From the Editor: Back to School

By Paula Krebs

This back-to-school issue of Academe features a pair of lead articles on academic freedom, but not in the traditional sense. Robert O’Neil, from the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, surveys the latest cases in which academic freedom has been challenged in online venues. John Buschman then explores the issue of academic freedom for librarians and longs for a body that would do for librarians what the AAUP does for faculty members.

It’s all too easy for our institutions to function in isolation from the communities in which we live—town-gown conflicts have a long history in the United States. That’s why it’s especially important to recognize campuses that acknowledge their debts to the communities around them and do collaborative work in their regions. Berea College has a rich tradition of working in its Appalachian context, and Chad Berry explains its methods of producing leaders in the community. A series of initiatives at Dickinson College linked the global and the local, and as Susan D. Rose explains, students there now work and study in central Pennsylvania as well as in Latin America and elsewhere.

The Higher Education Research Institute at University of California, Los Angeles, has produced valuable data on the advancement and retention of women in the higher ranks of higher education. Sylvia Hurtado and Linda DeAngelo share these findings in “Keeping Senior Women at Your College.” William L. Phillips, Charles A. Sweet, and Harold R. Blythe remind us of the pleasures and rewards of writing together, and Milton W. Cole and Tom Winter offer reflective pieces on, respectively, the questionable use of quantitative data in evaluating faculty in the sciences and the referee system in higher education. Michelle Maher and Katherine Chaddock offer a reflection of their own, asking whether academe breeds Teflon faculty.

Lori Messinger summarizes findings from a study of successful efforts to secure policies that do not discriminate against lesbian and gay employees on college campuses. Her piece provides strategies we can all try at our own institutions, while Carole Murphy’s article, “Retiring in a Time of Economic Uncertainty,” gives us strategies we can all try at our own desks.

This issue has lots of goodies besides the feature articles—a profile of a successful chapter, columns from the general secretary and the AAUP president, thoughtful book reviews, and key AAUP reports.

And, finally, I want to thank the many AAUP staff members who have made my time with Academe exciting and productive. Gwendolyn Bradley, Mike Ferguson, and Wendi Maloney are the best, most professional editors I could ever have wanted to work with (leave that preposition right where I put it, Mike!). Thanks, too, to the wonderful Robin Burns, Bob Kreiser, Jordan Kurland, Martin Snyder, and, of course, Cary Nelson. The many AAUP members who have generously responded to my requests for articles are the true heart of the magazine—it’s your work that makes the AAUP.

Academe will be going in exciting directions with its new editor, North Carolina State University’s Cat Warren. Cat’s background in investigative reporting and highly successful work leading the North Carolina AAUP conference will mean great things for the magazine in the years to come.

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