Meet Our Officers
President – Thomas Kostrzewa, Ph.D.
Tom has served as PIO president since 2011 and has taught continuously at WMU since 1987. With a Ph.D. from Notre Dame in International Relations, Tom has taught numerous courses in Political Science and the Haenicke Institute for Global Education. Tom also teaches a course on his area of research, Genocide Studies, in the Lee Honors College.
Born into a working-class family of 10 children in the Upper Peninsula, Tom grew up in the construction trades and eventually travelled the world as a student and journalist for 11 years. Teaching in China in 1980, Tom met and married his Kalamazoo-born wife, Jean. Along with their two sons, they returned to Kalamazoo in 1983 where they developed several businesses and became active both at WMU and in the Kalamazoo community.
Tom is involved in Kalamazoo electoral politics and housing issues. He has served on the Fairmont Neighborhood Board, as Chair of the Housing Board of Appeals for the city, and currently serves on the Dangerous Buildings board. With WMU, Tom has developed and run many overseas programs for students and community members. He has also been on numerous academic speaking tours for WMU.
Tom was substantially involved in the early organizing of the Professional Instructors Organization and has served on the PIO board in several positions, including our most recent negotiating team. Tom is fully aware of the key role adjunct and part-time faculty play both at WMU and at universities across the country and he understands that such a key role needs to be increasingly acknowledged by WMU.
Vice President Michelle Ringle-Barrett
Michelle Ringle-Barrett has been a graduate assistant and part-time instructor in the English department and Lee Honors College for 9 years. For the past two years she has served as an organizer for the PIO. When not at WMU, Michelle is an experiential facilitator at the Pretty Lake Adventure Centre and volunteers for the People’s Food Co-op Antiracism Transformation Team, Great Lakes Peace Jam. She has been moved by the passion and dedication of part-timers across campus she has experienced in her organizing conversations and hopes to continue helping the PIO to be a support network for all part-timers.
Communications Officer – Kylie Schultz
Kylie has served as an educator in various capacities throughout her career. After graduating with her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from WMU in 2002, she held several positions as an environmental educator in Colorado and Michigan. Since earning her Master’s Degree in Counselor Education in 2007 from WMU, Kylie has worked in various helping profession positions, including wilderness therapist for troubled youth, suicide prevention educator, group facilitator for foster care children, human resources coordinator and group fitness instructor. Beginning in 2009, Kylie has served as a part-time faculty for both Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University for various courses including holistic health, physical fitness, nutrition, relationship-centered skills and honors thesis writing. This is her 7th year of college teaching.
What motivates Kylie to teach college students? She is passionate about helping students (and people in general) develop inner awareness and learn and practice effective communication and writing skills. Her teaching goals always include helping students learn not only the content of the course, but also helping them to find something along the way that is personally meaningful and useful for use in their future endeavors.
Kylie’s education included the following degrees and certificates: BFA in Fine Art, painting emphasis, Western Michigan University, 2002; BA in Anthropology, Western Michigan University, 2002; MA in Counselor Education, Western Michigan University, 2007; Graduate Certificate in Holistic Health, Western Michigan University, 2007; Limited License Professional Counselor, State of Michigan, 2009-present; Personal Trainer, American Council on Exercise, 2011-present; Health Coach, American Council on Exercise, 2013-present; Graduate Certificate in Higher Education & Student Affairs, Western Michigan University, in process.
Kylie has been a teachers’ union supporter and beneficiary her whole life. She believes that supporting the important work of educators is a moral imperative for both K-12 and Higher Education and often can only be achieved through strong unions. Kylie has been strongly influenced by educators in her family, including her grandmother Eleanore who taught secondary math and science from 1943 to 1982, her mother Barbara who taught elementary and early childhood from 1969-2002 and father Edward whose career spanned from 1969-2005 as a secondary math, chemistry and physics teacher, as an MEA Local Teachers’ Union President and as Principal and Superintendent for several Michigan public school districts.
Kylie loves spending time with her husband and two sons, running, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, cross country skiing and cooking for friends.
Treasurer – Doug Coulter, Ph.D.
As a part-time instructor of Biological Sciences at WMU for the past 11 years, Doug has taught a variety of courses, including genetics, molecular biology, pharmacology, and a survey course for non-majors.
Doug was born and raised in the greater Grand Rapids area, where he attended local public schools and learned to love the varied seasons and natural wonders of Michigan. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree (B.Ph.) from GVSU (then “Grand Valley State Colleges”), he continued his education out of state, including graduate studies at Duke (Ph.D. in Biochemistry) and four years of post-doctoral research at Princeton, where he also met my future wife. The following 16 years were spent as a full-time, tenure track faculty member at Saint Louis University, combining various teaching and service responsibilities with a funded research program investigating the genetic basis of animal development. In summer 2004, he moved back to Michigan with his family and started teaching part time when his spouse accepted a full-time faculty position at WMU. From 2004-2009, he also served on the Scientific Advisory Board of Akermin, Inc., a St. Louis based biotech firm specializing in biofuel cells and carbon capture technology.