September AAUP VOICE
An Invitation: “Scholars at Risk” Faculty Forum
You are invited to a lunch time faculty forum to explore the ways in which universities and colleges are working to promote academic freedom and provide assistance to persecuted scholars worldwide. The forum is scheduled for Wednesday, October 25 from noon to 1:30 PM in the Trabant Multipurpose Room. This faculty forum is jointly sponsored by the AAUP and the Provost’s Office. A buffet lunch will be served. To make a reservation for the forum, contact the Provost’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The forum will include a discussion with a professor of linguistics and human rights advocate from Rwanda who will focus on the challenges facing academics in his own country, reflecting on his own experience as an at-risk scholar. He was arrested and imprisoned without charge shortly after the genocide in 1994 until 1999 when he was released on bail. During the past several years, the space for independent civil society has narrowed in Rwanda. Political groups, intellectuals, and human rights defenders have been stifled. As an academic leader and human rights advocate, this scholar became a target for harassment and intimidation. He will be a visiting scholar at Montclair State University with fellowship support from the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund in 2006-07.
Robert Quinn, Director of the Scholars at Risk (SAR) network, will discuss the work of SAR. “Professors, researchers and public intellectuals worldwide face threats including surveillance, intimidation, arrest and in the worst cases, torture and death because they are viewed as threatening to authoritarian regimes and groups,” Quinn says.
Scholars at Risk is an international network of more than 120 universities and colleges working to promote academic freedom and to defend the human rights of scholars around the world. SAR members participate in a variety of ways, including hosting scholars who have suffered violence and other threats for short-term academic positions. In return, scholars contribute to their host campuses through teaching, research, lectures and other activities. SAR was founded in 2000 at the University of Chicago. In 2003, the central office moved from Chicago to New York University where it is currently located.
In 2002, SAR partnered with the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (SFR) which provides grants to threatened scholars so that they can escape dangerous conditions and continue their academic work in safety at universities in another country. The SFR currently provides fellowships to 25-40 scholars each year.
The lunch time forum will provide an opportunity for the University of Delaware community to learn about worldwide threats to academic freedom, violence against academics, and how the Scholars at Risk network strives to help persecuted scholars. It
also affords us the opportunity to consider ways in which we may assist those scholars who are the victims of persecution.
The Changing Structure of Academic Employment
Since its founding in 1915, the AAUP has argued that academic freedom is rooted in the role of the faculty to engage in research and teaching based on scholarly and professional standards that are developed by the faculty. Academic freedom ties research and teaching to the common good of society rather than to the imperatives of those who provide the private and public funding for higher education or who administer higher education. These principles of academic freedom require economic and institutional security for faculty. It is only on the basis of secure economic and institutional conditions that a stable community of scholars can be established that creates professional and scholarly standards for research, teaching and shared governance.
At the University of Delaware, the Collective Bargaining Agreement contributes to establishing conditions for academic freedom. The Collective Bargaining Agreement limits the use of part-time faculty, protects faculty workload and promotion criteria, provides security of employment for non-tenure track faculty, and provides strong procedural protections for tenured faculty from wrongful or arbitrary termination. In addition, as a result of the AAUP negotiating good contracts, salary and benefits at the University of Delaware have beenstrong in relation to comparable institutions in our region.
While these basic conditions for academic freedom are strong at UD, the national trend has been less favorable, with a weakening of stable employment and security for faculty. Most importantly, the growth of part-time faculty has greatly exceeded the growth of full-time faculty. Also, executive, managerial, and professional support has been increasing at a higher rate than full-time faculty positions. Increasingly, full-time faculty members are becoming a smaller part of the higher education workforce.
A report released by the United States Department of Education in July 2006 demonstrates deterioration in the structure of the faculty over a ten year period. Comparing employment levels for faculty jobs in 1993 and 2003, the report found a 14.8 percent increase in the number of full-time faculty jobs. By contrast, the number of part-time jobs grew by 43.7 percent. The growth in overall faculty positions relative to the growth in other higher education occupational categories was relatively low. While faculty jobs grew by 26.4 percent, there was an increase of 28.1 percent for executive and managerial positions, an increase of 44.9 percent in the number of instructional/research assistant jobs; and a 45.4 percent increase in the number of professional support and service jobs. The lowest growth areas were in non-professional and secretarial jobs which grew by less than 1 percent due largely to the outsourcing of many functions by colleges and universities. Public institutions had an employment growth rate of 19.4 percent with 2,128,733 employees. Private nonprofit institutions grew by 24.9 percent with 926,068 employees. The largest percentage increase was in the for-profit sector which grew by 155 percent to 50,782 employees.
As presented in the Summer 2006 issue of the AAUP VOICE, national AAUP studies have shown that the economic conditions of part-time faculty are abysmal. If part-time faculty taught the equivalent of a full-time teaching schedule of four courses per semester, they would be earning less than the poverty level for a family of three at $14,680. In addition, part-time faculty members typically do not have benefits, employment security, offices, or ongoing involvement with scholarly associations or professional organizations. They are vulnerable to arbitrary termination and pressures from full-time faculty, administrators and students.
These changes in the overall structure of employment in higher education demand our attention. These changes shape the overall political and economic environment of academic freedom, employment security and the economic status of faculty. As full-time faculty decline not only relative to part-time faculty but also to executives, managers and support personnel, the power of the faculty to shape academic life becomes weaker. Both through our local AAUP chapter and through national AAUP, we must continue the effort to build a structure of faculty employment that provides economic and institutional security so that faculty are treated equitably and work in conditions that support the autonomy necessary for academic freedom.
Know Your Contract: Rights of Faculty in Chair Appointments
As faculty members, we recognize the central role played by department chairs. Department chairs have considerable authority in allocating departmental resources, in assigning courses, in advocating for resources for their individual departments, in negotiating workloads with individual faculty, in hiring and promotion and tenure decisions, and in implementing policies for the allocation of merit pay. For the overwhelming majority of faculty members, the chairperson is the most important administrator in their academic and professional lives.
Article 5.10 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement recognizes the importance of department chairs for the faculty in the units they administer. Most particularly, this article provides procedures for the appointment and reappointment of chairs:
The advice of a majority of the faculty, by a formal vote of the faculty, within the department is required for the appointment or reappointment of the Department Chairperson. The procedure by which this vote is obtained shall be determined by the faculty of the affected department, and shall be consistent with the Policy Guide for Department Chairs and Academic Program Directors.
At a minimum, a majority of the faculty in a department must
vote under procedures that are determined by the faculty when either a
new chair is being appointed or when a chair is being reappointed.
These powers of the faculty are backed by the contract that the faculty
has with the University and are enforceable through the Grievance
Procedure. Should faculty members have any questions regarding their
role in the chair appointment process, they should contact Leon
Campbell, AAUP Contract Maintenance Officer.
Protecting Intellectual Property Rights: A Key Case in Kansas, 2005
The AAUP seeks to make the intellectual property of faculty secure. It does this by developing statements on copyright and on intellectual property. These statements provide analyses of faculty work which demonstrate the rights of faculty to their intellectual work based, in part, on their relationships to the institutions where they are employed. In addition, the AAUP has filed amicus briefs in courts across the country to support faculty rights to their intellectual property. The case described below, presented in the Report of Staff Counsel, December 2005-May 2006, is a good example of the legal support the AAUP provides for faculty rights to intellectual property.
In 2004, a Kansas appellate issued an ominous ruling for the intellectual property rights of faculty. The court ruled that the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA), which represents faculty at Pittsburgh State University, could not require the university to bargain over copyright ownership. According to the appellate court, copyright ownership is not a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. The appellate judge reached this decision by assuming that faculty members’ intellectual property was work-for-hire and, therefore, was the property of the university. The KNEA initiated its legal action after the Kansas Board of Regents proposed giving ownership of faculty property rights to the university. The appellate court, in effect, confirmed the Board of Regents’ policy proposal.
The KNEA appealed the case to the Kansas Supreme Court. On July 13, 2005, the AAUP filed an amicus brief, written by Counsel Ann Springer, on the issue of faculty members’ ownership of their own copyrights. The AAUP argues that work-for-hire does not include faculty intellectual property. Federal court decisions, traditional academic practices, and notions of academic freedom all support the rights of faculty to retain ownership of their work as original authors. Robert Gorman, former AAUP President and consultant to the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, contributed significantly to the amicus brief.
In a victory, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the KNEA on November 10, 2005. The Kansas Supreme Court held that intellectual property rights are not simply assumed to be work-for-hire belonging to the university and can be a subject of collective bargaining. Finding the appellate court’s reasoning to be an “incorrect application of federal copyright law,” the Kansas Supreme Court concluded that to assume universities’ blanket ownership of faculty intellectual property was “too big a leap.” Instead, the court recognized that the question of ownership of faculty work is a complex one, depending on a careful analysis of the employment relationship and the reason for and method of the creation of the work itself. The court cited the AAUP Statement on Copyright, and recognized that faculty intellectual property ownership cannot be treated simply as work of an employee belonging to an employer. Rather, it demands a case by case evaluation. (The decision, Pittsburgh State University/Kansas NEA v. Kansas Board of Regents, PSU and PERB is available at http://www.kscourts.org/kscases/supct/2005/20051110/91305.htm).
Join the AAUP
If you are not a member of the AAUP, the beginning of the semester is a good time to join. Just fill out the dues deduction card that is enclosed in this issue of the AAUP VOICE. The AAUP has been representing full-time faculty at the University of Delaware for 34 years. Our chapter has the lowest local dues of any comparable collective bargaining chapter in the country, and the first year is free for new members. The AAUP depends upon faculty involvement and support. We have been successful in gaining salary increases, providing benefits, and ensuring excellent working conditions at the University of Delaware through collective bargaining and by making sure that the contractual protections for the faculty are implemented.
As an important arm of faculty governance, the AAUP needs your membership, support, and participation. Take the time to join today!