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On the Road

With Mark Smith

In February, I traveled to Cheyenne, Wyoming, along with my colleague, NEA Organizational Specialist Phadra Williams, to meet with leaders and staff of the Wyoming Education Association (WEA) and plan a membership recruitment and engagement campaign for the coming year. Wyoming has eight community college campuses—one of the seven community colleges has a substantial branch campus—and one public university.

In 2007, WEA advocated for and won a large salary increase for community college faculty and staff, and capitalized on that victory by recruiting a 10 percent increase in higher education membership.

The goal for the rest of 2008 is to build on that success by developing local infrastructure and membership capacity. This is in addition to membership recruitment efforts at targeted community colleges and, for the first time, efforts to recruit faculty and staff at the University of Wyoming.

In the spring, WEA will concentrate on gathering data to develop campaign messages, materials, and specific activities for the fall campaign. In June, the Association kicks off the campaign with a Higher Education Day as part of its annual Summer Institute.

At the end of the campaign, leaders envision a strategy that unites members, leaders and staff into an ongoing capacity building approach to membership. The Association also plans to devote plenty of attention to building leadership structures on each campus.

WEA Vice President Craig Williams, a Laramie County elementary school teacher, sees a bright future in Wyoming. “I am ever so excited about the plan that we have developed,” he said. “I think we will do great things in higher ed.”

—Mark Smith coordinates NEA higher ed activities

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