Faculty and staff

Paul RainsbergerPaul K. Rainsberger

Director and associate professor

Paul Rainsberger has served as an associate professor of extension education and as director of the program since February 1997. Prior to coming to Missouri, he served on the faculty of the Indiana University Division of Labor Studies for 18 years and as an attorney with the Indiana State Employees Association, an affiliate of the American Federation Teachers. He received a bachelor's in political science from The Ohio State University and a juris doctor degree from the Indiana University of Law. He has received university awards for excellence in teaching and distinguished service.

At MU, Rainsberger is responsible for all continuing labor education activities of the Columbia campus. In that capacity, he works with unions from across the state in the development and delivery of educational and research projects designed to serve the diverse needs of workers in a climate of rapid political and economic change. He also represents the Columbia campus in the administration and delivery of the credit labor studies certificate program of the University of Missouri System.

Rainsberger's teaching and research interests include labor and employment law, workers' compensation, grievance representation and arbitration, collective bargaining and related issues. Much of his work focuses on industrial relations policy and trends in the automotive and construction industries and in the public sector.

Rainsberger is a member of the University Continuing Education Association, the University and College Labor Education Association, the Industrial Relation's Research Association, CWA Workers' Education Local 189 and the Missouri Federation of Teachers.



Rob RussellRob Russell

Labor education specialist
Coordinator, University of Missouri–St. Louis Labor Studies certificate program

Rob Russell has been with the University of Missouri since September 2011. He received his bachelor's in geography from the University of Missouri, a master's in geography from the University of Alabama, and a doctorate in geography from the University of Iowa in 2009. A broadly trained human geographer, his dissertation research focused on the political geographies of popular music. 

Prior to joining extension, Russell worked for unions in Iowa and Wisconsin where he had the opportunity to organize and represent public employees at all levels of government. He also was a research assistant at the University of Iowa Labor Center and taught courses on political geography at the University of Iowa.

Russell holds a variety of teaching interests, including workplace representation; collective bargaining; leadership development; labor communications; globalization and labor; and labor geographies. He is a member of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA), United Association for Labor Education (UALE) and AFT-Missouri. He also serves of the board of the Gateway Chapter of LERA.



Joyce ConklinJoyce Conklin

Program coordinator

Joyce Conklin has been with the program since 1998. As a program coordinator, Conklin is responsible for overseeing and performing a range of diverse administrative activities for the department such as program planning and development, fiscal monitoring and reconciliation, and reviewing and controlling incoming and outgoing correspondence.

Other duties for which Conklin is responsible include serving as a central point of liaison for other departments and external constituencies in the resolution of day-to-day matters, providing administrative support for faculty and staff, establishing, updating, and maintaining files, inventories, and records, and assisting in personnel searches, screening and hiring decisions.