Rudy Fichtenbaum, a professor of economics at Wright State University in Ohio, took office as the fiftieth president of the AAUP at the annual meeting in June. Fichtenbaum pledged to make “organizing to defend our profession and genuinely reform higher education” the highest priority for the AAUP, stating that “the AAUP needs to become a more powerful, articulate, and energetic force committed to organizing and mobilizing faculty in a broad variety of ways to fight for our profession.”
An experienced faculty unionist, Fichtenbaum helped organize the faculty at Wright State in the late 1990s and served two terms as faculty president. He was a leader in the fight against Ohio’s antiunion Senate Bill 5, testifying against the law in both houses of the Ohio legislature in early 2011. He has also focused on labor issues in his academic work, writing numerous articles and book chapters about the effect of unions on wages and benefits, racial and sexual discrimination, changes in income distribution, and other topics.
Prior to his election, Fichtenbaum served as president of the Ohio AAUP conference, chair of the Ohio conference’s Committee on Organizing, treasurer of the AAUP’s Collective Bargaining Congress, and a member of the national AAUP’s governing Council. Since 1999, he has also worked as a consultant to help AAUP chapters analyze institutional finances, and he regularly leads workshops at the AAUP’s Summer Institute and other events on how to understand college and university finances.