Mission & Description

The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance; to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education; to promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals, graduate students, post‐doctoral fellows, and all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education; to help the higher education community organize to make our goals a reality; and to ensure higher education's contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country's colleges and universities.

The AAUP's 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure is the definitive articulation of these principles and practices, and is widely accepted throughout the academic community. Our procedures ensuring academic due process remain the model for professional employment practices on campuses throughout the country. The AAUP's amicus briefs before the US Supreme Court and federal and state appellate courts address significant issues of academic freedom, and our policy statements are frequently cited in court decisions. 

More than a thousand faculty members call on the AAUP each year for advice and assistance. We are best known for assisting individual faculty members when there is the probability that academic freedom or due process rights have been violated. In addition to this "case work," the Association works with Congress and state legislators to promote effective higher education legislation, and promotes the profession and the purposes of higher education in the public eye. College presidents and administrators rely on Association-developed policy statements and procedural guidelines. The Association has recently issued statements on topics such as financial exigency, intellectual property, the inclusion of contingent faculty in governance, and campus sexual assault.

The AAUP annually publishes a nationally acclaimed faculty compensation survey that includes a comprehensive analysis of faculty salaries and benefits. In addition to our regular programs, we issue reports each year on subjects of special interest. Recent initiatives include reports on the use of part-time and non-tenure-track faculty, faculty workloads and state intervention, the future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and tenure in medical schools.

Membership in the national organization is open to all faculty, librarians, and academic professionals at two- and four-year accredited public and private colleges and universities. The AAUP currently represents 47,000 faculty members, with over 300 local campus chapters and 33 state organizations. The leaders of the Association are drawn from colleges and universities throughout the country. Four national officers are elected bi-annually, and are assisted in governing the Association by an elected national Council that meets twice a year and by an Executive Committee that meets four times a year.