Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Due Process

On Trigger Warnings

A current threat to academic freedom in the classroom comes from a demand that teachers provide warnings in advance if assigned material contains anything that might trigger difficult emotional responses for students.

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.

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,

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.

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.
 

Regulation of Research on Human Subjects: Academic Freedom and the Institutional Review Board

Local institutional review boards, which make decisions about the permissibility of research, often have no special competence; the AAUP recommends improvements. Read the newly released final version of this report.

The Role of the Faculty in Conditions of Financial Exigency

Recent years have witnessed massive closings of academic programs that are basic to a college or university’s curriculum, with a resulting erosion in the number and the authority of the tenured faculty.  The AAUP responded last month when its Council adopted as official policy the final text of a major report, The Role of the Faculty in Conditions of Financial Exigency.  

Joint Statement on Faculty Status of College and University Librarians

Statement arguing that because the scope and character of library resources should be taken into account in such important academic decisions as curricular planning and faculty appointments, librarians should have a voice in the development of the institution’s educational policy

Tenure in the Medical School

Report regarding the changing nature of academic medical centers in American higher education and the impact, evident or potential, of those changes on questions of faculty status and academic freedom within such centers.

Recommended Principles to Guide Academy-Industry Relationships

A version of this report was completed in spring 2012 and published for comment in June 2012. Based on the extensive feedback we received and supplemented by further research, it was extensively revised for publication as a book. The 2012 draft is thus no longer appropriate for quotation or guidance. Instead, please consult this "Summary of Recommendations" from Recommended Principles to Guide Academy-Industry Relationships, a 368-page report to be published in book form by the AAUP Foundation in January 2014.

Accommodating Faculty Members Who Have Disabilities

Report on practical and legal issues involving faculty members with disabilities; it reaffirms faculty members' entitlement to due process.

 

Tenure and Teaching-Intensive Appointments

Recommendations on stabilizing the faculty infrastructure by converting contingent faculty positions to the tenure track.

Protecting an Independent Faculty Voice: Academic Freedom after Garcetti v. Ceballos

Report examining the potential impact on academic governance of the Supreme Court Garcetti v. Ceballos decision. It recommends actions to be taken in both public and private colleges and universities to preserve academic freedom in governance even in the face of judicial hostility or indifference.

On Academic Boycotts

A report discussing academic boycotts and relevant AAUP policies, and making recommendations.

On Conditions of Employment at Overseas Campuses

Statement issued jointly by the American Association of University Professors and the Canadian Association of University Teachers.  It discusses the overseas expansion of U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities and makes recommendations regarding the working conditions of faculty and staff at overseas campuses.

The Use and Abuse of Faculty Suspensions

Report analyzing AAUP policy on the suspension of faculty members from teaching or research.

Academic Freedom and Outside Speakers

Statement examining the right of students and faculty to hear outside speakers. 

Freedom in the Classroom

Report assessing arguments made in support of recent legislative efforts to regulate classroom instruction.

Research on Human Subjects: Academic Freedom and the Institutional Review Board

2006 report addressing aspects of the federal government’s regulations for research on human subjects that constitute a threat to academic freedom.

Professors of Practice

Report addressing a category of full-time non-tenure-track faculty appointments known as “professors of practice.”  It recommends, in accordance with Association principles, that these faculty members be accorded tenure's protections.

Verification and Trust: Background Investigations Preceding Faculty Appointment

Report setting forth standards that should guide academic institutions in performing background checks of prospective faculty members.

Statement on Corporate Funding of Academic Research

Report concerning the growing collaboration between industry and research universities. This relationship has been the most productive for both parties when scholars are free to pursue and transmit basic knowledge through research and teaching. The relationship, however, has never been free of concerns that the financial ties of researchers or their institutions to industry may exert improper pressure on the design and outcome of research.

Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications

Report applying principles of academic freedom to the use of electronic and digital communications in academia.

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 Bill of Rights

Report discussing the Academic Bill of Rights at its potential impact on academic freedom.

Contingent Appointments and the Academic Profession

Report examing the costs to academic freedom incurred by the current trend toward overreliance on part and full-time non-tenure-track faculty.  The report recommends that for the good of institutions, of the educational experiences of students, and of the quality of education, the proportion of tenured and tenure-track faculty should be increased.

 

Academic Freedom and National Security in a Time of Crisis

Report assessing risks to academic freedom and free inquiry posed by the nation's response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

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.

Institutional Review Boards and Social Science Research

Report addressing the government’s rules for protecting human beings who are the subjects of social science research.  It offers suggestions for the improvement of IRB practices and recommendations.

On Collegiality as a Criterion for Faculty Evaluation

Report addressing the increasing tendency to add the criterion of “collegiality” to faculty evaluations and enumerates why this practice should be discouraged.

Academic Freedom in the Medical School

Report discussing academic freedom in medical schools and why it is necessary.

Post-Tenure Review: An AAUP Response

Policy discussing what post-tenure review should be and not be and its impact on academic freedom.

Institutional Responsibility for Legal Demands on Faculty

Statement recommending that colleges and universities adopt a comprehensive general policy on legal representation and indemnification for members of their faculties.

The Assignment of Course Grades and Student Appeals

Report concerning the right of an instructor to assign grades and the procedures for student appeals.

Nonreappointment & Full-Time Renewable Term Appointments

Report addressing the applicability of the Standards for Notice of Nonreappointment to all full-time faculty members on renewable term appointments.

On Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes

Statement addressing campus speech codes and advises consideration of means more compatible with the mission of an academic institution by which to deal with incivility, intolerance, offensive speech, and harassing behavior.

The Status of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

Recommendations for improving the professional status of the growing number of non-tenure-track faculty; suggests minimum standards designed to protect the professional standing of all faculty.

Access to Faculty Personnel Files

Report discussing access by faculty members to their own personnel files and to the files of colleagues.

Academic Freedom and Artistic Expression

Statement proposing policies that are designed to assist academic institutions to respond to the issues that may arise from the presentation of artistic works to the public and to do so in a manner that preserves academic freedom:

Senior Appointments with Reduced Loads

Report recommending that colleges and universities “consider creating a class of regular part-time faculty members, consisting of individuals who, as their professional career, share the teaching, research, and administrative duties customary for faculty at their institution, but who for whatever reason do so less than full time.”

On Full-Time Non-Tenure-Track Appointments

Report reviewing and analyzing  the growing use of non-tenured positions and its implications.

Arbitration in Cases of Dismissal

Report discussing the development of arbitral practices in higher education, with particular emphasis on the question of arbitration of dismissal cases.

The Status of Part-Time Faculty

Statement offering new propositions, consistent with Association principles, to address some of the continuing problems concerning part-time faculty members.

On the Imposition of Tenure Quotas

Report discussing why tenure quotas are generally unwise.

Statement on Professors and Political Activity

Statement defining rights and obligations of faculty regarding the institutional regulations of many colleges and universitiesthat govern the participation of professors in political activity and public office holding.

Committee A Statement on Extramural Utterances

Statement clarifing those sections of the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure relating to the faculty member’s exercise of freedom of speech as a citizen.

1958 Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings

Joint statement supplementing the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure by providing a formulation of the “academic due process” that should be observed in dismissal proceedings.

Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure

Regulations outlining recommended institutional processes that enable institutions to protect academic freedom, tenure, and to ensure academic due process.

1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure

Statement promoting public understanding and support of academic freedom and tenure and agreement upon procedures to ensure them in colleges and universities. Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition.