Five Questions with AAUP “Member-At-Large” Jeff Cohen

(Caption for photo: Greta inspecting a flight of ales for Jeff in Salt Lake City)

Can you tell us briefly about yourself and your “PSU story” – your history with the institution, the nature/quality of your work here? 

I joined the faculty of the Justice & Security Academic Unit in Fall 2022 as an Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice. As a faculty member, I teach courses across the criminology and criminal justice degree programs, serve on committees across campus, and engage in scholarship. My scholarship focuses in two main areas: 1) the criminalization of schools and school bullying and 2) gender and masculinities. 

What’s the formal “job description” of your position?

I serve as an elected “at-large” member of the Executive Committee. “At-large” members do not have specific duties in the same ways as other officers. In my understanding, “at-large” members generate and support union initiatives, work on special projects, and attend meetings of the Executive Committee. 

What have you learned in this position? Has anything surprised you? Is there anything you think would surprise readers of this interview? 

I don’t think this surprised me, but serving on the Executive Committee has reinforced my view of faculty colleagues here at PSU as deeply committed to one another’s success and to students and their learning. 

What about serving in this position has been rewarding for you personally? 

As a new faculty member, serving as a member of the Executive Committee has been a wonderful way to get to know colleagues and better understand PSU as an institution of higher education. I have served as a faculty member at several institutions and it always takes time to get a sense of the unique cultures and systems that exist on a campus. Serving on the Executive Committee as an “at-large” member has helped me get situated more quickly here at PSU. 

What would you tell a union member who wants to be more involved, but is nervous about running for an elected position?

Serving as an “at-large” member is a great entry point for those who are interested in supporting our union in more formal ways but may be nervous or unsure about the workload. As an “at-large” member, you have the freedom to choose the initiatives you focus on, provide support as you are able, and learn more about union operations.

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