2023 Summer Institute in Burlington

By Shawn Fields

This year’s AAUP Summer Institute took place July 6–9 on the University of Vermont campus in the scenic city of Burlington. Attendees from both advocacy and collective bargaining chapters, along with participants from American Federation of Teachers (AFT) higher education locals, traveled from across the country for four days of workshops, panels, roundtables, and social events.

AAUP president Irene Mulvey delivered the opening keynote address, which was followed by a reception and resource fair. This Summer Institute was the first to be held since the AAUP formalized its affiliation with the AFT, and the resource fair gave attendees the opportunity to learn more about the departments, benefits, and services of each organization.

Over the following days, attendees participated in workshops and attended panels and roundtables on myriad topics, including bargaining basics, proposal writing, the analysis and use of financial data, and AAUP policies on shared governance and academic freedom. Organizing—relationship building, campaign planning, leader recruitment—was also a popular workshop topic. Lastly, several sessions focused on issues affecting historically Black colleges and universities and scholars of color, on the legal and legislative landscapes for higher education, and on health and safety on campus.

After a closing plenary session in which participants reflected on how they would take what they learned at the Summer Institute back to their campuses, some attendees enjoyed a dinner cruise on Lake Champlain. The following day, a final panel discussion focused on chapters that have won transformational contracts for their members.

The programming at this year’s Summer Institute provided attendees opportunities to meet and learn from AAUP and AFT staff and fellow faculty members while developing skills that will strengthen their chapters and the academic labor movement. This kind of engaging education and community building will continue this winter at the AFT’s higher education conference, and joint planning for next year’s Summer Institute is already underway.

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

We hope to see you at next year’s Summer Institute!