Governance Survey Data Measure the Impact of the Pandemic

Today the AAUP is issuing a report on data from the first national survey about shared governance in two decades. It follows and complements our recently released Special Report: COVID-19 and Academic Governance, which is the report of an investigation into a number of instances in which governing boards and administrations opportunistically exploited the pandemic, using it as an excuse to put aside established academic governance processes and unilaterally close programs and lay off faculty members.

The Survey Data on the Impact of the Pandemic on Shared Governance released today analyzes responses to a survey completed by faculty governance leaders at four-year institutions and provides additional evidence of severe pressure on governance. 

However, it also offers a hopeful counterpoint to that investigative report by documenting an increase in faculty influence at some institutions, including those where faculty members benefited from leadership transitions or from being more vigilant and outspoken. 

The report, which is the first in a series of reports from the AAUP's research department that will highlight key findings of our survey, focuses on the portion of the survey that concerned the impact of the pandemic.

  • Almost a quarter of respondents reported a reduction in faculty influence at their institutions, while over sixty percent reported no change and almost fifteen percent reported an increase in influence.
  • Respondents at fewer than a third of institutions reported an opportunity for meaningful faculty participation in budgetary decisions, and more than two-thirds reported that the administration had made such decisions essentially unilaterally.
  • Almost a tenth of respondents at institutions with a tenure system reported terminations or nonrenewals of tenured or tenure-track faculty, but the number climbed to over forty percent at such institutions where programs had been eliminated.
  • Over a quarter of respondents from all institutions, with or without a tenure system, reported that faculty on contingent appointments had been laid off.
  • At institutions where administrations or governing boards declared institutional regulations no longer in force, over forty percent of respondents reported the elimination of programs.
  • Almost a quarter of respondents indicated that faculty members could not voice dissenting views without fear of administrative reprisal, but the number exceeded forty percent at institutions where regulations were declared no longer in force.

Read the complete report.






Publication Date: 
Wednesday, June 2, 2021