Academic Freedom for the Southern Community

Archive for October, 2011

But Kennedy’s contract — assuming the legislature OKs his appointment — calls for “a term not to exceed five years from the date of such ratification.”

The contract, which includes a yearly salary of $340,000, also specifies that “either party may terminate this agreement with 120 days notice.”

Kennedy could not be reached Monday for comment, and Michael P. Meotti, executive vice president for the Regents, referred questions to the governor’s office.

Colleen Flanagan, a spokeswoman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, said in an e-mail: “We don’t believe that the President of the Board of Regents — the CEO of a public university system similar to UConn’s President — should be subject to the same political turnover that commissioners and other department heads may be. We’ll review the issue and may seek a legislative change if necessary.”

She would not comment further.

Rep. Roberta B. Willis, D-Salisbury, co-chairwoman of the legislature’s higher education committee, said of Flanagan’s comment, “That’s fine, but the law says coterminous.”

The president’s term length was raised as an issue when the legislation was being hammered out, Willis said (read more…)

October 28, 2011 – 3:00am

More than 7,000 people have signed a petition calling for Florida lawmakers to defend the liberal arts. The campaign started after Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, questioned the value of educating more people in fields such as anthropology. The governor suggested that the state needs to focus on science and technology fields. But the petition states that bashing other disciplines will not promote STEM education. “Innovation and scientific discovery do not happen in a vacuum. To create the problem-solvers of tomorrow we need to maintain a well-rounded curriculum. The issue with low graduation rates in STEM programs need to be addressed at the K-12 level, not through attacks on higher education,” says the petition. “Florida universities are not vocational schools. Their task is to teach students to think critically and to provide a well-rounded education, which absolutely involves the liberal arts. No government has the right to tell an individual what their chosen career should be nor does it have the right to qualify one discipline as superior to another.”

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

From the latest edition of Academe

Big or small, established or fledgling, an AAUP chapter on your own campus can accomplish a surprising number of things that even the most committed faculty member can’t do alone.


By Cary Nelson

A chapter can help institutionalize AAUP policies. Many campuses already incorporate the AAUP’s principles and recommended standards—including explicit AAUP language—in their faculty personnel policies. But many more AAUP principles should be built into your faculty handbooks and campus regulations, from the joint statement on student rights to guidelines on maintaining academic freedom in electronic communications and on college and university websites. As the world changes, the AAUP clarifies and strengthens its policy statements and recommended institutional regulations. We are now, for example, urging that better protections for speech related to shared governance be adopted on campuses nationwide. Your AAUP chapter can promote the adoption of these policies and be an articulate source of information about them. It is a continuing project, one that can have an immense impact on campus life.

A chapter can speak truth to power. The most immediate difference an AAUP chapter can make is to be a source of frank, honest, and forthright commentary on nearly every aspect of campus life. A chapter, moreover, is not a voice crying in the wilderness. Whenever possible, it should represent the consensus view of a core faculty group formally recommending actions, issuing warnings about real problems, and deflating administration hyperbole about false emergencies. An AAUP chapter provides the faculty with a voice that can shed sunlight on cant, self-interest, and deception and applaud good practices. Then, of course, the chapter needs to promote solutions to problems.

A chapter can organize the faculty. Even a small chapter can fulfill the first and second functions, but with greater numbers comes greater impact and influence. To reach the highest plateau—majority membership in a chapter—it is necessary to walk the halls encouraging colleagues to join the chapter through one-on-one conversations. Our experience shows that faculty members will join if approached individually by a knowledgeable colleague. The best practice is to approach new faculty members in their first weeks on campus. An organized faculty can press the university to increase the percentage of full-time, tenure-track teachers. It can press the administration to spend more resources on instruction. It can be a coherent voice founded on continuing solidarity. A faculty senate can represent the faculty and can build effective consensus around an issue, but it typically cannot organize the faculty. For a senate is an organic part of the institution and is dependent on the institution for its continued existence. An AAUP chapter, by contrast, is an independent faculty organization that is beholden to no person and no other entity; it is beholden instead to the principles and standards of the profession.

A chapter can promote sound governance. An AAUP chapter should be an ally, partner, and political advocate of faculty governance and its processes and products. When necessary, it can remind the senate, campus committees, and the administration of good governance principles. It can sound a warning when people—whether administration, faculty, or governing board—deviate from those principles.

A chapter can issue its own position papers. An AAUP chapter can harness faculty skills at research and writing and apply them to the general good and welfare. On a whole range of issues, the faculty needs a well-reasoned, well-researched, well-documented point of view. Detailed position and policy papers that address local issues or give a local context to national concerns are one way to shape institutional policy, build consensus, and avoid errors that are all too often the product of governance by administrative fiat. Oral opinion is more easily dismissed, but a high-quality white paper can carry the day, at least with those who value and respond to reasoned argument. But words also need to be supplemented by constructive actions.

A chapter can pursue grievances. A collective bargaining local will inevitably have a grievance officer to assist individual faculty members who have been mistreated or ignored. People often are not very good at being their own champions. At the very least, a chapter needs a local committee on academic freedom to assist people who are filing grievances. A more dispassionate third party can do better. Campuses without collective bargaining often have inadequate grievance procedures or none at all. Even without a union contract, your AAUP chapter can form a grievance committee to assemble evidence, pursue cases, and obtain justice for aggrieved faculty members. It can negotiate informally but effectively with the administration. It can seek assistance from the AAUP’s national office and pursue some cases jointly with the national staff. Doing a good job at providing these services can enhance a chapter’s credibility with both the faculty and the administration.

A chapter can collect dues. A faculty that wants to act collectively needs the resources to finance some of its activities. Faculty senates, unfortunately, too often have no financial resources. As a voluntary organization, however, an AAUP chapter can add modest local dues to the cost of a national membership. Dues can support member travel to state and national meetings, finance a local website, fund release time for an organizer, pay for copying and distributing documents, assist with legal costs, or pay for professional analyses of campus finances. An AAUP chapter bank account gives the faculty a degree of independence it can have no other way.

A chapter can obtain and distribute information about campus finances. This chapter function deserves an entry of its own because of its increasing importance in tight times. The AAUP has members who specialize in campus finances and who can—for a fee—analyze campus budgets and financial statements. You cannot negotiate with the administration about resources and priorities unless you know how much money is available and how it is being spent. You also need to know the history of campus spending and the likely status of future revenue streams. Where money is concerned, knowledge really is power.

A chapter can educate the entire community. A chapter should aim to reach not only faculty members and administrators but also students, board members, community members, legislators, and all employee groups. A chapter should be the key democratic voice on campus, and it should be clear to all that it is devoted to the general good and welfare. A chapter can use all the resources available to communicate its messages— from newsletters and press releases to websites and e-mails to teach-ins and social networks. By listening to and learning from other constituencies, a chapter can help articulate positions that reflect the interests of multiple groups. A chapter needs to communicate with all key constituencies regularly. If a newsletter gives people information they cannot get elsewhere, including detailed information about campus finances, the newsletter will be read. The AAUP conducts workshops on communications and media relations at its annual Summer Institute.

A chapter can build relationships with the national professoriate. Faculty members mostly build relationships with people at other campuses in their own disciplines. However rewarding those connections are, they are not sufficient to stay well informed about how to deal with the many general challenges higher education as a profession now faces. Membership in the AAUP— the only fully multidisciplinary national faculty organization—gives both individuals and chapters input, connections, support, and inspiration from colleagues everywhere.

A chapter can become active in a state conference. Most states have statewide organizations for chapters—called state conferences—that give chapters a way to consult with one another and plan actions relevant to state concerns. State conferences organize lobbying efforts, support membership drives, inform members and chapters about emerging issues, and help with local academic freedom and shared governance problems.

A chapter can collaborate with an experienced national staff to solve local problems.The various departments in the AAUP’s national office offer experienced assistance to individuals, chapters, and state conferences—membership; academic freedom, tenure, and governance; organizing and services; communications; finance; government relations; law; and research. A century of knowledge and experience is available with a telephone call or an e-mail. An immense array of resources is available on the AAUP’s website.

A chapter benefits from national representation. The national office represents faculty interests at a national level. We monitor legislative proposals, submit amicus briefs to the courts, conduct research on higher education trends, track salary patterns in an annual report, and issue strong statements on critical issues.

Cary Nelson is president of the AAUP and Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His career is the subject of the collection Cary Nelson and the Struggle for the University, and his most recent book is No University Is an Island. His e-mail address is

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CSU-AAUP Newsletter

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You should have recieved an email version of this newsletter:

Vol. 2, Issue 16 |   October 26, 2011

Campus Equity Week

National AAUP is a cosponsor of Campus Equity Week, an international event designed to draw attention to working conditions of part-time and full-time non-tenure track faculty. Campus Equity Week occurs biennially and is being celebrated this year from October 24-30.

At its last meeting, the CSU-AAUP Council approved funding to support Campus Equity Week. The events planned on CSU campuses at this time include:

–  Central Connecticut State University: A reception honoring the creative and scholarly achievements of CCSU’s part-time faculty will take place on November 2 from 4:30-6:30 in the Connecticut Room (Memorial Hall). All are welcome to come!

–  Western Connecticut State University: AAUP invites faculty to stop by its tables for cider, muffins and a bit of education about the status of contingent faculty employment. The table will be at the Westside Campus Center on Monday, October 31 from 4-5:25 and Warner Hall (Midtown Campus) on Thursday, November 3 from 12-2.

Support our part-time faculty and contingent labor by participating in Campus Equity Week activities!

CSU-AAUP Council 10/20

–  CSU-AAUP leadership will meet with leadership of the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges (4Cs) to discuss the higher education consolidation

–  CSU-AAUP’s Ad Hoc Committee on the BOR is planning a town hall event for November 10. Members of the BOR and the Higher Education Consolidation Committee will hear presentations from students and alumni of CSU about their experiences at the four institutions.

–  The CSU-AAUP President will attend the “Second National Gathering of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE)” from November 4-6 in Boston. The CFHE is a grassroots, national campaign to support quality higher education with the mission of ensuring that affordable quality higher education is accessible to all sectors of our society in the coming decades (

–  The CSU-AAUP Council  discussed the election of faculty members to the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents of Higher Education in Connecticut.


October 24, 2011, 7:34 pm

By Frank Donoghue

Robin Wilson wrote an important article in the Chronicle recently, “Back in the Classroom: Colleges are calling off the deals that allowed many professors time out from teaching” (October 16), which I think deserves to be revisited and amplified. Wilson focuses on cases of professors who were hired on contracts that stipulated they would have reduced teaching loads, either because they were assigned large lecture courses or heavy-duty administrative duties. She begins with the case of Christopher Neck, hired two years ago by Arizona State University. He says “his department head promised he could teach just one course a semester. It would be a large class . . .that met once a week and enrolled as many as 500 students.” But last year, his new department head told him that, largely as a consequence of budget cuts, the deal was offRead More

WASHINGTON — For several years now, science advocates and economists have been locked in a debate over whether the United States is producing too few scientists and engineers to sustain the country’s historical technological edge and satisfy the demands of employers. With a new report today, Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce hopes to bridge the divide — by arguing, essentially, that the country needs more people with scientific competencies than it does actual scientists per se.

The debate over the viability of the scientific work force has broken down into two camps

Read more…

College Diversity?

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