As a follow up to VP and Prof. Sarah Alexander’s recent email, I write to remind you to attend our Fall Member’s meeting, this Wednesday at 3:30 in Waterman Manor (note the new location: it has been moved from Waterman 413). There is union business to be conducted, an important discussion to be had about the future structure of UA, colleagues from around campus to meet or catch up with, and a celebration of Steve Finner upon his retirement. (Agenda below.)
But also, if you believe in academic professionalism, in science, in sustained critical reflection, in the life of the mind, come to support UA. All of those values are under serious threat in the U.S., and we cannot take them for granted at UVM. United Academics, through contract administration and more, is a crucial legal bulwark of support for those values. I truly believe that. UA provides strong legal protections of academic freedom and rigorous peer-reviewed promotion standards. UA constantly reminds UVM, sometimes using its legal powers, that UVM’s mission is to educate and inquire, not merely to entertain or extract tuition money.
So if you want your work to be supported and respected, come to the meeting on Wednesday. If you can’t come at 3:30, come later; we will be in the Manor until 6:00, and drinks and refreshments will be served. If you are not a member, you can join at the door.
And whether or not you can attend, consider serving UA in a leadership role and encourage your colleagues to do so. Newly elected positions start in July 2019. We need a new President and more. It’s work, but it’s satisfying work, it’s not overwhelming, and it counts as university service. Do not take UA for granted; it will only be as good as the faculty who step up to serve it. There are 800 faculty represented by UA, so I can’t personally reach out individually to you all, but please contact me to discuss possibilities. For many of you who have not been involved before, especially if you are tenured, it’s time to do your part.
Of course, I also expect the meeting to be fun. I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.
President, United Academics