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Summer Institute at UNH

By Kelly Hand

The annual AAUP/AAUP-CBC Summer Institute is a highlight of the season for many AAUP members and academic activists. This year’s July 19–22 program of workshops and seminars took place at the University of New Hampshire in scenic Durham, at­tracting more than two hundred AAUP members and supporters.

Over four days packed with opportunities to learn new advocacy and organizing skills, participants attended workshops on defending adjunct faculty, counteracting donor influence, using AAUP policies on campus, and developing office-visit programs to support membership growth. In addition to these and other topics, an advanced train­ing series included multipart workshops on leader­ship skills and, for those involved with unions, an introduction to the “art and science of collec­tive bargaining” and an arbitration boot camp. A plenary session focused on fighting back against targeted harassment of faculty. Some sessions, including the annual legal update from the AAUP general counsel and senior counsel, addressed the impact of the US Supreme Court’s recent decision in Janus v. AFSCME and strategies for building stronger chapters in an antiunion political climate.

Julia Schleck, an attendee from the University of Nebraska–Lin­coln and chair of the Nebraska AAUP conference’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, said, “It was incredibly helpful to have such information-dense work­shops. I feel like I’m walking away with reading material for the next month and resources to help sup­port me in the work that I’m going to need to do in the state for years to come—and that I’ll also be able to pass on to my colleagues.”

The Summer Institute program built in plenty of time for fun and connecting with peers from across the country. Optional outings included a tour of craft breweries along New Hampshire’s historic seacoast, a bus trip to the nearby city of Portsmouth, and a din­ner steamship cruise along the Piscataqua River and Portsmouth Harbor. Reprising a popular activ­ity from last year, the Summer Institute closed with a plenary ses­sion in which participants learned how to make buttons to show support creatively and visibly for AAUP chapters and principles.

“I came here feeling somewhat demoralized,” Gabrielle Dillman of Denison University said, “and now, after four days, I feel reinvigorated. The AAUP can give you support not only in terms of the legality of issues but in terms of friendships and understanding that we are not alone in this business.”

“I have loved the community; I have loved being around other people who are energetic, vital union supporters,” said Catherine Moran, president of University of New Hampshire Lecturers United. “Instruction here is phenomenal. It’s my third year and I want to come every year.”

Photographs from the Summer Institute are available at https://

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