Resolution in Support of Faculty Control of the Curriculum at the City University of New York

This resolution was passed by the Ninety-Ninth Annual Meeting on June 15, 2013.

Whereas, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has been a longstanding proponent of sound academic governance, the principles of which are enunciated in the Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, and

Whereas, the Statement on Government, which embodies standards widely upheld in American higher education, rests on the premise of appropriately shared responsibility and cooperative action among the governing board, the administration, and the faculty in determining educational policy and resolving educational problems within the academic institution, and

Whereas, Section V of the Statement on Government defines the role of the faculty in institutional governance, stating in part:

The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process.

Whereas, faculty control of the curriculum is essential for academic quality, and faculty must formulate and oversee the curriculum if the university is to retain its academic character, and

Whereas, the Professional Staff Congress, an affiliate of the AAUP representing faculty and professional staff at the City University of New York (CUNY), is waging a campaign for the repeal of Pathways—a top-down overhaul of CUNY’s general-education framework that will replace all existing general-education curricula and force colleges to reduce the number and quality of required courses, and

Whereas, Article VIII, Section 5 of the CUNY bylaws lists formulation of the curriculum as a duty of the faculty, stating:

The faculty shall be responsible, subject to guidelines, if any, as established by the board, for the formulation of policy relating to the admission and retention of students including health and scholarship standards therefor, student attendance including leaves of absence, curriculum, awarding of college credit, granting of degrees.

Whereas, Article VIII Section 10 of the CUNY Bylaws lists formulation of curriculum as a duty of the University Faculty Senate, stating:

There shall be a university faculty senate, responsible, subject to the board, for the formulation of policy relating to the academic status, role, rights, and freedoms of the faculty, university-level educational and instructional matters, and research and scholarly activities of university-wide import.

Whereas, the CUNY administration has circumvented elected faculty bodies and college governance—and violated academic freedom—in the development and imposition of Pathways, and

Whereas, Pathways reduces academic quality and rigor at CUNY by introducing basic science courses without lab sessions, decreasing requirements for foreign language study, and replacing academic disciplines with vaguely defined interdisciplinary fields, and

Whereas, the CUNY administration has responded to legitimate faculty objections to Pathways with intimidation, threats, and coercion, and

Whereas, the AAUP has communicated with the CUNY administration several times regarding Pathways, warning against attacks on academic freedom and shared governance and raising objections to the atmosphere of threats and coercion that has accompanied the implementation of Pathways, and 

Whereas, more than 60 percent of CUNY’s full-time faculty participated in a university-wide referendum about Pathways conducted by the American Arbitration Association at the request of the Professional Staff Congress, and

Whereas, 92 percent of voters declared they had No Confidence in the Pathways curriculum by voting “agree” to a statement that read: “I have No Confidence in Pathways.”

Therefore, be it resolved, that the AAUP calls upon the CUNY Board of Trustees to repeal the June 2011 resolution which established the Pathways curriculum, because it has failed to earn the confidence of the faculty who must implement it, and

Be it further resolved, that the AAUP calls upon the CUNY chancellery and the CUNY Board of Trustees to reinstate shared governance at CUNY and respect the role of elected faculty leaders in formulating the curriculum.