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Still talking at YSU, but no contract



Published: Fri, September 2, 2011 @ 8:09 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN

After day-long negotiations, Youngstown State University’s administration and faculty did not reach an agreement Friday night on a new three-year contract, according to both the university and the union.

Talks will resume at 10 a.m. Sept. 9. .

Stan Guzell, the union’s chief negotiator, and Ron Cole, YSU spokesman, each said both parties made several contract proposals. But Guzell said the union felt more time was needed to look over the university’s proposals.

Talks began Friday morning on the third floor at Cushwa Hall, with the YSU chapter of the Ohio Education Association saying it hoped the administration would continue to negotiate despite having issued what it called “its last and best offer.”

The union’s membership rejected that offer Aug. 26, saying it would go on strike. But hours later, the union announced it wanted to keep negotiating.

If the two sides don’t settle, the union could issue another strike notice. It would have to give notice 10 days in advance of the planned strike date.

Friday’s talks continued until about 7:30 p.m., with the union issuing a statement at 4 p.m. that its negotiators were pleased with how they were progressing.

Guzell said he was pleased that the administration appeared to be listening to the union’s proposals, though it wasn’t yet clear whether they would be accepted.

“We are committed to continuing negotiations,” he said. “We want to resolve the situation, and we brought proposals to the table to try to achieve that.”


Comments

1AtownAugie(697 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

And the Linkon-Russo Debacle drags on....

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2Observer123(20 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Good to hear that there might be some flexibility here.

YSU really doesn't want to alienate their better faculty. With the fall hiring cycle upon us, there are plenty of jobs out there for the many talented profs on that campus. If they leave, your campus and area is screwed.

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3WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

The Ohio State Treasurer has made available an easy-to-use database so you can look up the salaries of public employees. The site is mirrored and maybe performs better at the Buckeye Institute under the Higher Education section. Go see for yourself the paltry monies these poor underpaid union laborers must endure.

Don't forget to add the twenty to thirty thousand dollars extra they get in the summer for recycling their notes and exams from spring and fall. Then add in another fifteen thousand for health care and then another hundred and fifty percent matching retirement contributions. What a JOKE! Look up Guzell and the many, many other actors to see their six figure misery.

Go to the YSU website and look up faculty names to check, like Linkon. Look at the raises these guys get. When did you last get a raise Joe Public? Oh, yeah! You were too busy paying the public employee raises with your taxes. Add it all up and you will see that millions upon millions are paid to this mediocre faculty- nearly 70% of the operating costs of the University.

Fire 'em all I say. Hundreds if not thousands of eager educators are standing in line and waiting for a chance to work at half these prices. I swear if the public at large walked the halls every day and saw the professors endlessly killing time, never breaking a sweat, the petty dramas and cash dumped down the drains in waste they would storm the white pillar and knock it to the ground.

I can dream I guess. *Sigh!*

I assure you the LAST thing that happens in those halls is education. Maybe these public unions are the reason academic achievement continues to fall while costs continue to soar.

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4WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@Observer

I challenge you to put some names, faces and achievements to this amorphous "talent" I keep hearing about.

There are approximately one thousand full and part time faculty at YSU. I defy you to name a single scholarly research or similar significant academic achievement for even two percent of them.

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5YSUisYtown(11 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

I am aware of many many books and research articles YSU faculty have produced and in the most recognized of journals. After all, in order to get promotion most faculty MUST prove their productiveness or they will not get tenure and will be let go. Faculty didn't go on for university studies to be paid peanuts. In any event for many of their positions they could get paid much more in the private sector. YSU used to be a decent employer and teaching is very gratifying, but if the administration doesn't change its ways - many may leave. This may please many in this forum no end - but will be educational death to Youngstown.

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6YSUisYtown(11 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Visits to YSU Academic Departments reveal professors teaching challenging courses, grading papers, preparing lectures, writing and doing research, helping and advising students, communicating with alumni, doing book reviews, participating in leadership in professional organizations, setting up student internships, advising student clubs, setting up labs, monitoring sensitive equipment, advising graduate students, collaborating with other faculty, and communicating with potential employers in the community and beyond in behalf of the future grads. YSU professors have prepared much, work hard, care for the students and make Youngstown a better place to live.

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7WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@YSUisYtown

Challenging courses? Preparing lectures? Doing research? Wow. More specious and amorphous claims with no concrete evidence. A thousand faculty. Name ten high impact journal articles published in the last year in any single department. Crickets. This place is a diploma mill for the urban underachiever and thrives on FAFSA money from uncle Sam.

Advising students? Point me to any recent graduate thesis of substance. Work hard? I defy you to visit any department at 8:00am. Crickets. Many of these folks are bare-minimum players that show up at the last minute and leave at the first opportunity. Productivity is extremely low. Bankers would kill to have hours like these. There is no accountability whatsoever.

You clearly have not been on the halls and in the classes recently. Maybe it was the utopia so many locals think it is at one point but not now. I graduated YSU recently and spent six years on and off there. I speak from experience.

The incredible majority of professors and administrators and staff I encountered there were either circling the drain or bordering on inept. There were a handful of truly goodhearted, kind, student-centered, talented professors. They have all either moved upward into better careers, retired or are keeping their heads down. Even then they were outstripped twenty-fold by far-left leaning, man-hating, white-guilt-riddled, hippy-type feminist global-warmers and Bush-hating pot-smoking sociopathic burnouts that spent all their time preaching politics. No kidding.

I took a three-hour-per-day class in the summer. Every day the instructor went on for nearly an hour on politics and religion and blah, blah, blah. It was a science course. The instructor skipped whole sections of the course to make time for preaching. We all got A's. He never even graded and returned any of our work.

I had a sociology professor that didn't show up for classes a third of the time. The tests were recycled from years passed and everyone had copies. Cheating was ignored. We all got A's.

The curriculum in undergraduate classes like sociology, psychology, communication, is pathetic. And even with these dumbed-down classes in which there is rampant cheating and academic fraud encouraged by the burnout 'profs' four thousand 'urban' students are on academic probation because they can barely read and write and pass these courses. Many of the books are authored by YSU faculty and they are of poor quality "tear out" one-use type books designed to pad pockets and destroy resale value.

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8WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@YSUisYtown

And I am aware of no fewer than three 'professors' in recent history that have committed serious crimes that were swept under the rug, including smashing out the front doors of a building with a rock so they could get in and sleep off their drunk, falsifying their pedigrees and embezzeling taxpayer purchased materials out of the school for use in partner businesses in which they have financial interests.

I have said it before and I will say it again. YSU is professor-ed by the bottom of the barrel. Few current professors came from lower institutions. Many are career YSU or came from higher institutions where they did not receive tenure or fell from grace. If they left YSU in spite, ninety percent of the faculty and administration would struggle to be hired at another institution for incompetence alone.

And the excuse makers of this valley, the hardened union left, will make sure YSU stays this way- corrupt and failing- just like the rest of the town. It will never change until people value the truth and seek to identify and improve their flaws. YSU and this valley are deeply flawed and many would rather lie to themselves and others instead of admitting their weakness and working to improve.

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9WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@YSUisYtown

And on the issue of research, I am aware of many professors that I can name and you can verify who have produced no works of any substance in over ten years. They have advised few if any students and produced no works. But what about promotions you say? They do not care about promotions. They have tenure and they make plenty of money as it is. They are comfortable and they do not want promotions if they have to work to get them. They get the money on pay increases by just sitting there and by prodding students to take summer classes so they can get a cool 20G extra. This is a common story. Many persons at YSU are hanging on until the end. This is the lowest point of their career and they are hoping to ride it out until retirement. The few well rounded, scholarly, talented professors I have known moved on to better environs or keep low. I am even aware of one professor that disavows their time at YSU because they do not want peers knowing where they came from. The simple fact is that YSU is a poor model of a University- unless you are speaking of how to extract millions of federal education dollars from Washington and pour them into the pockets of hard left union voters in the valley all while giving false hope of education and prosperity to an undereducated populous and instead proselytizing them with the leftist politics of dependency and entitlements. If that is what you mean then YSU is a gleaming model.

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10YSUisYtown(11 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

You mention a few cases. This is not a majority. It is your argument that is specious. I work there every day. I see the earnest work that they do. What evidence do you have that firing them all and hiring all new at half the price is going to produce the results you seek? It sounds to me that you were not even trying to understand what your instructors were trying to teach. I am aware of recent books and book chapters published on American Religion, Mental Health, Internet Technology, and the Automobile Industry. I am aware of theses recently done by M.A. students on Clustering of Biological Communities and on Soil Preservation in a Western National Park. I am sorry you are so bitter. I hope you find a way to be happier in life.

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11YSUisYtown(11 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@ WilliamSwinger

You also assume that professors actually come to YSU to be in some peculiar cushy shelled environment where they can just suck money out of the state. I came to YSU because I wanted to be a professor. I came because I wanted to teach and do research. I came because I have an enthusiasm for my discipline. I came because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students. I have made a difference. I was not raised in a union environment. The few who do not do their jobs...well....you find those people 'not breaking a sweat' all over the country.. Some leave yes, but no more than at other universities. All of the 'issues' you describe simply come with the territory, whether it be Youngstown State, The University of Nebraska, or Harvard. If you dislike university life and activity, that is your prerogative, but the issues you describe apply to universities, and to life, all over the world in all walks of life. This means of course that you simply refuse to see the good in most horizons that you glance at momentarily.

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12Veleuk(18 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@YSUisYtown

"All of the 'issues' you describe simply come with the territory"

Correct. As the argument is over the legitimacy of a collective bargaining unit for public employees, it is true that there will be some that perform less than others.

The issue becomes when someone who wants to contribute more, such as yourself, will not be credited based upon their merit. Those who do not contribute will receive the same raises as you for the same position.

That is the problem. We want more of you and less of them. As a taxpayer and YSU alumni, we want them gone.

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13JustDoIt10(1 comment)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

1. Most of the faculty have PhDs. I'm sorry, but with that education, no matter where it came from, they should be paid more than the average Joe Public who has less education than them. That's just how it is.

2. Both sides, those who support and those who do not support the faculty, are making generalizations about the faculty and what they do. Give specific names. You don't have a case without specifics. I support the faculty and feel like I have received a great education from YSU. Yes, there were faculty members who were not fantastic, but that was not the majority for me or anyone I know who attended YSU.

Just because you are unhappy with your lot in life or what you chose to do with your career does not mean that other people should suffer. Get over your jealousy.

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14YSUisYtown(11 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@ Veleuk

These issues come with the territory of higher education no matter whether the institution is public or private. From what I've seen attending and teaching at six different universities, there were no significant differences between the activities of the faculty. There were very good ones who strove to make a difference and there were basket cases. This is not a problem associated only with institutions of higher learning - it is a problem everywhere. So in that sense, a union is not always a key part of the environment, but here, this time, the administration has treated faculty like they were a peripheral part of YSU happenings - like they don't matter. It is hurtful and wrong, and in this case I back the union 100%, no matter what it bodes for the future.

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15RealTruth(111 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

WilliamSwinger:

You are a breath of fresh air and totally right.

"Work hard? I defy you to visit any department at 8:00am. Crickets. Many of these folks are bare-minimum players that show up at the last minute and leave at the first opportunity. Productivity is extremely low. Bankers would kill to have hours like these. There is no accountability whatsoever."

I knew of professors that had office hours from 7-8 a.m. just so they could say they offered them. What student would come in at that hour?

I knew of professors that merely changed their class notes from Fall to Winter to Spring (and the year, of course).

And, accountability? Most (not all) don't even know the meaning of the word.

Instead of the cricket analogy, we used to think we saw tumbleweeds in the halls . . .

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16YSUisYtown(11 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@ Will

The professors in my department are there all day. Of course I could just be lying to hide my desire keep my exorbitantly high pay and not work for it.

Accountability comes with promotion opportunities. Assistant Professors will be released from YSU if they do not produce peer-reviewed publications (ask if you don't know what that means). Once you prove your worth by publishing, teaching, and serving the university and the community you may advance to Associate Professor, but if you can't publish and prove scholarly contributions (not an easy process) you may not get promotion to full professor. And I know several that will not likely get promotion. There is a process. You are not familiar with it.

It seems you just don't like the whole idea of higher education. This model would be applied to any college or university anywhere, not just YSU.

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17WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Notice how the detractors of these arguments are hurling insults and making excuses and introducing misdirection and failing to address the points raised with any concrete facts.

I wonder how many faculty at YSU have been recruited from other tenured positions (meaning they were possibly successful elsewhere), how many this is their first tenured position, (meaning they are unproven) and how many have been denied tenure at other institutions, (meaning they failed elsewhere)?

Tenure. That is an interesting concept so rarely mentioned here. Once a faculty member achieves tenure they cannot be let go from their job for almost any reason- unless they are criminals or very unpopular. Even then they are rarely let go.

I find it hard to understand why a faculty so protected by the tenure system needs a union.

I find it hard to understand why a faculty so talented and so educated and so elevated and skilled and hard working needs a union at all.

I find it hard to understand why persons with the highest education possible and such skill and tact and refinement such as these faculty have such a hard time convincing even a small group of people that they deserve their ever increasing compensation.

I find it hard to understand that a faculty so committed to serving the public has such a hard time accepting that the public wants compensation reigned in and the ability of public employees to bully the taxpayers eliminated.

Can anyone explain these to me?

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18WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@YSUisYtown

Since you told us, we all know you and your department are excellent. I believe you. But the public doesn't. So that we can all understand, why don't you reveal your identity and your department and we'll just take a look at the compensation and achievements of the faculty within? Then we can dig out all the curriculum vitae and check the state website about pay and see the classes they teach and dig out their publications and authorship. I am sure that once the readership sees all the achievements and hard work of you and your colleagues that we will all support you in your union negotiations and vote down SB5. I am off today and so are you. Let's do this. Which department?

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19Observer123(20 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

YSU faculty salaries have historically been quite low when compared to similar institutions. One of the main achievements of the union has been to negotiate increases that have brought salaries more in line with the national market. How else do you attract good faculty (or any highly-trained individual in any job) if you can't offer them a competitive salary and benefits?

Looking through the YSU website at various departments, there are some very good people there. There are some less than stellar individuals also, however that could be said for any campus in the USA. For being a very affordable institution, the quality of faculty in general actually looks pretty good overall. Many publish, present talks, mentor students, and write grant proposals. Some do not.

As far as tenure goes, that is a general basis of the higher education system in this country. It is a form of security that allows US faculty to speak their minds when in disagreement with colleagues and administrators; it also allows them to develop riskier projects in their research and scholarship activities. There are always people that slow down (or grind to a halt) but most do not. Maybe 5 year reviews would be better, as long as they were objective and not subject to favoritism. This would require a major overhaul of the US higher education system, however, and could deter talented students from considering academic careers of their own. Why on earth would a good student want to be a professor when they could make a lot more as a lawyer, physician, pharmacist, etc. with less training than many faculty have to go through?

Maintaining an affordable university in your area seems to be pretty important to a lot of people and many of the degrees offered at YSU seem to be setting students up for competitive futures. Whether that (affordable) campus is populated by quality faculty will depend on a good work environment and competitive compensation. If those factors deteriorate, the better people will look elsewhere and the school will be left with the type of people that you list as being less than desirable. As you well know, that's how the market works.

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20YSUisYtown(11 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@ William

Also, often our faculty teach night classes after spending all day at YSU. Often there is not time to grade papers, exams, etc. during the day so that has to be done on weekends. If that were the case, I would NOT be off today. And 45 hour weeks are not uncommon.

One of our faculty came here after receiving tenure at another university because YSU was attractive. Another left another university because he was not treated well where he was and he came to a better teaching environment. Yes, one did not receive tenure where before because it was a high powered state research institution that required super intense research (sometimes as much as a book a year will not get tenure). This can be a family-breaker. Two of our faculty were recruited right out of Graduate School. So we have a mix.

Regarding tenure, yes once tenure is achieved at any university, it is hard to let the person go. BUT it can be a real challenge to get tenure in the first place and a real challenge to get both levels of promotion and many never do.

I almost play into your hands on who I am and which department I represent, but this is a discussion forum, not a court of law. If you were in intense negotiations with your administration and had said you were very upset with them, would you immediately reveal your identity here? What do you think my colleagues would think? But certainly I think you have not 'walked the halls' of YSU enough. I've been here 20 years and overall I see taxpayers money well spent (and students money well spent).

I'm sorry your experiences with your couple of classes were negative ones. Since you told us, I believe you.

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21WhatRUAfraidOf(85 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@William,

My son just completed a degree in Music Performance at YSU. Dana School of Music is one of the most highly-regarded music schools in the country. Due to the excellent undergraduate program at Dana, he was accepted to three graduate schools, and selected the one he felt would be best for what he eventually would like to do.

One of the faculty members at Dana, Dr. Stephen Gage, has worked with my son, and many other young musicians, since they were in high school. In addition to being Director of Bands at YSU, Dr. Gage also directs Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra and Stambaugh Youth Concert Band. He spends many, many hours not only working with YSU students, but providing an extremely valuable community resource by working with YSYO and SYCB to encourage the love of music among many young people. In addition, he is never too busy to help a student, write a letter of recommendation, jury a recital, or myriad other things that the students ask of him. He is only one of many Dana faculty members who far exceed what one would expect from a college professor. All of the Dana faculty seem to genuinely care about their students and go out of their way to mentor young musicians.

According to statistics, 98% of graduates from Dana School of Music either are hired as teachers upon graduation or are accepted into graduate schools to pursue advanced study in their specialties.

I know there are likely faculty members at YSU who are not nearly as dedicated as the Dana School faculty I've been privileged to come to know through my son. However, the number of faculty members who DO care and go way beyond the basic duties of their positions far exceed the number of those who do not.

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22YSUisYtown(11 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

@William

Oh...and as far as Curriculum Vitae and class syllabi are concerned, they are pretty much public. Go to any department and request them. Most professors would be glad to give you one. You see they want you to see how their class is structured. They want you in their class. They want you to see what they've accomplished at YSU and for the community. But you know this. You took a couple of classes at YSU. CVs and Syllabi are not secrets: they are guides to YSU learning and proof of YSU accomplishments of faculty. Drop your email here and I'll send you mine. All of them.

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