Member profiles are a hit
You might catch Karen Cook humming a few bars of “Getting to Know You” from The King and I as she walks the campus of Solano College these days. And with good reason. As vice president and organizer for the Solano College Faculty Association, Cook has been putting up posters profiling Solano faculty and staff for a union-led member engagement project.
“It’s really picked up momentum. People are liking it,” Cook said.
Faculty and staff profiles
Each of the 12×18-inch posters profiles a faculty or staff member and features a quote about “what drives them” to do the work they do.
One of those profiled is photography instructor Ron Zak. Under his color photograph, Zak’s quote reads: “When I returned from the war in Vietnam, I went back to college. I was a little lost without direction, but two of my professors took extra time with me, saw I had potential, and went the extra mile to set me on the right path. I want to give back to other students in the same way, to help them, and to honor the professors who helped.”
Cook said Zak’s message is typical and reflective of other profiles that have been gathered.
“We’re finding that what drives them is always the students. Working with students energizes us,” she said. “Many of us could be making more money in another profession. But this is where we want to be.”
Campus unions unite
Working with Cook on the project are SCFA exec board members, faculty and student volunteers, and two other campus unions, California State Employees Association (CSEA) Chapter 211 and International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 39. The unions formed a coalition during previous troubling times on campus, and have continued their alliance. The poster project has only added to the teamwork that has developed.
Begun initially as part of a membership drive, the project is beginning to instill a new sense of pride at the campus. With a new college president in place, Cook is hoping the posters send a positive message to all about the commitment of faculty and staff.
“We’ve had so much animosity in the past,” Cook said. “The feedback I’m getting is that this is a positive thing.”
The faculty association was aided by CTA staff, while the project was funded through a CTA grant. When completed, the project will have posters of each member of the faculty and staff unions.