The purpose of this annual letter is to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished over the past year. This summary also becomes part of our historical record.
Founding of an Official Chapter
While Gallaudet has had an AAUP presence for many years, we’d never had an official chapter, according to AAUP National, until now.
The history of the Gallaudet AAUP is a bit unknown to us. There has been an AAUP presence for many years, and an AAUP Chair who would give regular reports at Faculty Senate meetings. We’d like to take some space to recognize some of the former AAUP Chairs at Gallaudet prior to the formation of our official chapter, based on our collective recollection: Jim Haynes, Shirley Shultz Myers, Jim Nickerson, Jan Hafer, Christopher Heuer, and Teresa Burke. There were others, and it may be a worthwhile side project to research this history.
After an initial membership blitz in late 2020, we increased our membership from 3 dues-paying members as of mid-2020, to 12 members in December, 2020, when we applied to become a chapter. We were officially recognized by AAUP National on March 20, 2021.
Membership and Recruitment
Our records show that we grew from 13 members as of April 2021, to 29 members as of April 2022. (Of note, we actually recruited 34 members but five of these members left Gallaudet shortly after joining, to pursue employment elsewhere). Currently, we represent approximately 16% of Gallaudet’s estimated 187 full-time faculty.
We received training on recruitment strategy from David Kociemba from AAUP National in February 2022, with additional training tentatively planned for the near future. Looking forward to the rest of 2022, it’s clear that we need to establish a formal membership committee and recruitment structure, which we don’t yet have.
At our first meeting as an official chapter in March, 2021, we voted unanimously that faculty salaries would be the primary issue that we would focus on over the next year.
Gallaudet hired a consultant, Ernst & Young, to perform a faculty salary analysis. The results of this analysis were announced during a webinar in the fall of 2021, which was not allowed to be recorded. In short, the analysis found that faculty were being fairly paid; during the webinar, Dominic Lacy announced that benefits were generous and also needed to be looked at. Our AAUP chapter responded with an open letter, the result of a month of hard work among the officers, several contributing members, and feedback from AAUP National. We emailed this letter twice to the administration. After the second emailing, Dominic Lacy responded and asked for a meeting with us, and asked that we bring a salary analysis. This meeting is scheduled for May 2, 2022.
In preparation for this meeting, we’ve been working extensively with Glenn Colby, AAUP’s Senior Data Scientist. He’s provided us with a large dataset which we’re using to conduct our own salary analysis. We’ve also reached out to Gary Rhoades, a professor at University of Arizona and former AAUP officer who specializes in labor relations in higher education.
Most importantly, we believe that our advocacy has been successful. After twelve years of few pay increases of any kind, in the fall of 2022, Gallaudet announced an effective 3% general pay increase. In the spring of 2022, Provost Lewis announced during a UF Senate meeting that there would be a forthcoming second general pay increase, but no merit increase this year. The provost also announced an intent to bring back annual Merit Increases.
Social Media and Outreach
We voted to occupy the Frozen Turkey Collective facebook page, converting it into the Official Gallaudet AAUP facebook page. In February 2022, we set up a presence on MyGU, with currently 12 subscribed group members, and a Twitter account, which currently has 7 followers. We set up an external Gallaudet AAUP email account. We set up a listserv that consists of all paying AAUP members. Gallaudet does not provide a way to reach all faculty; therefore, we set up an email distribution list which includes all of Gallaudet’s current faculty. Looking forward to 2022, we have agreed to establish an external website to serve as a central point of information.
During the fall of 2021, we approved and distributed several flyers relating to our lagging salaries. We distributed these flyers through our Facebook group. Some of these flyers required background research to make sure that we were accurate in our information and comparisons. It is not clear how much reach the flyers have had, but they can be re-used for future membership drives.
Faculty Advocacy and Representation
Over the past year, we’ve advocated for three faculty members on personnel issues relating to Handbook actions and/or salary negotiations. These names are kept confidential. This is an important function of any AAUP chapter. We will always push for adherence to Faculty Handbook policies, as this is the best protection we have for faculty rights.
Advocacy in UF Governance
As advocates for faculty rights, we’ve had an active presence at Senate meetings. We believe that any negotiations or adjustments to faculty rights in UF Governance should be a two-way street with administration and that whenever faculty agree to give up some rights, it should come with a commensurate commitment from the university. We wish to stop the trend of yielding our rights simply for what has been framed as “for the good of the university” or “for the students.” This has become a one-sided and distorted argument which has been abused by the administration. What is good for faculty is also good for students, and good for the university at large. An unhappy and demoralized faculty are simply not productive.
Over the past year, we’ve appeared at three Senate meetings, successfully bringing to attention, or challenging specific amendments to the UF Handbook which would have diminished faculty rights. We’ve also successfully challenged a Senate motion that, while well-intentioned, would have lengthened the faculty contract year without any increase to our severely lagging base pay.
Summary of Suggested Goals for 2022
For the remainder of 2022, it is our recommendation as the officers that Gallaudet AAUP should:
- Establish a website, as a central point of information that links to our social media presences and serves as a repository for our open letters, flyers, and other public Gallaudet AAUP documents.
- Establish an Executive Committee and expand our network of volunteers. We have been much busier than anticipated, and never seem to run out of work to do!
- Establish a Membership Committee, the authority for which is already provided for in our Bylaws, and build a framework for consistent recruitment of new members. Our goal is to recruit 51% of Gallaudet’s full-time faculty, which would give us full leverage for collective bargaining.
- Continue negotiations, and escalation as necessary, with the Gallaudet administration regarding our lagging salaries.