Biology Professor Brent Graves has been elected as the new NMU AAUP President with 86 votes to incumbent Becky Mead’s 62 votes. Graves is certainly no stranger to the NMU AAUP. He has served as the union’s grievance officer since 2010 and is excited about his new role in the union. “I think that we have many opportunities to have a positive impact on NMU. Part of the chapter’s job is to make sure that faculty are treated fairly. The other role for the NMU AAUP is to help to make NMU a place where faculty can have happy, productive, and rewarding careers. Toward this end, the process of shared governance can shape the decisions that affect how the university is run, and this is where the president has greatest influence. Faculty want to work at a quality university where they have the resources necessary to do their jobs well. I will work to make our AAUP chapter efficient and effective at promoting these goals,” Graves said.
Becky Mead, who served as president for the past two years, voiced her support for the ideals stressed by Graves. “I congratulate Brent on his win, and I wish him the best as the NMU AAUP continues the work of defending faculty rights and protecting the principles of shared governance and academic freedom,” Mead said.
In the short-term, Graves feels the biggest problem facing the union and NMU is having sufficient faculty and resources. “Falling enrollment has impacted NMU’s budget and, consequently, resources for faculty. Our job then is twofold. First, we must help administration understand that teaching and scholarship (in their many forms) allow us to accomplish the core mission of the university. Second, we must help to grow enrollment. I firmly believe faculty are the best student recruiting and retention tool available,” Graves said.
Graves will serve a two year term as the head of the NMU AAUP starting July 1.