AAUP Announces 2020 Awards for Outstanding Faculty Activists

The AAUP is proud to announce the recipients of its 2020 awards.

Georgina M. Smith Award

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi of San Francisco State University, Catherine Moran of the University of New Hampshire, and Anne Sisson Runyan of the University of Cincinnati are this year’s recipients of the AAUP’s Georgina M. Smith Award, which is given to a person or persons who provided exceptional leadership in a given year in improving the status of academic women or in academic collective bargaining and through that work improved the profession in general. The academic and community work of these three women encompasses important aspects of academic labor struggles--the struggle for fair treatment, the struggle to be recognized, and the struggle to be included in institutional visions of progress.

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi exemplifies courage, persistence, political foresight, and concern for human rights, including union organizing, gender and sexual justice, in her scholarship, teaching, public advocacy, and collaboration with a diverse group of academic, labor, and community organizations. Her commitment to global scholarship that builds mutual understanding is evident in the collaborations she has initiated. As a director of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies Program she brings together scholars, activists, academics, and organizers to create justice-centered knowledge, build broad-based coalitions, and advance the agenda for social change in Palestine, the United States, and internationally. Her leadership transcends the division between scholarship and activism that encumbers traditional university life.

Catherine Moran is a founder of the University of New Hampshire Lecturers United-AAUP, the non-tenure-track faculty union. Her courage is evident in her work as a faculty mentor, union negotiator, and leader. Although faculty who serve on contingent appointments like hers are among the most economically and politically vulnerable members of the academic profession, Moran has persevered in her successful teaching and organizing endeavors. 


Anne Sisson Runyan has had a distinguished scholarly and activist career dedicated to improving the status of faculty in general and women in particular through her local and national AAUP service. Her accomplishments as chair of the AAUP’s Committee on Women in the Academic Profession (now the Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the Academic Profession) are commendable, particularly her work on issues involving Title IX and intersectionality. Her scholarship on gender and the global political economy has informed and motivated her union activism and leadership on three campuses and in the national AAUP, while her work in the fields of women’s studies and feminist international relations as well as on initiatives addressing the status of women--on campus, within professional organizations, and at the community level--has been widely recognized for its impact on the advancement of academic women and the promotion of gender and other equity in her fields, the profession, and the wider world.

Marilyn Sternberg Award

Deepa Kumar of Rutgers University, recent past-president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT, is the recipient of the AAUP’s 2020 Marilyn Sternberg Award, which is presented to an AAUP member who demonstrates concern for human rights, courage, persistence, political foresight, imagination, and collective bargaining skills. Professor Kumar played a key role in developing and leading a contract campaign that culminated in a strike vote and a groundbreaking contract for Rutgers faculty. She brought tremendous vision and courage to the work, making gender and race issues central to the campaign and pursuing a goal of equity, security, and dignity for all. Her persistence and commitment to organizing has brought a bold vision to her union. 



Outstanding Achievement Award

Becky Hawbaker of the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is the recipient of the AAUP’s 2020 Outstanding Achievement Award. The award is presented in recognition of the outstanding efforts of an individual or chapter on behalf of AAUP principles. As president of United Faculty-AAUP at UNI she led her chapter through a time of significant change. Under her leadership, the faculty union was recertified in 2018 and has been growing ever since. She served as a critical member of the Faculty Handbook Committee and added language from the chapter’s contract into the handbook, which allowed faculty to retain critical items such as grievance procedures that include arbitration. Her chapter, working alongside other faculty and campus administration leaders, has extended voting rights to most of the contingent faculty and created a career ladder for contingent faculty.

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, May 20, 2020