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AAUP Announces 2022 Awards for Outstanding Faculty Activists

The AAUP is proud to announce the recipients of its 2022 awards.

Georgina M. Smith Award

Caprice Lawless (Front Range Community College)

Established in 1979 to honor the memory of a Rutgers University professor who was a committed feminist, an AAUP leader, and a strong supporter of her faculty union, the Georgina M. Smith Award is presented “to a person who has provided exceptional leadership in a given year in improving the status of academic women or in advancing collective bargaining and through that work has improved the profession in general.” Caprice Lawless of Front Range Community College in Colorado is the recipient of this year’s award. Her nomination noted that she is “an absolute genius in public relations when it comes to explaining and highlighting the plight of adjunct faculty to other academics and the public.” Pointing to innovations such as her “adjunct cookbook” and “unhappy hours,” which she has shared with other AAUP members, the award committee observed that such strategies are especially valuable for women in the profession because of their overrepresentation among faculty in contingent appointments.The AAUP recognizes Caprice’s work in leading the charge for a Colorado collective bargaining bill and her instrumental role in influencing legislation.

Outstanding Achievement Award

Rachel Ida Buff (University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee)

The AAUP established the Outstanding Achievement Award to recognize chapter- or conference-level work to advance academic freedom or shared governance, promote the economic security of academics, help the higher education community organize, an or ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Rachel Ida Buff of University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is the recipient of this year’s award. Her nomination called her “an intellectual and organizing force at the chapter, regional, and national level of AAUP work” and noted that a colleague had characterized her as “truly fearless in championing the AAUP’s values.” The award committee lauded Buff’s impressive record of service, including her leadership as the founding president of the UW–Milwaukee AAUP chapter, which quickly grew into the largest advocacy chapter in the country, and her role as faculty editor for four volumes of the Journal of Academic Freedom.

Marilyn Sternberg Award

Johanna Foster (Monmouth University)

The Marilyn Sternberg Award recognizes AAUP members who “demonstrate concern for human rights, courage, persistence, political foresight, imagination, and collective bargaining skills. Johanna Foster of Monmouth University is the recipient of this year’s award. Her nomination said, “She is passionate and seemingly tireless in her efforts to create a fair and equitable work environment for all. She is a model for others and a true inspiration.” Foster is president of the Faculty Association of Monmouth University and served as chief negotiator in the chapter’s recent contract negotiations, which she wrote about with coauthor Marina Vujnovic in a winter 2022 Academe article on unionism during the pandemic and discussed in a spring 2022 chapter profile. As noted in her nomination, her “leadership builds and harnesses community power to achieve equity for all members and positively impacts the entire university community.” When she’s not organizing her colleagues, Johanna is a sociologist building access to higher education in prison communities.

Publication Date: 
Friday, June 10, 2022