News from the 2015 AAUP Annual Meeting

Reposted from AAUP.org

National AAUP Media Release
June 13, 2015

AAUP Censures Four Administrations, Removes Another from Censure

Washington, DC—Delegates to the One Hundred and First Annual Meeting of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) voted on June 13 to place MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Southern Maine, and Felician College (NJ) on the AAUP’s list of censured administrations. Additionally, Yeshiva University was removed from the list. Censure by the AAUP informs the academic community that the administration of an institution has not adhered to generally recognized principles of academic freedom and tenure. With these actions, fifty-six institutions are currently on the censure list.

Click here for the full list of censured administrations.

Censured at 101st Annual Meeting, June 2015:

MD Anderson Cancer Center for violations of standards of academic freedom and tenure in removing long-serving faculty members without due process.

For more information on this case, please contact Gregory F. Scholtz, AAUP senior program officer, Tenure, and Governance.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for violating principles of academic freedom and tenure in summary rejection of the appointment of Professor Steven Salaita.

For more information on this case, please contact Henry Reichman, AAUP First Vice President; Hans-Joerg Tiede, member of  the AAUP Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure; or Jordan Kurland, AAUP senior program officer, at (202) 737-5900, ext. 3647.

University of Southern Maine for violation of standards of academic freedom and tenure in closing programs and terminating 50 tenured and numerous untenured faculty positions.

For more information on this case, please contact Michael Bérubé, investigating committee chair, 814-404-2178; or Jordan Kurland, AAUP senior program officer, at (202) 737-5900, ext. 3647.

Felician College (NJ) for “deplorable conditions for academic freedom and faculty governance” and the termination of long-serving faculty without due process after unsubstantiated claims of declining enrollment and financial exigency.

For more information on this case, please contact Diane Zannoni, investigating committee chair, or Greg Scholtz, AAUP senior program officer.

Removal of Censure:

Yeshiva University

For more information on this case, please contact Jordan Kurland, AAUP senior program officer, at (202) 737-5900, ext. 3647.

The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities. The AAUP is a nonprofit professional association headquartered in Washington, DC.

Reposted from AAUP.org

Faculty comments needed on WMU interim sexual misconduct policy

In January, President Dunn announced a new interim sexual misconduct policy and asked for feedback from faculty and staff.

After reviewing the interim policy, linked here, members of the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee have identified a number of concerns about it, including about possible implications for due process and academic freedom. For example, faculty in courses and disciplines that use images that could be perceived as controversial may want to know how “pedagogically appropriate” material, as it is referenced in the interim policy, will be defined and by whom.

Additionally, reporting requirements for faculty who become aware of incidents have raised concerns. The interim policy compels faculty to report information, apparently to include information shared with us in confidence by students who may not wish to report an incident officially but may want only to talk with us or to ask us for other kinds of help.

We have identified these and other concerns, but we are not going to be able to catch everything that could have unintended consequences. Therefore, we strongly encourage all faculty members to read the interim policy in its entirety and to submit feedback (anonymously) through an online survey, linked here, set up by the administration.

In President Dunn’s email to the faculty and staff in January, he wrote that the new sexual misconduct policy will be finalized by the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester. Therefore, we ask that faculty who wish to weigh in on this important issue submit their feedback as soon as possible.

Click here to access the draft policy.

Click here for the survey to submit your comments.

Results of Faculty Surveys of CAS Dean Alex Enyedi (2011 and 2014)

Faculty Evaluation of Dr. Alex Enyedi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Conducted by the WMU-AAUP in 2011 and 2014 per Article 19 of the Agreement

Results of 2014 Evaluation

Note: The 27 pages of results from the 2014 faculty evaluation of CAS Dean Alex Enyedi include a number of categories focusing on issues that could be perceived as more important to the faculty than to senior university administration, such as statements about whether the dean is “sensitive to faculty concerns.” (83 percent of CAS faculty participants agreed or strongly agreed that Dean Enyedi is.) The information below focuses on key measures that would (ideally) be considered important by both faculty and senior administration.

Click on images to enlarge.

Faculty Evaluation Data

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2011 Evaluation of CAS Dean Alex Enyedi (summary results):

2011 Faculty Evaluation Data

Update from Jan. 23 meeting; special chapter meeting scheduled for Jan. 30

At the chapter meeting on Friday, January 23, the faculty voted to authorize the WMU-AAUP to put the question of confidence in Provost Tim Greene to a faculty vote.

In authorizing the vote, faculty members present cited a pattern of behavior, including Provost Greene’s recent decision not to renew the contract of CAS Dean Alex Enyedi, along with concerns about a perceived lack of respect for the faculty and for shared governance, lack of transparency in decision-making, mishandling of gender equity cases, problems with the academic program review, failure to communicate appropriately with the faculty, and other concerns.

The faculty also directed the WMU-AAUP leadership to call an emergency chapter meeting next week for further discussion. That meeting has been scheduled for Friday, January 30, at 1:30 p.m. (location TBA).

In other news, the proposal to decrease dues from 0.83 percent of salary to 0.8 percent was approved and will go into effect as soon as the change can be made in the payroll office.

All bargaining-unit members will receive notification about these developments on Monday via email. In the meantime, please share this information with faculty colleagues.

Thanks to all who came out for the January 23 meeting for your attendance and for your thoughtful and wise words. The administration would do well to listen to the voices of the faculty.

We look forward to another lively discussion at the meeting on January 30. Please plan to attend if you can.

‪#‎StrongerTogether‬

WMU-AAUP Remarks to the Board of Trustees

Address by WMU-AAUP President Lisa Minnick

Meeting of the WMU Board of Trustees
July 23, 2014

I’d like to share with you today a brief update from the faculty’s perspective on the contract negotiations that have been underway for the past few months between the university administration and the board-appointed faculty.

Since my last report to the board, on June 10, the two bargaining teams have made progress on a number of issues concerning shared governance. As part of last month’s report, I shared with the board a packet of information that included a draft of a new preamble to the contract, proposed by the WMU-AAUP bargaining team. As I mentioned at that time, we saw the proposed new preamble language as not only a philosophical statement but also as a summary of guiding principles going forward for what the faculty hopes will be a revitalized collaborative relationship between faculty and administration. In that spirit, the original draft preamble set out what we hoped would come to be a mutual understanding of how the stakeholders in university governance – including the faculty as well as the administration – can best and most effectively approach our responsibilities to our students and to the overall mission of the institution.

The draft preamble that the WMU-AAUP team brought to the table was in part a declaration of the core values of the university’s academic mission, as the faculty sees it, emphasizing academic freedom, shared governance, and collaboration between faculty and administration. Their goal was to affirm our mutual commitment to modeling these values for our students and for the benefit of the institution.

During the 2011 negotiations, the WMU-AAUP and administration teams collaborated on a major revision to the contract article on academic freedom, Article 13. The faculty felt that the article should articulate more clearly a vision for academic freedom as a guiding principle for our work as teachers, researchers, creative artists, participants in the governance of the institution, and in service to the community and to the profession. The 2011 WMU-AAUP negotiation team brought a draft to the bargaining table that reflected these values.

Consensus at the table came neither easily nor immediately. The conversation became heated at times. But the negotiation process was thoughtful and deliberative and engaged the features of respectful academic discourse at its best, in ways that institutions of higher learning, when they are at their best, set out to model not only for students but also for the community and for the wider culture.

To put the process into more concrete terms: We – meaning both teams, faculty and administration – conducted research into the best ideas and practices we could find to help us find the language we needed to delineate and affirm the values associated with academic freedom. We wrote drafts, made arguments and counter-arguments. We supported our claims with evidence, revised our drafts and re-envisioned our objectives, argued and debated and disagreed but also listened carefully, thought critically, reconsidered, and re-imagined.

And finally, in July 2011, we reached consensus on a version of Article 13 that today codifies a set of beliefs and values that it turns out had been guiding all of us, faculty and administration, all along. It turned out that “academic freedom” represents not the abstraction that it is sometimes assumed to be but a set of shared cultural practices and values that are (and I am paraphrasing Article 13 here), fundamental to the common mission of universities in general and to Western Michigan University in particular. These practices and values include our mutual charge, as outlined in Article 13, to promote free inquiry and to advance the sum of human knowledge and understanding.

“Academic freedom,” we wrote three years ago – the faculty and administration teams wrote this together – “exists as a basic prerequisite for universities to fulfill their mission to our society.” At the table in 2011, our two teams reached the consensus that we all share an important “obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.”

Now, in 2014, discussions at the table of the draft preamble and several governance-related contract articles have evolved over the past several months in ways that once again highlight scholarly discourse at its best. Once again, our two teams have done the difficult work of deliberation and compromise in ways that illustrate precisely how we can all live up to the objectives set out in the latest version of the preamble, upon which we are close to agreement. While the WMU-AAUP team brought the original draft to the table, I would characterize the current, evolved version of the preamble as a jointly authored document that reflects a set of values that both teams and the constituencies they represent hold in common.

Emphasizing inclusion, civil discourse, and shared governance, including in the service of continually improving the quality of education and research at Western Michigan University, this document expresses in a powerful way the joint commitment of the faculty and administration to the obligations set out in 2011 in Article 13: to promote the conditions of free inquiry, to advance the sum of human knowledge and understanding, to promote these values beyond the walls of the institution, and to serve the public interest.

At a time when disinvestment in public higher education has come to be the new normal, when students and their families are struggling to make up the difference as the costs are transferred from all of us collectively as taxpayers to the individual end-users (also known as students); when pundits and political figures, from the President of the United States to state legislatures, are emphasizing individual financial return on investment as what a college education is supposed to be for and de-emphasizing the advancement of human knowledge that most of the people in this room have made their life’s work; and when the result of all this is that many of our fellow citizens in Michigan and nationwide are becoming less and less likely to see themselves as beneficiaries of any education but their own, the charge set out in Article 13 for all of us as a university faculty and administration takes on a new significance.

I hope as stakeholders in an institution of higher learning that together we will challenge the ideologies that assume investment in education is or ought to be an individual thing, that the point of education is an exclusively individual benefit, and that the benefit can only be measured as a return on investment that can be counted only in dollars.

During the negotiations now underway, the chapter leadership of the WMU-AAUP has emphasized with our faculty colleagues the theme that we are stronger together. There will surely be more challenges and new disagreements going forward, especially when the conversation turns to economic topics. But the progress at the bargaining table on shared-governance articles, for which we credit not only the WMU-AAUP team’s persistence but also the administration team’s willingness to hear us out and take these governance issues as seriously as we do, helps not only to illustrate how much common ground we all actually share but also to suggest a way forward in which we are all – faculty, staff, administration, students, trustees, alumni, and everyone else with a stake in this enterprise – stronger together.

Negotiation Update for June 6

As we reported in the previous update (dated May 28 and linked here), our team proposed a new Preamble to the Agreement that prioritizes academic values and the collaborative nature of the university enterprise. (You can view that draft Preamble here in pdf format.)

Initially, as we reported, the administration seemed open to engaging with the ideas and language that our team put forward but later seemed to reconsider. After further discussion, they have now offered to bring to the table their own proposal for a revised Preamble. We are hopeful that it will follow our example to enshrine the values of academic freedom, shared governance, and collaboration between faculty and administration, in order to reflect our mutual commitment to articulating and modeling these values for our students and for the benefit of the institution. We will of course keep you informed about what develops.

The administration’s team has also presented a proposal that would make substantial changes to Article 12: Grievance Procedure. In their draft, they propose to collapse the distinctions between the various types of grievances described in the current Agreement. At present, four types of grievances are described in §8.1- §8.4 of Article 12:

  • Type A, cases involving “dismissal for cause, suspension, or other financial penalty.”
  • Type B, involving “appointment, reappointment, termination, layoff, tenure, or promotion.”
  • Type C, comprising “all other grievances not designated as Type A, B, or D.”
  • Type D, “layoff grievance involving seniority.”

We believe that faculty rights should be stated as clearly, transparently, and unambiguously as possible and that revising Article 12 to remove the descriptions of potentially grievable situations would run counter to that goal. Further, deletion of the language in the description of the Type B grievance would result in the faculty’s loss of an existing right to a hearing in cases involving “appointment, reappointment, termination, layoff, tenure, or promotion.” In other words, the administration’s proposed revision would essentially eliminate the faculty member’s first step in our long-established grievance process.

The administration has also proposed to strike from Article 12 the faculty’s right to arbitration in cases of what the Agreement calls “dismissal for cause.” In our view, this is a clear encroachment on the fundamental right to due process.

Most of you will not need to be reminded about the case last year of a faculty member whose wrongful termination was reversed as the result of successful arbitration brought by the WMU-AAUP. Thanks to the arbitrator’s ruling, he has been fully reinstated to his faculty position. Without the right to arbitrate his dismissal, this colleague would still be out of a job, even though the arbitrator found that the dismissal had not in fact been “for cause” and that the faculty member’s contractual rights had been violated by the administration.

(You can read more about this case in the WMU-AAUP Bulletin, Summer 2013, Issue 2, linked here in pdf format.)

Without the right to take cases like these to arbitration, it would be far more difficult, expensive, and time-consuming for faculty members to challenge such wrongful terminations and for the Chapter to do so on their behalf. Our team’s counter-proposal for Article 12 therefore retains all existing faculty rights. It also adds to them the right to arbitration in Type D grievances, “layoff grievances involving seniority.” Type D grievances are currently the only type not subject to arbitration.

Our conversations with faculty in departments across WMU over the past several months, along with the preliminary results of the faculty survey, make clear that our colleagues place a high value on improving the campus climate and want to see a real commitment to shared governance and administrative transparency on our campus. The administration’s proposal for Article 12 suggests that they are moving in the wrong direction. But our team is making a strong case for faculty values, will not give up any faculty rights, and will continue to fight to expand these rights.

Cynthia, Bilinda, Onaiwu, and Tom continue to meet frequently and are spending most of their time when they are not at the table conducting meticulous research on the issues that matter most to the faculty and crafting proposals and responses. They have been working tirelessly on the faculty’s behalf and are phenomenally well prepared for this project. The hours are long, but their spirits remain high. Your messages of solidarity are a wonderful source of support.

You can continue to expect regular updates as the bargaining process goes on. And you can catch up any time on negotiation news by following the WMU-AAUP on Facebook and Twitter and of course by visiting us here on the blog.

As always, we invite your questions and feedback. The team appreciates your calls and emails, and they encourage you to keep them coming, along with your notes, tweets, and Facebook posts to express your support and solidarity.

Also, we hope to see you and your families at the ice cream social and negotiation rally at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17, at Montague House. Enjoy ice cream sundaes from Cold Stone Creamery while you show your solidarity, get the latest negotiation news, and cheer on our team as they return from the bargaining table. (More info about the event is here.)

Our team is doing an outstanding job, but their best leverage comes from the visible and vocal support of the faculty. A good turnout for the ice cream social and rally on the 17th will help to send the message that the faculty is behind the team and paying close attention to what is happening at the table. We hope to see you there!

#GoWMUAAUP                          #StrongerTogether

Academic Program Review forum at May 15 Faculty Senate meeting

Like shared governance? Here’s a chance to share in some governance!

Faculty members with questions or concerns about the proposed Academic Program Review are strongly encouraged to attend the Faculty Senate meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, in rooms 208-209 of the Bernhard Center.

As you may have seen on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting (circulated Monday morning via email by the Senate staff), Associate Provost Jody Brylinski will lead a discussion on Academic Program Review and Planning immediately following the main business meeting. This will include a forum in which faculty are invited to ask questions of Dr. Brylinski, colleagues who have participated in the “beta year” reviews, and members of the Project Management Team (which includes WMU-AAUP chapter VP Bill Warren and a number of other faculty colleagues as well as chairs).

Preliminary analysis of the WMU-AAUP Spring 2014 faculty surveys (and it’s not too late to send yours in or submit it online!) suggests that many faculty members are concerned about the program review and that restoration of shared governance is a high priority for a lot of us. In that spirit, we encourage all of you to consider attending Thursday’s Senate meeting, where your questions about the program review will be welcome and where your opportunity to participate in shared governance awaits.

Click here to view the full agenda for the May 15 Faculty Senate meeting (pdf alert).

As with all Faculty Senate meetings, Thursday’s meeting is open to all faculty members. With the program review front and center on May 15, we especially encourage you to make a point of attending this one.

Whether you come with questions or just to listen, a strong showing by the faculty — even simply our physical presence in significant numbers — will help to send the messages that we are serious about shared governance, that we are deeply invested in collaborating on an academic vision that we can all believe in, and that we care enough about both to show up for a couple of hours on Thursday.

In other words, don’t miss this opportunity to come to the Faculty Senate meeting and SHARE IN SOME GOVERNANCE!

Negotiations Kickoff Event April 17

Thursday, April 17, 8:30-10 a.m.
Montague House (814 Oakland Drive)

Join us for coffee, donuts, and good company and send the team off in style.
We’ll walk the team across the street to Walwood Hall at 9:15.

On Thursday, April 17, the Board-appointed faculty at Western Michigan University will be the first permanent faculty at a 4-year institution in Michigan to negotiate a new contract under the so-called “right to work” laws.

We have an outstanding team, and they are incredibly well prepared, but our leverage is in our numbers. We need a big turnout on Thursday to support the team and make it clear that we are not playing around when it comes to our university and our professional lives. Be there. Invite colleagues. Do it. This is your future we’re talking about.

Bargaining-unit members, their families, faculty retirees, WMU students and alumni, and WMU-AAUP allies are invited.

team_picClick on the event flier below to enlarge.

2014_Negotiations_Kickoff_flier

 

Important resolutions passed at Oct. 18 meeting

The following resolutions were approved by the faculty at last week’s Chapter meeting:

1. Motion from the WMU-AAUP Association Council: To approve the Association Council’s recommendation to return to a paper-based course evaluation process. PASSED.

2. Motion from the floor: To approve a Chapter grievance against the administration for failure to comply with Article 4: University Committees by failing to honor the right of the WMU-AAUP to appoint faculty members to all university committees, including “project management team” committees. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

3. Motion from the floor: To reject the current plan for the academic program review developed and presented by the WMU administration and to call on the administration to (1.) cease the implementation of the current academic program review immediately and (2.) collaborate with the faculty in a transparent and meaningful process to develop a review procedure, should all parties agree that a review is necessary. This process must be based on a clear rationale and on mutually agreeable objectives, mechanisms for implementation and assessment, and potential outcomes in which the administration is held accountable as well as faculty. PASSED. ONE NAY.

4. Motion from the floor: To direct the WMU-AAUP leadership to send information to all bargaining-unit faculty about how to file a gender-equity complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. PASSED. ONE NAY. (Please note that a letter containing this information is now on its way to the faculty.)

5. Motion from the floor: To censure the Provost on the basis of his handling of the gender equity issue, specifically with regard to the process initiated last spring and the continuing lack of response or resolution of the issue. PASSED. ONE NAY.

6. Motion from the floor: To schedule a special chapter meeting for Friday, October 25 at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the remaining items on the October 18 agenda. PASSED.

Please to join us on Friday, October 25, for the special Chapter meeting requested by the faculty last week. We will meet on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in rooms 157-159 of the Bernhard Center (and will reconvene at 4 p.m. at Bell’s Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Avenue, for our October Fourth Friday happy hour).