AAUP Governance Conference Draws Overflow Crowd

By Gwendolyn Bradley

AAUP members and others interested in shared governance in higher education came together November 12–14 in Washington, DC, for the AAUP’s Shared Governance Conference and Workshops. The conference featured three days of presentations exploring significant aspects of college and university governance, an opportunity to network with governance leaders from across the country, and expert-led training workshops for governance leaders and those aspiring to positions of leadership.

The keynote speaker was Judith Areen, Paul Regis Dean Professor of Law at Georgetown University and former dean of the law school. She delivered the Neil Rappaport lecture, which was endowed by a group of faculty members dismissed from Bennington College and was established in recognition of the AAUP’s help with their case. Rappaport, a plaintiff who died during the extended legal battle, had been at the forefront of the dispute with the college.

Unexpectedly high demand for participation in the conference meant that organizers had to turn potential attendees away, so some of the workshops will be offered again in June at the AAUP’s Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education.

“The large number of proposals and the high attendance by faculty and administrators are evidence of the intense concern with the deteriorating state of shared governance in higher education in the United States,” says Lenore Beaky, a professor at the City University of New York’s LaGuardia Community College and one of the conference’s organizers. “Given the ubiquitous financial pressures, the closing or restructuring of departments and programs, and the spread of corporatization in higher education, this concern seems likely only to increase.”

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