Astronomy teacher Joseph DalSanto proposes the construction of a planetarium to college President Robert Breuder.
Astronomy teacher Joseph DalSanto proposes the construction of a planetarium to college President Robert Breuder.

Breuder faces staff after vote of no confidence, previews teaching and learning center

October 15, 2014

College of DuPage President Robert Breuder interacted directly with faculty and classified staff for the first time since the college’s full-time faculty casted a vote of no confidence in his leadership abilities. Two sessions hosted Oct. 7 provided an opportunity for both parties to weigh in on the controversial teaching and learning center.

On Sept. 18 the college’s faculty association officially expressed no confidence in the president. The vote was open to the 242 full-time faculty members, a smaller number of which attended the information sessions.

The second session hosted an attendance of approximately 40 college employees. Breuder asked the faculty and classified staff their honest opinion on the center. All those present raised their hands in support of its construction.

The new center’s main purpose is to provide general purpose classroom space. It will also serve to populate the west end of the main campus. The center will assume building site M where Building M stood until its demolition in October 2013.

“The primary function of the building is multi-purpose learning space – the ‘meat and potatoes’ of an academic institution,” Breuder said.

In May, the board of trustees committed $30 million to construct the center with an expectation that an additional $20 million in state appropriated funds would be combined to finance the proposed $50 million building. Breuder was criticized after he sent an email to the trustees about his intent to secure the $20 million in what the Chicago Tribune called “a seedy little money grab.”

To date, the college has not received any of the funding appropriated in 2002. Breuder stated the college will move forward with the building’s construction even if state funding does not come through.

“At the moment, we sit with the board’s commitment of $30 million. We hope to continue to access the $20 million that is sitting in Springfield for us,” Breuder said. “If we don’t, we still have the capacity to build a building close to $50 million because we have the money in the bank.”

Community members have spoken out at regular board meetings, stating recent enrollment growth figures do not justify the construction of additional classroom space.

According to Breuder, the center stems from a demonstrated need for more classroom space by college deans, particularly during peak hours from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The president plans to set aside unfinished space in the new center for future use so the building can grow to meet evolving needs within the college.

Breuder estimated the building would be completed by the spring semester of 2016.

After Breuder concluded on the teaching and learning center, those present were given the opportunity to voice any concerns directly to the president. From the proposal of a planetarium to the need for better allocation of classroom space in the Technical Education Center, faculty and classified staff raised an array of concerns.

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