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  • Letter of Support for The GEO

    February 3, 2018

    STATEMENT OF SUPPORT
    FOR THE GRADUATE EMPLOYEES’ ORGNIZATION

    We, the faculty in the department of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, write to express our support for the Graduate Employees’ Organization in their effort to bargain a fair contract with the University. Graduate employees at UIUC have been without a contract since August, with negotiations for a new contract having stalled. We urge Provost Cangellaris to accept the GEO’s proposals for a new collective bargaining agreement, preserving graduate employees’ tuition waivers, paying them a living wage and providing them with adequate healthcare. 

    Graduate employees perform essential work for the University as teachers and graduate assistants. At some point, every undergraduate student is taught by a graduate instructor, and over 2,800 graduate workers on this campus provide valuable labor. In fact, Illinois ranks 6th in the country among universities where graduate employees teach the most classes. 

    In spite of its dependence on graduate labor, the University is proposing cuts to the tuition waivers that many graduate employees need in order to be here. This will directly impact the quality of education and research at Illinois, harming our ability to attract the graduate workers who help make UIUC a preeminent institution of higher learning and research in the United States. 

    Additionally, the GEO’s contract proposals call for a living wage and adequate healthcare coverage. Despite the fact that Teaching Assistants making the minimum salary earn about $6,000 less than the University’s own published cost of living, the University has not raised their wages in a meaningful way, while attempting to force them to pay significantly more for their healthcare in the current contract negotiations. Graduate employees should not have to choose between healthcare and food, and the quality of education at Illinois will suffer as long as this is the case. 

    We urge Provost Cangellaris and the University bargaining team to work with GEO to provide graduate employees with a fair contract. If the Graduate Employees’ Organization is forced to strike, we understand that this drastic measure means that the University administration is unwilling to resolve negotiations at the bargaining table. We recognize that striking graduate employees are protecting themselves, undergraduates, and the integrity and quality of education at the University of Illinois.  Therefore, we support this and all efforts by GEO to secure economic stability for its members.   

  • Congratulations to Associate Professor Soo Ah Kwon for receiving the Conrad Humanities Professorial Scholar Award.

     

    Administered through the College of Letters and Arts, the goal of the Conrad Humanities Professional Scholar Award is to recognize exceptional achievement in humanists between the initial promotion to associate professor through the promotion to professor, with the aim of enhancing retention of our strongest scholarly leaders. These awards are designed to recognize tenured faculty members who are established or emerging leaders with exceptionally strong scholarly recognition and significant promise for continued achievement.

    The award is funded by a gift from Arlys Conrad, the daughter of an Illinois farmer and teacher, Mrs. Conrad was strongly encouraged in her pursuit of higher education. She always aspired to attend the University of Illinois and in 1940 she received a four-year scholarship. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education

  • Listen now: AAS Professor Lila Sharif on Imagine Otherwise Podcast

    What does the rising popularity of the olive mean for global consumers, producers, and resisters? How do our intimate connections with food build memories and notions of place?

    In Episode 39 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast, host Cathy Hannabach and guest Lila Sharif discuss the role of food in both transnational settler colonialism and resistance to it, how Lila uses the classroom to get students thinking about their own food histories, the complex dynamics of ethical consumerism and where we get our food, and decolonization as an embodied, everyday form of imagining otherwise.

    http://ideasonfire.net/podcast/39-lila-sharif/

     

  • AAS Professor Augusto Espiritu wins Excellence in Mentoring Award

    Congratulations to Asian American Studies Professor, Dr. Augusto Espiritu for winning this year's Association of American Studies Excellence in Mentoring Award!
     
     
  • AAS Professor Martin F. Manalansan wins Richard Yarborough Mentoring Award

    Congratulations to Asian American Studies Professor, Dr. Martin Manalansan for winning this year's Richard A. Yarborough Mentoring Award!
    The American Studies Association Minority Scholars Committee awards the Richard A. Yarborough Mentoring Award to honor a scholar who, like Richard Yarborough, demonstrates dedication to and excellence in mentoring underrepresented faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and/or college, university or high school students.