The Clark College administration is exaggerating the size of its faculty pay proposal by taking credit for the state-funded cost-of-living adjustment approved by the Legislature, which should be essentially automatic. In reality, the administration is only offering a retroactive 1 percent above inflation for 2018-19 and 2.8 percent above inflation for 2019-20, which is not enough to make Clark College competitive with surrounding K-12 school districts or the private sector. Their current offer is nowhere near what our WEA colleagues at other community colleges have negotiated. The administration is also inflating its offer by including a third year (2020-21) based on budget projections that may not be accurate. In addition, the College refuses to consider our salary proposal for adjunct professors that would link the part-time salary schedule to the full-time salary schedule. Clark College faculty deserve better. We won't be fooled by the administration's lowball pay proposals, and we reject their disrespectful approach to contract negotiations.
Business Professor Gene Johnson, who taught at Clark for 39 years, passed away on September 5th. From what his colleagues had to share about him, Gene was truly committed to teaching and to his students:
Gene taught at least 22 different classes while at Clark, although his key subject area was transfer accounting.
He was truly an organized professor. When he was ill for a few weeks (a pacemaker was required), his chair prepared for another teacher to take his accounting classes for a few weeks. She walked into his office and found a well-marked notebook with lesson plans, tests, and key notes for each class.
In addition to his wide range of committee assignments at Clark, he served as a union senator for a few years.
Gene was very generous and always the first to assist his colleagues in any way possible. Also, he held parties at his home to celebrate the end of the school year as well as birthdays. He always supplied the food and refreshments.
Gene helped the college respond to the changing needs of the learners it served by encouraging the use of innovative, instructional methods and technologies. He was the first to use PowerPoint (judiciously) in his classes, he taught up to 89 percent of the online classes before other faculty would attempt to do so, and as a department head, required that we incorporate Writing Assignments (a minimum of five) in each of our business courses.
He provided financial markets and investing lectures for faculty and staff on campus.
He was awarded the Exceptional Faculty Award.
He was innovative in that he conceptualized, created, and implemented Business 140 and 141 – Entrepreneurship I and Entrepreneurship II for our students…complete with taped lectures (our faculty) and innovative notebooks, with step-by-step lesson plans.
He regularly attended the Northwest Accounting Educators’ Conference in Seattle, Wa. The Washington Association of Occupational Educators recognized him for excellence in teaching and outstanding service in support of occupational education in October, 1999.
Gene was committed to diversity. Each of his textbooks was tested for the appropriate reading level; his one-minute assessment questionnaires were famous in his classes; he carefully evaluated student comments at the end of his courses and checked for successful completion rates.
Gene developed three telecourses in economics that focused on the Pacific Rim and Latin American areas, along with an International Economics course.
In geography, Gene made the first “International Futures Simulation.” His students created various regional and world agricultural, ecological, industrial, and demographic scenarios, using the interaction of multiple input variables.
He was the Business Department Head from 1996 to 2000.
When the Business Division had been targeted to move to the Washington State University Vancouver campus, Gene created a five-year schedule (with classrooms) so that students could take all their courses and earn certificates and degrees from that campus. Classrooms, student labs, and office assignments were part of the extensive plan.
A leader in distance education, Gene lead the way in Blackboard, Moodle and Canvas systems. At one time, Gene developed about two-thirds of the online courses at Clark.
Gene truly loved his family and appreciated his friends. Gene will be missed.
I want to start my term by saying that I'm super proud to work with so many people who are so entirely devoted to student learning and success--and so committed to supporting each other. I also want to thank the volunteers, members, community support and WEA staff who joined forces last year to send a clear message that faculty salary increases are long overdue.
The truth is that last year was one of Clark's most challenging in recent history. By far the most tragic event was the death of one of our beloved, ECE Professor Lora Whitfield. Lora passed away unexpectedly on July 9th.
We also suffered our second reduction in force in five years which resulted in several people losing their jobs. In addition, it became clear that the College had little interest in rectifying our salaries which are about 20 percent less than our K-12 colleagues with comparable education and experience.
Despite challenges that all too often create divisions between colleagues, we continued to have each other's backs. Moreover, hundreds of us came out numerous times to demonstrate our collective belief that students deserve teachers who are paid fair and professional wages. Our community, the Board of Trustees, and the College now know we will stand together and fight for what's right.
It's for these reasons that I'm both proud and excited to serve as CCAHE president. I've served as a Senator since I earned my tenure in 2014, but my faith in collective bargaining spans decades. My dad was a member of the the United Steelworkers Union (USW) and the the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), and my mom was a proud member of the BCTGM Union for 37 years.
Looking forward, I'm confident that we will continue to stand united for a healthy Clark College and a fair contract for both part-time and full-time faculty.
I also look forward to hearing what's important to each of you as well as representing CCAHE throughout the state. Most of all, I'm eager to roll up my sleeves and get to work helping to increase our salaries, improve our working conditions and protect our academic freedom.
Thank you for your support!
~Suzanne Southerland, CCAHE President