2013 Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education

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From June 12 to 16, 2013, the AAUP hosted the Ninety-ninth Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Concurrent with the annual meeting was the AAUP Conference on the State of Higher Education, which included plenary addresses and presentations on current issues confronting the academic community.

Keynote speeches at the conference focused on technology and education. Kenneth C. Green of the Campus Computing Project spoke at the Friday luncheon about how new technology will continue to change higher education. The Saturday luncheon speaker was David M. Hughes of Rutgers University, who spoke specifically and in stark terms about Pearson, Inc., a large online education provider with which the Rutgers administration recently, and without serious consultation with the faculty, negotiated a partnership. Steven (Stacey) Harris, president of the Saint Louis University AAUP chapter, spoke at the Saturday annual banquet about his chapter’s work in opposing new faculty personnel policies that would have eviscerated the universities tenure system.

Capitol Hill Day

On June 13, AAUP members visited Capitol Hill to discuss legislation affecting higher education with their senators and representatives. This year’s discussions focused on three important areas: making student loans affordable and preventing a rise in interest rates, opposing political interference in research, and supporting appointments to the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board. The day ended with a reception on Capitol Hill, where discussions continued between AAUP members and congressional staff.

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The annual meeting voted to place National Louis University (Illinois) and Southern University, Baton Rouge, on the list of censured administrations. It also voted to remove St. Bonaventure University (New York) and Our Lady of Holy Cross College (Louisiana) from the censure list. 

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Constitutional Amendments

The annual meeting approved numerous amendments to the AAUP’s constitution. The primary substantive change shifts the elections of Council members from the current annual cycle to a biennial one.

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Iris Molotsky Award

The Iris Molotsky Award for Excellence in Coverage of Higher Education was shared by two winners this year, including, for the first time, an online-only newspaper. The Connecticut Mirror and reporters Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Mark Pazniokas, and Keith Phaneuf were recognized for their nine-part investigative series on a scandal involving Connecticut’s newly reorganized higher education department. Janese Silvey, formerly a reporter for the Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri, received the second Molotsky Award for her reporting on the closure (and eventual reopening) of the University of Missouri Press.

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Beatrice G. Konheim Award

The Saint Louis University AAUP chapter received the Konheim Award for outstanding chapter activity by leading the fight against an administration plan that would have severely weakened SLU’s tenure protections. The ensuing faculty opposition ultimately led to the resignation of the vice president for academic affairs, the president, and the chair of the board of trustees. Steven (Stacey) Harris, president of the Saint Louis University AAUP chapter, accepted the award.

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Marilyn Sternberg Award

Janet Golden of Rutgers University–Camden won this year’s Sternberg Award for her work with the “Save Rutgers Camden” campaign. The award is given out by the AAUP-CBC for outstanding work by a collective bargaining chapter.

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Al Sumberg Award

The Connecticut State University AAUP chapter won the Al Sumberg Award, which is given to an individual or group to recognize excellent work in lobbying for higher education issues.

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The Ninety-ninth Annual Meeting approved three resolutions: one urging passage of the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative John Tierney, both Democrats from Massachusetts; one expressing support for faculty control of the curriculum at the City University of New York; and one endorsing faculty participation and sound decision making in the selection and retention of college and university leaders. The third resolution, on selecting chief administrative officers, “deplores the apparent tendency of many governing boards to give little or no weight to faculty participation in these crucial matters” and commends the “Profile for a Twenty-First-Century President,” a document issued by the Association’s New York conference, as a template for the academic community to use when making decisions concerning the selection and retention of college and university leadership.

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