SMC Faculty Calls for Wider Presidential Search

Plans by the Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees to focus their search for a new president internally are not sitting well with the institution’s faculty members. In fact, the faculty is calling for an expanded presidential search well beyond the boundaries of the local campus community, calling the board’s plans “inappropriate.”

Faculty members at SMC are urging the Board of Trustees to expand their search for a new president in light of their announced plans earlier in the week to limit their search to internal candidates.

The college’s long running President, Dr. David Mathews, announced his retirement earlier this month, effective December 31, 2019.

Robin Shipkosky is Secretary of the Southwestern Michigan College Faculty Association. She says, “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.”

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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.

Shipkosky says, “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.”

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. They argue that currently, faculty salaries at SMC are among the lowest of all Michigan community colleges.

Here’s a link to the story explaining the SMC Board decision to go internal: