunct professor about whether a class he or she was hired to teach has been canceled.

House Floor Amendment No. 1

Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends various Acts relating to the governance of public universities and community colleges in Illinois. At least 30 days before the start of a term and again 14 days before the beginning of a term, requires the governing board of a public university or community college district to notify an adjunct professor about the status of the class the adjunct professor was hired to teach. Requires the governing board to allow adjunct professors to have access to the electronic class roster that displays enrollment to assess the status of class enrollment. Provides that the provisions do not apply if the Governor has declared a disaster due to a public health emergency or a natural disaster under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act. Exempts collective bargaining agreements that are in effect on the effective date of the amendatory Act from the provisions.

Senate Floor Amendment No. 1

Removes the provisions allowing an adjunct professor to have access to the electronic class roster that displays class enrollment. In the provisions amending the Public Community College Act, provides that at least 30 days before the beginning of a semester or term and again at 14 days before the beginning of the semester or term, a community college must notify an adjunct professor about the status of class enrollment of the class the adjunct professor was assigned to teach (rather than at least 30 days before the beginning of a term and again at 14 days before the beginning of the term, the board of trustees must notify an adjunct professor about the status of class enrollment of the class the adjunct professor was hired to teach).

The email from Academic Affairs was sent in compliance with this Act.

January 6, 2022

Dear Fellow Adjunct Faculty Members,

We hope this new year finds you healthy.  We have a few important pieces of information to share as we begin this new semester.

First, despite our repeated efforts, the administration’s decision regarding the offering of spring classes is final.  Classes for Spring 2022 begin on January 18th in the modality (F2F, online or synchronous online) assigned.  Please watch your email carefully for an invitation to an all faculty meeting sponsored by OCCFA to which President Smith, Dr. Lott, the Provost, and Dr. Brooks, the Vice President for Student Affairs to discuss student compliance with Covid protocols.  A syllabus statement about Covid-19 protocols has been approved and is also forthcoming from your dean.

If you have specific concerns, please feel free to reach out to the AFA at afaoakton@gmail.com or join us on Wednesday, January 12th 5-6pm for our meeting via Zoom at this link.  If you have a compromised immune system or other medical condition requiring accommodation, please complete this form and submit to HR.  The college will be providing KN-95 masks to all employees.

Secondly, On January 4th, you should have received an email from Academic Affairs with the subject “Course Enrollment Notification.”  This notification was to comply with a new legal requirement stemming from HB 0375 which was signed by the Governor on August 6, 2021. The bill was enacted into law as Public Act 102-0260, effective January 1, 2022.  You will receive such notifications 30 and 14 days prior to the start of each semester.  Read more about this at our website

Finally, contract negotiations are on-going.  We are hoping that the end is in sight, but for now the provisions of our old contract remain in force. Please remember, only AFA members can vote on the new contract.

Have a safe and productive semester.  Remember we are here to help!

Why Did I receive an email “Course Enrollment Notification”

On January 4th, you should have received an email from Academic Affairs with the subject “Course Enrollment Notification.”  This notification was to satisfy a new legal requirement stemming from HB 0375 which was signed by the Governor on August 6, 2021. The bill was enacted into law as Public Act 102-0260, effective January 1, 2022.  You will receive such notifications 30 and 14 days prior to the start of each semester..

Essentially,   HB 0375/PA 102-9260 amends various Acts relating to the governance of public universities and community colleges in Illinois. At least 60 days before the start of a term, requires the governing board of a public university or community college district to notify an adjunct professor about whether a class he or she was hired to teach has been canceled.

House Floor Amendment No. 1

Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends various Acts relating to the governance of public universities and community colleges in Illinois. At least 30 days before the start of a term and again 14 days before the beginning of a term, requires the governing board of a public university or community college district to notify an adjunct professor about the status of the class the adjunct professor was hired to teach. Requires the governing board to allow adjunct professors to have access to the electronic class roster that displays enrollment to assess the status of class enrollment. Provides that the provisions do not apply if the Governor has declared a disaster due to a public health emergency or a natural disaster under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act. Exempts collective bargaining agreements that are in effect on the effective date of the amendatory Act from the provisions.

Senate Floor Amendment No. 1

Removes the provisions allowing an adjunct professor to have access to the electronic class roster that displays class enrollment. In the provisions amending the Public Community College Act, provides that at least 30 days before the beginning of a semester or term and again at 14 days before the beginning of the semester or term, a community college must notify an adjunct professor about the status of class enrollment of the class the adjunct professor was assigned to teach (rather than at least 30 days before the beginning of a term and again at 14 days before the beginning of the term, the board of trustees must notify an adjunct professor about the status of class enrollment of the class the adjunct professor was hired to teach).

The email from Academic Affairs was sent in compliance with this Act.

November 2021
Important Information for All Oakton Adjunct Faculty Members
  1. Vaccine/Testing Compliance: You can now check your compliance status when you log into MyOakton.  All faculty who come to campus (even just for a meeting) are expected to either submit proof of vaccination or weekly testing results. Tests can be done at Oakton or you can upload test results from other places, as long as they are not at-home tests. If you are in non-compliance, on the third offense, you may be suspended for one day without pay.  On the fourth offense, you can be terminated by the College.  For more information:   Oakton Covid Vaccine/Testing Compliance
  2. Learning Day:  All classes before 5pm on Wednesday, October 27th are cancelled (both face to face and synchronous).  If you teach or hold office hours on Wednesdays, you are expected to participate in Learning Day during those hours.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend as Oakton develops its next strategic plan. Adjunct faculty’s voices matter!  Learning Day 2021 Registration
  3. Sexual Harassment Training: A new round of mandatory sexual harassment training must be completed by the end of November.  It is appropriate to use Office Hours to complete this training.  Check your Oakton Email for a notification from SafeColleges Online Training.  The subject is “Vector LMS.” Questions should be addressed to cpd@oakton.edu.
  4. Contract Negotiations are on-going.  Please note that only Adjunct Faculty Association members are eligible to vote to ratify the contract.  Want to check your membership status?  Email: afaoakton@gmail.com.  Want to join?  Go to this link: Membership Forms
  5. Office Equipment: All adjunct office spaces have now been equipped with webcams and have personal headsets available.
  6. Mask Wearing on Campus: Everyone is required to wear a mask on campus unless you are in a private working space or have a medical accommodation. If you have a student unwilling to comply, this is a Conduct Offense.  If classroom management techniques have not worked, you can report the situation here: Non-Academic Violation/Behavioral Incident Report. You can reserve a private office using this link.  Space Request Form or email: slawacki@oakton.edu.
  7. Funds to purchase educational technology/software:If you are interested in purchasing software to improve students’ learning experience, the Center for Teaching Innovation has secured a grant, especially for adjunct faculty members to purchase such software. Center for Teaching Innovation Grant Information
August 2021

Hi Everyone,

It has been a long time since we have had contact.  I wanted to emphasize the College’s invitation to join us at the Fall Opening Breakfast.  I will be there and hope to sit with you at our adjunct/part-time table.  We can have time to catch up.

You need to complete the registration below by August 11.  Please, if you would like to come and join us, please do.  Be sure to bring & wear your mask.  Consider attending other Orientation Week programs, as they count toward your Continued Eligibility.

You should have received an email calendar invitation for our Fall Orientation Week Meeting.  We will be gathering via Zoom on Wednesday, August 18th at 3:45. We will cover Negotiations, College-wide Committees, remembering colleagues, and any concerns you might have. Please join us.  Meeting Zoom Link

Take care and see you soon!

Cheryl Thayer

President, AFA

June 24, 2021

1.AFA Open Office Hours: Fridays, July 9th and 30th at 10am.

2.Drawer Contents in Adjunct Faculty Offices in DP: When the offices were painted two years ago, were your belongings boxed up?  You must claim your belongings from James T. in Room 2180 by September 30th or they will be disposed of.

3. Diversity Council: Interested in serving on the Diversity Council?  Interested in serving on another committee? Contact us at afaoakton@gmail.com.

4. We’re Here to Help: Do you have concerns about returning to campus?  Are you having trouble getting paid?  Do you have questions about course assignments?  Drop in to Office Hours or email us at:  afaoakton@gmail.com

April 12, 2021

Adjunct and Part Time Faculty Survey – 2021
Watch for an email with a link to this important survey.  The questions are designed to help the Adjunct Faculty Association (AFA) and the Bargaining Team understand your needs and interests so that the team can represent you better during contract negotiations.
The survey should take approximately 15 minutes of your time.  Your answers will go directly to the AFA.  The college administration will have no access to your survey responses.
Please answer the survey during the next week.
We need to hear from everyone!
April 2, 2021
Adjunct Faculty Association Update

  1. AFA Open Office Hours are this Friday, April 2nd, 9-10 via Zoom. Come with your questions and suggestions as we begin contract negotiations.
  2. Congratulations to Yasmin Cordero who will be representing us this summer at the National Education Association Regional Assembly.
  3. Interested in serving on a college-wide committee next year?  We are collecting names now.  Please email us at: afaoakton@gmail.com
  4. You may have noticed a new procedure this year for the re-appointment of department chairs and program coordinators.  Your dean is seeking your input.  Please share your thoughts.  See email from your dean.
  5. Next AFA Board Meeting, Friday, April 9th at 10am.  Contact us if you would like the link.
  6. Save the date, Adjunct Faculty Meeting Wednesday, August 18th, 4-5:30pm.  More details to come.

March 28, 2021

Election Results for NEA-RA Delegate from the Adjunct Faculty Association at Oakton Community College, Spring 2021

39 ballots were cast in an election that ran from March 23 to March 27.
Votes by Candidate:
Mary Hope Griffin: 26 votes (66.7%)
Yasmin Cordero: 7 votes (17.9%)
Catherine Willis: 5 votes (12.8%)
Randy Felsenthal: 1 vote (2.6%) [write-in]

Mary Hope Griffin wins with 66.7% of the vote.

Call for Nominations for NEA-RA Representative

Dear members,

The 2021 National Education Association Representative Assembly, (the NEA-RA), will be held from July 2nd – July 6th, 2021. The 2021 NEA-RA will be held entirely virtually. The Oakton AFA will send one 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 RA 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.

The election for this position will be held electronically. You will receive an email March 23rd with a link to your secure, secret ballot. The link will remain active for you to vote until March 27th.

Before the election, we need you to nominate candidates. An AFA member may either nominate a colleague or himself/herself for this position by completing and returning the attached document OR using this online form: https://forms.gle/nSM9rvXA9dErMAjL7. Required information includes the Nominee’s name, address, phone, and email address.

To be included on the ballot, all nomination information must be sent to the AFA Elections Committee Chairperson Nelson Wainwright. You may use the online form https://forms.gle/nSM9rvXA9dErMAjL7 OR

DOWNLOAD the NEA-RA 2021 NOMINATION FORM , complete and send to oaktonafaelections@gmail.com.

All nominations must be received by March 5th. Nominations received after 11 pm on Friday, March 5, 2021 cannot be included on the ballot.

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-RA will be held from July 2nd – July 6th, 2021 and will be an entirely virtual conference.

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

AFA Elections Committee
Nelson Wainwright
Ruth Whitney

2021 NEA-RA Election Timeline

• 2/22 – Call for nominations for AFA delegate to NEA – Representative Assembly
• 3/5 – Nominations deadline
• 3/23 – NEA – RA delegate election begins
• 3/27 11:59 pm – Last day for voting

February 4, 2021

AFA Office Hours  Please join us for drop in AFA Officer Office Hours

Friday, March 5th, 9-10am

  1.  AFA Board Meeting Friday, February 19th at 10am.  Join us via Google Meet.
  1. Legal Advice:  The AFA is part of the Illinois Education Association.  As a dues paying member, you can receive free legal counsel for issues related to your employment.  If you have questions about our contract, the best source of information is always an AFA Officer.  No need to crowdsource!
  2. Covid-19 Vaccines:  Please take a moment to sign this petition encouraging the state of Illinois to prioritize higher education in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.  This is a real issue for several of our members who are currently required to teach face-to-face. Follow this link: Vaccine Petition
  3. Call for 12 LHE Adjunct proposals 2021-22 (1) 12LHEs are available.
  4. Listen Session Follow Up:  We received a follow-up email from the Council of Deans outlining the issues they heard at our Fall Listening Session.  They expressed their support and gratitude for all the efforts adjunct faculty have made during the pandemic.  We were also provided some data about the hiring of adjunct faculty for FT positions at Oakton.  On the last 20 hires 9 were of current adjunct faculty members (3 nursing, 3 math, 1 cannabis).  We asked for a more comprehensive data set as that does not seem to reflect overall or historic trends.
  5. Email Use:  Before you hit “reply all” remember that the Faculty List has over 500 people on it.  Here are the College’s guidelines on email use:  Email Use Policy
  6. Professional Development:  Please Check out the Center for Professional Development’s (CPD) list of options for faculty.  There are a few Faculty Seminars still open for registration for which you can be compensated for attending.  They have also added more D2L trainings.  All of these count toward your required Continuing Eligibility.  CPD Schedule Link
  7. Wellness:  Check out the offerings on our website:  Wellness Link

Continue reading “Emails to Membership”