Privatization and OPMs

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. In corporate-run online programs, emphasis on the quality of education may get lost in the pursuit of revenue. If online education programs focus simply on increasing the number of students, without consideration for quality, are students really being well served?

As an instructor in higher education, you can work with colleagues to advance good policies through AAUP chapters, academic departments, or faculty governance bodies. We are optimistic that faculty and administrators can work together to reach agreements on policy that prioritize quality teaching for students, not corporate profit—if we act promptly to avoid irreversible costs to students, faculty, and our entire higher education system.

We've developed a toolkit of resources to help you. See our materials below

Step One: Educate Your Colleagues

Use these articles and guides to facilitate conversation and move your colleagues to action.

Step Two: Build Consensus with a Resolution

Get started by introducing a model resolution to organize your colleagues and build visible consensus that there is a problem. Take one of our models as a starting point and adapt to your chapter’s needs.

Step Three: Write and Win New Policy

Once you have educated your colleagues and built visible consensus about the specific problems, use these tools to write new handbook policy or better collective bargaining language.

Federal Policy Information on OPMs

In 2023, the US Department of Education announced new activity concerning OPMs, including new guidance on third-party servicers and announcement of negotiated rulemaking sessions that could include regulatory topics that would concern OPMs.