Dear RAFO members,
As this tumultuous school year winds down, RAFO held its regular semester meeting with President Malekzadeh and Provost Becker. Using the questions that RAFO members submitted (thank you!), we received updates on what can properly be called the restructuring of Roosevelt in the wake of its budget crisis and the various pressures RU (along with most other universities) faces in the coming years. This is what RAFO knows as of this moment:
- Roosevelt will look very different in 2-3 years. Its share of University Center has already been sold. The Gage Building will likely be put on the market as all programs at Gage will be moved to the Auditorium and Wabash buildings by August. Several floors of dormitories will be converted to offices, and programs will be consolidated and eliminated to reflect a school with an enrollment goal of 5,000 students rather than 8,000+ students.
- Ironically, this downsizing will mean that RU will be leaning on adjuncts more than they already have. A program of early retirement packages being offered to tenured professors and long-time administrators will be followed at the end of the school year by reductions in full-time teacher positions that will not be filled until the budget and enrollment stabilizes. What this should mean for RAFO members is that sections may open up for the 2017-18 semester.
- Further changes will be coming, including Monday-Wednesday-Friday courses for undergraduates (not expected to start until Fall 2018 at the earliest), online classes that will become 8- or 16- week sessions, more evening/Saturday courses (assuming adult and transfer enrollments rise), and eliminated/restructured majors and programs (concurrent with a review and revamping of general education requirements by the Fall of 2018).
All of this is in RAFO’s minds as we begin negotiations on a new contract this summer. RAFO was (and remains) willing to extend the current contract for a year, but the administration insisted that any changes to the contract be negotiated with the full contract in mind. RAFO has been ready to negotiate, so we will head to the table and keep you up to date on the progress. In exchange, we continue to ask that you communicate with us so we are clear as to what you want this contract to represent for you and your work at Roosevelt.
For those of you who wish to keep track of all developments, RAFO recommends you read the daily Broadcast. Additionally, all Senate meetings (and many other governance meetings such as AAUP) are accessible via the Zoom web app and program, available to all adjuncts. Finally, opportunities exist to work with RAFO to stay updated and contribute as the changes ensue. (There will be more on that final point in future communications.)
If you have a class, good luck with the rest of your semester. If you wish to have a class this fall, tell your department chair NOW so you are included in their planning. As always, stay in touch with RAFO. This will be a working summer.
Joseph Fedorko and the Officers of RAFO, IEA/NEA