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Apr 1, 2010

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UUPers, students stand up for EOP, EOC


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UUP President Phil Smith, above, addresses the more than 700 higher education unionists attending the AFT/NEA Higher Education Joint Conference March 26-28 in San Jose, Calif. In all, a dozen UUPers debated national policy and shared successful practices on advancing higher education in unpredictable times.

The UUP leaders returned from the three-day conference armed with the information they need to advance their agenda against a backdrop of declining state support for education and a growing anti-union sentiment.

Smith, an AFT vice president, shared his insights on student success and accountability during a brainstorming session on AFT’s priorities for higher education. Other AFT and NEA priorities include the need for a more diverse faculty, increased academic staffing, and greater federal and state investments in public higher education.

Smith gave a 15-minute overview on what AFT believes is necessary for students to succeed, and outlined the federation’s draft policy perspective. Participants then broke into groups to debate the roles of students, faculty and institutions in student achievement. Their recommendations will be incorporated into the AFT’s final report, expected in May.

The AFT is also posting news and information about accountability on a new Web wite - www.whatshouldcount.org - that goes live this month. The site will offer an overview of the accountability movement and serve as a clearinghouse for existing plans and initiatives.

Meanwhile, three UUP leaders steered the debate as workshop panelists and moderator. VP for Professionals John Marino examined the ever-expanding workload concerns of professionals and how unions can help members keep it in check. UUP LGBTQ Committee Co-chair Patty Bentley of SUNY Plattsburgh offered faculty strategies and resources they need to deal with the unique challenges confronting students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer. Secretary Eileen Landy moderated a discussion on the challenges faced by the next generation of women professors.

UUPer Dave Iasevoli, a SUNY Plattsburgh assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, earned an NEA Excellence in the Academy/Art of Teaching Award for his article “A World of White and Snowy Scents: Teaching Whiteness.” Iasevoli’s article, which ran in the fall 2009 issue of NEA’s academic journal Thought & Action, examines whether people of the dominant culture can fairly and accurately teach children from outside that culture.

Other UUPers attending the conference were VP for Academics Fred Floss and Membership Development Officer Ed Quinn; Executive Board members Philippe Abraham of Albany, Edison Bond of Brooklyn HSC, Glenn McNitt of New Paltz and Bob Reganse of Farmingdale; and Buffalo State Chapter President Rich Stempniak.


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