Barbara Bowen, a professor of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY), taught for fifteen years before becoming president of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY. A scholar of 17th-century English literature and African-American studies, Bowen earned her Ph.D. at Yale and has published numerous works in her field. Throughout her academic career, she also worked in progressive political movements and as a labor organizer.
Bowen’s election as president of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) in 2000 was as part of a collective of faculty and staff with deep roots in progressive politics. The PSC represents 25,000 faculty members and professional staff at CUNY and the CUNY Research Foundation.
Bowen began her union career when an assignment as a VISTA volunteer turned into an effort to organize 800 tobacco pickers in the Connecticut River Valley. She also spent several years as a community organizer.
In addition to her position as an AFT vice president, Bowen is a member of the NYSUT board of directors and the executive board of the New York City Central Labor Council.