Authors of Union – September ‘21

Authors of Union Logo

Welcome to Authors of Union, highlighting our many published authors who are transforming lives and communities.

Dear White Friend: The Realities of Race, the Power of Relationships and Our Path to Equity

By Melvin Gravely (Ph.D. ’99)

Dr. Gravely eloquently accomplishes what many have undoubtedly wished to do: talk openly to someone we know about race in the United States today. Gravely uses significant experience as a business and civic leader to express a rare balance in this timely message. Dear White Friend is a forthright, collegial conversation via chapters in the form of letters, each with a combination of personal reflection and meaningful hard facts. He challenges the reader but without judgment or indictment. His depth of thought, deftness of expression, and clear, layman’s terms make for an urgent call to begin to close the gap between races in America. The book presents an invitation to understand three questions at the heart of the issue: What is really going on with race in our country? Why must we care? And what can we do about it together? In the end, Gravely calls on us to ask ourselves, “What is my role in all of this?” After reading Dear White Friend, readers will understand why their answer to his question can change everything.


Haiku Bio

By Kathryn Kurtz, (Ph.D. ‘06)

Haiku Bio is an epic autobiography or natural history of life and place. Dr. Kurtz describes the book this way, “Haiku was not quite invented by Matsuo Basho in the 1680s but he was responsible for its debut into mainstream literature. As a wandering poet, he immortalized the places he visited by “painting” scenes into word pictures. My Haiku is a new breed in the sense that it is much more than traditional transcendentalism designed to invoke meditation; it is the most condensed version of Ezra Pound’s earliest imagism. In what will be an epic haiku autobiography or natural history of life and place, I write “haiku-imagism” nonfiction.”

Dr. Kurtz is a poet, author, editor, and educator. You can learn more about her work at this link.


Power Despite Precarity Strategies for the Contingent Faculty Movement in Higher Education

By Joe Berry (Ph.D. ‘02) co-author with Helena Worthen

Power Despite Precarity describes higher education as the site of an ongoing conflict. At the heart of this struggle are the precariously employed faculty ‘contingents’ who work without basic job security, living wages or benefits. Yet they have the incentive and, if organized, the power to shape the future of higher education. The book is part history, part handbook and a wholly indispensable resource in this fight. Alumnus Joe Berry and Helena Worthen outline the four historical periods that led to major transitions in the work lives of faculty of this sector. They then take a deep dive into the 30-year-long struggle by California State University lecturers to negotiate what is recognized as the best contract for contingents in the US.

The authors ask: what is the role of universities in society? Whose interests should they serve? What are the necessary conditions for the exercise of academic freedom?  Providing strategic insight for activists at every organizing level, they also tackle ‘troublesome questions’ around legality, union politics, academic freedom and how to recognize friends (and foes) in the struggle. (Source: Pluto Press)


A Force Such As the World Has Never Known: Women Creating Change 

By Sharon Mijares (Ph.D. ‘95) Editor

Dr. Mijares is a psychologist, professor, and author/editor of seven books. Her books focus on psychological and spiritual development, women’s empowerment, and a deeper look at human relationship from a global perspective. She also writes about balancing power and beauty to create a healthier world. A Force Such As the World Has Never Known: Women Creating Change in which she co-edited brings women together from many nations and many areas of work. She has presented these efforts in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Mexico, Scotland, Uganda, United States and Venezuela. Click on this link to learn more about her work.


Literary Critic

Chris Via (M.A.’10)

Via is a computer scientist and widely published literary critic. His reviews appear in Grove Atlantic, Rain Taxi Review of Books, The Kenyon Review, and Los Angeles Review of Books. He hosts a literary book review “Leaf by Leaf,” at this link. The talented critic published the afterward in the novel (Novel Explosives by Jim Gauer). His Union M.A. is in Literature and Writing.

Check back next month for more Authors of Union and their publications.


Union is a global leader in providing higher education degrees for the adult learner. Your Goals. Your Success. Your Union. We’ve Got U!

 Click to learn more.