Rudy Fichtenbaum

Rudy Fichtenbaum Elected AAUP President

Rudy Fichtenbaum, professor of economics at Wright State University, has been elected AAUP president. Fichtenbaum has authored more than forty-five articles and book chapters on topics such as discrimination, income distribution, and the impact of unions on wages and benefits. He is a strong faculty unionist who helped lead the fight against Ohio SB 5, which would have stripped public-sector workers of union rights.

From the President: Times That Try Souls

In the last thirty years, many college and university administrations have embraced the corporate model, which is fundamentally transforming higher education and changing the way decisions are made. Administrators are now making decisions unilaterally and in response to external market forces.

Rudy Fichtenbaum Takes Office as AAUP President

Rudy Fichtenbaum, a professor of economics at Wright State University in Ohio, took office as the fiftieth president of the AAUP at the annual meeting in June. Fichtenbaum pledged to make “organizing to defend our profession and genuinely reform higher education” the highest priority for the AAUP, stating that “the AAUP needs to become a more powerful, articulate, and energetic force committed to organizing and mobilizing faculty in a broad variety of ways to fight for our profession.”

From the President: After the Corporate University … Now What?

In a recent essay in Logos, “The Rise and Demise of the Neo-Liberal University,” David Schultz asserts that there have been two models for higher education since the end of World War II. In the first model, which he terms the Dewey university, public institutions were central, and the education of citizens was seen as an essential function of higher education in a democracy. Schultz argues that this model collapsed in the mid- 1970s and gave rise to the second model, the corporate university.

Working Papers Examine Education Funding

The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, of which the AAUP is a founding member, has released three working papers that address the problem of higher education funding. The papers explore different approaches to the issue, including funding sources, the possibility of free higher education, and the effects of recent cuts to higher education in California.

From the President: Universities for Sale

One of the latest trends in higher education is for rightwing foundations and wealthy individuals to “donate” funds to colleges and universities for hiring conservative faculty members. For example, the Koch Brothers Charitable Foundation has given a total of $14.39 million to Florida State, Auburn, Clemson, West Virginia, Utah State, and other universities to fund faculty positions for right-wing scholars. At almost all of these institutions, the foundation has played a direct role either in making the appointments or in screening the faculty members who are ultimately appointed.

Organizing for Change

It’s been a little over a year since the Organizing for Change slate was elected to lead the AAUP. In running for office, we noted that higher education in general and the AAUP in particular are at a crossroads. We argued that higher education and our values are under attack, pointing to assaults on collective bargaining rights and shared governance, the continuing abuse of full- and part-time non-tenure-track faculty appointments, and the erosion of academic freedom for both students and the faculty.

From the President: Why Is US Higher Education in Decline?

A recent Harvard Business Review blog post by James Wetherbe, “It’s Time for Tenure to Lose Tenure,” is one of many recent attacks on tenure. The general theme of the article is that tenure raises costs at colleges and universities. But before beginning this line of argument, Wetherbe states that US higher education is in decline, implying that the decline must be related to tenure. In particular, he argues that US universities have lost ground in science and engineering. The evidence of this decline?

From the President: No Faculty Member Is an Island

Like it or not, our profession has been changing in a number of ways. First, 70 percent of faculty appointments are now off the tenure track. So, although we will continue to fight to expand the number of tenure-track faculty, we must do more to expand our membership among faculty who are off the tenure track. Likewise, because in many cases faculty responsibilities have been “unbundled” and academic professionals are now performing tasks formerly done by faculty, we must also do a better job of reaching out to those professionals. 

From the President: Inequality, Corporatization, and the Casualization of Academic Labor

When we think of threats to academic freedom, legislative threats are likely the first thing that comes to mind. For example, bills that threaten to withhold funds from institutions that are members of certain associations or that simply run programs that teach about unions.


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