March 28, 2014

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Colleagues in collaboration

uupdate 3-28-14

UUP President Fred Kowal leads a discussion at a joint meeting between UUP leaders and University Faculty Senate and campus governance leaders. Also pictured, from left, are Membership Development Officer Edison Bond, Jr., Secretary Eileen Landy, and Faculty Senate President Peter Kneupfer.

Finding effective ways to work together was the theme of the meeting, held March 28 in Cooperstown. Topics such as the controversial new edTPA teaching certification requirement, START-UP NY and Open SUNY were discussed; members also provided perspectives on contingents and diversity issues.

More than 60 UUPers from campuses across the state attended the March 28 gathering in Cooperstown. The meeting, the first of its kind, preceded the union’s annual New Union and Labor Activists Workshop, which ran March 28-30.

Knuepfer, a Binghamton Chapter member, spoke at the session, as did Landy. UUP's other Executive Officers--Vice President for Academics Jamie Dangler, Vice President for Professionials Philippe Abraham, and Treasurer Rowena Blackman-Stroud--were also in attendance.

The meeting was the latest in a series of events by the union and Faculty Senate members to renew bonds and improve relations between the groups. A number of UUP members serve as UFS senators.

“This is really a historic opportunity for us,” said Kowal. “We have slightly different missions and purposes, but in the end, our objectives are the same, and that is to continue to build a public university unmatched anywhere in the nation and the world.”

“I felt strongly for many years that we should reunite,” said Knuepfer.

Abraham, above, and UUPer Ezra Zubrow, both UFS senators, urged members to get involved with the UFS or governance on their campuses. The men collaborated on a new brochure to help UUP members become involved with the groups.

“We hope that you will consider getting involved,” said Abraham, who also led a discussion on diversity.

Dangler called on campus governance representatives to raise issues about edTPA on their campuses. Dangler, chair of UUP’s Teacher Education Task Force, has led UUP’s charge against the state Education Department’s flawed roll-out of the high-stakes assessment.

“Questions about when edTPA is implemented, how it is implemented and whether we as faculty have some control over that, are primary issues of concern to UUP and governance,” said Dangler.

Kowal said that UUP is pushing for a legislative hearing on the edTPA; he said he was hopeful that the hearing might be held over the next few weeks.

Members broke up into groups during the meeting to talk about ways and issues the union, campus governance leaders and the Faculty Senate can work on together. They also split into groups to discuss Open SUNY.

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