A Higher Road for Higher Ed: Expanding the Movement in America’s College Town

Join us for our symposium Saturday, November 15, 2014 at the JFK Library & Museum in Dorchester


8-9 a.m.: Registration/breakfast

9-9:10: Welcome by Susan Tousignant, President SEIU Local 509

9:10-9:55: Plenary 1: Celebrating the Tufts 1st Contract & Expanding the Movement

Learn from a member of the Tufts part-time faculty negotiating committee about the recently ratified landmark first contract, and about the negotiation process that led to this historic victory. Find out how full-time contingent faculty have organized alongside part-time faculty to build stronger unions. Strategize about how we can all work together to expand the faculty union movement and return higher education’s focus to the classroom.


  • Moderator: Leslie Bryan, Southern California Statewide Lecturer Representative for the California Faculty Association; Lecturer in the Theatre Arts department, California State University-San Bernardino

  • Panelists: Patricia Di Silvio, Senior Lecturer of Italian, Tufts University; Amy Todd, Lecturer of Anthropology at University of Massachusetts, Boston; Janet Bailey, Lecturer in Arts Administration, Boston University


9:55-10:25: Discussion breakout: Expanding the Movement  


10:25-10:35: Break


10:35-11:05: Plenary 2: Student Activism on Campus

Students are at the center of our colleges and universities, and the most important voices for justice in higher education. Come hear from student leaders of the Tufts Labor Coalition and the Raise the Wages, Not Tuition about the amazing work they’re doing on their campuses and beyond.


  • Moderator: Cassie Barnhardt, Assistant Professor, University of Iowa School of Education

  • Panelists: Daniel Weaver, Tufts sophomore, member of Tufts Labor Coalition; Robert Naylor, United Students Against Sweatshops, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Bridget Daley, Campaign for a Debt-Free Future and Boston University Student Labor Action Project

  • Discussion Facilitator: Ryan Young, Master’s student, Higher Education and Student Affairs, University of Iowa School of Education


11:05-11:35: ​Discussion Breakout: Student Activism


11:35-11:45:  Break


11:45-12:30pm: Contingent Faculty Advocacy for Better Workforce Laws and Policies: Tell Your Stories to the U.S. Department of Labor

Employment laws and policies simply aren’t built for today’s contingent workforce—including adjunct faculty. But SEIU has been lifting up adjunct stories of low pay, delayed paychecks, and long hours. And the US Department of Labor is listening! Come tell your own story to top US Department of Labor officials, and lend your voice to the call for much-needed change in employment policies that affect faculty.


  • Moderator: Maryann Parker, Associate General Counsel, SEIU

  • Panel: M. Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor, US Department of Labor; Mary Beth Maxwell, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, US Department of Labor


12:30-1:30: Lunch


1:30-2:15: Plenary 3: Art, Education and Organizing

Artists know all too well about life as a contingent worker—especially when, in addition to making art, they teach as adjunct faculty. Join visual and performing artists, including a leader of the Berklee College of Music faculty union, for a discussion about art, education and organizing.

  • Moderator: Sheriden Thomas, Tufts Full-Time Lecturer Organizing Committee and Senior Lecturer in Acting and Directing

  • Panelists: Thomas Kee, Faculty at Northeastern University, Artistic Director of Deana’s Educational Theatre; Wendy Rolfe, Vice President for Part-Time Faculty, Berklee Faculty Union, American Federation of Teachers Local 4412; Member, Boston Musicians Association, American Federation of Musicians Local 9-535, Professor of Flute at the Berklee College of Music; Sam Smiley, Faculty at Lesley University; Bebe Beard, Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Suffolk University and a Lecturer at Wentworth Institute of Technology and working with Northeastern University’s Part-time Faculty Union bargaining committee as they negotiate their first contract.


2:15-2:45: Discussion breakout: Art, Education and Organizing


2:45-3:00: Conclusion


Click here for speaker bios.