2017 CCSU-AAUP Candidate Statements

Candidate for President

Louise Williams, History

I am running for President of CCSU’s AAUP Chapter because I am concerned about the serious challenges facing Higher Education, public sector workers, and the union movement today, and how they will impact our university community.  I would like to contribute to the defense and protection of these crucial elements of our society.

I have had a good deal of experience working for the CSU-AAUP.  I was a member of the executive committee of the CCSU-AAUP, and of the CSU-AAUP Council for over six years.  Since the summer of 2013 I also acted as Chair of the CCSU-AAUP Contract Administration and Grievance Committee. In the Fall of 2015 I was named chair of the CSU Organizing Committee for a Fair Contract.

The CSU-AAUP has done a great deal in the time I have served.  I have seen first-hand how the union ensures fairness in tenure and promotion decisions and in disciplinary action, and how it protects against violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The CSU-AAUP also has pushed back against changes from the Board of Regents and Legislature that threatened to negatively affect the faculty.  We were in the forefront of resistance to Transform 2020, we staged protests against draconian Contract proposals, and we lobbied and testified to maintain funding for quality Higher Education.

There still is a great deal to be done and some very serious battles ahead.  I will continue strengthening the CSU-AAUP and making it as active as possible.  I am committed to expanding the participation of the union membership in decision making and union activities. Not only will I make sure that members are informed of union affairs at all times, but I will consult them about policy decisions, and will always be available to receive comments and criticisms.  Members must understand that they, not the leadership or staff, are the union, and must take an active role in directing it.

I also am committed to leading a union that is proactive and even militant in working for the future of our university.  This includes protecting faculty tenure, shared governance, and intellectual freedom.  It also means ensuring adequate pay and benefits, and the best possible working conditions.  Increasing the rights and benefits of contingent faculty is crucial to a healthy university.  While currently I am a tenured professor at CCSU, I worked as a contingent faculty member for many years in a number of different universities before coming here, and I am aware of their particular problems and issues.

Finally, I believe that the CSU-AAUP should do more than merely serve its members internally, or advance their interests alone.  It is essential that we coordinate our activities with those of other universities, unions, and community groups to protect quality higher education, preserve the union movement, and advocate for social justice for all citizens.  The defunding of public higher education and the nationwide attack on unions and public employees has made this kind of effort more important than ever.


 

Candidate for Vice President

Tom Burkholder, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Candidate for Council and Vice President– I received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia in August 1992 and started here at CCSU that same month. I teach the 100 level General Chemistry courses and the upper level Physical Chemistry courses (quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and kinetics) as well as the upper level P-Chem lab. I have served both as chair of the Curriculum committee and as chair of the Information Technology committee and on a number of ad-hoc committees, such as the Committee on Online Learning. I am currently serving as a representative to the CSU-AAUP Council and as vice-president of the CCSU-AAUP. In those roles, I have worked with Louise Williams and the grievance committee on resolving member grievances, with the liaisons helping to build union activity and with the part-time advisory committee. I would bring my understanding of information technology and a deep appreciation of the frailty of faculty governance if re-elected.

Since joining the AAUP Council in 2015, I have attended both the 2016 AAUP Summer Institute, the Labor Law and Arbitration Conference last October in Boston, and will be attending the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions Annual Conference March 26-28. These have been really informative and given me a much broader understanding of the union movement, collective bargaining, how to use financial data analysis in collective bargaining and about grievance and issues.

We need to be active and make sure that the BOR, legislators and the community know that we exist and what we stand for. Upholding the values of academic freedom and shared governance are the foundations, but we need to do more. The days of being an isolated group of faculty, only concerned with our own issues are over. We will be run over by legislators and others hostile to collective bargaining and state employees if we do not act more globally. We need to work with the other CSU’s, UConn and the Community Colleges to promote higher education as a public good. We need to work with other unions and community groups to promote union movement ideals and social justice.


 

Candidate for Secretary

Jesse Turner, Literacy, Elementary & Childhood Education

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Said “It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”

In this time of divisive attacks on labor. I have decided I must step up. I can no longer “wait on time” for a better day to run for union office. I am running for the position of Secretary. I take the responsibilities of union service seriously and promise to fulfill all the duties and responsibilities of being Secretary if elected. I have been an active AAUP member since 1997, and have in the past been our Department Liaison and a CCSU AAUP Rep at large. I regularly attend AUUP Lobbying Days at the Capitol. I am a proud union member who believes that strong unions are made through active membership.

I have always been a strong advocate for my fellow faculty members. As our former DEC Chair, I worked diligently with my colleagues to write and approve transparent and fair DEC guidelines; and it is because of those guidelines I am proud to say that we have not had any faculty member denied tenure in over a decade. We worked to provide a map to success for all, we continue to guide and mentor new faculty. I have also served on numerous university committees. I would now like to step up my advocacy for my fellow union members in the position of AAUP Secretary.

I am an education activist, and leader in the National Save Our Schools Movement. I am an active member of Moral Monday Connecticut, and a strong vocal voice for teachers in the National Council of Teachers of English. I eagerly anticipate merging my activist skills into our contract negotiations.

I am a Professor of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Literacy Education. The Director of the Central Connecticut State University Literacy Center. A Co-Host of our TEDxCCSU Annual Programs, and member of our newly formed Faces of Advocacy Salon Team. I am a faithful husband, a loving father, and a firm believer that Unions Make Us Stronger.

I am honored to run, win or lose ~ my plan is to serve my brothers and sisters in or out of office to the best of my abilities.

Solidarity Forever,

Jesse Turner


 

Candidate for Treasurer

Monique Durant, Accounting

Monique Durant, JD, CPA, LLM has extensive public accounting experience at Deloitte and KPMG where she practiced tax compliance and planning for corporations and flow-through entities (LLCs, partnerships and S corporations) as well as individuals. Additionally she has industry experience at Northeast Utilities and Aetna, where she practiced tax planning. Monique is currently a Professor at Central Connecticut State University where she teaches taxation courses in the undergraduate and graduate accounting programs and is the program director for the new MS in Accounting program. Monique is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Connecticut Society of Public Accountants (CSCPA) and has been licensed to practice in the State of Connecticut since 2002. Monique’s preferred area of research interest is taxation of closely held companies.


 

Candidate for Treasurer

Jared Ragusett, Economics

I’m an Assistant Professor in the Economics Department, and have been at CCSU since 2010.  Moreover, I’m the product of three generations of union labor. My first union activity was on the picket lines with my father, who was on strike during the late 80’s.  As a working undergraduate student, I was a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 951.  As a graduate student at UMass – Amherst, I was a member of the Graduate Employee Organization, United Auto Workers Local 2322.  Collective bargaining rights and the agency of labor are therefore critical components of my teaching and research interests.  I am running for this position in order to extend those skills and interests to my University service activities, which previously include service on the CCSU-AAUP Grievance and Contract Administration Committee, Faculty Senate, Curriculum Committee, and three hiring committees.  Our union faces many challenges and uncertainties in the years ahead, and I am committed to being a strong advocate for the interests of all members in all schools of the University.


 

Candidate for Delegate-at-large

Christopher Doucot, Sociology

I have been teaching Race, Class and Gender in Sociology and Humanitarian Intervention and Religion and Nonviolence in Peace Studies at CCSU since 2008 as an adjunct member of the faculty. I also teach at University of Hartford and University of St. Joseph. I have a B.A. in Religion (’85) from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester and a M.A. in Religion (’08) from Yale Divinity School but my real education comes from my 25 years living and working in the north end of Hartford. In 1993 my wife and I purchased and rehabbed an abandoned building and founded the Hartford Catholic Worker community www.hartfordcatholicworker.org At the HCW we have shared our home with homeless persons (often teens), shared our table with hungry persons, we have worked to overcome some of the racial and class paranoia of the north end through our after school program that brings together young people from our neighborhood and folks from beyond our neighborhood, and we have nonviolently struggled against war, poverty and other forms of violence. Prior to coming to Hartford I worked at the Homeless Outreach and Advocacy Project of the Worcester Area Community Mental Health Center where I was the shop steward for our union 1199 (later SEIU 285?). In October my book No Innocent Bystanders: Becoming an Ally in the Struggle for Justice will be released. http://www.wjkbooks.com/Products/0664262627/no-innocent-bystanders.aspx


Candidate for Delegate-at-large

Andrea June, Psychological Sciences

I have been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Science at CCSU since 2013. I received by Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Geropsychology. I have been my department’s liaison since I arrived at CCSU and have been an active participate in many of the contract negotiation public policy events and legislative events in the past year. I believe in public advocacy and the consequences of inaction.


 

Candidate for Delegate-at-large

Sinead Ruane, Management & Organization

I joined CCSU in the Fall of 2015 as an Assistant Professor in the Management & Organization Department within the School of Business (SOB), and have acted as CCSU-AAUP Departmental Liaison since September 2016. My research interests include examining labor conditions and struggles in the ‘new world of work’, such as increasing employment precarity and the effect on worker identity, and the evolving ways of organizing work such as freelancing, solopreneurship, and ‘new careers’. Starting in the Fall 2017 term, I will be teaching Labor-Management Relations, and look forward to bringing my union experience and concern for workers to the curriculum and classroom.

As a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I was involved in GEO (Graduate Employee Organization), UAW Local 2322. While at GEO, I initially started as a Department Steward, then became involved more deeply and assumed positions as Organizer and Vice-President.

I would like to see greater engagement between SOB and AAUP, and to that end, I have been encouraged to run for an elected position. We are in the midst of challenging times and heightened uncertainty without a negotiated contract. It is therefore more crucial than ever that faculty have clear, accurate, and timely communication of the issues we are facing and any developments that unfold. However, it will also take collective power to protect our rights and fight for our demands. Thus, if given the opportunity to be your Delegate-at-Large, I will contribute to AAUP’s organizing efforts to strengthen the input and participation by our faculty.


 

Candidate for CSU-AAUP Council

Mihai Bailesteanu, Mathematical Sciences

I’m an assistant professor in the department of mathematical sciences and I’ve been at CCSU for three years. I received my PhD in mathematics from Cornell University in 2011 and between 2011-2013 I was a visiting assistant professor at University of Rochester. I have been involved with the AAUP since 2015, first by being the math department liaison and then starting from the fall of 2016 as a member of the council. I participated in several rallies and the day of action at the LOB in January 2017. I would like to continue being involved with the AAUP activities, work to protect our rights as educators and academic professionals.


 

Candidate for CSU-AAUP Council

Tom Burkholder, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Candidate for Council and Vice President– I received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia in August 1992 and started here at CCSU that same month. I teach the 100 level General Chemistry courses and the upper level Physical Chemistry courses (quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and kinetics) as well as the upper level P-Chem lab. I have served both as chair of the Curriculum committee and as chair of the Information Technology committee and on a number of ad-hoc committees, such as the Committee on Online Learning. I am currently serving as a representative to the CSU-AAUP Council and as vice-president of the CCSU-AAUP. In those roles, I have worked with Louise Williams and the grievance committee on resolving member grievances, with the liaisons helping to build union activity and with the part-time advisory committee. I would bring my understanding of information technology and a deep appreciation of the frailty of faculty governance if re-elected.

Since joining the AAUP Council in 2015, I have attended both the 2016 AAUP Summer Institute, the Labor Law and Arbitration Conference last October in Boston, and will be attending the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions Annual Conference March 26-28. These have been really informative and given me a much broader understanding of the union movement, collective bargaining, how to use financial data analysis in collective bargaining and about grievance and issues.

We need to be active and make sure that the BOR, legislators and the community know that we exist and what we stand for. Upholding the values of academic freedom and shared governance are the foundations, but we need to do more. The days of being an isolated group of faculty, only concerned with our own issues are over. We will be run over by legislators and others hostile to collective bargaining and state employees if we do not act more globally. We need to work with the other CSU’s, UConn and the Community Colleges to promote higher education as a public good. We need to work with other unions and community groups to promote union movement ideals and social justice.

I received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia in August 1992 and started here at CCSU that same month. I teach the 100 level General Chemistry course and the upper level Physical Chemistry courses (quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and kinetics) as well as the upper level P-Chem lab. My research involves the computer modeling of many different metal complexes with compounds containing sulfur and nitrogen.  I have served both as chair of the Curriculum committee and as chair of the Information Technology committee and on a number of ad-hoc committees, such as the Committee on Online Learning. My concern now is for the directions being taken by the University and BOR; there is evidence of a widespread administrative contempt for faculty governance.  The 2020 plan is full of half-formed ideas, well-hidden bad ideas with innocent names and some common-sense measures that don’t require an administrative behemoth to implement. The Academic Imperative is a great statement of faculty values and we need to keep pushing it. I would bring my understanding of information technology and a deep appreciation of the frailty of faculty governance to the Council if elected.


 

Candidate for Council

Shelly Jones, Mathematical Sciences


 

Candidate for Council

Kevin Kean, Psychology

Ph.D., Social Psychology, University of Connecticut, 1999.  I have been an instructor in the Psychological Science Department for ten years.  I have been a member of the Part-time Faculty Advisory Committee for eight years.  I have been a part-time representative on the Faculty Senate. I am currently a member of the Information Technology Committee. I am also a current CSU-AAUP Council member. If I am re-elected to the Council, I will continue to be a strong advocate for our union and all its constituents, both full- and part-time.


 

Candidate for Council

Robbin Smith, Political Science

I am an associate professor in the Department of Political Science. Currently, I am also the chair of the department. I began teaching at CCSU as an adjunct more than twenty years ago. I joined the faculty as full time member in 2008. I served on the Curriculum Committee for eight years, including three years as Chair of the former Arts and Sciences Subcommittee and currently serve on the Community Engagement, and Library Committees.

My interest in unions is a longstanding one. My mother was a member of the NEA as a school teacher in Illinois, while a close friend from childhood has become an union organizer for AFSCME. I have participated in several CCSU Lobbying Days at the Capitol and served on the AAUP Political Action Committee since last summer. I believe that the CCSU AAUP chapter is at a critical moment in time. Connecticut union employees face increasing threats to limit the collective bargaining rights of their members and to reduce their benefits.  I am seeking a seat on the council to advocate for faculty interests, to engage with the campus and community debates on faculty rights, and to seek solutions to the myriad of problems that face us as academics.