Resolution of Appreciation for Executive Director Julie Schmid’s Ten Years of Service to the American Association of University Professors

In June 2023, the AAUP's national Council approved the following resolution.

WHEREAS Dr. Julie Schmid’s service as the executive director of the American Association of University Professors has been exemplary since she was appointed in 2013; and

WHEREAS Dr. Schmid leaves the Association in a stronger position than when she started with regard to membership growth; helping the Association to build and maintain a healthy financial reserve; helping the Council conduct thoughtful decision-making by providing background, context, information and all relevant facts and figures whenever needed; and

WHEREAS Dr. Schmid has worked tirelessly to support the AAUP staff by facilitating, coordinating, supervising, managing, and encouraging staff development, and by providing room for our staff to be creative in providing services for our members that best promote our mission; and

WHEREAS Dr. Schmid is always open to member concerns, has made chapter listening tours “a thing” that we will certainly continue, and has made progress in ensuring that all member queries are responded to thoughtfully and in a timely manner; and

WHEREAS as the person responsible for authorizing investigations, Dr. Schmid has authorized, over the years, sixteen Committee A investigations into violations of academic freedom, four Committee T investigations into violation of shared governance, three special investigations, and a number of investigations that broke the mold will surely become AAUP classics, including: (1) Special Report: COVID-19 and Academic Governance, our omnibus report on violations of shared governance during the pandemic at eight institutions; (2) Report of a Special Committee: Governance, Academic Freedom, and Institutional Racism in the University of North Carolina System, the title speaks for itself; (3) Academic Freedom and Tenure: University System of Georgia on the removal of the procedural protections of tenure from the system’s post-tenure review policy; and (4) the ongoing so (so far) Preliminary Report of the Special Committee on Academic Freedom in Florida, looking at the pattern of politically, racially, and ideologically motivated attacks on public higher education in Florida; and

WHEREAS Dr. Schmid anticipated the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association crisis and helped the leadership develop contingency planning and internal organizing plans for our chapters (although she did not anticipate that crisis would end due to an unexpected vacancy on the US Supreme Court); and

WHEREAS Dr. Schmid anticipated the Janus v. AFSCME crisis and helped the leadership develop additional contingency planning and robust internal organizing plans for our chapters that resulted in membership being stronger in the post–Janus right-to-work environment than it was to begin with; and

WHEREAS Dr. Schmid staffed the Contingency Planning Working Group and provided that body with all necessary information to take on major organizational restructuring that resulted in streamlined governance and significant savings while maintaining strong programming for our chapters and members; and

WHEREAS Dr. Schmid managed the staff and the Association through a once-in-a-century pandemic and made sure the AAUP continued providing services to our chapters and members during lockdown, including services to help chapters and members deal with the effects of the pandemic on teaching, academic freedom, and shared governance; and

WHEREAS in November 2016, Dr. Schmid assisted the Council in getting through our post-election Council meeting and facilitated the drafting of the powerful statement jointly authored by President Rudy Fichtenbaum, Collective Bargaining Congress Chair Howard Bunsis, and Committee A Chair Henry Reichman, titled Higher Education after the 2016 Election and published on November 9, 2016, (see also From the President: The Election of Donald Trump and the Future of the AAUP in Academe in January 2017); and

WHEREAS following the national call for a reckoning with white supremacy and racism in 2020, Dr. Schmid recognized the need for the Association to grapple with systemic racism in the AAUP and the profession, and was instrumental in assisting the Council with Council’s Racial Justice Initiative, being point person between consultants and the Association, overseeing logistics for this ongoing multi-phase, multi-committee program, and, in addition, following the violent insurrection at our nation’s Capitol on January 6, 2021, Dr. Schmid recognized how deeply the insurrection would affect our DC staff and worked to support staff especially at that time; and

WHEREAS Dr. Schmid staffed the negotiating team that reported to Council and resulted in the August 2022 affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers and continued to staff the implementation of that affiliation agreement, and will in her new position in the AFT be a fierce advocate for AAUP principles and standards in all of higher education; and

WHEREAS Dr. Schmid has a seemingly effortless ability to find the right balance between providing information, guidance, and support for elected leaders and showing unqualified trust and faith in the leadership to make the best decisions; and

WHEREAS at any time it is difficult to keep track of all the moving parts of our 108-year-old organization and, as noted in this resolution, it has not been an easy ten years to be executive director of the AAUP, yet Dr. Schmid has risen to every challenge with strength, enthusiasm, and resolve; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the AAUP acknowledges with gratitude and respect that Dr. Schmid’s deep and ongoing commitment to racial justice, social justice, unionism, and the academic labor movement has strengthened the AAUP; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the AAUP, its members, its chapters, and its leaders acknowledge how fortunate we have been, over Julie Schmid’s tenure as executive director, to have her remarkable intelligence, strategic vision, nerves of steel, ferocity, and dedication to promoting and advancing AAUP principles and our mission. We express our appreciation and our deepest gratitude to Dr. Julie Schmid for her exceptional service as our executive director.