Nominations & Elections for Executive
Department of Sociology
I am seeking re-election because I am committed to creating a stronger, more inclusive and responsive union. Moving forward, WLUFA will need the support and involvement of its members if it is to successfully address matters of funding and faculty renewal, central to issues of workload, fairness for contract faculty and institutional governance.
I have been a contract faculty member at Laurier since 1998 and have been involved with WLUFA for the past six years, 5 years on the WLUFA Executive Committee as the Waterloo Contract Faculty Liaison Officer. I am also a long-serving contract faculty representative on my DIC.
In addition to my executive and contract faculty responsibilities (including Focus on Contract Faculty), I chaired the last two Strategy/Action Committees in support of contract faculty negotiations, was a member of and then chaired the Communication Committee, and am a member of OCUFA’s Contract Faculty/Faculty Complement Committee. Most recently, I brought together representatives from WLUSU, GSA, WLUSA and LMG to organize an all-candidates debate for May which will focus on postsecondary education (details forthcoming).
I am running for a position on WLUFA’s Executive Board. I have been a committed member of the Laurier community for more than ten years where I have taught in the History and Medieval and Medievalism Studies Departments. In the fall of 2007 I defended my PhD thesis and found myself defending our rights as Contract Faculty a few months later when the Administration forced us on strike. From the time, I have worked with WULFA in numerous capacities to improve working conditions for Contract Faculty.
I have served on the Communications and Strategic committees and have worked with other members of the executive team to bring pressure on the Administration to honour its obligations to Contract Faculty. I am also currently serving as a Trustee on the CAUT Defense Fund. In this role, I have had the opportunity to work with other faculty unions as they also work for workplace fairness. My time with the CAUT Defense Fund has allowed me to engage with different ideas of how to continue to work towards improved conditions at Laurier.
If elected, I would be honoured to serve the members of Laurier and to work with the executive team to make Laurier an equitable and fair workplace.
Byron Williston – Associate Professor – Philosophy
Byron did his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Toronto, and has taught previously at the University of Toronto and the University of South Florida. His main areas of research are early modern philosophy and environmental ethics (especially the ethics of climate change). His most recent publication is The Anthropocene Project: Virtue in the Age of Climate Change (Oxford, 2015). Until recently, he was Chair of the Ethics Committee of the Green Party of Canada.
Thank you for the time and consideration you are investing in the elections for our union Executive Committee. Over the past year, the academic community at Wilfrid Laurier has been challenged to live up to our motto, mission, and values that hold truth as the cornerstone of our institution and a commitment to inspiring lives by leading though example in fostering engaged and responsible citizenship. It is our responsibility at WLUFA to support, protect, and defend our Membership in the many ways that Members endeavour to meet and surpass these challenges. We are as strong as we are united.
As Contract Faculty in Biology, Health Sciences, Psychology, Criminology, and Social Work, I teach a wide range of courses from an interdisciplinary perspective covering cells to society. I have a growing research program supervising dozens of undergraduate students investigating the bio-psycho-social determinants of mental health and illness, substance use, transformative education, and persuasion in public discourse and social policy. My lab is supported by grants and awards from Laurier and the Faculty of Science Students’ Association.
In my ten years at Laurier, I have made connections with many Members at both the Waterloo and Brantford campuses. I am well aware of the challenges of precarious work, including the stresses of job insecurity, unequal pay, and increasing physical and mental stresses of a rapidly changing academic environment. As a Member of the Contract Faculty Negotiating Team, I fought for fair pay, greater job security, and access to health benefits in the most recent round of bargaining. I was profoundly moved by the stories of my colleagues who dedicate themselves to their students’ academic success and overall well-being.
I am also committed to improving relations between Contract Faculty and Full-Time Faculty. Currently, I am collaborating on a project to facilitate communication, mentoring, and support between Members which will ultimately be beneficial for students as well. By focusing on the principles and goals that unite us, we can overcome the obstacles that risk dividing us, and grow even stronger as a union. We can lead by example in speaking truth to power, fostering scholarly excellence, and engaging responsible citizenship.
Sincerely and in Solidarity,
Laurie Manwell, PhD
Veritas Omnia Vincit (Truth Conquers All)
Kari Brozowski – Full-time (Faculty of Human and Social Science)
I have been a member of the WLUFA Executive committee and the WLUFA Communications Committee from 2013 to present, as the Brantford Liason Officer. Throughout these terms I have worked hard for the working conditions and rights of WLUFA members. My knowledge of the Wilfrid Laurier University Act and WLUFA Collective Agreements has provided me with the tools to defend the rights of WLUFA members. In addition to these duties over the past year, I have also been serving as the chair of the Nominations Committee for the Senate and as a member of the Honorary Doctorate Committee.
Rob Kristofferson is an Associate Professor of History and Social & Environmental Justice at WLU’s Brantford Campus. He is also Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Social Justice & Community Engagement. He has been active in the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA) since he started at Laurier in 2006. He has served in an array of capacities including, President, Vice-President, Past-President, Executive Member, Grievance Officer, Co-Chair of the Joint Liaison Committee, bargaining side table committees, Strategy Committee, Constitutional Review Committee, Bilateral Workload Committee, and much more. At the provincial level he has served on both the Executive and the Board of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) as well as on various OCUFA subcommittees including, Activity-Based Budgeting, Program Prioritization, and Mobilization. At the national level he has served as WLUFA Representative on the Council of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) for two years. He also served as a Trustee of the CAUT Defense Fund for three years.
I graduated in 1996 from University of Guelph with a double-major BSc degree in Mathematics and Chemistry. I obtained two Master of Arts degrees in Economics: one each from the University of Western Ontario (1999) and University of Guelph (1998). In 2004, I earned my PhD in Statistics from the University of Western Ontario after which I joined the Department of Mathematics at Laurier (2004) as Assistant Professor.
My WLUFA experience started in 2005 as the Department of Mathematics Full-time Bargaining Liaison. Since 2015, I have been involved in two employment pay equity committees. In 2015 and 2016, I was a member of the Bilateral Committee for Full-time Faculty Salary Anomalies and Pay Equity. Since 2017, I am a WLUFA representatives of the System Gender Equity Committee. Currently, I serve as a member of WLUFA Executive Committee.
Given my experience working for our full-time Faculty members and Librarians as part of the Salary Anomalies and Pay Equity Bilateral Committee, I would like to continue with my efforts to promote employment equity and equal pay for equal work at Laurier.
I am a CAS member who teaches at both the Waterloo (Faculty of Arts) and Brantford (Faculty of Liberal Arts) campuses. I have been part of WLUFA for 15 years. I currently sit on the WLUFA Diversity and Equity committee. I am committed to upholding a focus on diversity and equity within our faculty association and our larger university community. For me, this means addressing and combatting the continued microaggressions faced by racialized, disabled, LGBTQ+, and contract faculty, as well as working toward implementation of the recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for increased hiring and retention of Indigenous faculty and inclusion of Indigenous knowledge.
Azim Essaji – Associate Professor – LSBE
Azim Essaji is Associate Professor of Economics. He received his BASc and MA from McMaster University, and a JD (LLB) and PhD from the University of Toronto. His primary research interests are in international trade and development, with a particular focus on the role of institutions in shaping developing country trade patterns. Azim has served on the School of Graduate Studies Awards Committee, the University Librarians’ Continuing Appointment and Promotion Committee and chaired an OGS Doctoral Awards Committee. Moreover, he is a two-time member of the WLUFA Full-time Bargaining Committee, serving as co-Chief Negotiator for the last round. Currently, he serves as the Acting President of WLUFA, having previously held the position of Vice-President, Internal. In his free time, he is the director of the Master of Arts in Business Economics program. Prior to joining Laurier in 2004, Azim was a steward at CUPE 3902, the unit representing teaching assistants and part-time faculty at the University of Toronto.
Jim Gerlach – Contract Faculty (Faculty of Science)
After joining Laurier in the fall of 2006, I became involved with WLUFA during bargaining for Contract Faculty in 2007-2008. Initially I was a member of the Strategy Committee and then, during the ensuing strike, worked in the strike office. Since that time I have served on the negotiating teams for the last three Contract Faculty collective agreements and was privileged to serve as the Chief Negotiator for the latest round of bargaining.
I was first elected to the WLUFA Executive Committee in 2011 and since then have served as association Treasurer. As Treasurer I have endeavoured to provide fiscal responsibility with full transparency to the membership. The demands on the resources of WLUFA have been increasing steadily while revenues have not kept pace, due primarily to Administration budget cuts and early retirements. If re-elected, I will work to ensure that the services provided by WLUFA to its members are not eroded.
I believe it is imperative that as a faculty association we form strong alliances with our colleagues in Ontario and across Canada. I am currently a member of the OCUFA Ad Hoc Committee on Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement that organized the recent “Social Media Day of Action” campaign. I have also served on the CAUT Executive as Chair of the Contract Academic Staff Committee and was a speaker at the national CAUT Contract Academic Staff Conference in October. We must continue to form partnerships to ensure our voices are heard. As a member of the Executive, I have emphasized the need to form bonds with other labour groups at the national, provincial and local levels. If re-elected, I will work to strengthen WLUFA’s ties with existing groups and to forge new alliances.
I remain firmly committed to improving working conditions for all faculty at Laurier. I believe this can only be accomplished by a united Laurier faculty, one that fights for the rights of both continuing and contract members. If re-elected, I will continue working to represent ALL members of WLUFA and to ensure ALL voices are heard.
Anne-Marie Allison, PhD
Department of Mathematics
Contract Faculty Rep. Department-in-Council and Science Divisional Council
- Executive Committee (Brantford Contract Faculty Liaison and Acting VP: External)
- Joint Liaison Committee (meets with Univ. Administration)
- WLU Task Force on Freedom of Expression
- OCUFA ad hoc Committee on University Governance
Anne-Marie has been honored to serve on the WLUFA Executive Committee for the last two years and ran in the recent WLUFA Presidential election. A dedicated instructor for more than 10 years at Laurier, she is passionate about sharing the beauty and usefulness of mathematics with students from various disciplines. During this time, she has observed how faculty face many obstacles in their efforts to achieve excellence in their teaching, research, and service.
Collaborative and communicative in her working style, Anne-Marie holds herself and others to a high level of accountability and integrity. She is not afraid to ask questions in order to best serve her colleagues and Laurier students. Her WLUFA service started in 2013 as a member of the Strategy Committee for Contract Faculty negotiations, and propagated via the Communications Committee (2015–2017), the Negotiating Team for Contract Faculty (2016), the Joint Liaison Committee (2017–present), and the Executive Committee (2016–present). Her varied service has been rewarding work, enabling her to see the numerous ways that all faculty and librarians can help each other and how WLUFA can proactively and positively serve its Members. Her WLUFA experience has provided deeper insight into how the Administration’s decisions impact students, faculty, librarians, and staff. It has also reinforced how vital it is for faculty and librarians to work together in the current climate of challenges.
Anne-Marie seeks to preserve the integrity of academic programs and to improve the environment in which faculty and librarians conduct their duties and responsibilities, while holding central the importance of students and their learning conditions. She welcomes the opportunity to continue serving on the Executive Committee, representing all faculty and librarians.
Robin Slawson – Associate Professor – Biology
During the past 15 years at Laurier, I have been in a full-time faculty position, maintaining an engaging teaching and research platform, summarized below. I have also had the opportunity to serve the university in a variety of ways including two terms as a Faculty Senator (second in progress), which included participation on various Senate committees as well as serving as undergraduate and graduate officer at the department level over the years. Recently, I have served one term on the WLUFA Executive committee and, in this capacity; have had the opportunity to view the life of the university from yet another vantage point. I am willing to continue to learn and represent members in this capacity for a second term, should I get elected, as I feel it is important to have as much perspective as possible on behalf of our membership. Together, the collective knowledge and experience brought forward by the Executive team can best represent our highly valued members.
Slawson received her PhD in Environmental Microbiology from the University of Guelph in 1993 and M.Sc. in Biology from the University of Waterloo in 1989. Graduate research focused on heavy metal toxicity and metal resistance in environmental/aquatic microorganisms.
Prior to joining Laurier, she was a Research Assistant Professor with the NSERC Chair in Water Treatment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Research focused on microbiological aspects of drinking water treatment.
Within the discipline of applied environmental microbiology, the current Laurier research laboratory focuses primarily on aspects of microbial water quality with specific attention to the environmental persistence of antibiotic resistant pathogens. Ongoing projects include constructed wetland treatment of wastewater including the role of microbial community structure in bioremediation potential, biofilm formation by selected waterborne pathogens and the relationship to antibiotic resistance, and bacterial-mycorrhizal interactions in wetland plant root systems. The Laurier Environmental Microbiology Laboratory also represents the Pathogen Resilience Platform for the Southern Ontario Watershed Consortium.
Extensive undergraduate and graduate supervision has taken place over the past 24 years resulting in over 80 HQP. Courses taught include introductory undergraduate, senior undergraduate as well as graduate courses in microbiology and engineering.
Andrew Herman received his B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and his PhD in Sociology from Boston College. American by birth and Canadian by choice, Dr. Herman taught at Boston College, Drake University and College of the Holy Cross before joining the Communication Studies department at Laurier in 2004. H has written widely in the field of social theory, media and culture and his work has appeared in scholarly journals such as Cultural Studies, Critical Studies in Media Communication, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Anthropological Quarterly. Among his many publications is his book, The “Better Angels of Capitalism: Rhetoric, Narrative and Moral Identity Among Men of the American Upper Class (Westview, 1999) and his edited collections, Mapping the Beat: Popular Music and Contemporary Cultural Theory (Blackwell, 1997), The World Wide Web and Contemporary Cultural Theory (Routledge, 2000). His most recent book is Theories of the Mobile Internet: Materialities and Imaginaries (Routledge, 2015). He is currently working on three research and writing projects: “Cats that look like Kittler”: Internet Cats and the Medium Materialities of the World Wide Web,1995-2015; Ethics as Method in the era of “Big Data”; and New Spirits of Informational Capital(ism): Cultures of Innovation in Canadian Tech Clusters and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. He also has considerable experience in labour-management relations, having worked with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (US), the United Auto Workers (US), and the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (US-Canada). He has served on the WLUFA Bargaining Committee for the 2017-2020 Contract Negotiations as well as a WLUFA representative to the Joint Liaison Committee for 2017-2018.