Alert Top Message

The AAUP office reopened on September 7, 2021. Contact information for all staff, including those working remotely or on a hybrid schedule, is available here

 

 

Issues in Higher Education

Academic Freedom

Academic freedom is indispensable for quality institutions of higher education. As the AAUP's core policy document states, "institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition."

Shared Governance

Governance of higher education institutions traditionally has been a responsibility shared by  faculty, administrators, and trustees. 

COVID-19 Pandemic Resources

A list of resources pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic for higher education

Financial Crisis FAQs

Colleges and universities are facing challenging financial situations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis. We offer often-asked questions with accompanying answers to assist members of the academy in addressing the challenges faced in times of financial stress.

Racial Justice

The AAUP is committed to fighting systemic racism and pursuing racial justice and equity in colleges and universities, in keeping with the Association’s mission to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Black lives matter, and Black and indigenous people and other peoples of color—including faculty and students—have the right to thrive and not just survive. The inequities, systemic racism, and implicit bias evident in US higher education institutions reflect our country’s failure to redress the harms caused by slavery and by centuries of violence and discrimination.

Teaching about Race

https://www.aaup.org/news/statement-legislation-restricting-teaching-about-raceResources to address legislative interference, typically at the state level, in the teaching of the role of racism in US history and society.

Contingent Faculty Positions

Who are "contingent faculty"? Depending on the institution, they can be known as adjuncts, postdocs, TAs, non-tenure-track faculty, clinical faculty, part-timers, lecturers, instructors, or nonsenate faculty. What they all have in common: they serve in insecure, unsupported positions with little job security and few protections for academic freedom. And they are the vast majority of US faculty today. Something needs to change.

Tenure

The principal purpose of tenure is to safeguard academic freedom, which is a requisite condition for all who teach and conduct research in higher education. When faculty members can lose their positions because of their speech or their publications, they cannot properly fulfill their core responsibilities. The AAUP insists that all full-time faculty members are to be considered eligible for tenure and supports tenure for part-time faculty members whose duties consist of teaching or research conducted at a professional level.

Workplace Issues

The AAUP receives hundreds of inquiries on work-related issues.  We've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions.

Anti-Privatization Work

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when faculty members were forced to adapt their courses abruptly for remote learning, corporate-run online programs were being developed at more and more colleges and universities across the country, with administrators often emphasizing increased access to higher education as a core value of online initiatives. This trend is likely to continue and even accelerate after the pandemic. In corporate-run online programs, emphasis on the quality of education may get lost in the pursuit of revenue.

Gender and Sexuality in Higher Education

Women academics sometimes face unique challenges to their entry and advancement in the academic profession, among them potential inequities in salary and promotion rates, sexual harassment, and discriminatory treatment.

Fighting Targeted Harassment of Faculty

Placed on watchlists. Harassed on social media. Threatened. This is becoming normal in an environment increasingly hostile to faculty. Over the last few years, targeted online harassment of faculty has emerged as a significant threat to academic freedom. Fueled by websites such as Professor Watchlist, Campus Reform, and College Fix, campaigns of threats and harassment are directed against faculty members for what they are reported to have said in the classroom or posted on social media.

Intellectual Property and Copyright

The AAUP believes it is appropriate to issue a warning: your intellectual property is in danger. In trying to reassert the principles inherent in the US Constitution, two centuries of patent law, and a landmark 2011 US Supreme Court decision, the first task is educational. Everyone on campus needs to learn more about the law, the issues at stake, and the rights they can assert through collective action.

Free Speech on Campus

The AAUP has developed a toolkit to address legislative interference, typically at the state level, with free speech on campus. Conservative claims that free speech is at risk of disappearing from college campuses have served as a pretext for imposing punitive approaches to regulating and monitoring campus activities, undermining the institutional autonomy of public higher education institutions. Check out the resources below.

Civility

Recent calls by university administrators for civility have raised concerns over their potential to restrict extramural speech of faculty members. The AAUP has defended the right of faculty members to speak as citizens, since its inception.