Now that we’ve won our union at Washington University, we’re taking the first step to win a good contract. We are forming our bargaining team, contract action team and communications team to lead our campaign for better wages. Please take a moment to learn more about each candidate and decide who you want to represent you. There is still time to nominate yourself or a colleague by clicking here.
I began teaching creative nonfiction in University College about a dozen years ago and now teach variously Introduction to Creative Writing, Short Fiction Writing, and Microfiction and Ten-Minute Plays. I have also adjuncted in UMSL’s Honors College, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, and St. Louis Community College. At all of these institutions, I have had classes offered then not offered according to the whims and politics of the institutions, departments, or faculty members. I started working with the organizing committee in the fall of 2014 with the primary goal of creating class consistency, though I am interested in other things this union can accomplish such as better pay and benefits. I am interested in working on the bargaining team and the communications team to help meet these goals and help end what is an unsustainable system of universities relying on low-paid adjust workers for 70% of the faculty.
In addition to my teaching, I am the author of the poetry collections All the Wasted Beauty of the World (Able Muse Press, 2014), Domestic Fugues (Steel Toe Books, 2009), and Borrowed Towns (Word Press, 2005). My poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Boulevard, Crab Orchard Review, New Letters, The Sun, and many other periodicals and anthologies, and have been featured many times on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. For 20 years I have served as editor of River Styx and co-director of the River Styx Reading Series.
On the team, I would fight for higher wages, longer contracts and a choice of benefits.
I’ve been active with our union since day one, and I am committed to improving the working conditions for all adjuncts at Washington University. I’ll listen carefully to the concerns and desires of my fellow adjuncts, and I’ll fight hard during negotiations with the University.
I started graduate work in Comparative Literature at Washington University in the Fall of 2003. Before I finished my Ph.D. in Spring 2012, I started working as an adjunct periodically for Comp. Lit., but primarily in the College Writing Program; this is my fourth year as an adjunct. I have been involved as part of the Organizing Committee for unionization since early last fall, and have a long history with unions in my family. The importance of collective action and solidarity were stressed in my household growing up. When the opportunity came up at Washington University to change our working conditions through forming a union, I was excited to be involved. So many of my friends and colleagues are being underpaid and under appreciated for the considerable time and effort they put into teaching and mentoring. I want to be a part of the Bargaining Team to help ensure that teaching labor at Washington University is being valued in tangible ways (salary, benefits, job security, input within our departments, etc.), and not simply in rhetoric.
I’ve been at Wash U 7 1/2 years. This is my first semester adjuncting. Adjuncting is a huge labor issue. With my long-standing relationship with the school I bring a lot of experience to bear.
I’ve been at Washington University since 1985, first as a graduate student, then as a half-time lecturer in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and as a tutor in the Writing Center. Currently I teach teach one section College Writing 1 and work half-time in the Writing Center. I’ve also taught composition at St. Louis Community College — Meramec, and have a private tutoring practice out of my home office in University City (www.thewritingprocess.net). I want to be on the bargaining team for several reasons. First, I have a story to tell about an unfair labor practice I experienced here at WU. I believe that specific details I can describe about how adjuncts are sometimes treated will help the bargaining committee shape its strategy. Second, my skill set includes the ability to listen to what someone says and to capture it in other words, so that the person who spoke knows that she or he was understood, and other people, who may have missed the meaning the first time around, have a second chance at getting it. In a situation where people with strong feelings are hammering out compromises, this skill may come in useful. Third, I’m excited about the prospect of adjuncts developing a sense of community with each other, which I hope will result from the bargaining process.
I have worked as an adjunct professor at Washington University since 2002 in the Department of Political Science and since 2006 in the School of Law. For five years (2005-2010), I also held the status of Lecturer of Political Science that afforded me an office, administrative assistance, and health benefits that I do not receive as an adjunct. In that role, I had an opportunity to experience first-hand the differences in faculty experience and decision making process and believe I can offer this diverse insight in the bargaining process. As a nationally recognized civil rights attorney and political activist working on some of the most high profile cases in the country, I have brought real-life scholarship and application of law and politics to bear in the classroom in a way that students find valuable and transferable believe that value is something that adjuncts uniquely provide, and something that is increasingly sought after by students who want to see real-life application of their studies. This value should be recognized and compensated. As an attorney with 20 years of experience and labor activist, serving on the Worker Rights Board of Jobs with Justice, I believe I can effectively advocate the merits and values of adjunct faculty and stand firm in support of the benefits we deserve.
Arts & Sciences
I am a lecturer primarily in the College Writing Program, who also sometimes teaches in the English and Film departments at Wash U, as well as English courses at other schools in the area. I think we need a union because many adjuncts I know are like me: consistently teaching the same 2 or 3 classes at Wash U every semester. People who have been consistently teaching a 3-3 for years shouldn’t be treated like temp labor, and they shouldn’t need another half-time job just to make ends meet financially. So, I would like to negotiate for 1) a higher floor on salary per section and 2) for contracts where the duration increases the longer you have been teaching at the university.
I earned my PhD in American and English literature at Washington University in St. Louis in 2013. Since Fall of 2013 I have been an adjunct in the College Writing Program and in University College at Washington University. I want to be involved in the Bargaining Committee and the Communications Committee because I want to increase the quality of living for my colleagues and for myself, ensuring that our hard work and expertise receive the benefits and compensation we have earned.
I teach writing courses for the English Department (since 2007) and Film & Media Studies (since 2013), primarily through University College. My courses include travel & outdoor writing, adventure writing, online creative writing, multimedia storytelling, screenwriting, freshman composition, research writing, and others.
In recent months, I have met or emailed with dozens of adjuncts including biologists, chemists, dancers, engineers, musicians, and others both in the day and night schools. I’ve noticed a pattern of similar questions, concerns, suggestions, and desires for improvement coming from fellow adjuncts. My contributions to the bargaining committee would include: communicating with fellow adjuncts, researching information relevant to negotiations, my knowledge and experience with labor law, preserving University College, maintaining a positive relationship with administration, and previous bargaining experience.
I received a PhD in English Literature from Columbia University in 2013. I’ve taught in the Writing Program at Wash U since 2011 when I moved to St. Louis with my wife Musa Gurnis, a tenure-track professor in the English Department. I have accepted the nomination to be on the bargaining team because I believe that adjuncts should be more fairly compensated for our expertise, our time, and the fact that adjunct work offers little job security from semester to semester.
I’ve been involved with the union effort from the beginning, writing and campaigning bring attention to the plight of Wash U’s dedicated, committed adjunct faculty. I’d appreciate the chance to see the process through and bargain for fair treatment and compensation on behalf of my friends and colleagues.
I’m willing to participate in bringing about change.
My name is Sharon West, Ph.D. I am interested in making a contribution by being a part of the bargaining team. I have been an adjunct faculty member at various colleges and universities throughout the metropolitan area for the past 15 years. I completed my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of MO-St. Louis in May, 1996 following my clinical internship at Napa State Hospital in Napa Valley California. Upon graduating I began my career at the St. Louis Family Court as a Staff Psychologist for eight years. Following the Court I worked at St. John’s Mercy Hospital in their Behavioral Health Department for 5 years. I have been at Grace Hill Health Center since leaving St. John’s where I serve as the Director of Mental Health Services. I have enjoyed supplementing my career with teaching one evening a week as a means of staying current and giving back to the community. I have taught in the Community College, Harris Stowe University, University of MO-St. Louis and Washington University. I believe that I can make a meaningful contribution to the process with my wealth of clinical experience and breadth of teaching experience.
I am an isotope geochemist that has taught science classes through University College for over twenty years. My undergraduate degree is from Sarah Lawrence College and my Ph.D. is from the University of Chicago. I have chosen to teach through the continuing education program of University College because I have wanted part time work. Due to medical issues of family members, some terms I don’t want to be employed, other terms I am able to teach multiple courses. Being an adjunct teaching continuing education courses, gives me that flexibility. The WU bargaining unit is composed of people that teach “day” classes in some parts of WU and others that teach in “night and weekend” continuing education parts of WU. Some adjuncts have other responsibilities, such as full time jobs, and others want full time employment. An effective bargaining unit will have a composition that mirrors the diversity of adjunct situations in the current bargaining unit at WU. Additionally, adjuncts that teach required courses with waiting lists have a situation different from adjuncts that teach elective courses. I am placing my name in nomination for the bargaining committee with the goal of the bargaining committee reflecting this range of situations. A “one size fits all” approach that does not represent the varied situations of the multiple schools at WU is not an effective long term goal. My goal is for all adjuncts to win.
I have been teaching in University College- Biology since I moved to St. Louis in 2003, mainly graduate level courses in Biology. With a passion for teaching and learning, I have designed and taught 18 different courses for WashU, and regularly teach from 1 to 4 courses a semester, as well as summer courses. I was a post-doctoral research scholar in the Education Department for the Center for Inquiry Into Science Teaching and Learning (CISTL) at WashU 2003-2004, researching androgogy and inquiry-based learning techniques. In the fall of 2004, I accepted a full time position at St. Louis Community College- Florissant Valley campus, where I am now a full Professor. At SLCC, I am an active member of the NEA Union, and have really appreciated the benefits of union membership. At SLCC I have served and chaired many committees, such as the College Academic Council, Florissant Valley Academic Council, General Education Committee, and the Curriculum Committee, among many others. I have learned and contributed tremendously to college activities, working with faculty, staff, and administrators. My motivation for being involved in the bargaining process for our Union at WashU is to offer my skills and talents to secure the best contract for our adjunct faculty. I am skilled in negotiations, focused, and bring lots of energy and dedication to my endeavors!
As a regulatory professional in the medical products industry for over 27 years, I have had extensive experience with negotiations of complex contracts and regulatory issues. I have the knowledge and patience needed to navigate bureaucratic processes to achieve positive outcomes. An entrepreneur, small business owner, and adjunct for several years, I understand the importance of reaching agreements that will serve the diverse interests of the adjunct instructors.
I have been an adjunct instructor with Wash U since 2005 in the Education Department teaching the same course each semester. My experience is in the field of education as a teacher, school psychologist, and administrator for 30 years. During most of that time, I was a member of the National Education Association and do recognize the good that can come from such an organization. Currently, I am retired from full-time work and will be graduating with my Doctorate in Leadership in Teaching and Learning from Missouri Baptist University in April.