Faculty Senates

Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities

Statement calling for shared responsibility among the different components of institutional government and its specification of areas of primary responsibility for governing boards, administrations, and faculties, and remains the Association's central policy document relating to academic governance.

A Call for Faculty Reengagement in Governance

Why faculty must resist the “don’t worry, be happy” approach to governance.

Confidentiality and Faculty Representation in Academic Governance

A report arguing that requiring faculty members to sign confidentiality agreements as a requirement to serve on university committees is in most cases inconsistent with widely accepted standards of shared governance and with the concept of serving as a representative. 

Collaborative Decision Making Regarding Salary Policy: A Case Study

As part of this year’s report we include a case study of compensation discussions on one specific campus. Like all feature articles in Academe, this case study represents the views of the authors and not necessarily the formal policies of the AAUP. It is presented here not to serve as a model but to stimulate discussion around shared governance in faculty compensation. We had initially commissioned a second case study, but it was not available at press time.

The Road to Pathways

To regard teachers—in our entire educational system, from the primary grades to the university—as the priests of our democracy is not to indulge in hyperbole. It is the special task of teachers to foster those habits of open-mindedness and critical inquiry which alone make for responsible citizens. —Justice Felix Frankfurter, Wieman v. Updegraff


Grappling with Collegiality and Academic Freedom

Widespread concerns about decreased collegiality along with perceptions of increased incivility and bullying have led many institutions of higher education to consider how to balance the legitimate enforcement of respectful and productive workplace conditions with adequate protections for academic freedom and individual rights to expression. Some legal analysts put this issue at the forefront of policy discussion in higher education and note that collegiality is increasingly a factor in important employment decisions.

Campus Clout, Statewide Strength: Improving Shared Governance through Unionization

In 2002, the Washington State Legislature passed legislation allowing faculty at four-year state universities to unionize. The administration at my university, Western Washington University, took a dim view of the idea of a unionized faculty and launched an energetic, if fairly bumbling, campaign to convince faculty not to vote for the union. In one of their messages, administrators ominously suggested that by unionizing we would be moving from an academic and collegial shared governance model to a corporate and confrontational labor-management model.

The Demise of Shared Governance at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

In early August 2007, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s newly appointed provost, Robert Palazzo, summarily suspended the university’s Faculty Senate. He claimed that the Rensselaer Faculty Senate (RFS) had failed to amend its constitution according to a directive from the university’s Board of Trustees. At the heart of debate were the disenfranchisement of nearly 200 faculty, and contention over who should be voting members of the Faculty Senate. In fall 2007, the Rensselaer faculty voted overwhelmingly for reinstatement of the Senate. The Board of Trustees, President Shirley Jackson, and the provost ignored this referendum despite AAUP concerns and negative national publicity. Until this impasse, the Faculty Senate had played an advisory role to the Office of the Provost and had participated in the governance and direction of scholarly activities and instruction at Rensselaer, a model of shared governance typical of many universities across the country.

The Role of the College of Pharmacy in the Development of Shared Governance at Western New England University

Between 2006 and 2015, the number of pharmacy schools in the United States rose from 87 to 132. This growth has provided additional opportunities for students, and it has also resulted in a sharp increase in the number of pharmacy faculty. The growth of pharmacy schools, like that of other professional schools, has altered the dynamics of the universities of which they are a part, including the operation of institutional governance.

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