- Get an overview of the concept of academic freedom, including freedom in research, teaching, and governance. We’ll also discuss extramural speech, along with the differences between academic freedom and free speech. November 10, 1 p.m. eastern time. Register here.
- Explore AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey data with new interactive tools (described in the item below). December 7 at p.m. eastern time. Register here.
The AAUP is reaching out to offer you the chance to participate in one of our remaining fall webinars:
Fall 2022 | Vol. 108, No. 4
The fall 2022 issue of Academe calls on faculty to become actively engaged in budget and finance issues on their campuses and in their states. Contributors to the issue explore the power of coalitional organizing to push back against austerity measures, demand transparency, and hold institutions accountable for their obligations to faculty, staff, students, and the communities beyond their campuses. Aimee Loiselle, assistant professor of history at Central Connecticut State University, and Jennifer M. Miller, associate professor of history at Dartmouth College, served as guest editors of this special issue of the magazine. They are members of Scholars for a New Deal for Higher Education. Additional articles will appear in a forthcoming online supplement to this special issue.
Follow the links in the table of contents below or download a PDF of the entire issue at https://www.aaup.org/issue/fall-2022 using your member log-in information.
If you have forgotten your password for the AAUP website, or wish to update your subscription preferences, please visit our member portal.
Organizing Faculty through Budget Activism
Preemptive cost-cutting as a call to action.
By François Furstenberg and Naveeda Khan
Austerity, Labor Exploitation, and the Academic Stretch-Out
On job losses and expanding workloads.
By Jill Penn
Building a New Framework of Values for the University
Emerging from the ivory tower’s shadow.
An interview with Davarian L. Baldwin by Jennifer Mittelstadt
System Error for Connecticut’s Community College Consolidation
Promising, but failing, to put students first.
By Colena Sesanker
American Higher Education's Past Was Gilded, Not Golden
A missed opportunity for genuine equity.
By Elizabeth Tandy Shermer
Stop Trying to Find the Money—Create It
A proposal for universities and public money.
By Scott Ferguson and Benjamin Wilson
Standing Up to Money and Power with Cross-Sector Organizing around Endowments (online only)
Collaborative communities of shared interests unite.
By Kelly Grotke
Student Debt Cancellation on Campus (online only)
An executive order begins a virtuous cycle.
By Charlie Eaton
Budget and Finance Rucksack (online only)
Tools and resources for tackling austerity.
By Aimee Loiselle with Jennifer M. Miller
The Myth of Higher Education’s Magic
Jeffrey Melnick reviews The Education Trap by Cristina Viviana Groeger.
Saving the Seed Bank and Defending Academic Freedom
Diane Kemker reviews Dirty Knowledge by Julia Schleck.
A Meditation on Restoring Faith in Our Nation
Stephen Parks reviews What Universities Owe Democracy by Ronald J. Daniels.
From the Guest Editors: Revolutionizing Higher Education Budget and Finance
Legal Watch: The Supreme Court’s Hard Right Turn
From the President: Stronger Together
AAUP and AFT Affiliate in Historic Partnership
New Council Members Elected
New AAUP Data Website
2022 Summer Institute in Reno
Student Debt Update
Contract Wins for Collective Bargaining Chapters
AAUP Criticizes Purdue’s Presidential Appointment
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In the days after Labor Day, we’re also celebrating the recently finalized historic alliance between the AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers. Now, together, we represent more higher education workers than any other union. Our game-changing partnership brings together the AAUP’s academic expertise and the AFT’s power and reach, and creates a movement with the strength of hundreds of thousands of higher education workers. Together, we will be stronger in our work to dismantle systemic racism and fight white supremacy; we vow to bring a racial equity lens to all aspects of all of our work. Together, we will be more effective at beating back outrageous legislative intrusions into the academy—intrusions that obliterate the academic freedom needed for effective teaching, research and free inquiry. Together, we will be united in our efforts to ensure that higher education plays its essential role as a public good in a democracy.
Join or renew your AAUP membership today.
Because the affiliation builds on our successful joint organizing work, we anticipate bringing even more academic workers into our movement and being able to disseminate AAUP’s essential work on academic freedom and shared governance more broadly throughout the higher education community. We will be working together to organize a more powerful academic labor movement around our principles on campuses, in statehouses, and in Congress.
We’ll be fighting with you and for you. It’s an exciting time and we have never been stronger.
Join or renew today.
BY ALEX ZUKAS
In the latest act in a continuing coup against the faculty at National University that started in spring 2020, the interim president and board of trustees just imposed a faculty handbook that defines academic freedom and shared governance in ways that are unrecognizable to AAUP members as it completely hollows out those concepts. With regard to academic freedom the handbook asserts,
“The University supports academic freedom as a right and a responsibility within the academy. As a right, academic freedom ensures the freedom of thought and expression as it applies to the artfulness of teaching, as well as discipline/subject content publication, oral presentation, and extramural activities. Academic freedom as a responsibility include specific, intentional learning-science based strategies and andrological interventions, which will be designed collaboratively across academic stakeholders. While faculty members have the right to choose and use external, third-party materials . . . those material, syllabi and all content must adhere to the design standards as outlined by the president and provost office” (2).
In sum, the handbook gives complete academic freedom to the president and provost and curtails academic freedom of the faculty. What could go wrong? With regard to shared governance, it maintains,
“National University’s model for Shared Governance is one of Participatory Governance . . . Faculty participate in formal governance committees. Including but not limited to the University Senate and the Academic Affairs Council . . . The University Senate is forum for faculty, staff, and administrators’ input on matters of significance to the University . . . Each School will elect three (3) full-time faculty as nominees to the University Senate. The Dean will select one (1) of the three and propose that member to the provost for approval” (12).
Notice how faculty nominations have become rebranded as an “election,” while the dean and provost select the actual member who will represent faculty at the senate but is not directly elected by the school faculty. To call this patronizing and denigrating hardly begins to cover the outrageousness of an arrangement that is nothing more than administrators selecting faculty members (who are supposed to represent the views and opinions of faculty) to a purported shared governance body. It even gives fig leaves a bad name. Selection of faculty to the Academic Affairs Committee (14), which includes members of the faculty, staff, and administration and oversees all academic matters at NU, follows the same condescending and demeaning procedures as the university senate. The only constituents of these faculty senators are the dean and provost. The faculty did not vote for them, and they have no responsibility to represent faculty views and interests since they are not accountable to the faculty.
The handbook is a travesty, developed by a committee of appointed administrators and faculty, vetted by deans, the provost, and the interim president, who could suggest changes. Faculty did not vote to accept the handbook, as had been past practice with the previous faculty policies for twenty-five years. Faculty members were allowed to make suggestions but almost none of them made it into the final version vetted by administrators and the board. So, we can already see how this new “shared governance” system will work: faculty will be canvassed for opinions but the administration will decide the extent of academic freedom for faculty, how faculty get reappointed (or not), and what passes for shared governance. It is a form of institutional despotism that is trying to look benevolent but is transparently not.
The interim president and board of trustees look at National University as a business first and an educational institution second, and they run it like a business: they are the bosses and the hired hands do not talk back or control any aspects of their workplace. The handbook concentrates decision-making power around curriculum and faculty status in the administration. Department chairs are now faculty “supervisors” (see “Human Resource Management” in Appendix 3). This dystopian vision for higher education is a travesty. National University’s faculty policies once cited the AAUP Redbook in its clauses on academic freedom and shared governance. The new faculty handbook takes the deskilling and degradation of the faculty to a new level. Every faculty member I know is demoralized and looking to leave. The strange thing is that the administration and board are so callous and enamored of corporate practices that they don’t understand why faculty are disaffected: aren’t they just employees who are told what to do and accept the tenets of a hierarchical, capitalist workplace where power flows from the top and obedience from below?
The travesty that has happened to National University is also a result of a broken accreditation system. The NU faculty senate and the NU AAUP advocacy chapter filed complaints with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) outlining the violations of shared governance, the breaking of faculty contracts, and the impact on student learning. WASC drew out its investigation of the senate complaint and did not meet its own deadlines for responses. In the end it found the university to be “in technical compliance” and vowed to visit the institution in a year. WASC has yet to respond to the content of the advocacy chapter complaint and is also not adhering to its deadlines for notification and resolution. It looks to many of us that WASC has been subject to regulatory capture by the very institutions, like NU, that it is supposed to oversee. As noted by Michael Itzkowitz in “The Accreditation System Is Broken,”
“The accreditation system is broken. Accreditors regularly approve colleges that have no business operating. Without major changes in the system, they will continue to do so. While the short-term consequences of these unmerited endorsements are bad — particularly for the students who will probably have little to show for their time in college besides a heavy debt load — the long-term consequences could be devastating. Rubber-stamping inferior institutions devalues a college degree and threatens the entire legitimacy of higher education.”
This is a cautionary tale. NU had a robust shared governance structure for over twenty-five years. Under the cover of COVID, the board of trustees broke faculty contracts, fired about 20 percent of the faculty, issued new temporary contracts, abrogated the negotiated faculty policies, unilaterally imposed a new faculty handbook, demoralized the remaining faculty, and have wrecked the curriculum at NU. I suspect that what the faculty at NU experienced is part of a new playbook circulated by the forces that are corporatizing higher education. The AAUP’s report from a little over a year ago, COVID-19 and Academic Governance, highlighted the erosion of shared governance at National University and several other institutions of higher education in the United States. Your institution, like the University of Akron may be next.
Read the full National University faculty handbook approved by the Board of Trustees on July 29, 2022. You can compare all of its articles and provisions to those of the National University faculty policies approved by a vote of the faculty senate (now abolished), the faculty, and the board of trustees in 2018.
Alex Zukas is a retired professor of history at National University and Past President of CA-AAUP.
Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession Released
The AAUP's 2021–22 Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, released last week, found that real wages for full-time faculty members decreased 5.0 percent after adjusting for inflation, the largest one-year decrease on record since the AAUP began tracking this measure in 1972. Read more.
Delegates to the Biennial Association Meeting also voted for one at-large and five regional members of the AAUP's governing Council. See the council members here.
This year the AAUP was pleased to offer this excellent new content presented at this year's SUMMER INSTITUTE JULY 21-24 in Reno, Nevada..
On March 7, AAUP reached out to our members about a proposed affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers.
There are three components to AFT member benefits programs:
1) Individual member benefits including discount programs, life insurance, and car rentals;
2) benefits that help local chapters by providing coverages and services that are more expensive to source at the local level; and
3) benefits that chapters can purchase for members as part of their dues process.
As a reminder, a delegate vote on a proposed affiliation with the AFT will take place at the AAUP Biennial Meeting in June. Affiliation documents and more information (including more information on AFT benefits for members and chapters) can be accessed on the AAUP website here (member login required).
The 2022 AAUP Summer Institute is coming to Reno, Nevada! We’re excited to announce that the University of Nevada, Reno, is the site of this year’s program, to be held July 21–24.
In two years, the world of higher education has changed radically, with new COVID-safety concerns, more austerity budgets targeting faculty and staff, and rising governance and academic freedom violations. That’s why Summer Institute is needed more than ever. Faculty, students, and academic workers all over the country are rising up and taking a stand on their campuses to advocate for the standards and resources our students and communities need to thrive.
Join more than two hundred other higher education professionals for four days of exciting workshops and special sessions. Featuring presenters experienced in policy, strategy, organizing, and leadership, the training at this year’s Summer Institute will give faculty members the skills and tools to build a powerful voice on campus and to:
View the complete program and reserve your spot now for the 2022 Summer Institute, July 21–24 in Reno, Nevada!
Today we are sharing an update on an important initiative that began last August, at the direction of the AAUP’s national governing Council. In September 2021, we announced that the AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers were exploring ways to expand and enhance our very successful ten-plus-year organizing partnership.
We are incredibly proud of the work that AAUP and AFT have done together to organize faculty and graduate employees around the US and to strengthen higher education and the profession. As a result of our partnership, more than twenty thousand faculty and other academic workers are in unions that are jointly represented by the AAUP and the AFT. In addition, we have worked together on important legislative efforts at the federal and state level to expand access to higher education, ensure adequate funding for public institutions, increase Pell grants, and expand academic workers’ right to unionize. AAUP members are already being included in planned student loan debt clinics run by AFT higher ed staff, and AFT members have had the opportunity to attend our Summer Institutes. Since last fall, we’ve been discussing how to best build on our successful organizing work, support our shared commitment to education and the common good, and build a stronger and more inclusive higher education movement.
Our update today is to share with you that a tentative agreement on an affiliation with the AFT has been reached, and that the AAUP’s governing Council has unanimously recommended that a vote to ratify the affiliation be brought to the AAUP’s biennial meeting in June. The tentative agreement is the result of months of work by the AAUP and AFT’s teams, thorough consultation with the AAUP’s Council, and careful review by our legal experts and auditors. It also reflects the four core principles that the Council laid out at the beginning of this process:
● Preserve the AAUP’s independence and autonomy
● Increase the AAUP’s reach and influence among the profession
● Maintain the AAUP’s brand in higher education
● Be fair to the AAUP staff
Under the terms of this affiliation agreement, all AAUP members, by virtue of their membership in the AAUP, will also be members of the AFT/AFL-CIO. All AAUP collective bargaining chapters will become chartered locals of the AFT and all AAUP advocacy members will be part of a nationwide AAUP-AFT local. All CB and advocacy chapters will also continue to be chartered chapters of the AAUP. AAUP members and AAUP chapters will have access to AFT support and services, including specific AFT member benefits. AFT higher ed members will have access to certain services and programs that the AAUP provides as a service to the profession. Current “solo” AFT higher ed members will not become members of AAUP as a result of this affiliation. All new academic organizing—in both CB and non-CB settings—will be joint AAUP-AFT efforts and all new members will enjoy the rights and benefits of, and have access to the services and support of, both national organizations.
This affiliation will not result in an increase in national AAUP dues and, for current AAUP members, AFT per capita will be covered as part of the AAUP dues. Where applicable, AAUP solo CB chapters will become members of the AFT state federation at a reduced per capita rate. AAUP solo CB chapters will also become members of their state AFL and central labor councils (CLCs). While solo AAUP CB chapters will be required to pay per capita to the AFT state federations, the state AFL and the local CLC, we believe these costs will be financially manageable for most solo AAUP CB chapters. (For more information, click here and log in with your AAUP member credentials.) In order to provide support and assistance to our solo CB chapters as they make this transition, the AAUP has set up a CB chapter assistance fund. The national AAUP and its chapters will remain autonomous organizations with full control over their own finances, policies, programs, and staff. The national AAUP will continue to be governed by the AAUP Council; will continue to have its own committees; and will have complete autonomy over the Redbook, our policies and statements on behalf of the profession, investigations, censure, and sanction. The AAUP will continue to employ its own staff and will retain sole authority over management of its budget and programs. While the affiliation with AFT is not cost-free to the AAUP, we do believe that the financial impact on our organization is manageable.
An overview of the agreement, a frequently asked questions document, and the agreement itself can be found here (member login required). The relationship between the national AAUP and its chapters will not be changed. The AAUP will continue to operate as an autonomous entity and will continue to provide the same services and support to our chapters, our members, and the profession.
This affiliation recognizes and builds upon our successful joint organizing agreement and will allow the AAUP to maintain our organizational independence and our reputation in the profession while expanding our influence and reach in higher education. It preserves and memorializes our two organizations’ strong commitment to working together and recognizes that important and distinct role that the AAUP plays in the academy. Crucially, this affiliation recognizes that there is much more we can do together to confront the challenges facing higher education and our nation. It establishes a structure on which we can build a stronger, more inclusive higher education movement. It provides a pathway for our chapters to work more closely in solidarity with their AFT colleagues around the country and in their states and communities. It also allows us to enhance our successful joint organizing work and to expand into sectors of the academy where we have not yet had the opportunity to organize together. We know that the AAUP’s knowledge and expertise paired with the AFT’s reach and resources have been a winning combination at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, the University of New Mexico, the University of Alaska, the University of Illinois-Chicago, and the University of Vermont, to name a few. We believe that there is much more that we can do together to organize the unorganized in union and non-union settings.
The three of us, along with the Council of the AAUP, believe that this is a truly historicmoment for the profession. It is a truly historic moment for free inquiry in a free society, a truly historic moment for the common good, and a truly historic moment for democracy. We don’t believe it’s an exaggeration to say that democracy is hanging on by a thread right now, and a strong higher education movement is part of what’s needed to salvage and strengthen our democracy. In the few months since we started exploring possibilities for affiliation, the attacks on higher education and the common good have increased. Educational gag order legislation aimed at curtailing academic freedom has been introduced in thirty-eight states. We see administrations acquiescing to pressure from governing boards and state legislatures on fundamental issues such as academic freedom, faculty shared governance, and due process. We see state systems launching full assaults on tenure.
At the same time, we see a renewed interest in organizing to confront these challenges among faculty and other academic workers. On campuses where unionization is possible, we see faculty forming organizing committees and starting union campaigns. We also see a renewed interest in building and strengthening advocacy chapters as a vehicle for campus change. The ongoing challenges facing higher education and this renewed interest in organizing underscore the need for solidarity—with our colleagues and within our own organization, to be sure, but also with other organizations and with the academic labor movement as a whole. This affiliation will help all of us—AAUP and AFT Higher Education members together—achieve this.
The full text of the agreement, along with a summary, can be found here (member log in required) If you are unable to access this material, please email email@example.com, and we will provide the information in an alternate form. We will be sending a formal notice about the affiliation vote to take place at the June 2022 biennial meeting later this week. Please note that we will also hold a question-and-answer session on Thursday afternoon, June 17, at the AAUP Conference and Biennial Meeting. Over the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to chapters and leaders to discuss this proposed affiliation further and to answer any questions they may have. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to the three of us if you have any questions.
Irene Mulvey, President
Paul Davis, Vice President
Chris Sinclair, Secretary-Treasurer