Two Institutions Added to AAUP’s Censure List, One Sanctioned

AAUP chapters, including United Academics UVM, gathered at the national AAUP annual meeting last week. Faculty representatives voted to add Vermont Law School to the AAUP’s list of institutions sanctioned for violations of the principle of faculty governance, and to add St. Edward’s University of Texas and Nunez Community College of Louisiana to the AAUP’s list of administrations censured for violating principles of academic freedom and tenure.

The full reports by AAUP are available here: https://www.aaup.org/reports-publications/aaup-policies-reports

UA Part-Time Contract Statement

United Academics is pleased to announce that the UVM part-time faculty membership has voted to ratify a new part-time faculty collective bargaining agreement. Our bargaining team has been in negotiations with UVM's administration for over 6 months, and we are appreciative of the work of both teams and the mutual willingness to compromise to achieve a fair contract for UVM's part-time faculty. Gains in this contract include a 8.75% pay raise over 3 years, a $2000 promotion bonus, increased professional development funds, a new part-time faculty award for excellence in teaching, increased access to tuition credits, and improvements in per diem payment for additional duties. United Academics looks forward to continuing to work with both faculty and the administration to advocate for faculty, our students, and our profession. 

UVM Faculty sign letter r.e. Kavanaugh controversies

University of Vermont Faculty AGAINST Kavanaugh and FOR Survivors of Sexual Assault

We, the undersigned University of Vermont (UVM) faculty, write in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and all survivors of sexual assault. We also write against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and against the toxic conditions of gender, sexual, and racial inequality and violence that have been fomented by the country’s highest office holders. These are the toxic conditions that gave rise to Kavanaugh’s nomination and that his elevation to the Supreme Court would reinforce, including at the University of Vermont and in our wider community.

Last week UVM Police released its crime statistics for 2017 including 20 reported cases of rape and “fondling,” 14 reported cases of domestic violence, and 25 reported cases of stalking. These are only the cases that were reported, just one indication of how a nationwide culture of sexual predation and violence pervades our own campus, dorms, classrooms, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Of grave concern to us as well is the combined force of racism and misogyny that has been escalated and legitimated by the Trump White House and its appointees and nominees--its effects visible in racist messaging and threats on campus and cited by Vermont’s only female legislator of color as necessitating her resignation.

With this letter, we call on the U.S. Senate to commit to a thorough and independent investigation of the claims of Dr. Ford and of all other women against Kavanaugh. We further call on members of the University of Vermont community to stand with Dr. Ford and with survivors of sexual assault, and we call on the UVM administration to increase prevention strategies to combat assault and improve the humane and sensitive treatment of victims who report sexual violence. With and beyond this letter, we commit our voices and our power to oppose the confirmation of Kavanaugh and to the multiple threats he represents, including to the integrity of the judicial process itself.


Jamie Abaied, Psychological Science

Tatiana Abatemarco, Environmental Studies

Elizabeth Adams, Communication Sciences & Disorders

Sarah C. Alexander, English

Eve Alexandra, English and Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies

Allison Anacker, Psychological Science

Erica Andrus, Religion

Michael Ashooh, Philosophy

John Barlow, Animal & Veterinary Sciences

JB Barna, Social Work

Brad Bauerly, Political Science & Global Studies

Emily Beam, Economics

Caroline Beer, Political Science

Jean Bessette, English

Paul Bierman, Geology

Thomas Borchert, Religion

Sid Bosworth, Plant & Soil Science and UVM Extension

Vicki L. Brennan, Religion

Carol Buck-Rolland, Nursing

Eileen Burgin, Political Science

Chris Burns, UVM Libraries

Keith Burt, Psychological Science

Holly-Lynn Busier, Leadership & Developmental Sciences

Sarah Carleton, Theater

Jacqueline Carr, History

Sin yee Chan, Philosophy

Yolanda Chen, Plant & Soil Science

Thomas Chittenden, Business

Anne Clark, Religion

Michele Commercio, Political Science

Catherine Connor, Romance Languages & Linguistics

Nicole Conroy, Human Development & Family Studies

Meghan Cope, Geography

Celia Cuddy, Social Work

Daniel DeSanto, UVM Libraries

Dan Tam Do, UVM Libraries

Deb Ellis, Film & Television Studies

Maeve Eberhardt, Linguistics

Tina Escaja, Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies and Romance Languages & Linguistics

Amber Doiron, Electrical & Biomedical Engineering

Joshua Farley, Community Development & Applied Economics

David Feurzeig, Music & Dance

Brendan Fisher, Environmental Program, Rubenstein School of the Environment & Natural Resources

Yolanda Flores, Romance Languages & Linguistics

John Forbes, Theatre

Alice Fothergill, Sociology

Pamela Fraser, Art & Art History

Shirley Gedeon, Economics

John Gennari, English and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies

Joel Goldberg, Chemistry

Laura Haines, UVM Libraries

Paula Higa, Music & Dance

Laura Hill, Plant Biology

Jinny Huh, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies and English

Maria Hummel, English

Deborah Hunter, Higher Education & Student Affairs

Kyle Ikeda, Asian Languages and Literatures

Kirsten Isgro, Medical Laboratory & Radiation Sciences

Didi Jackson, English

Major Jackson, English

David A. Jones, Business

Vijay Kanagala, Higher Education & Student Affairs

Julia Katsnelson, German & Russian

Kate Kenny, German & Russian

Colby Kervick, Education

Mary Louise Kete, English

Nikki Khanna, Sociology

Felicia Kornbluh, History and Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies

Eric Lindstrom, English

Andrea Lini, Geology

Matt Liptak, Chemistry

Annika Ljung-Baruth, Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies and English

Don Loeb, Philosophy

Lokangaka Losambe, English

Trina Magi, UVM Libraries

Teresa Mares, Anthropology

Patricia Mardeusz, UVM Libraries

Lili Martin, Nursing

Brooke McCorkle, Music & Dance

Elaine McCrate, Economics

Margaret McDevitt, Art & Art History

Anis Memon, Romance Languages & Linguistics

Libby Miles, English

Beth Mintz, Sociology

Rachel Montesano, Romance Languages & Linguistics

Ana Morales-Williams, Rubenstein School of the Environment & Natural Resources

Charles-Louis Morand Métivier, Romance Languages & Linguistics

Harlan Morehouse, Geography

Helen Morgan-Parmett, Theatre

Ilyse R. Morgenstein Fuerst, Religion

Dianna Murray-Close, Psychological Science

Garrison Nelson, Political Science

Ingrid L. Nelson, Geography

Hilary Neroni, Film & Television Studies

Frank Nicosia, History and Holocaust Studies

Sarah Nilsen, Film & Television Studies

Deb Noel, English

Trish O’Kane, Rubenstein School of the Environment & Natural Resources

Amy O’Meara, Nursing

Holly Painter, English

Fiona Patterson, Social Work

Melissa Pespeni, Biology

Jane Petrillo, Community Development & Applied Economics

Elizabeth Pinel, Psychological Science

John Pirone, American Sign Language

Paolo Pucci, Romance Languages & Linguistics

Ann Pugh, Social Work

Donna Ramirez Harrington, Economics

Helen Read, Mathematics & Statistics

Dana Riger, Human Development & Family Studies

Patricia Riley, Music & Dance

Julie Roberts, Romance Languages & Linguistics

Kathleen Ross, Communication Sciences & Disorders

Malcolm M. Sanders, Physics

Scott Schaffer, UVM Libraries

Alice Schermerhorn, Psychological Science

Kathleen Scollins, German & Russian

Helen Scott, English

Jeanne Shea, Anthropology

Riin Sirkel, Philosophy

Lacey M. Sloan, Social Work

Brenda Solomon, Social Work

Peter Spitzform, UVM Libraries

Patrick Standen, Rehabilitation & Movement Science

Thomas Streeter, Sociology

Bridget Swanson, German & Russian

Eric Testroet, Animal & Veterinary Sciences

Martin Thaler, Theater

Brian Tokar, Environmental Studies

Regina Toolin, Education

Sarah Turner, English

Chris Vaccaro, English

Christine Velez, Social Work

John V. Waldron, Romance Languages & Linguistics

Eric von Wettberg, Plant & Soil Science

Laura Webb, Geology

Jacqueline Weinstock, Human Development & Family Studies

Nancy Welch, English

Jenny Wilkinson, Animal & Veterinary Sciences

Jamie Williamson, English

Sean A. Witters, English

Hyon Joo Yoo, Film & Television Studies

UVM Faculty Ratify Contract with the Administration- May 29, 2018

Burlington, VT—Today, the full-time members of United Academics, the faculty union of the University of Vermont, voted overwhelmingly to ratify the agreement reached with the administration for a contract after fifteen months of negotiation.

 

Faculty won an 8.5% salary increases over the three years of the contract (2.5% the first year, and 3% the following two years), increased pay for promotions and summer teaching, a workload reduction for non-tenure-track faculty, and more. Administration proposals to reduce faculty control over their intellectual property were rebuffed, and benefits won in previous contracts were maintained.

 

According to Prof. Tom Streeter, President of United Academics, “many public university administrations across the country are seeking to undermine faculty professionalism and autonomy by letting salaries stagnate, reducing job protections, reducing or eliminating research sabbaticals, and reducing faculty control over what and how they study and teach. In that context, this contract represents a victory for the faculty and students of the University of Vermont. Students will continue to learn from teacher-scholars at the forefronts of their fields. The disciplined free inquiry that has made UVM an environment conducive to bold and cutting edge research has been preserved.”

 

UA Vice President and Professor of English Sarah Alexander noted that “over the long term the struggle over control of universities continues. For the good of UVM and its students, we will continue to press against the tendency of university administrations, including UVM’s, to treat the university as if it were a private business where students are merely revenue sources and faculty are an expense to be minimized. Universities exist to serve the public good, and United Academics will continue to serve as an important protector of that role.”

 

Almost all issues for the contract were settled during bargaining between January and September of 2017. The main sticking points going into mediation in September were salary and an administrative effort to reduce faculty’s rights to the intellectual property in their courses under certain circumstances. The administration dropped the intellectual property clause in December, which meant the only issue going into fact finding was salary. After a fact finding hearing in February and submissions of final exhibits by both sides on March 23rd, a report by Fact Finder Michael Ryan was released to both parties on May 7th.

 

The report to a large degree supported UA’s analysis. Regarding the administration’s claim during negotiations that UVM faculty were already competitively paid, the fact finder noted that “objectivity balks at [the administration’s] selection” of the Oklahoma State Univ. (OSU) annual survey of faculty salaries as a comparator (the basis for the administration’s public claims during negotiations that UVM faculty were at 104% of national averages). “It is hard to envision,” he continued, “what [UVM] might have in common with the University of North Dakota, the University of South Alabama, and Central Michigan University, to pick a few examples from the OSU list.” There is, he concluded, a “continuing need to increase the bargaining units' salaries to be more in line with their comparable peers.” (UA’s exhibit on UVM faculty salaries in a national context, authored by Prof. Beth Mintz, is here.)

 

The fact finder also noted that “There is no doubt that the University is currently on a firm financial footing. Enrollment is stable or increasing. The revenue picture is generally positive, and the reserves are strong. The bond-rating agencies have recognized this performance, commenting on the University’s ‘strong’ financial profile and ‘stable outlook.’”

 

“This has been a long process – too long,” said Streeter. “The end results are better than what we would have gotten without hanging tight, and they should give the administration pause before they choose to drag things out through mediation and fact finding in the future. But we can safely say that our union has acted successfully to protect the well-being of faculty and the intellectual vitality of the University of Vermont.”

 

http://www.unitedacademics.org/facts-about-uvm-spending/

 

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United Academics is the union of full- and part-time faculty at University of Vermont, with over 700 members from departments and colleges across the campus. We represent faculty in negotiating and upholding contracts, and we advocate for fair labor practices within and beyond our academic community. We are a member-led union­ committed to academic freedom, shared governance, social and environmental justice.

 

Get to know us at www.unitedacademics.org, and United Academics on Facebook

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UVM, faculty at impasse over contracts, WCAX, Feb 02, 2018

Posted: Fri 7:45 AM, Feb 02, 2018  | 

Updated: Fri 11:38 AM, Feb 02, 2018

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The University of Vermont and the faculty union are at an impasse in their contract negotiations. Some faculty members and students feel the university should focus on education, rather than new amenities to attract more students.

"Many faculty members believe that university priorities have gotten a little bit warped," said Tom Streeter, a professor of sociology and the president of the faculty union at the University of Vermont.

An informational session on where and how UVM spends its money was held Thursday night.

"Building new buildings, doing things to attract new students is a great idea if it’s not the case everyone else is doing the same thing," Streeter said.

Streeter says new complexes like the STEM facility and the future Multi-Purpose Center shouldn't be the top priority of the university. He argues focusing on the physical development of the campus is not unique. Other schools are doing similar things to attract students. Streeter thinks the money could be better spent.

"It doesn't have to be a giant change, but a modest change could right the ship," he said.

UVM leadership declined to speak with WCAX News on camera but sent a statement that read in part, the "Multi-Purpose Center will be funded through private philanthropy and debt service paid through student fees." And that it is "not competing with faculty compensation." They also say the university has "a very significant backlog and continues to renovate and replace buildings" to "compete nationally for students faculty and staff."

"I mean things change, it’s progression, it’s natural," said Esther Rosen, a junior in UVM's College of Arts and Sciences.

Rosen also believes the university is prioritizing bringing in new students rather than focusing on the ones already in Vermont.

"Everybody here is getting an amazing education but there's definitely an imbalance in the way the administration looks at the university as a product and the university as an institution," said Rosen.

It was announced late last year that 12 spring courses were cut at the college due to UVM's $4 million budget shortfall. Potential faculty layoffs were also mentioned.

"Which will inherently impact me as a student and my peers because we have less lecturers, we have less classes," Rosen said.

Streeter falls short of advocating for money to go to specific colleges or departments but says the union wants everyone that contributes to UVM to be treated equally.

"We need the business school, we need the classics department, we need the nursing school, we need the STEM researchers-- that’s what makes the university what it is," Streeter said.

UVM union criticizes 'obsession with image', and larger classes, few faculty, VT Digger, Feb 5, 2018

UVM union criticizes 'obsession with image', and larger classes, few faculty.

Members of UVM’s faculty union, United Academics, which is in contract negotiations with administration. File photo by Kelsey Neubauer/VTDigger

BURLINGTON — University of Vermont’s faculty union is concerned about cuts in the number of non-tenured lecturers ahead, the cancellation of classes this semester and stalled contract negotiations.

At an event last week, the union said a national trend in higher education that puts an emphasis on marketing and high end infrastructure at the expense of academics has come to UVM.

At an “Open the Books” forum Thursday, United Academics, the union representing UVM faculty said the decision last fall to cut several courses from the College of Arts and Sciences, and recently revealed plans for reductions in the ranks of full-time and part-time lecturers, are symptoms of a larger national trend called “marketization.” Universities everywhere, including UVM, are allocating more money to infrastructure, marketing and student incentives such as merit scholarships in an effort to broaden the university’s appeal.

Beth Mintz, a professor of sociology and a panel member, said the shifts in funding are geared toward attracting more students and improving UVM’s standing in university rankings.

The Open the Books panel examined of the role of UVM’s budgeting formula, known as “incentive based budgeting.” Incentive-based budgeting, or IBB, allots money to colleges based on a number of factors such as enrollment and the cost of offering the class. It is UVM’s version of the responsibility-centered management model in use at public universities across the country.

Implementation of IBB has contributed to a longtime trend away from hiring tenure-track faculty toward the use of non-tenure track lecturers. Lecturers carry larger course loads — as much as double the number of courses as their tenure-track counterparts — and earn a fraction of the salary of a typical tenure-track faculty member, said Nancy Welch, a panel member and a professor of English.

Welch said the university employs 64 fewer assistant professors and 37 more lecturers than it did 12 years ago. This has translated into larger class sizes, she said. Over the course of the past 20 years, many classes have grown by nearly three times their original size.

The university is also investing in infrastructure, such as new dorms, an athletic center and a new library bridge, to draw more students.

“Our argument is not that we think UVM can unbuild the library bridge and give the money to faculty and students,” Welch said. “But we think the simultaneous spending on bridges while cutting courses and faculty is a symptom of larger trends, and these trends can be turned around bit by bit.”

While the College of Arts and Sciences has borne the brunt this year, every college will feel the effects eventually, said Thomas Streeter, a professor of sociology and president of the faculty union.

Panelist Esther Rosen, a UVM junior and editor of the alternative campus newspaper The Water Tower News, said class sizes have grown. The course, Healthy Brains Healthy Bodies, for example, had been open to 15 students the first few years. Now it is a lecture attended by more than 200 students.

Rosen said despite the increase in class size, the course itself is unchanged: Fifty percent of the class grade is attendance. But the large number of students has led to an inevitable slip in educational quality, she said.

Rosen said that while students personally have witnessed the changing face of UVM — as a result of daily navigating construction sites — they question what the payoff is.

“The obsession with image hasn’t been lost on the students,” Rosen said. “The change doesn’t necessarily translate into the student experience.”

The faculty union and the university have been in contract negotiations for the past year. An impasse was declared in September, and in November it was announced that mediation had failed. The issues separating the two parties involve salaries and aspects of faculty intellectual property rights. The next phase of negotiations — fact-finding — is to begin Feb. 12.

“The University is committed to presenting accurate, comprehensive, factual data and information in the fact-finding process,” Wanda Heading-Grant, vice president of human resources, said in a letter emailed Thursday to students.

In an email response Streeter, the uniong president, said “the administration’s thinking is based on a narrow, blinkered, short term set of concerns.”

If the fact-finding phase fails, the university administration and the faculty union each will submit contract proposals to the Vermont Labor Relations Board.

Chairman quits post after University of Vermont cuts music, dance classes, Burlington Free Press, Nov. 16, 2017

Brent Hallenbeck, Free Press Staff WriterPublished 12:27 p.m. ET Nov. 16, 2017 | Updated 2:10 p.m. ET Nov. 16, 2017

D. Thomas Toner, professor of music at the University of Vermont, explains why music matters to students not majoring in the subject

The University of Vermont has cut a dozen classes in its College of Arts and Sciences – half of those coming from the Department of Music and Dance – leading a music professor to resign his position as department chairman.

D. Thomas Toner stepped aside from his Department of Music and Dance chairmanship last Friday after being asked to recommend cuts to help reduce a budget shortfall in the College of Arts and Sciences that’s estimated between $3.7 million to $4 million. The college’s total annual budget is $110 million.

The cuts came as students were about to begin choosing classes for the spring semester. Registration began Monday and ends Friday.

“No one wants to cut any classes anytime because it is disruptive to everybody,” Toner said Thursday morning from his office in the Southwick Building on UVM’s Redstone Campus. “It just seemed like it was happening so late.”

According to William Falls, dean of the College of Arts and Science, 12 of the 63 spring courses offered by part-time faculty in the college were canceled. Six were cut in music and dance, Falls noted, while others were trimmed in art, anthropology, theater and psychological services. The cuts represent less than 1 percent of the total class offerings in the college, according to the university.

“I’ve been fielding some questions (from) students that suggest to me that there is a perception that this (is) targeting the arts, or at least music and dance directly,” Falls wrote Wednesday evening in an email to the Burlington Free Press. “Nothing can be further from the truth.”

Toner said he has “tremendous respect” for Falls, who said cuts were deep in Music and Dance because the department relies on numerous part-time faculty. Still, Toner said, “it is difficult not to feel singled out.” Classes cut in the music department include group lessons in conga and djembe, brass techniques and music history and literature.

D. Thomas Toner, professor of music at the University of Vermont, resigned his chairmanship of the Department of Music and Dance after being asked to cut classes on the eve of registration for the spring semester. (Photo: BRENT HALLENBECK/FREE PRESS)

Though he quit his chairmanship, Toner remains at UVM, where he has been a full professor since 2010 and taught since 1995. The Swanton native said his tenure of more than 10 years as chairman of the Department of Music and Dance was due to end Jan. 15, but his early resignation means he will forfeit a portion of his approximately $18,000 annual chairman’s salary.

“I can say I was not OK with (the cuts), and they (administration) would have to believe me,” Toner said, explaining why he decided to quit his chairmanship. “I just didn’t want to be a part of this any longer.”

Toner said the cuts on the eve of class selection for the spring semester is hard on students, though he made the effort to recommend cuts in classes that would not affect students’ abilities to graduate. “It does create a problem for the students running around at the last minute” to find new classes, according to Toner.

A former part-time faculty member himself, Toner said he feels especially bad for the adjunct music faculty who arranged their schedules to accommodate spring classes. As musicians trying to make a living in the small state of Vermont, Toner said many count on their salary of $1,900 per class credit to augment their incomes.

The half-dozen classes cut in his department will save about $50,000 in salary and related costs, according to Toner, which he said doesn’t seem like a lot in the face of a $4-million shortfall. “It’s not insignificant,” he said of the reduction, “but in a way that gives you the perspective that that amount of money should be significant but it isn’t.”

According to a statement issued Wednesday by UVM spokesman Enrique Corredera, the College of Arts and Sciences “has not met its enrollment and retention targets and has not yet been able to adjust costs so as to keep its budget in balance.” Toner said the cuts have many within his department on edge.

“The students and the faculty are concerned both about what’s happened immediately,” he said, “and what the potential is down the road.”

Contact Brent Hallenbeck at 660-1844 or bhallenbeck@freepressmedia.com. Follow Brent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BrentHallenbeck.

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2017/11/16/chairman-quits-post-after-university-vermont-cuts-music-dance-classes/870584001/