By Peggy Wirtz-Olsen, WEAC Vice President
In joining the Fox Valley Technical College Faculty Association’s Executive Board meeting earlier this month, one thing was clear: these members and leaders are engaged in and energized about their local association. When we discussed successes, they cited collaborative involvement between the faculty and the administration at the college. Jim Reinke, President of FVTC Faculty Association, said, “We continue to meet regularly with campus administration to solve problems and share ideas.”
This has led to the association’s ability to finalize language on academic freedom, which has taken time and sustained effort on behalf of the members. It is because of their willingness to listen to their members’ needs and advocate as a collective that these leaders could call this a win for members.
Jim also said, “One of our successes is having a joint leadership process with our faculty and our Education Support Professionals. While we are separate associations, we work collaboratively and maintain open channels of communication between our unions.”
When I visited a few weeks back, the board was planning its annual recertification drive and ice cream event, which is co-hosted by the Faculty and Support Staff unions on the Appleton campus. They have had great success with their event, which makes the process of recertification more social and a little sweeter, with members voting in the election just prior to building their own ice cream sundaes.
Other victories to share from FVTC include money from a savings in their insurance premiums going back to the FVTC employees. Again, because of their collaborative work with campus administration, FVTC faculty and staff can discuss the savings, which will result in money back in the pockets of hard-working employees.
Membership continues to grow for the Fox Valley Technical College Faculty Association as it picked up two new members last month, putting the membership percentage just below 40%. “While it’s not exactly where we’d like to be,” Jim said, “we are growing steadily and will continue to make membership a priority. When we tell our stories to our colleagues about the work that we are doing, they join us.”
Jim emphasized this point with the group: “Talk to your members and potential members in your work area. We continue to do good things here, and everyone needs to know that it is the Fox Valley Technical College Faculty Association that is making this a better place to work and a better place for students to learn. We have to share our stories.”
Read all of Peggy’s ‘Spotlight On Locals’ columns at weac.org/Spotlight.