The GTAC Steering Committee consists of eight elected officers who carry the daily work of our union with the help of active union members. Their role is to guide our union towards achieving our shared goals and aims by defining campaign priorities, identifying potential risks, determining effective and achievable strategies and tactics, maintaining timelines and deadlines, and providing advice and making decisions about our work as it develops.
Neill Kennedy is a GTA in the Department of American Studies and is currently in her seventh semester of teaching. Neill works as an Instructor of Record for multiple American Studies courses, all of which are part of KU’s core curriculum. She has taught over three hundred students. Neill has previously served as a union steward, as the Organizing Co-Chair, and as the Vice-President of GTAC.
“My favorite GTAC memory isn’t a single event, but rather the camaraderie and the friendships I’ve built with my colleagues across departments since joining my union in our efforts to make KU a more equitable institution for all.“
Ellen Collier is a GTA in the Department of French, Francophone & Italian Studies and is currently in her 9th semester of teaching. Ellen works as an Instructor of Record in Elementary and Intermediate French and has taught over 130 undergraduate students. She is currently writing a dissertation that analyses medieval French poetry. Ellen has previously served on several committees and as a union steward.
“I joined GTAC after participating in a successful series of protests against proposed tax legislation aimed at taxing GTA tuition waivers as income. Being forced to pay taxes on income we never received would have been detrimental to GTAs across the country. Being on the steering committee has been a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to helping GTAs across all departments advance in solidarity toward a better, more equitable future.”
Zach Glassett is a GTA in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and is currently in his 6th semester of teaching. Zach works as an Instructor of Record of Foundational Spanish courses and has taught over 100 students. His area of study focuses on revolutionary movements and leftist political parties/governments in Central America and Mexico in the 20th and 21st century. He has previously served as the Vice President of the Graduate Student Association for his department.
“My favorite GTAC moment happened in a department union meeting. Talking to other union members about my concerns was enlightening, and it was the first time as a GTA that I felt like my voice was heard and my needs would be taken seriously. That’s when I decided to become a dues paying member of our union.“
Andrew Kustodowicz is a GTA in the History Department and is in his 3rd semester of teaching. Andrew works as an Instructor of Record and has taught over 100 students. While his research focuses on Japanese environmental history, his teaching experiences ranges from the history of American film to the economic history of China.
“My favorite GTAC moment happened at my very first meeting, which was focused on fighting for subsidized health insurance for GTAs. I came because I was anxious about the possibility of losing my health insurance, but after hearing GTAC leadership and other union members speak with passion about fighting for healthcare, I left the meeting with a new sense of assurance and solidarity with my fellow GTAs. That’s when I decided to join our union. Later that year, we won an increase in our health insurance subsidy, and we haven’t stopped winning yet.“
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Hannah Bailey is a GTA in the Department of American Studies GTA and is in her 10th semester of teaching. Hannah works as an Instructor of Record for KU core courses and has taught over 400 students. She has previously served as a union steward, as the Communications Chair, and as the GTAC representative to the “Roundtable on Building Union Power” at the 2019 American Studies Association conference.
“My favorite GTAC moment was participating on a panel about organizing and solidarity with current and former GTA union members from across the U.S. at the American Studies Association conference in 2019. It felt so affirming to know that GTAs at KU aren’t alone in being disrespected and exploited – it’s all of us across academia. That moment really brought it home to me that standing together in union is the only real way to really build the academy that we deserve.“
Patrick Gauding is a GTA in the Department of Political Science and is in his 11th semester of teaching. Patrick works as an Instructor of Record teaching courses in American politics and public policy and has taught over 400 undergraduate and graduate students. His research focuses on criminal justice reform and local government. Patrick has previously served as a union steward and as a Negotiations Team member in 2018.
“My favorite GTAC ‘moment’ is actually the growth of our union over the last few years. Watching my colleagues learn to see and grasp the power we hold together as a union has been truly inspiring. Every time we stand together to create safe and fair working conditions for GTAs and other KU workers, every time we utilize our strength to build a better University for our students, I know that’s the real power of our union.
Katie Hinders is a GTA in the Department of Film and Media Studies, and is in her 7th semester of teaching. Katie works as an Instructor of Record and has taught over 250 students. Her research interests include dystopian films and queer creators and aesthetics. Teaching a broad range of topics in the FMS department has challenged Katie to expand her horizons and demonstrated the importance of standing together in union to ensure that all GTAs are protected from exploitation.
“My favorite GTAC moment happened during a statewide union training. So many kinds of workers were there – from Steelworkers to Teamsters to K12 teachers – and it was affirming to see how much everyone truly cared about our work as GTAs. At the same time, learning about our union history and strategies to achieve our goals cemented my resolve to stand in solidarity with my union comrades.“