Graduate Employee Unions
Tom August, February 2000
The two articles ("Graduate Student Radicalism," and "From Sociality to Responsibility") dealing with "Issues in Graduate Education" in the November 1999 Perspectives read like a time warp for this veteran of the TAA chapter at the University of Wisconsin.
Everything that Mattson, Kavanagh and Vaughn discussed recalled my experience, first as an undergraduate supporter of the TAA picket lines in 1970, and then as a member of the union in the late seventies. Vaughn's article about sociality, community, and responsibility was especially right on. The one thing that I would like to add from my own experience was staff development that the union itself provided, something that our mentors did not provide because they were either too busy or uninterested. It was the TAA and not the history department of the University of Wisconsin that offered "seminars" in teaching methods. For many of us, the TAA provided the only teacher training we had prior to our first academic position, a sad statement indeed on the preparation of academics.