Blog
Saturday, 31 December 2016 12:45

A look back at 2016

As we prepare to ring in the new year, here's a look back at APSCUF's biggest news in 2016.

Winter (January-February)

APSCUF's executive council approved a statement reiterating the significance of higher education and Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education's general educational goals and values.

Fund or Fail rally Ken Mash

Students and faculty united Feb. 8 for the Underfunded We Fail rally (above). About 500 people filled the Capitol rotunda to advocate for fair funding of our 14 state-owned universities.

Spring (March-May)

The Pennsylvania Senate budget and House budget appropriations hearings included discussions of per-credit tuition and the rising cost of higher education.

Western-region members who wanted to learn more about our union and how to become involved participated in New Leadership Day April 1.

Contract negotiations were stagnant during the spring months, but delegates at APSCUF's April legislative assembly decided for the sake of students to postpone a possible strike-authorization vote. Also at that assembly, delegates elected statewide officers, including a new coach leader, and honored Betty Wesner for her service to the organization.

APSCUF released statements regarding per-credit tuition programs and the value of education.

Gradusaurus photos

Left photos: Marietta Dantonio-Madsen paints APSCUF's Gradusaurus. She took pictures throughout the process and plans to self-publish a book about the project. Second from right: Dantonio-Madsen visits the finished dinosaur on Front Street in Harrisburg. (Photos courtesy of Marietta Dantonio-Madsen) Far right: A closer look at Gradusaurus.

APSCUF sponsored a dinosaur in Harrisburg's Dino-Mite Summer art exhibit. Cheyney University art professor Marietta Dantonio-Madsen designed and painted the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which was on display outside the state office throughout the summer.

Summer (June-August)

Visiting with Gov. Tom Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf talks with APSCUF members June 8 in the Capitol. Photo/Kathryn Morton

Gov. Tom Wolf visited with APSCUF members June 8 in the Capitol. Members also met with their legislators to advocate for public higher education.

The APSCUF Life series launched on the APSCUF blog to illustrate faculty and coach accomplishments and hard work — which continue even during the summer.

Two members spent time in the State APSCUF office for faculty summer internships.

After nine terms of service on the executive council, APSCUF’s statewide secretary retired. A new secretary, elected in April, took on the position's responsibilities.

APSCUF's commercial aired statewide during the Olympics and during other programs in the capital area. APSCUF also sponsored National Public Radio during the summer.

Fall (September-December)

After members voted to authorize a strike, APSCUF on Sept. 23 announced a strike date of Oct. 19, if negotiators had not reached a fair contract by that deadline.

At September's legislative assembly, APSCUF honored Deirdre Kane for her service. Following the assembly, APSCUF's strike school trained members with leadership roles for a possible strike.

Faculty members rallied Oct. 6 outside the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg to demand a fair contract. Some also spoke during the Board of Governors meeting.

APSCUF teamed with Pennsylvania AFL-CIO for Burgers and Ballots events on State System campuses.

workload

APSCUF had its first statewide faculty strike for three days beginning 5 a.m. Oct. 19. The strike ended with a tentative contract agreement on the afternoon of Oct. 21. Coaches reached their own tentative agreement the following week, with both bargaining units ratifying their deals in early December. The State System's Board of Governors signed off on the contracts Dec. 20.

APSCUF released a statement regarding the tumultuous election season and its results.

—Alexandria Mansfield,
APSCUF intern

This summer, APSCUF went behind the scenes to show how faculty members and coaches continue to devote themselves to affordable, quality education even when class is not in session. This post is a continuation of that series.

MorganChinese students learn about the English language, American culture, and sports at East Stroudsburg University’s summer Sport and Physical Activity Symposium with Dr. Gene White, chairman of the physical education department, and Dr. Peng Zhang, exercise science professor. Photo courtesy of Aeon G. White

Faculty members at East Stroudsburg University have devoted much of their past two summers — and springs — to a program that promotes communication between Chinese and ESU college students and faculty.

“(The ESU Sport and Physical Activity Symposium) offers participants authentic American and college cultures, advanced knowledge of physical education and exercise science related areas, and great English instruction,” said Peng Zhang, an ESU professor of exercise science and one of the masterminds behind the program.

Zhang said the driving inspiration behind the summer symposium, which began in 2015, was a combination of ESU’s assistant provost, Mike Southwell, and school officials and students in China.

“Chinese students and faculty at Beijing Sport University and Shanghai University of Sport asked if there would be any short-term programs [or] opportunities that could allow them to visit ESU,” Zhang said. “Mr. Southwell said we could have them come over here for a few weeks in the summer and provide them authentic experiences, studying and living in a U.S. university. Afterward, we came up with the summer symposium idea.”

Before the program can even consider applicants, Zhang; Southwell; Dr. Gene White, chairman of physical education teacher education at ESU; and Sarah Goodrich, ESU’s facility director, must coordinate the agenda’s planning. The process consists of outlining and organizing academic lectures, spoken English lessons, American sports and physical activities, sightseeing trips, meals and lodging, and other miscellaneous activities for the symposium’s 28 days.

“We do a lot of work for each summer’s symposium,” Zhang said. “I cannot count how many hours we have put into the task.”

Once the program description is finalized, organizers send it to the partnered schools, which can start recruiting.

The organizational team meets regularly from February to April. Between April and May, organizers reserve classrooms, invite faculty members to participate, prepare invitational letters for visa applications, hire student workers, and complete background checks. In the interim, the Chinese schools confirm numbers and pay for their students.

Zhang said faculty members work “many, many hours” during the symposium itself, as well.

“We supervise all the activities — on and off campus — such as American sport lessons, lectures, hiking, kayaking, and field trips to NYC, D.C., and Philly,” he said.

As for compensation, Zhang said he and White were the only ones paid for participation because they needed to be “full-time with the participants during the 4-week period.”

“Other faculty participants are not paid for participating, but count it as a service activity,” Zhang said.

Once the program runs its course, the work doesn’t immediately stop. The task then becomes preparing thank-you letters for all the faculty members who taught and contacting the Chinese administrators to report the results of their students’ learning and participation.

“Overall, I have received very positive feedback from Chinese and ESU students,” Zhang said. “Some Chinese students told me they hoped that the symposium would never end.”

One of those Chinese participants was Aeon G. White, of no relation to Dr. Gene White.

“Teachers always encourage[d] us to ask questions, to doubt, to say ‘I don’t agree,’” Aeon said. “Dr. White told us not to believe that teachers are always right or they know everything.”

Aeon said White’s words motivated her to overcome her timidity in class.

“For me, the saddest time was to say goodbye to Dr. White,” she said. “I told him that he always made me feel at home, and every time I talked to him was just like talking to my dear Pa Pa.”

Zhang said the program benefits Chinese and ESU students alike.

“They really learned and enjoyed their experiences,” Zhang said. “Along with providing our Chinese visitors a sustained American experience during the summer, this program brings together people from many different groups, to work and study harmoniously with one another.”

Zhang was this program’s primary conductor, with the help of White, who acted as a leading faculty member of the symposium. Southwell oversaw the entire symposium; Goodrich arranged the meals, lodging, and all the classroom and gym reservations; and Dr. Cynthia Leenerts, an English professor who lectured English comp, organized English corner events and supervised several sightseeing events.

Other lecturing faculty this year included Tim Connolly, chairman of the philosophy and religious studies department; Ed Arner, sport-management instructor; Chad Witmer, an exercise-science professor; Gerard Rozea, chairman of athletic-training department; Kelly Harrison, an athletic-training professor; Mary Jane O’Merle, health-studies instructor; and Doug Lare, chairman of the professional and secondary education department.

“Our student visitors have remarked, and the rest of us have noticed as well, that we became da jia — a big family,” Zhang said. “We believe that this spirit of cooperation reminds us of the way life ought to be — both between nations and within our university.”

—Alexandria Mansfield, APSCUF intern

APSCUF likes to take the time to recognize and applaud our faculty members’ and coaches' accomplishments. Although the fall 2016 semester was a turbulent one to say the least, we are proud to provide a roundup of some faculty members’ and coaches’ achievements.

APSCUF aims to keep our members and followers updated on our faculty members’ and coaches’ successes. Don’t forget to follow us on our social media sites for more great stories featuring our incredible faculty and coaches. Have a story to be told? Tag APSCUF on social media or email us at qualityeducation@apscuf.org.

—Alexandria Mansfield, APSCUF intern

Signing contracts

From left: State System Chancellor Frank Brogan, Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia Shapira, and Dr. Kenneth M. Mash, president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, sign faculty and coach contracts this morning at Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.

Faculty and coach contracts are ratified. Click here to read today's press release.

Alexandria Mansfield

State APSCUF's government-relations and communications winter 2016-17 intern is Alexandria Mansfield, who will enter her junior year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the spring. Mansfield majors in journalism and public relations with a minor in human services.

The Cook Honors College student said she is looking forward to utilizing her writing skills in a new environment.

"I hope this experience will help me clarify where I see my career path taking me — whether it be in journalism or public relations," Mansfield said.

While at school, she works in the provost’s office and as the news editor for The Penn, IUP’s student-run newspaper. In her free time, Mansfield enjoys reading, spending time with pets, and teaching herself how to knit.

Monday, 19 December 2016 11:53

APSCUF welcomes new researcher

Chris Dunne

Christopher Dunne started working for APSCUF this month in the position of research specialist.

Dunne joins us after earning his Master of Science degree in economic theory and policy at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, before which he worked with the Canada Post/Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

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