Higher Ed Members Tackle Rights, Contracts

New Staffing Plan Bolsters Service

By Andrew Lenzen, President
NSEA Higher Education Academy

With three months gone in the 2017-18 Association year, a lot has been happening with NSEA’s higher education members.  It has been busy!

First, NSEA management established a new staffing structure designed to unify access to higher education services and better serve higher education members.

“We’ve heard the voices of higher education leaders and members asking for staff they can call their own,” said NSEA Associate Executive Director Neal Clayburn. “The unified staffing structure offers that service.”

NSEA Director of Research Larry Scherer is the Higher Education go-to-staffer for contacts from members and affiliates across the state, with assistance from organizational specialists Mike Wiesen, serving eastern Nebraska; Rich Wergin, serving central Nebraska; and Andrea Longoria, in western Nebraska. Higher education members are urged to direct calls and emails to Scherer.

So far this year, the Higher Education Team has received and addressed more than 20 member rights requests for assistance; assisted the Wayne State College Professional Staff with a grievance regarding a RIF hearing that was important for that local; and is dealing with another potential grievance at Central Community College regarding evaluation of faculty.  At least two other bargaining unit issues are being addressed with assistance from the team and from NSEA legal services.  

Contract talks are underway at three community colleges: Metro, Mid-Plains, Northeast and Southeast. The state college and University of Nebraska-Kearney bargaining units are prepping for negotiations next fall in an extremely challenging state revenue and budget environment. There is an NSEA commitment to work on updating arrays and data collection for community college, state college and UNK bargaining.

It was a great start to the new year with more than 25 higher education faculty from across the state at NSEA’s Advocacy Conference in Columbus Sept. 29-30.  We discussed goals for the coming year.  Members agreed that it is time for higher ed to become more active and visible.  Academy officers were appointed and planning has begun for next summer’s higher education conference.  Watch The Voice for details.

Locally, a majority of higher ed affiliates have elected new presidents:

  • UNKEA: Will Aviles.
  • Chadron State College: Mathew Brust.
  • Wayne State College: Lori Nicholson.
  • Central Community College: Rachael Robinson-Keilig.
  • Mid-Plains Community College: Aaron McLean.
  • Mid-Plains VEA: Mike Janecek.
  • Northeast Community College: Melissa Lemke-Elznic.
  • Western Nebraska Community College: Aletia Norwood.

As president of the Higher Education Academy, contact me with thoughts or ideas about the role of the Academy and higher education within NSEA.  Let us know what is happening on your campus. Reach me at:lenasoga98@yahoo.com

You may also reach Scherer at: larry.scherer@nsea.org