2021 AAUP Shared Governance Conference

Each day there will be two events at 1pm ET and 3pm ET, respectively. The 3pm slot is for paper panels, listed below. The schedule for the 1pm events is as follows:

  • Monday: An overview of the AAUP governance investigation related to the Covid pandemic. Michael Bérubé, Pennsylvania State University, and Michael DeCesare, Merrimack College, co-chairs of the investigating committee.
  • Tuesday: A panel on governance at Historically Black Colleges and Universities led by Glinda Rawls, Western Michigan University.
  • Wednesday: Results of the 2021 AAUP Shared Governance Survey. Hans-Joerg Tiede, AAUP Director of Research.
  • Thursday: A workshop on shared governance. Greg Scholtz and Mark Criley, AAUP Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance.
  • Friday: Closing Plenary. Irene Mulvey, Fairfield University, AAUP President.

All accepted presenters must register for the conference, which will be free for members.

Paper Sessions for the 2021 AAUP Shared Governance Conference

Session I: Case Studies in Shared Governance

Monday, June 14, 3:00 ET

Christina Dunbar-Hester and Jacob Soll, Scandal, Disaster, and Opportunism at the University of Southern California

The University of Southern California is a private university with a recent history of mismanagement and public scandal. In the wake of Los Angeles Times reporting and ad hoc faculty mobilization, former president Max Nikias resigned in disgrace in 2018. After a period of optimism about potential change, it is now clear that the Board of Trustees and incoming administration intend to sidestep meaningful faculty input, and faculty mobilization continues. 

Francois Furstenberg, Naveeda Khan and Juliana Pare-Blagoev, The Pandemic and Object Lessons for Faculty Governance: The Case of Johns Hopkins University

When Johns Hopkins University launched austerity measures last year, faculty fought back in a three-pronged effort: a forensic audit of university finances; attention to faculty governing bodies; and the formation of an “interdivisional” faculty committee to share experiences and perspectives. We discuss the limits and efficacy of these approaches.

Dan Morris and Harry Targ, The Contradictions Facing 21st Century Higher Education: The Case of “Civic Literacy” at Purdue University

As The Purdue Exponent reports, “The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Monday (April 19) announced its plan to adopt a civics literacy graduation requirement for undergraduates, beginning with students who enter Purdue in fall 2021.” Our presentation will draw upon this Board of Trustees initiative to illustrate the ideological and political forces at work at one university to illuminate the contradictions facing higher education. 

Sanjay Reddy and Paola dos Santos, Contesting the Crisis Narrative at The New School

The Covid-19 pandemic was too good a crisis to waste for many universities including the New School. Austerity logic and repositioning rhetoric were used to justify cuts, perhaps long planned, but newly blessed by external consultants. The executives of the university oscillated between arguing that the long term model of the university was flawed and that short term necessity could not be escaped. In the event, alarmism has far exceeded demonstrable difficulties. The episode tells us a great deal about the political economy of the university today.

Session II: State-Level Perspectives on Shared Governance

Tuesday, June 15, 3:00 ET

Matthew Boedy, State Level Shared Governance in Georgia

My presentation will highlight shared governance successes and failures our state conference has had at the state level. Those failures include a lack of strategic planning discussions while the successes include how the conference has worked outside institutional routes to advocate for the conference’s goals.

Mark Geary, “Welcome to Hell, Preacher!” Faculty Rights, Post Contract

In 2019, the faculty of the six South Dakota universities were stripped of their right to negotiate a contract by the South Dakota Legislature. This presentation will describe events leading up to that action, and subsequent actions by the Board of Regents.

Lesia Lennex, Shared Governance during COVID-19: Kentucky Perspectives

The March 2020 “two-week shutdown” evolved to an online pivot. Morehead State University began an intense campaign to bring shared governance regarding COVID-19 decisions. The whirl of welcome activity brought forth quick, decisive action from constituent groups the likes of which most of our faculty said they had never experienced.

Session III: On the Relationships Among Institutional Components

Wednesday, June 16, 3:00 ET

Annie Adams and Shana Savard-Hogge, Analyzing Budget Categories to Allow for “the Broadest Possible Exchange of Information”

To ensure spending priorities are mission driven, faculty need to establish relationships with their college and university’s accountants and budget officers and collectively review the categories that apportion expenses, especially now that relaxed guidance for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) relies on the “best judgment” of current administration. 

Rick Feinberg, Shared Governance, Political Posturing, and Structural Contradictions

This paper draws from my three decades on Kent State’s faculty senate. It focuses on the suspicion and hostility between university administrators and faculty leaders despite substantial areas of common interest. I also use my background as a cultural anthropologist to analyze the social and political dynamics of university governance.

Steven Smallpage, Alan Green, and Joshua Rust, Translating the Philosophy of “Joint Action” in Shared Governance at Stetson University

The concept of “joint action” authority (between the faculty and the administration/Board) is foundational to guaranteeing robust, equitable, and fair faculty protections and responsibilities (e.g., control over the curriculum and academic programs, academic freedom, etc.). However, arguing for (and from) these principles can be difficult to do. This paper outlines recent illustrative examples from recent attempts to recognize joint action in a small liberal arts university’s governance plan and policies.

Session IV: Shared Governance and Contingency

Thursday, June 17, 3:00 ET

Nora Devlin, How Shared Governance Procedures Can Protect Whistleblowers

This presentation considers what should happen when contingent workers (post-docs, graduate student workers, or non-tenure-track faculty) are disciplined by their institution for their whistleblowing activity related to occupational health and safety or research misconduct concerns. I argue shared governance procedures should protect these workers like they do tenured faculty.

Lisa Diehl, The Case for Including Non-tenured and Contingent Faculty: The Forgotten Voices in Shared Governance

This presentation explores non-tenured faculty issues such as low pay, lack of benefits, lack of job security lack of opportunities for career growth.  I share ideas to help administrators and tenured faculty members to include non-tenured faculty in the shared governance of the institution.

Susan Kater, Shared Governance in the Community College: New Cultural Conceptions

The presentation argues for extending our understanding of shared governance in the community college. The concepts build on work which suggests we not only consider formal structural and procedural components of shared governance, but also mid- and lower-level organizational efforts, including the informal and incidental, as attributes of shared governance.

Session V: Theorizing Academic Governance

Friday, June 18, 3:00 ET

Matt Hindman, Discipline-Based Departments and Shared Governance 

Facing budgetary constraints and bolstered by a perceived need for “interdisciplinarity,” some universities have begun to eschew traditional discipline-based academic departments in favor of multidisciplinary academic units. This paper examines the impact that such reorganization has upon shared governance, arguing that academic disciplines are important for effective university governance.

Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, Shared Governance: A Critique

Too often, calls to democratize the academy reduce to appeals to strengthen shared governance. The doctrine of shared governance, however, is predicated on a capitulation to the academy’s constitution in the form of a legalized autocracy. Any serious commitment to democratize the academy must therefore begin by rejecting this doctrine. 

Michael Lanford and Crystal Shelnutt, The Importance of Shared Governance and Tenure in Promoting Innovation

Proponents of disruption have argued that higher education must embrace a more entrepreneurial mindset and a top-down managerial approach for survival. This paper instead draws upon existing scholarly literature to demonstrate that academic freedom and shared governance are necessary for innovation that has a positive and equitable impact on society.


Date & Time: 
Monday, June 14, 2021 - 12:00am to Friday, June 18, 2021 - 12:00pm
All Day: