New AAUP Staff Members

By Edward J. Graham

This semester, the AAUP welcomed two new organizers, Mike Spahr and Joshua Guy Lenes, as well as senior higher education researcher John Barnshaw.

Mike Spahr will serve as a DC-based organizer. Spahr, who is completing a master’s degree in labor studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has previous experience in higher education organizing and has worked in the nonprofit sector on issues related to government transparency and campaign finance regulation.

Joshua Guy Lenes began organizing with graduate assistants at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he earned his master’s degree in social psychology. He went on to work as an organizer with faculty at the University of Central Florida, and he also worked with K–12 teachers in the Florida Education Association. He comes to the AAUP with experience organizing in challenging “right-to-work” environments and expertise in using sophisticated databases and modern web tools to drive organizing campaigns.

The continued growth of the Department of Organizing is a testament to the Association’s commitment to improving higher education for all faculty. “In the face of the ‘austerity’ narratives that have been used increasingly as an excuse for muting the faculty voice on our campuses, the AAUP continues to maintain that faculty are the primary stewards of higher education,” says Jamie Owen Daniel, director of organizing. “And, especially now, we can provide strong stewardship only through a strong and unified faculty voice. Organizing across faculty constituencies, whether into collective bargaining units or advocacy chapters, provides the structures through which to exercise that voice.”

In addition to the new organizing staff, John Barnshaw has joined the national office as the AAUP’s senior higher education researcher. Prior to joining the staff, Barnshaw served as director of the Higher Education Consortia at the University of Delaware, where he directed the National Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity, an internationally recognized longitudinal benchmarking study exploring discipline-level instructional and research activity at more than two hundred higher education institutions.

“In the short-term, I will be exploring part-time faculty categorization and gender-based salary disparities across institutions,” Barnshaw said. “I will also be working to identify factors that best predict salary and compensation increases among institutions of higher education.”