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Southwestern Michigan College faculty call for expanded presidential search

Posted at 4:54 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 16:54:51-04

LANSING, Mich. — Faculty members at Southwestern Michigan College are urging the Board of Trustees to expand their search for a new president after the board announced plans to limit their search to internal candidates.

SWMC President Dr. David Mathews announced his retirement earlier this month, effective Dec. 31, 2019.

“As faculty members, we believe that it is in the best interests of the students, staff and the community for the board to conduct a nationwide search for our new president. To limit the search to internal candidates is premature and inappropriate, forgoing an opportunity to find the best candidate to lead our college,” said Robin Shipkosky, secretary of the SWMC Faculty Association.

The 60-member faculty group voted for union representation over a year ago and has been frustrated by the lack of progress in reaching agreement on their first contract.

“We do not feel the board has bargained in good faith, resisting agreement on even the most basic rights for our members. Limiting the search for a new president to internal candidates not only prevents us from finding the best president to lead us into the future, it represents the status quo in our stalled negotiations,” Shipkosky said.

The faculty association recently requested state mediated fact finding in an attempt to reach a settlement. Salaries have been one of the contentious issues at the bargaining table. Currently, faculty salaries at SWM are among the lowest of all Michigan community colleges.

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