“Academic freedom” was still a new idea when John Dewey, Arthur O. Lovejoy, and other prominent scholars founded the American Association of University Professors in 1915. Establishing academic freedom as a cornerstone of higher education has been just one of the AAUP’s many achievements in the one hundred years since its founding. The standards developed by the AAUP have been adopted by colleges and universities across the country, shaping a higher education system that is renowned for excellence in teaching and research.
The AAUP is marking its centennial by highlighting the organization’s historical role in establishing the principles that govern the academic profession. The centennial timeline provides an overview of the AAUP’s major accomplishments over the past century, and the Association is celebrating these contributions to American higher education through special publications and events. Additional activities related to the centennial, including a centennial contest, are being coordinated by the AAUP Foundation.
While we celebrate the AAUP’s accomplishments, we also recognize the challenges that lie ahead. Decreasing state support for public higher education, the encroachment of corporate culture into college and university administration, and the rapid growth in contingent faculty appointments are eroding the quality of higher education across the United States. The AAUP is uniquely positioned to respond to these threats, but it cannot do so effectively without broad support from faculty members and others engaged in postsecondary education. As the AAUP looks toward the next hundred years, it reaffirms the core principles of academic freedom, tenure, and shared governance that its founders first articulated a century ago and invites you to join it as it defends the profession against a new set of threats.
There are many ways to become involved. If you aren’t yet a member of the AAUP, join; if you are a member, ask a colleague to join. If members on your campus aren’t organized, start a chapter; if you have a chapter, consider holding a centennial-themed event or membership drive. Help us spread the word about the AAUP and why it matters.
You can also show your support for restoring colleges and universities as a public good by signing the AAUP Centennial Declaration. Add your name to the growing ranks of citizens who support free and open higher education, learning opportunities that don't leave students with crippling debt, and new levels of engagement between campus and community.