The WMU-AAUP Association Council
What is the Association Council?
The Association Council comprises faculty representatives from each department. Seats are allocated proportionally, on the basis of each department’s population of bargaining-unit faculty. Each academic unit is entitled to a minimum of one seat on the AC. Departments with 21-40 bargaining-unit members are entitled to two seats.
Who is eligible to serve on the AC?
All dues-paying members of the WMU-AAUP are eligible to serve on the Association Council. AC representatives are elected by the dues-paying faculty in their home departments.
How often does the AC meet?
The AC meets monthly during the academic year, except in October and April, when the Chapter meets as a whole. AC meetings are on Fridays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and are held in the Bernhard Center.
Fall 2016 AC meetings are scheduled for September 16 and November 11. Both will be held in 157 Bernhard Center.
What happens at AC meetings?
The AC receives reports from the Chapter president, the Executive Committee, the grievance officer, and the contract administrator. In response, according to the WMU-AAUP constitution, the AC “may take such actions as it deems appropriate.” That may not sound very exciting, but some such actions bring about very interesting – and yes, sometimes even exciting – results. AC reps also share information about what’s going on in their home departments, bring forward issues of interest to colleagues in their departments and colleges, and provide updates on other projects they are working on. Active participation is encouraged and discussions are usually lively.
During contract negotiations, the AC plays a critical role. First, the AC must ratify the appointments of the chief negotiator and the other members of the bargaining team. AC reps also help to develop negotiation strategies and make recommendations to facilitate the negotiation process. When negotiations are underway, the bargaining team reports regularly to the AC.
Why is the AC so important?
One last thing:
- The AC is central to communication. Association Council reps are the key liaisons between the membership at large and the Chapter leadership, communicating information in both directions. In other words, your department’s AC rep is your best source for the latest Chapter news as well as the WMU-AAUP leadership’s best source for information about what’s on the minds of the faculty.
- AC reps vote on behalf of their department colleagues. In addition to voting rights, AC reps also have considerable influence in setting the direction of the Chapter. If your department’s AC seat is vacant, you don’t get a vote.
What can you do?
- If there is a vacancy in your department, fill it! Recruit good candidates (or volunteer to serve), hold a department election, and get the position filled so that your department faculty’s voices will be heard.
- Support your AC rep. Offering to attend a meeting as a sub if your rep has a scheduling conflict and is unable to attend, talking with your colleagues about what’s on their minds, and encouraging them to attend Chapter meetings and events are great ways to support your AC rep and help your colleagues (and yourself) in the process.
- If you are an AC rep, do everything humanly possible to make it to the meetings. If you must miss a meeting, send a sub. And be sure to let the class-scheduling coordinator in your department know that you need to be available for monthly AC meetings, which are always held on Fridays at 1:30 p.m. in the Bernhard Center.
There is no better way to get in the know about what is going on around campus than by serving on the WMU-AAUP Association Council. It’s a great opportunity for faculty members at all ranks who are looking for ways to make a meaningful contribution to the culture and quality of life at WMU and to get to know active and engaged colleagues from every academic discipline.
If you are new to WMU, and even if you are untenured, service on the AC is a great way to learn the ropes. If you are interested in leadership opportunities, we have all kinds, no matter where your individual interests and talents might lie. Best of all, when you join the AC, you become a vital part of a unique collaboration of colleagues who are making a real difference at WMU.