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Summer Institute in Chicago

By Rachel Larris

More than two hundred AAUP members and supporters converged at Roosevelt University in Chicago for the 2019 AAUP/AAUP-CBC Summer Institute. Held July 25–28, this year’s Summer Institute featured presenters experienced in policy, strategy, organizing, and leadership. Many attendees commented on the value of what they learned at the event. As Leah Akins of Dutchess Community College put it, “I’m floored by how important and valuable it is to spend time with colleagues from across the country and to share our experiences advocating for the values of our profession.”

Workshops at the Summer Institute focused on a wide variety of topics, from handling grievances and media strategy to chapter management and antiracist organizing. Coinciding with the centennial anniversary of the 1919 Chicago Race Riot, this year’s Summer Institute also focused attention on the racial and labor history of Chicago. A guided labor history tour and a special plenary session examined the legacy of racist violence and progressive organizing in Chicago.

As in previous years, the Summer Institute also provided many opportunities to socialize outside of workshops and forge connections with colleagues from around the country. Attendees enjoyed an outing to watch the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 5–1 as well as a boat tour of the Chicago River led by the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center. Participants took away many lessons for organizing from the three days of intensive workshops. “The Summer Institute has provided me with a ton of tools and new ways of thinking to give us a win in our next issue campaign,” said Montgomery College faculty member Michael LeBlanc.

It also equipped faculty members with new advocacy skills and deeper understanding of core AAUP principles. “The AAUP Summer Institute was a fantastic opportunity to focus on what shared governance really means,” said Alice Pearman of Plymouth State University. “I appreciated having so much time to focus on this topic and what it can mean for my institution.”

Photos from the Summer Institute are available at  

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