Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure

Report of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, 2010–11

The 2010–11 report of Committee A includes an important mix of judicial and legislative business. In this introduction, I want to highlight two achievements, one judicial and the other legislative. Acting on the recommendations of Committee A with the concurrence of the Council, the 2011 annual meeting voted to remove the University of New Orleans and Loyola University New Orleans from the list of censured administrations. Following the removals of Southern University at New Orleans by the 2008 annual meeting and of Tulane University by the 2009 annual meeting, these two additional removals mean that all of the New Orleans universities censured in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina have provided appropriate redress to affected faculty members and their regulations are now in compliance with standards supported by the AAUP. The AAUP’s prompt investigations and reports following Hurricane Katrina and the ultimate removals of censure completed this year constitute one of the most significant accomplishments in the history of the AAUP.

Report of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, 2009–10

This 2009–10 Committee A report indicates the range of issues the committee addressed and the variety of activities it undertook during the past academic year. The removal and imposition of censure cases dealt with financial exigency and academic due process. The sample of cases settled through staff mediation included late and blanket notices of nonreappointment, threatened salary reductions based on novel “performance standards,” suspension and threatened dismissal following post-tenure review, and misunderstandings regarding the evaluation of a visiting professor. These matters involved a variety of institutions throughout the United States, private as well as public universities, medical schools, and a historically black college

Defending the Freedom to Innovate: Faculty Intellectual Property Rights After Stanford v. Roche

This report is being issued in the midst of fundamental changes in the character of faculty rights and academic freedom. The purpose of the report is to put the dialog on intellectual property on a new foundation, one that leads to a principle-based restoration of faculty leadership in setting policy in this increasingly important area of university activity. Administration efforts to control the fruits of faculty scholarship augur a sea change in faculty employment conditions, one too often imposed without negotiation or consent.

Long-Serving Staff Member Bob Kreiser Retires

B. Robert Kreiser, who joined the Association’s staff in July 1982, retired in the middle of August.

Universities Undermine Supreme Court Ruling

The AAUP is launching an educational campaign to inform faculty about their rights and to encourage faculty senates and contract negotiating teams to secure the rights the Supreme Court has confirmed.

Incentives to Forgo Tenure

Tenure is "indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society." So declares the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure. The academic community, however, has never lacked for proposals that would undermine tenure and thus its role in serving students and society. Among such current proposals, one in particular requires comment because it has surfaced in recent cases considered by Committee A.1  It proposes that prospective faculty members accept renewable term appointments and forgo consideration for tenure and/or that current faculty members renounce tenure in return for some advantage, such as a higher salary, accelerated leave, or other pecuniary consideration. Proponents of these agreements argue that they embody a free exchange of mutual benefit to the parties. If academic tenure withers in consequence, they claim, that only demonstrates that, in a free market, faculty will have demonstrated their unwillingness to support tenure.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: Northeastern Illinois University

The administration of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago violated principles of academic freedom when it denied tenure to a candidate who had opposed its wishes in a dispute between linguistics faculty and teachers of English as a second language (TESL), concludes an AAUP investigating committee in this new report.

The Freedom to Teach

The freedom to teach includes the right of the faculty to select the materials, determine the approach to the subject, make the assignments, and assess student academic performance in teaching activities for which faculty members are individually responsible, without having their decisions subject to the veto of a department chair, dean, or other administrative officer.

Statement on the Freedom to Teach

The AAUP has released a brief statement on the freedom to teach. The statement, which you can read here, discusses issues that arise when multiple faculty members work together to teach different sections of the same course.


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