Statement from IFO President-Elect Brent Jeffers

I am moved by the support and trust expressed by electing me as president of the Inter Faculty Organization (IFO). The IFO has meant a great deal to me and my family. It has provided for me a professional satisfaction and lifestyle I never thought was possible. And, it is the IFO that has afforded all of us the protections that we dearly value as faculty. The professoriate is a great profession; we do meaningful work, we are deliberate in our effort, and we transform individuals and communities.

I also want to thank outgoing President Jim Grabowska. Jim has done a remarkable job through turbulent times and has overseen a transformation of our organization. I am grateful for his steady leadership. He has left the organization in a stronger position than when he entered and I will strive to build on those accomplishments.  

During the campaign, I had the opportunity to visit all seven campuses and it left me encouraged at the opportunity the IFO has to strengthen our vital role in the labor movement and higher education across Minnesota and the country. I am optimistic that we, as a united voice, will advance our shared vision, values, and guiding principles. My job will be to strengthen your voice in efforts to advocate for a quality higher education system, protect our shared governance in that system, honor our academic freedom, and enhance the experiences of our students.  

This is an exciting time in the IFO. Our grassroots organizing efforts have helped raise awareness and engage faculty that has not otherwise been engaged. Our Delegate Assembly made dramatic changes to address inequities and engage more faculty of traditionally marginalized communities. Because of these efforts and many others, faculty who have not always been heard or felt welcomed will be provided opportunities to engage and lead our organization. We will only become stronger once all faculty have the chance to participate and know their voices are heard. These efforts will accomplish that and make our union stronger.

However, the IFO faces challenges. Higher education continues to evolve and more stresses are added to faculty responsibilities each year. Our profession is being redefined by powerful influences, both internal and external, that are determined to shape the future of higher education in their vision. Therefore, it is critical that we maintain a strong faculty voice on campuses, at the System level, and at the State Capitol.

Our challenges must be confronted by a large and engaged membership. I encourage you to initiate conversations with your colleagues about the future of higher education, the role faculty must play in shaping our future, and how important the IFO is to protecting and advancing our shared values. Our resolve should resonate in the ideal that curriculum in education is only as good as the faculty delivering the content! 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or suggestions. I am always open to your feedback. It is my honor to represent you and I look forward to working with you.

In solidarity,

Brent Jeffers
IFO President-Elect