2022 Summer Institute in Reno

By Monica Owens

The AAUP’s popular Summer Institute resumed in person for the first time since 2019. After a two-year hiatus forced by the ongoing pandemic, faculty members and staff masked up and gathered in July at the University of Nevada, Reno, to discuss higher education in our changed world. Amid the sagebrush and twinkling lights, more than 150 faculty activists participated in workshops and seminars about collective bargain­ing, organizing, shared governance, academic freedom, equity, and more. The focus of the weekend was to create a space for deepening community connections; shar­ing experiences from pandemic life, teaching, and activism; and exchanging perspectives from fac­ulty activists on campuses across the country.

Over four days of workshops for advocacy and collective bargaining members, participants attended sessions on gender pay equity, accessibility on campus, adjunct organizing, negotiating and enforcing strong contracts, dispute resolution, using the Redbook, and campaign story­telling. In addition to these and other topics, training also included multipart workshops on respond­ing to anti–critical race theory legislation, conducting institutional financial analysis, and strategic campaign planning. Some sessions, including the annual legal update from the AAUP’s general counsel and senior counsel, addressed revisions to Title IX and National Labor Relations Board decisions affecting private-sector unions. To build connections from the start and set the tone for a collabora­tive weekend, participants kicked off the weekend with an interac­tive plenary session about faculty activism, gathering in structured breakout groups to share the chal­lenges they face as faculty activists, what keeps them going, what slows them down, and their vision for the upcoming year.

The Summer Institute program built in plenty of time for fun and socializing with other faculty activists and staff from across the country. Optional outings included a night of bowling at the enormous 78-lane National Bowling Stadium, a minor league baseball game at Greater Nevada Field to cheer on the Reno Aces, and a reception with food and drinks.

Feedback from participants indicates that learning, connection, and solidarity are what make the Summer Institute a great way to spend a July weekend—especially because of the sense of community and mutual support gained from connecting with colleagues who share similar challenges. One fac­ulty member said, “I liked nearly everything about my experience at Summer Institute. I learned so much; met some great people and came away recognizing how much support we individual chapters have. This was my first time attending the Summer Institute and I am very grateful for the opportunity.”

You can see photographs from the Summer Institute at https://www.flickr.com/photos/aaup/.

We hope you’ll consider attend­ing next year!