After two decades at the helm of the Concordia University Part-Time Faculty Association (CUPFA), Maria Peluso is stepping down as president. Having also worked with the Inter-Union Council and countless committees and advisory boards on behalf of students, staff, faculty and the community at large, Peluso has been a constant in the Concordia community. Peluso has earned a reputation for excellence “through her fierce dedication to the betterment of the institution she cherishes and the community she has nurtured through teaching, advocacy and influencing public policy,” says René Lalonde, former president of the Concordia University Union of Support Staff – Technicians Union. What does her “stepping down” from her presidential role at CUPFA mean for Concordia? It means Peluso will be “stepping up” to dealing with problems at the prevention stage instead of at the intervention phase.
“I feel that it is time for me to accept a new role, to provide an ounce of prevention instead of a pound of cure in the policy process,” Peluso explained. “One of the places to enhance our institution’s mission is alongside the other members on the board of governors, a group of dedicated individuals; volunteers who are offering their own diverse expertise.” Thus Peluso will be continuing her work as a member of the Board of Governors, the highest decision-making body that influences public policy and the day-to-day lives of the Concordia community.
There is no doubt that her institutional memory, as a result of over 30 years with Concordia, will help provide context to important discussions. “Maria is first and foremost an educator and mentor, she has helped guide and teach all of us in the union movement as well as students, of the importance of accountable, universal and just policy implementation. I know she will continue to advocate for that at the Board level too,” said Lalonde.
Although her colleagues in the union movement will miss her at their table, (as will CUPFA members),Peluso feels CUPFA is in excellent hands with her successor, David Douglas, “[He] shares the view held by part-time faculty and others on the role of CUPFA and “unions” – when required to defend members as a union, and to also safeguard the interests of the University community as an association. CUPFA’s two roles are not mutually exclusive, nor confrontational. Dave is a team leader, one who seeks harmony and who is solution-based as a thinker.”
Peluso’s commitment to the values of diversity, sustainability, and integrity, are critical components of her make-up. “Maria is a force of nature, aimed at ensuring responsible, ethical management and enhancing Concordia’s reputation as an example of how society should function,” says Lisa Montgomery, a former executive with the Concordia University Support Staff Union. “Maria is no armchair intellectual; she has a proven track record as an applied political scientist of public administration and public policy, a known federalist and solid advocate for government accountability. Her love of Concordia’s faculty, staff and students is in real-time.” Montgomery believes that Peluso will bring a wide-variety of experience in organization, conflict resolution and relationship building to her continued roles within Concordia.