Academic union to elect new leadership

United Academics, UVM’s faculty union, are holding elections in the near future.

Ballots will be sent out to union members Nov. 14, and are due Nov. 21.

All positions, except the presidency, are currently uncontested, current United Academics president Denise Youngblood said.

Professors Felicia Kornbluh and Don Loeb are running for position of president.

Felicia Kornbluh

Kornbluh is an associate professor of history at UVM, and has been the Director of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies since 2009.

“I bring the same qualities to [United Academics] that I developed in that role,” she said.

“Tenacity, eagerness to bring diverse perspectives into decisions and enthusiasm for the project of making conditions as good as they possibly can be for our precious teaching and scholarship,” Kornbluh said.

She joined the faculty the University and was “excited to be part of a union,” she said. Kornbluh said she is interested in the position of president because she thinks United Acadmics is the “strongest organization” at UVM that gives us the best chance at the bargaining table with UVM officials.

“I am committed to preserving the teacher-scholar model that is the heart of this university,” she said. “The faculty deserves to play a leading role in decision making about the direction of UVM.”

“Our students deserve the best education we can give them: [United Academics] can make a critical difference in keeping class sizes manageable and ensuring that faculty have time to attend to each student,” Kornbluh said.

The union gives faculty the best chance to have strong conversation with administration, Kornbluh said.

If elected president, Kornbluh said that she would work on collaboration and building alliances.

Don Loeb

Loeb has been a philosophy professor at UVM for 23 years.

“I’d be honored to serve as president of United Academics,” he said.

“The Union is healthy and I do not seek to fix it, but instead to help it thrive and grow,” Loeb said.

He explained how he would be comfortable standing up to authority if necessary.

“I’m plainspoken and try to be fair-minded, preferring reasoning to confrontation where possible,” Loeb said.

United Academics has “respectful differences of opinion in which all voices have an equal right to be heard,” he said.

“As president, my first priority would be to listen to those voices, for [United Academic’s] direction is ultimately the prerogative of the membership,” Loeb said.

He is trained as a lawyer, and helped to negotiate the original article on intellectual property in United Academic’s collective bargaining agreement.

Loeb also served as a member and then chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee, parliamentarian for both the Faculty Senate and the College of Arts and Sciences, director of the John Dewey Honors Program and chair of the Philosophy Department.

“As a labor union we are part of a larger movement, united by common interests in appropriate compensation, decent working conditions, and social and economic justice,” he said.