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2015 NIA Election Results

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 10:08 AM | Dave Durant (Administrator)

Board: Results

This year we elected six Board Members to terms ending in December 2017.   (NIA Board terms are two years long.  To see who is currently on the Board, click here.) 

There were nine self-nominated candidates, including four WMI instructors (Dave, Drew, Allie, Ryland), a Brazilian (Ed), an Indian (Gaurav), and a Patagonia PSup (Drew).  Voters were asked to pick six of nine candidates to fill the open spots.  Results are given in the graphic above, expressed as a percentage of voters who picked each candidate.

 Board: Analysis

  • Due to how our voting was conducted (pick six of nine) the minimum threshold of support to make it onto the Board was above 60%.  Ryland had 59.76% support, yet came in 7th.
  • All five incumbents (Dave, Drew, Allie, Annemarie, Abbie) we're re-elected, essentially creating a four-way race between Ed, Ryland, Mike, and Gaurav for the seat vacated by long time Board Member and Treasurer Daren Opeka. 
  • The race would likely have been even closer, had Gaurav entered on day one.  (He nominated himself after a significant number of people had already voted.)
Poll Question 1: Results

Poll question 1 read: What do you think the NIA's top priorities should be for 2016?  Participants were asked to rank the seven choices given in order of importance.

The choices were:

  1. Championing continued increases to travel reimbursement.
  2. Working to ensure Instructors are represented at ALL Board of Trustees meetings.
  3. Expanding our mentorship program for new Faculty.
  4. Advocating for a Sal-Fac Faculty Chair to represent Instructors to the Executive Director Team.
  5. Pressing NOLS to create 10 Semi-Annual Faculty Positions (SAFP), a 12 week mutual commitment.
  6. Facilitating discussions about curriculum.
  7. Making the case for time spent teaching classroom courses to count towards "Field Weeks."
Poll Question 1: Analysis 
  • The only option given that addresses improving compensation ranked first amongst respondents priorities.
  • Options that addressed taking steps towards a more Instructor Driven School ranked 2 and 4.
  • NIA facilitated curriculum discussions typically score low when we ask about what we should prioritize.  This may be because NOLS already has a dedicated Curriculum Department.
  • I (Dave) believe that choice #7 ranking so low is a reflection of the NIA's membership still being predominately Field Instructors.  This isn't surprising, since Membership has been open to Field Is since 1975, and Classroom Is since just 2014.
Poll Question 2: Results
Poll question 2 read: "What do you think the NIA should do in 2016 to support in-town staff?"  Voters were asked to check all that they believed should apply. Results are shown by the percentage of respondents who supported each one.

The choices were:
  1. Advocate from time spent Program Supervising to count towards "Field Weeks."
  2. Hold a vote to amend the NIA constitution to allow all NOLS employees below EDT level to join the NIA, since there is no organization that represents in-town staff.
  3. Advocate for continued increases to in-town compensation, even if the means fewer or smaller increases to instructor compensation.
  4. Nothing.  In-town staff should form their own organization.
Poll Question 2: Analysis
  •  The only option with majority support was to advocate for time spent PSuping to count towards "field weeks."  This stands in contrast to the relatively low support given above for time spent teaching to count.
  • The strong support for options one and three may be an indication of how many in-town staff are already NIA members, in virtue of having worked a course (field or classroom) in the past two calendar years.
  • 48.78% of respondents favor a vote on opening NIA membership to nearly all NOLS employees.  I was surprised by how high this number is. 
Poll Question 3: Results
Question 3 was anything else you'd like to say to your NIA Representatives?  (Note: for the sake of brevity, I've deleted many, many responses which essentially just said "Thank you NIA Board Members for representing us, and for all of your hard work!")

The most important theme for me right now is that in-town (specifically p-sups and managers/directors) people are in a support role for instructors. Therefore, SPE's and other forms of support should be focused on gratitude and highlighting strengths. The point is not to focus on learnings and constructive feedback. Instructors are working hard and doing a great job all over the world and so we should maintain an open, trusting, supportive atmosphere to make the job rewarding in town and not just rewarding in the field. This is how we continue to create exceptional student experiences.

12/9/2015 12:34 AM 

-The building of committees to have field staff to be involved with programming/decisions in the administrations. -More support for new staff as they traverse the muddy waters.

12/1/2015 3:13 PM 

I would love to see the NIA spearhead an aggressive field cleaning plastic bag program to bring back and reuse plastic bags at NOLS RM and other locations. it would be great if this sustainability measure was initiated and perpetuated by instructors since sufficient structure won't likely be provided from branches. NOLS brazil had an impressive system that could be a model.

11/23/2015 1:38 PM 

Psup should make 75% of their CL wage. No field weeks. 3 day briefings across the board to support developing curriculum while on the clock. NOLS Rocky Mountain is frighteningly whack

11/19/2015 8:16 PM 

I would urge those with access to NIA funds to prioritize frugal and conservative use of those funds, even to the point of saving almost all in preparation for future needs.

11/19/2015 4:36 PM 

Re mentoring- pushing staffing to do their job re mentoring and career development and holding branches accountable for balanced and timely feedback

11/19/2015 3:10 PM 

I would like to see the NIA push for more equitable compensation for international faculty/staff, as well as advocating for ways to provide more predictable work/creative field/in-town work agreements for new instructors, so as to retain I's who can't afford to just "stay open and wait" for a contract

11/19/2015 2:15 PM 

We need to start a debate on the appropriateness of the gain share payments as opposed to using that money to support other needs eg Travel compensation for I's. If the gain share system is to continue it must be made more equitable i.e an equal payment for all staff not based on their actual salary. At present those who earn more at the school, esp the EDT, are receiving huge bonuses because of the gain share payment. Gain share payments should be a way of recognizing everyone's equal contribution to the success of the school.

11/19/2015 12:38 PM 

Thank you for working hard to cultivate a strong community of NOLS instructors, which includes instructors who have both opted to join the NIA, along with those who have not.

11/17/2015 5:13 PM 

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