February 2015 CLC-AFO Newsletter

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Welcome to Spring Semester: It may not look like spring, but soon we will begin to see robins, bulb plants pushing through the soil, grass, longer days, and even get a chance to poison a few pigeons in the park

(with apologies to Tom Lehrer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhuMLpdnOjY ).


ADJUNCT FACULTY ACCOMPLISHMENTS: This month we do a shout-out to two of our colleagues.

Laura Sherwood of the Adult Education Department:

  1. Laura has accepted an invitation to be a member of the National Training Team for a professional development program for ABE/GED adjuncts known as STAR Training. This involved a rigorous certification program to become certified as one of three trainers for the State of Illinois. This was funded by the ICCB.
  2. Also, last semester she was invited to join the National Team which helps train new trainers and other states to begin using Evidence-based Reading Instruction in their Adult Education classrooms. EBRI is a reading reform initiative that was developed to help intermediate level adult readers improve their reading skills in order to get their GED and transition to career training and/or post-secondary degree programs. Here is the link for the National Training team:



Sherry Engstrom of the Humanities Department:

  1. Sherry has become an “adjunctpreneur” and has founded a micro consulting business–MIND YOUR MUSE — that does communications coaching and workshops on creative writing and writing for self-discovering. She will be hosting a women’s retreat April 17-19 at IL Beach State Park Conference Center. Focus will be on writing for self-discovery. Relaxation and fun included. Contact info.  mindyourmuse12@gmail.com or 815-861-4930
  2. MA thesis–Historical and Evaluative Study of the Performing Arts of Hull House Settlement During the Progressive Era recently accepted into Loyola University’s Women and Leadership Archives in Chicago. She will be giving lectures on the Women of Hull House
  3. Recently awarded a fellowship to study culture and education in Turkey along with other Illinois college instructors.



Congratulations to Laura and Sherri

What is wonderful about both these accomplishments is that there is more than one item each instructor has done, BESIDES teaching, in their respective fields.

If you have completed an advanced degree, published a book or paper, presented a paper at a professional conference, made teacher of the year, etc. let me (Brian Smith) know and I will mention you in the newsletter. This is my favorite part of the newsletter as we get a chance to acknowledge the professional accomplishments of our colleagues.




February 25th Wear Blue Day. On February 25 many adjuncts at sister colleges across the country are staging a walk out to heighten awareness of the plight of adjunct instructors. Many of our colleagues do not get yearly raises, preference in class selection, professional grown funds to stay current in their fields and refresh their teaching, paid days off, protection from indiscriminate termination, etc. All of which we did not have here at CLC until we formed a union and bargained a contract.

We cannot walk out due to the terms of our contract, but we can show solidarity with our brothers and sisters by wearing something blue that day – CLC-AFO’s colors as reflected in our logo are blue. Also during the day talk to other adjuncts, share stories, tell people why you are wearing blue, etc.   If you would like to read more about the day visit this site from Inside Higher Ed https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/10/06/national-adjunct-walkout-day-planned


New Union Secretary:   We send our heartfelt thanks to Joan Coleman-Almond for stepping in fall semester and serving as union secretary. We will be forever grateful for her service.

We welcome Charles “Mac” Urban as our new union secretary. Mac is in the Philosophy Department. Thank for your willingness to complete the term that was vacated by Joan.

CLC-AFO Scholarship: CLC-AFO scholarship will be offered this spring semester and is open to the spouse, partner, or child of a CLC-AFO faculty member. The amount is $500. Deadline for applications is March 1, 2015, and a committee will decide the recipient. Further information is available through the Financial Aid Department.


Negotiations: We have begun negotiating for our 4th contract. This is not going to be easy negotiations with budgets and enrollments down, but we are optimistic that our proposals reflect the will of our adjuncts based on the surveys taken last semester.

The team consists of

Marilyn Sarich – President

John Carobine – Vice President

Charles Urban – Secretary

Brian Smith – Treasurer

Michelle Standridge – IFT Field Representative

Byron Wigodner – Business Department

Andrew Sagartz – Business Department


Retirement and Return to Work:   CLC Board of Trustees has received a first reading on a proposed policy regarding retirement and return to work (Policy 932). The proposed policy will receive its second reading and approval at the February Board Meeting, but there is some good news for CLC adjuncts. The union worked with HR on this policy and while it is not exactly what we wanted, it is not as draconian as the policy some of our sister colleges have adopted. I have attached a copy of Proposed Policy 932 to this email. We will post Policy 932 on the CLC website as well.


Consider Joining CLC-AFO:

  • Governor Rauner has started his war on public sector unions and this is not the last attack he will make. If you have not read about this, here is a link to the Huffington Post you can read.



  • One can join the union in their third consecutive semester (not counting summers) if you have taught at least 3 credit hours each of those semesters. You must sign a membership card to join; it’s not automatic like it is in some educational institutions. If you are eligible and would like a voice in bargaining, voting, etc., please consider joining.
  • Contact any of the officers listed below and they will be happy to help you and answer questions.


Weingarten Rights.  We put this in every CLC-AFO Newsletter – but this is very important.  If you are ever called before a supervisor, a Dean, an Associate Dean, a Director, etc., and you think that the meeting could result in a disciplinary action, you have the right to have a union representative with you.  If you know this could happen contact us immediately and we will accompany you to the meeting.  If during a meeting you see that there could be disciplinary action taken, say words to the effect, “If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined, terminated or affect my working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative be present at the meeting.  Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions.”  Contact any officer listed below as soon as possible.

Some of the wording of this section borrowed from the Harper College Adjunct Association newsletter

Have a Great Semester!!

Remember we are here for you. Should you ever feel you need union representation or have questions please feel free to contact any of the officers listed below. Also remember our webpage is a valuable source of information. It’s at www.clc-afo.org


Brian Smith (Treasurer and Editor of the Newsletter)


Marilyn Sarich – President

John Carobine – Vice-President

Charles Urban – Secretary