Welcome to the 2019-2020 academic year - an exciting time on a university campus. Our universities educate roughly 50,000 FYE students per year and it is the faculty, coaches, librarians, and counselors that have the most integral impact on transforming the lives of our students. We are also at a time when both internal and external forces are attempting to erode the quality of public higher education. The IFO is working hard to protect our institutions, the students we serve, and the profession we enjoy.
At this critical time in our union’s history, an engaged faculty and our role in shared governance are essential. In order to maximize the effectiveness of our advocacy efforts, we have added a position that will engage more members in the important work we are doing. Alanna Galloway began her tenure as the Director of Organizing and Training with the IFO in July. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in labor organizing and training. I look forward to you being able to partner with her on initiatives to advance our shared values. We will share more in the coming days. If you’re interested in the efforts on your campus, please contact Alanna at email@example.com. Davenia Porter also joined the IFO staff this summer as the new administrative assistant. You will have the pleasure to meet Davenia if you visit our office in St. Paul. She will be an asset to our success.
IFO Commitment to equity and inclusion
It is imperative that faculty challenge systemic oppression by empowering marginalized members through innovative and intentional equity and inclusion initiatives. Faculty must be empowered to lead efforts to foster learning communities that respect the inherent worth of all students, faculty, and staff based on values of justice, inclusion, and equity. Recently, we have developed equity caucuses to support and organize faculty of color, women faculty, LGBTQ+ faculty, and faculty with disabilities. The caucuses are meant to mobilize the collective voices of our marginalized faculty to improve working conditions for all. In addition, we are developing an IFO Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan that I will ask the Board to consider for adoption this fall. The strategic plan will guide the organization in the future as we strive for equity within our union to build solidarity and ensure that our collective voice is an inclusive voice. For more information about the IFO’s Equity Caucuses or equity and inclusion initiatives please contact IFO Equity Caucus Coordinator Kim Park Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reimagining Minnesota State
A year ago, this fall, the MinnState Board of Trustees began a year-long initiative to reimagine higher education at the system level. The IFO advocated successfully to have a strong higher education perspective at the six forums and to include faculty, staff, and student input at the campus level. In addition, the IFO expressed an interest in partnering with the system office around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. IFO Academic Affairs Coordinator, Becky Omdahl, also gathered input from faculty at all seven universities and presented a final report at the May Board of Trustees meeting. After considering the information gathered and assessing the value proposition the MinnState System provides the state of Minnesota, Chancellor Malhotra proposed one goal;
“By 2030, Minnesota State will eliminate the educational equity gaps at every Minnesota State college and university.”