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On Partnerships with Foreign Governments: The Case of Confucius Institutes

Allowing any third-party control of academic matters is inconsistent with principles of academic freedom, shared governance, and the institutional autonomy of colleges and universities. Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state and are allowed to ignore these principles.

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

Tensions over control of the fruits of faculty scholarship have been slowly building since the 1980s and have intensified over the last three years. There have long been differences of opinion over ownership of patentable inventions, but recently a number of universities have categorically asserted that they own the products of faculty research. And there is increasing institutional interest in declaring ownership of faculty intellectual property subject to copyright—most notably evident in demands that faculty members cede ownership of online courses and other instructional materials to their universities, a trend that began escalating in the 2012–13 academic year.

Statement on Intellectual Property

The management of inventions, patents, and other forms of intellectual property in a university setting warrants special guidance because it bears on so many aspects of the university’s core missions, values, and functions, including academic freedom, scholarship, research, shared governance, and the transmission and use of academic knowledge by the broader society.

Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications

This revised report brings up to date and expands upon the Association’s 2004 report on the same topic, while affirming the earlier report’s basic principles. Academic freedom, free inquiry, and freedom of expression within the academic community may be limited to no greater extent in electronic format than they are in print, save for the most unusual situation where the very nature of the medium itself might warrant unusual restrictions,

Controversy in the Classroom

The AAUP clarifies that the group "Students for Academic Freedom," which purports to rely on AAUP principles concerning controversial subject matter, in fact goes well beyond the AAUP's statements and is inimical to academic freedom and the very idea of liberal education. 

Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications

This draft report, prepared by a subcommittee of the Association’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, was approved by Committee A and the AAUP’s national Council in November 2013 for publication for comment. We welcome your comments on the draft report; please send them to Jennifer Nichols (jnichols@aaup.org) by January 10.

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.

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.

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.

Agency Fee Audits

The AAUP agency fee audits are posted here as they become available.

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.
 

Report of the Committee on College and University Governance, 2009–10

Issues of shared governance have always been central to the AAUP’s concerns, and at no time have these issues been more critical than during the present economic crisis. Too often administrations have used the recent economic recession to justify layoffs, furloughs, and restructuring without involving faculty in the decision making process. In these circumstances, the president and general secretary of the Association in the past year authorized the first face-to-face meeting of the Committee on College and University Governance since 2006. In addition to a meeting held in Washington on April 2–3, 2010, the committee also met by conference call on May 18, 2009, and on May 5, 2010, and during these meetings considered various ways of highlighting the importance of involving faculty in college and university governance. Without such involvement, crucial decisions affecting faculty members’ ability to carry out their teaching and research functions are made without adequate consideration of academic concerns.

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

Report of the Committee on College and University Governance, 2010–11

Issues of governance continue to beat the heart of the AAUP’s concerns and activities. Attacks on legitimate faculty involvement in college and university governance have resulted not only in increasing challenges to the role of faculty senates, especially in regard to restructuring and program elimination, but also in efforts to deny faculty the right to engage in collective bargaining.

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 the Committee on College and University Governance, 2011–12

The major activity of the Committee on College and University Governance this past year was the holding of the second annual AAUP Shared Governance Conference and Workshops. The event took place November 11–13, 2011, in Washington, DC,and was attended by well over two hundred people. The governance committee took advantage of this event to meet both immediately before and after the conference to discuss other items of business.

Report of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, 2011–12

The 2011–12 Committee A report includes a typical combination of judicial and legislative activities. The judicial work of Committee A involves the imposition and removal of censure. While the balance between impositions and removals varies from year to year, the contrast between 2010–11 and 2011–12 is striking. In 2010–11, only one administration was censured, and two institutions were removed from the list of censured administrations. In 2011–12, three administrations were censured, and there were no removals.

Records of the Council

Records of AAUP Council meetings can be found here.

Report of the Annual Meeting, 2012

From June 13 to 17, the AAUP hosted the Ninety-eighth Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Concurrent with the annual meeting was the AAUP Conference on the State of Higher Education, which included keynote addresses and presentations on current issues in higher education. Keynote speeches were delivered by Mary L. Washington, a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly; Mark Gaston Pearce, chair of the National Labor Relations Board; Gamelyn F. Oduardo Sierra,a recent graduate of the University of Puerto Rico’s law school who has been active in defending public higher education; and French professors Katherine Kolb and Margaret Marshall, who spoke about their experiences at Southeastern Louisiana University.

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