OCC-AFA Newsletters

Adjunct News


February 2019

Click to download or print the 19 February 2019 – AFA newsletter

Meet the Oakton Board of Trustees

Your AFA is hosting an hour-long Meet & Greet with the Oakton Board of Trustees from 5:45 to 6:30 in Skokie in P103. Come and meet the Board members over hors d’oeuvres and while you are there, introduce yourself, ask questions, and offer opinions to the Trustees. Let them meet the people who teach most of the classes at Oakton. Then stay for the Board meeting at 7:30 in P104.


Oakton Board of Trustees Candidates Forums

The April 2 municipal elections will fill three Oakton Board of Trustees vacancies. The Trustees are important for the college’s direction and our future. Who are these people? Find out at two upcoming candidate forums. The first is on Tuesday February 26 from 3:30 – 5:30 at the Des Plaines campus, Room 1604, sponsored by OCCFA, AFA and CSA. A question and answer session will follow short introductory remarks by the candidates. There is a second forum sponsored by OPAL (Organization for Positive Leadership and Action) in Evanston on Thursday February 28 from 5:15 – 8 p.m. at Chute Middle School at 1400 Oakton. There is a Meet & Greet from 5:15 to 5:45; the forum itself begins at 6:00.

Residents of District 535 (which includes Des Plaines, Evanston, Skokie, Glencoe, Glenview, Golf, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Northfield, Park Ridge, Rosemont, and Winnetka) are eligible to vote.

Illinois Is at It Again

Illinois is trying to keep your salaries –and your future pensions – down. Right now there is 3% limit on our salary increases – a limit that would be reflected in our next contract. According to the IEA factsheet, “the 3% limit is being sold as a means to end perceived salary spiking for career educators.” (Have we heard that one before?) Right now there are bills (SB 60 and HR350) to repeal the 3% salary limit for SURS participants. If passed, the salary limit would return to the previous 6% amount.

What can you do? Contact your Illinois legislators and go online to the IEA website to read more about the issue and sign the on-line petition. Do it now, as this is coming up in the legislature in the next few weeks.


During Orientation Week, John Bishop shared his knowledge of our contract and answered questions, and Valerie Krejcie gave a presentation on a passionate interest of hers, cartography, and its newest hi-tech forms. You too are invited to share your expertise in subjects that you are passionate about – and be paid for your work.



The Fall IEA Regional Assembly election resulted in Randy Felsenthal representing the AFA and Cathy Willis representing us as the minority regional representative.  Expect a ballot in the mail after February 25 to elect representatives to the July National Assembly.


Heard of the Adjunct Channel?

Ever heard of the “Adjunct Channel” and wondered what the heck? Not a knob on your computer screen, it is a box in the lower right corner of the Teach and Advise screen. While there are no entertaining films of AFA Board meetings, it does provide some very handy documents (the AFA Contract, Deans’ Calendar of Meetings – ever wonder when those department meetings are going to be?), forms (the adjunct scheduling preference form, the continued eligibility form) and links to the CPD site and directory. Once you find it, it will save you time in the long run.


An Interesting Read

The Feb. 14, 2019, issue of Inside Higher Ed features an article onConfronting Biases Against Adjunct Faculty.” In it, the author compares the plight of adjuncts with the African American female scientists in the film Hidden Figures. She notes the tendency of some full-time faculty to see adjuncts as lacking “some aspect of ability, ambition or work ethic” and some administrators to consider us as “usually just figures on a balance sheet.” Adjuncts are compared to the main character in the film, doing the tasks “required of a high-status job but receiving neither the title nor the pay that should be attached — and facing the biases of the more privileged on a daily basis.”

Welcome, New AFA Members!

Daniel Golden, teacher of strings in the Music Department

Daniel Connolly, Writing teacher in the English

In Memoriam

We are sorry to announce the death in January of former English adjunct  Lisa Godde.

Oakton Adjunct Faculty Association

Cheryl Thayer, President

John Bishop, Vice Pres. and Member Advocate

Cindy Del Medico, Treasurer

Linda Berendsen, Secretary

AFA Office: Room 2470 DP

Voicemail at (847) 635- 2193

Web site: oaktonadjuncts.com

Email: afaoakton@gmail.com


Spring 2019 Oakton Board of Trustees Meetings:
All Board of Trustees meetings are held on Tuesdays at 7:30

Feb. 19 RHC P104

March 19 DP 1506

April 23 DP 1506

May 28 RHC P104

June 25 DP 1506



October 2018

Click to download or print the 18 October 2018 – AFA newsletter

Janus Decision

You are probably aware by now of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Janus case, which eliminated the obligation of “Fair Share” adjuncts – who benefit from the union’s accomplishments but elect not to join the union – to financially contribute to the union. How do all of us benefit from the AFA? We are the best paid community college in the state, for one. We are invited to attend college meetings, and be paid for that. We can teach our colleagues in seminars – and take those seminars – and be paid for that. We can participate in college committees and be paid for that. When accused of misbehavior or have been unjustly treated, we can file a grievance through the union – and be accompanied by a union representative. We and our families can take courses offered by the college for free.

Without a union fighting for these benefits, they would not exist.

So, if you haven’t joined the union yet, please do so and add to the numbers backing up union initiatives. If you are thinking of withdrawing your membership, please consider how you have benefited through the union here at Oakton. Even more importantly, join your colleagues here at Oakton working together for everyone’s benefit.

Save the Date

The Fall Membership Meeting/Dinner will be held on Sunday, November 4. Details to follow.

Traveling between campuses?

If you are traveling from one campus to the other for either your classes or to attend a meeting, you can be reimbursed for the mileage – currently $ .545 per mile – of each one-way trip. Keep track and submit the reimbursement form available from your division staff at the end of the term.


Got a Conference on Your Calendar?

Adjuncts can receive $375 per academic year in Professional Development reimbursement according to the new contract. If you didn’t use it last year (the first year of the contract), that amount can be added to this academic year’s – so that this year you can receive $750. This makes those out-of-town conferences possible.

Continued Eligibility

After teaching for 10 semesters (normally every 5 years), adjuncts need to submit proof of “continued eligibility” to teach in the form of evidence of various activities – at the minimum, three activities over five years by July the year after you have been notified. Many activities “count.” Some of them are participation in a professional conference or workshop (including those offered by Oakton), continuing education credits, completion of a college course related to your teaching assignment, service on a committee, being a student club advisor, adjunct mentor, study breakfast participants, or taking part in a student success

Get Paid to Learn

Have you signed up for one of the seminars being offered by CPD?
You can be paid to attend.


Get Paid to Teach Your Colleagues

During Orientation Week, librarian Ruth Whitney gave a presentation on the Perseverance Project and English teacher John Bishop gave one on the new AFA contract – and were paid to do so. Think about what expertise you might share with your colleagues.


Get Paid to Help Students During the Study Breakfast

New this term is the opportunity to be compensated .022 LHE’s per clock hour for helping students review at the end of the term Study Breakfast. Up to four hours for a total of .088 have been allocated for each adjunct faculty member who facilitates a review session. This includes an hour of prep, up to two hours of hosting a review session and one hour of data entry for the necessary record keeping. Faculty can offer two-hour review sessions for students in your section or all sections of the course; these sessions may be offered from any time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 28.  The Skokie Breakfast is from 12:30 – 4 p.m.; Des Plaines is hosting Breakfast from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Be sure you have the LHE’s available within your limit. For more information on the Study Breakfast, email Giacomo Cirrincione at gcirrinc@oakton.edu at the Learning Center. A Google form needs to be completed by October 10.

Committee Volunteers Needed

Two or three people are needed to help rewrite some of our AFA by-laws.  This is not a long-term project. If interested in helping out, email the AFA office at afaoakton@gmail.com.

Kudos to

Youngock Lee, lecturer in psychology, received the 2018 Ray Hartstein Award for Outstanding Professional Excellence in Teaching.

 Kasia Wereszczynska, lecturer in psychology, was recently recognized by the American Association for Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC) with the 40 Under 40 Award. She is also presenting on Spiritual & Religious Identities in Counseling: Speaking into the Unspoken at Annual Conference of the European Branch of the American Counseling Association, in Athens, Greece.


May 2018

Click to download or print the 18 May 2018 – AFA newsletter


Spring Membership Meeting/Dinner

A good crowd of members attended the Spring Membership meeting at Club Casa Café on River Road. Elections were held for the AFA Executive Board; the newly elected Executive Board for the next three years – Cheryl Thayer (President), John Bishop (Vice President), Cindy DelMedico (Treasurer), and Linda Berendsen (Secretary) – will begin serving on August 1.    The new location was spacious and comfortable, and there was spirited discussion about the upcoming Supreme Court hearing of the Janus case. The case will be heard in the near future; if it passes, people who now are “fair share” – fee payers to the AFA but not chipping in the extra $30 per academic year to become actual members – will no longer have to pay anything. They would, however, still benefit from the union negotiated contract – getting the highest salary of any community college in the state, being represented at grievances, and so on.   Of course, this would severely impact the ability of the IEA to function behind the scenes in the legislative and media arenas. Right now, the AFA has the lowest ratio of fee payers to union members ever.


John Bishop noted two important lessons that we need to learn from the recent dismissals of two adjuncts. One instructor viewed inappropriate websites on a computer in an adjunct faculty office in view of the public. John noted that Oakton takes this very seriously, and that computers are Oakton property and nothing done on them is private.   The second dismissal was for a non-related matter, but was overturned and the faculty member is back teaching. Why? Procedures protecting faculty were not followed. Proper procedures are important. If you are not sure whether an issue is or is not covered by the contract, please contact John.


Got your Fall classes?

If you have taught 22 semesters at Oakton, you are entitled to teach two classes. If you think you have not been assigned them due to a new hire in your department, let John Bishop know. This is an issue that can be grieved.


Do you commute between DP and RHC?

Many of us find ourselves commuting between Oakton’s campuses on a single day for classes or required meetings. One of the benefits of the new contract is payment of mileage for these trips, paid at the end of each term.   Check your calendars to see how many times you have done this, and ask your division office staff how to report it.



Increased Professional Development Allowance

Because of the $375 professional development now available to adjuncts as a result of the new contract, I was able to attend the international convention in my field held here in Chicago in March. This would have been impossible for me under the old contract. It also would have been impossible for me to pay the convention fee up front and wait a few weeks to be reimbursed by the college. I was able to attend, however, because the college will pay in advance – provided the check is sent directly from Oakton to the sponsoring professional organization. Your division staff can help you with this.




Now that adjuncts are being included in shared governance at the college, you may be invited to serve on one of the various committees. While serving is definitely a time commitment, we are paid to serve on these.   My recent participation on a search committee was an unexpectedly great experience: I got to know people in other areas of the college I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise, I learned more about the college’s inner workings, and was part of some really interesting discussions. I’d do it again. If you would like to serve on a committee as well, let Cheryl Thayer know.

NEA Benefits

Union membership also entitles you to NEA benefits such as

  • Car rentals that include benefits such as free mileage, free upgrades, emergency road service, free second driver, discounts on rentals
  • Auto insurance – members save an average of $495 a year.
  • Flood insurance, Pet insurance, Complimentary Life Insurance, Dental and Vision Insurance
  • 15% on monthly AT&T phone service
  • Discount tickets for live entertainment for Blue Man Group, the Color Purple, Dirty Dancing
  • 20%-50% off average retail prices of brand-name hearing aides
  • Restaurant certificates – $4 for $10 certificates at restaurants such as La Unica (Cuban) on Devon, Purple Sprout Café (vegan) in Wheeling, Maharaja Indian (Rosemont), $10 for a $25 certificate at Sweet Baby Ray’s (Elk Grove). A wide variety of restaurants are located all over the metro area.

Of course, you need to join to take advantage of these discounts.


Summer Reading?

Perhaps not beach material, but AdjunctNation.com reviewed two books of interest: Academic Apartheid: Waging the Adjunct War (ed. Sylvia DeSantis) is an “excellent, varied collection of narrative and reflective essays” by adjuncts, and Gypsy Scholars, Migrant Teachers, and the Global Academic Proletariat: Adjunct Labour in Higher Education (ed. R. Teeuwen and S. Hantke) is a collection of 14 essays written by adjuncts both here and abroad and written in a more “academic tone.”


             Teaching or not, at home or traveling,

   Have a wonderful summer!   



March 2018

Click to download or print the 18 March 2018 AFA newsletter

Spring Membership Meeting/Dinner

April 22   5 – 7:30 p.m.

The Spring Membership meeting will be held on Sunday, April 22. We will be at a new location: Club Casa Café at 353 N. River Rd. in Des Plaines, across from Holy Family Medical Center. As always, members are free; guests and non-members are $25. RSVP to Valerie Krejcie in Div. 3 or at valeriek1212@gmail.com.

The executive Board of the AFA is at the end of their three-year terms. Voting for the new AFA board will be at the meeting; voting will open at the beginning of the meeting during appetizers, so if you need to vote and run without staying for dinner, that is possible. (See #3 below for info on running for one of these positions.)

From the President:

  1. There are many union activities this semester. Last fall you voted for the IEA representatives to the Regional Assembly in Rosemont, identifying David Williams and Randy Felsenthal to represent us. Cathy Willis and I also attend as minority representative and Higher Education Board member to the Regional Assembly, which carries out the business of the Illinois Education Association, of which we are a part.
  2. The NEA Regional Assembly vote has passed. If you did not receive a ballot and envelope, please contact Ruth Whitney at:   aruthwhitney@gmail.com We need to ensure that our mailing addresses are correct.
  3. This semester at our membership meeting, you will be voting for your Adjunct Faculty Association Executive Board. Nearer the time, you will be notified so you may apply for candidacy for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer. These are for three-year terms beginning in August, 2018.
  4. During Orientation week, the Oakton’s Chief of Police, Marvin Bornschlegl, announced that there is now an Emergency Management plan for Oakton. He stressed that many faculty had not updated or registered information in Alert Oakton through MyOakton. Alert Oakton notifies you of school closures due to inclement weather, flooding, or any serious condition, so please update your information as soon as possible.

The Chief also shared this additional information:

  1. Title IX training ended on February 28. If you have not completed the training, login to MyOakton, click on Employee tab and in the Announcements (middle section) click on the Title IX training. If it is not operational, direct any questions to Mindy Finnigan.

New Initiatives:

  1. Adjunct faculty have been invited for the first time to participate in the Faculty Retreat held on Friday of Orientation week. The AFA has agreed to help subsidize this event. More details will be forthcoming.
  2. As part of the finalized contract, an Adjunct Faculty channel was approved. The Channel is now       active and located in Teach & Advise through MyOakton at the end of the second column.
  3. On February 26, the Supreme Court heard the Janus case (Janus v. AFSCME). In a nutshell, Janus is challenging the right of AFSCME to collect fees from people who do not want to belong to a local union (Fair Share). The Supreme Court ruling may rescind previous Supreme Court rulings (for a more complete discussion go to: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/2/26/17053328/janus-afscme-supreme-court-unions-minorities Thus, the AFA is looking to establish a strategy group to address issues facing the membership as a result of the anticipated negative decision of the Janus case.. Engagement is one of the greatest issues we face. As a union we want to be more inclusive of all adjunct faculty and engage more of our members. To that end, an AFA Strategic Planning Committee is being formed and is open to all adjunct employees. It is a priority for all of us. Please send an email to:  oaktonafa@gmail.com if you are interested in being a part of this strategic planning group.

Trustee Reception a Success

Prior to the last Oakton Board of Trustees meeting, the AFA hosted a reception for the Trustees. Finger food was served, and many Board and various adjunct faculty were able to meet each other in an informal setting and chat. The Board was able to find out about our concerns and experiences, and we were able to share ideas and observations with Board members individually.

 Click to download or print the 18 March 2018 AFA newsletter


January 2018

Click to download or print the 18 January 2018 AFA newsletter

2017-2021 Contract approved

The AFA contract with the Oakton administration that will govern us for the next four years was approved by 91 % of those members voting and the Oakton Board of Trustees at their Dec. 5 Board meeting.    Among many improvements are raises, a vastly increased professional development allowance, and pay for participation in student success and strategic plan initiatives.  In a nutshell (thanks to John Bishop for his summary):

  • Beginning this past August, there will be a 2.99% raise each year of the contract. In your Dec. 29 paycheck, you will see the retroactive amount of the raise covering Fall term listed as separate line items labeled Contractual Retro. (questions? email payroll@oakton.edu, including your full name and Banner ID).
  • In year 3 of the contract, steps 15 and 17 will be added.
  • Librarians have had their faculty status (from “staff”) and pay restored to LHEs and adjunct salary schedule.
  • The Affiliated Adjunct contract will continue for two more years and then sunset in the third year of the contract (Fall 2019).
  • Adjuncts can have 12 LHEs in Spring and Fall semesters with a combination of courses taught and additional activities or responsibilities in the college (such as working on a committee or taking a CPD course). 13 LHE’s are possible with administrative approval. 27 LHEs cannot be exceeded in one academic year.
  • A pool of 12 LHEs per year will be available to pay adjuncts for participation in strategic plan initiatives and student success initiatives. We have tried to increase the voice of adjuncts and involvement in college policies; this allowance enables adjuncts to do so.
  • If a class is canceled ten days or less from the start of the semester, $150 will be paid. This is increased from 7 days and $91-$133/course.
  • Professional development reimbursement is raised from $125 a year to $375 a year. Use of the fund can be delayed and $750 can be requested the second year.
  • Professional development funds can also be used to pay membership dues in professional organizations or associations.
  • The pool of money available for development reimbursement will increase by $1500 each year of the contract.
  • There will be reimbursement for mileage between campuses for required meetings or classes.
  • An adjunct channel on myOakton with links to essential and helpful information will be set up.
  • There will be a mentorship program for new adjuncts; the joint planning committee for this begins Spring of 2018.

AFA President’s Comments to Oakton College Board of Trustees, December 5, 2017

re:  New AFA Contract and Health Care

As the President of the Adjunct Faculty Association and a member of the negotiating team, I would like to address the Tentative Agreement which you will vote on this evening.  The contract was ratified by 91% of the voting members last week.  We reached this end through an Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) process.  It was a collaborative and congenial process that used problem solving skills to address the interests of the administration and the adjunct faculty.  It worked!   You are about to vote on a Tentative Agreement that met the test of acceptability on both sides and is generally, and I think we can all agree, a “good” agreement.

However, there is one critical, ethical and social justice issue that needs to be addressed by both sides – and that is health care.  In the course of generating this agreement, both sides recognized that there is a need for health care and that in some respects, the past contract recognized this need.  The new contract leaves affiliated adjunct faculty who have benefited from health care coverage behind, as well as current and future adjuncts without real access to affordable health care coverage.

It seems that in order to provide for all, we continue to create a vacuum that leaves members and their families without health care coverage which can result in poor access to health care, including medications for asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure, therapies for autistic children and life-saving cancer treatments.  Our adjuncts and their families are in potentially life threatening situations which disrupt their ability to function well in the classroom. These are some of the real life examples that are now lost by our affiliated adjuncts.

Both negotiating teams had heavy hearts when the Tentative Agreement was reached with regard to health care needs.  We had spent many hours in AFA team meetings and hours in IBB sessions discussing health care and the impact of removal and the potential of creating an insurance pool.  Our duty, as with any agreement, is to meet the needs of the College and all adjunct faculty at Oakton.

We ask the Board and the administration to collaborate with us moving forward to find a solution(s) to this pressing issue for the health of our community, including leading the consortium of community colleges, of which Oakton is a part, to provide some access to health care for adjunct faculty.

Thank you.

Cheryl Thayer

The Persistence Project

Participating in the Persistence Project also counts toward Professional Development, and the new contract has made this easier.  To accommodate the time spent getting to know your students at the beginning of the term, one can reallocate some office hours to the first few weeks of class to accommodate the time spent with students as the project requires.  Your course syllabus and office hours form should reflect these changes.

Commuting Between Campuses?

Keep track of the days on which you need to commute on the same day beween campuses because of your class schedule or department/division meetings so that at the end of the semester, you can submit a request to be reimbursed for the mileage.  Each division might handle this a little differently, so ask your division staff how to request this at the end of the term.       

        Spring Membership/Dinner Meeting

The Spring Membership meeting will be

held on Sunday, April 22.  Voting for the new

executive AFA board will be held then; a

sexual harassment training is also planned.

Time and location to be announced.


You are welcome to attend the AFA Board meetings

Meetings will be held on the first Monday of the month
from 1 to 2 in the Far Side room (DP room #2444)

      February 5

 March 5

April 2

May 7

June 4


   Come to the Oakton Board of Trustees meetings at 7:30 on:

Jan. 16 DP

Feb. 20 RHC P104

March 20 DP

April 17 DP

May 22 RHC P104

Click to download or print the 18 January 2018 AFA newsletter