RECORD-EAGLE: Northwestern Michigan College-No staff outsourcing

Career College Central Summary:

  • Christina Collins sat at Northwestern Michigan College's library, reading with new students during a college orientation when the news came across her email.
  • Collins, a supplemental office staff employee at the college and NMC alumnus, said she was "very pleased" on Wednesday to learn NMC administrators will abandon a proposal to outsource employment of part-time supplemental staff and adjunct instructors to a for-profit third party.  
  • "I am really excited that they went this route," Collins said. "I think it’s better for the college, as well as the staff as a whole."
  • NMC officials this spring announced they were in talks with a Grand Rapids-based corporation called EDUStaff about the firm possibly employing the college's supplemental staff and adjunct faculty groups. Proponents lauded the idea as a way to cut costs by reducing the college's mandatory payments to the state retirement system. 
  • They also said college officials would retain key decision-making powers related to hiring, employee compensation and more.
  • But skeptics worried administrators had not fully hashed out the proposal, and worried outsourcing could irreparably damage relationships between adjunct faculty, students and administrators. 
  • Such concerns were expressed during public comment at an April college board meeting, and in a letter penned by a group called "Adjuncts Concerned for Education" that appeared in the April 30 edition of White Pine Press, The college's student newspaper.
  • "The way this has been handled — poor quality one-sided information during the busiest time of the academic year — indicates the administration's lack of respect for the majority of faculty and employees, and by extension, lack of respect for the community that built and supports this college," the letter read. "We request that the administration and board of trustees abandon the (EDUStaff) proposal."

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