NHTI student Andrea Dickerson said up until a few weeks ago, she hadn’t thought much about working conditions for faculty at the college. But something changed, and now she’s leading an effort to raise awareness among the college community.
The something that changed, for her, was hearing from her boyfriend — also an NHTI student — that in his first class of the semester, it became clear that his instructor wasn’t qualified to teach that class. How could this happen, Dickerson wondered. So she started digging and what she found surprised her.
“I got on the computer and started looking through the Concord Monitor,” Dickerson said, where she found a wide array of news articles and opinion pieces. “It’s crazy that nobody on campus knows what’s going on.”
What’s going on has been several rounds of layoffs, an increasing reliance on poorly-paid part-time faculty, and the addition of upper-level positions and large increases in compensation for administration. The effects of these changes have trickled down to the classroom, with Dickerson’s boyfriend’s experience as a prime example.
The architectural engineering student said she knew she needed to do something, so she and another student formed a group and started putting together a website. The web home for CCSNH Student and Faculty Advocacy, www.ccsnhsfan.org, contains Dickerson’s thoughts on the current situation, as well as links to coverage in the Concord Monitor. She said after digesting all of that material, she came to one key goal:
“I think, long-term, the college needs to have employees and students involved in the decision making,” she said.
Dickerson stressed that in large part, it’s the situation that’s the problem, not the teachers.
“I don’t want to criticize teachers, but I feel this needs to be said if we want this to get attention,” she said.
She shares the same concern that many who have spoken out already have: that decisions the college system has made are affecting the quality of education. And to Dickerson, there is nothing more important than the opportunity to learn.
“It drives me crazy the way teachers are treated in our society, and this is even worse than I thought,” she said. “How could you not say something about that?”