April 08, 2013

Kevin Peterman and Judith Barbanel: Higher Education Members of the Year

Source: NYSUT Constituency Awards

Kevin Peterman
Faculty Association of Suffolk Community College

PetermanAn activist with more than a quarter of a century in the union, Kevin Peterman is a professor of library services at Suffolk CC and executive vice president of the Faculty Association. In 2005, he received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

FA members recognize Peterman by his omnipresent camera, FA lapel pin and booming laugh. The man behind the camera is a serious, dedicated individual who fights for the faculty and students at SCC. As chair of the Political Action Committee he works constantly to educate elected officials and candidates about the role of the college and what is needed for it to function effectively. He also leads the college VOTE-COPE campaign, and the local consistently achieves the top Shanker Award for per-member donations. As the statewide coordinator for ED 39, he has traveled all over the state to help NYSUT community college locals set up their own political action and VOTE-COPE programs.

Peterman has provided invaluable advice and guidance to many faculty members as they face the promotion cycle. His workshops help many young members navigate the daunting process and improve their chances of success. He also has provided essential support for his local at the bargaining table. His research skills and understanding of the political subtext translate into impeccable preparation.

Kevin Peterman's segment of the Constituency Awards video begins at 3:35.

Judith Barbanel
Professional Staff Congress

BarbanelLast year, the English Department at Queensborough Community College stood up to the City University of New York's new Pathways curriculum, which would reduce classroom hours with students. When the administration lashed out at the faculty members, their PSC chapter chair Dr. Judith Barbanel never faltered.

No matter how much pressure was put on her by the college president and the administration, she never wavered in her support for her colleagues and her leadership on campus. With Judy's support, the department maintained its position and continues to preserve the time in class that students need.

Her work as chapter chair for the past six years includes a deep commitment to legislative work; the chapter was just recognized by the PSC for having the highest number of VOTE-COPE participants in the system.

Some of the most important battles in higher education are being fought over attempts to streamline the curriculum, and when that battle erupted at Queensborough, Barbanel was the right person to lead her chapter. She has a stiff spine and a warm heart, an intelligence that flashes out in her wonderful sense of humor, and a commitment to collective work that is unshakable.

Judith Barbanel's segment of the Constituency Awards video begins at 6:49.