Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Season for Heroes: Keith Hoeller

Good news is always welcome. We don't always see as much of it as we'd like. Today we have a double dose. First, Melissa Brunings-Matteau is current Adjunct Hero (so far the only one with multiple nominations) at the Education of Oronte Churm. Now, Jack Longmate has great news about Keith Hoeller. It's a season for heroes (there's Sissy Bradford too). Jack, no slouch in that department himself, writes, 

I've just learned that Keith Hoeller has been recognized for the Distinguished Faculty Awards at Green River Community College in Auburn, WA.  This is the first time in 27 years that a Green River adjunct has been so recognized.

On this list, we know Keith Hoeller as a dedicated activist and gifted writer, who  publishes often, not just in the higher ed literature, but to the layman and the legislator as editorials in daily newspapers. 

But this award recognizes his teaching too. Keith's students have nominated him for this award on four occasions. Some of the comments in his nomination packet are from students and some from fellow faculty. It is gratifying to read how Keith's teaching has changed people's lives.
One student writes, "Keith is dedicated to his students and has a brilliant mind. He is engaging when he speaks and he is able to take philosophy out of the clouds and bring it back to earth." Another student comment talks about  how he "has challenged long-held beliefs of many of his students and forced them, through his lectures, to step outside themselves and see the world in a way in which he/she may have never seen otherwise." Another writes, "I will give Professor Hoeller a 4.0 for keeping the students interested in the subject, which I think is the biggest challenge for all educators out there." 

Astronomy professor Dana Rush wrote a strong two-page letter, calling Keith "the single most effective voice on behalf of adjunct faculty in Washington State...Dana mentions that Keith has "written and published more than 50 articles and op-eds on adjunct faculty issues in newspapers across the state as well as in numerous national publications" as part of his advocacy. He further discusses how Keith led the charge in advancing adjunct faculty salaries across the state "from an average of 40% of tenured salary rates in 1996 to the current level of 60%" (which I believe has meant roughly $60 million budget increase for adjunct salaries); passed a budget amendment to expand incremental step raises to all adjuncts statewide; drafted and passed a bill to give all adjuncts pro-rated sick leave; and drafted bills for equal pay, annual contracts, and equal increments. Dana also mention Keith's role in initiating the two Mader class action lawsuits that were settled out of court for $12 million each, and led to thousands of adjuncts qualifying for health care and retirement benefits.

A decade ago, in 2002, Keith was the recipient of the AAUP's Georgina Smith award in recognition for his contribution on both a state and national scale to enhancing the status of women and advancing collective bargaining.   

In 2005, State Senator Ken Jacobsen, in an open senate hearing, commended Keith by saying he is living proof of Mark 6:4, that "only in his hometown" is a "profit without honor," referring to how Keith is hardly treated as the saint that he is.  It is gratifying that he is now receiving some credit in his hometown as well!

Best wishes, Jack Longmate

1 comment:

  1. Bravo! It's about time and long overdue. Tell those watching but not wishing you well that we are watching them too


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