December 2001 aaUPBEAT
Upcoming AAUP-Administration Contract Negotiations
Bargaining Team Announced
In preparation for upcoming contract negotiations with the Administration, the AAUP steering committee approved the executive council's recommendations for the bargaining team at a Dec. 7 steering committee meeting. The team will include the following members.
David Colton, the bargaining team's Chief Negotiator, is a Unidel Professor of Mathematical Sciences. His research interests are in inverse scattering theory, and he has been funded for many years by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He has taught in the Women's Studies Program and was chair of the University Faculty Senate Committee on Divestment from South Africa. He has served on the political action committee, steering committee and executive council of the AAUP, and from 1992-1996 was the union's president. In addition to being the AAUP's chief negotiator he is also editor of the union's newsletter.
L. Leon Campbell is the Hugh M. Morris Research Professor of Molecular Biosciences. His research interests are in the development and use of computer-based neural networks. He was the University's Provost from September 1, 1972 until August 31, 1988, and previously has served as an elected member of the AAUP steering committee. He was appointed AAUP Contract Maintenance Officer in September, 1994.
Linda Bucher has taught in the Department of Nursing since 1990. Her specialty area of practice and teaching is critical care/emergency nursing; she recently published a textbook on critical care nursing. Her research interests have ranged from the incorporation of music therapy in acute care settings to the study of nurse's knowledge of and attitudes toward s near-death experiences. She first became active in the AAUP as a member of the steering committee in 1995. From 1996-1999, she served as a member-at-large on the executive council; she is currently the union's Vice-President.
James Thornton, Associate Professor, Economics, has been an important resource person for the AAUP for many negotiating sessions because of his grasp of salary-related statistics. His data presentations rebut with hard facts Administration arguments against salary increases. Jim teaches comparative economic systems, and has an interest in studying the former Soviet Union, its transition to a market economy, and incentive systems.
In terms of the parameters of bargaining team activity, the bylaws mandate that:
The Upcoming Negotiations: Issues of Importance
The first bargaining session with the Administration will be held on Dec. 20. Subsequent sessions will be held in 2002.
Given the economy's months-long downturn, and how this trend has been further aggravated in Sept. 11's aftermath, we expect the Administration to argue that it can't afford to pay for a contract that the AAUP considers fair and just. Mindful of this argument, we have honed down our list of requests to a bare-bones list that is both affordable and reasonable. Because we have done this, the Administration should be cautious about overemphasizing its financial problems. In truth, the Administration has a strong investment portfolio and is known nationally for the size of its endowment. Although some of the University's investments certainly have suffered over recent months, as have many faculty members' investments, nothing so negative has happened to the University's finances that would prevent the Administration from agreeing to a fair contract with the union. Nonetheless, we expect this particular round of negotiations to be tough. We have no intention of emerging from bargaining with anything less than solid salary increases and other gains of importance to UD faculty.
Included in the union's bargaining agenda are the following issues.
Salary. Faculty need sufficient salary increases to enable us to keep even with inflation as well as to reward meritorious service. Also, salary adjustments may be necessary to rectify expected imbalances by rank in our comparator group's latest salary figures. Since the Administration has never felt obligated to make sure that faculty salaries increase at the same rate that its investments and endowment have increased, the AAUP has no intention of allowing our salaries to stagnate just because currently some of the University's earnings may be down.
Mini-Sabbaticals. Reimbursements for mini-sabbaticals must be brought in line with payments for full sabbaticals, i.e., compensation should amount to 75% of salary for the period of time in question.
Long-Term Care Insurance. This is something that is long overdue for UD faculty. Such insurance covers an array of services which aren't usually covered by Medicare or by health/disability insurance. The need for long-term care can arise from a variety of circumstances including the development of a chronic health problem or disability. In this connection, group policies underwritten by major insurers offer attractive, affordable rates.
Domestic Partner Benefits. Such benefits are a bread and butter issue. Gay and lesbian faculty couples who meet requirements similar to those for heterosexual married couples should receive the same benefits that the University provides to married heterosexuals. Many regional higher education institutions like Rutgers, American University and the U. Penn have inaugurated such benefits, as have Delaware employers like The News Journal, Chrysler and General Motors. It's time to transcend old prejudices. As one UD faculty member has written, "During these unusual times, I think we already have enough people using religion to justify intolerance."
Maternity Leave. Faculty members have the option of taking a one semester administered load (no teaching) during the semester of or immediately following the birth or adoption of a child.
Enhancing Emeritus Status. Emeritus status is recommended to the Provost on the basis of "distinguished contributions to teaching, scholarship or service during tenure at the University of Delaware." In addition to the usual benefits for retired employees, faculty who are designated as Emeritus should be provided with office space and reasonable secretarial help.
Unit Bylaws. All academic units must develop and ratify a set of bylaws for their units. These bylaws must be submitted for approval to the Administration.
Departmental Merit Criteria. Each department must develop a set of clearly defined criteria for evaluating merit pool applications. These criteria must be consistent with the department's guidelines for promotion and tenure. The criteria must be submitted for review and approval to the appropriate dean.
Faculty and Sept. 11: A Footnote to Last Month's Article
In the article "Sept. 11 - Higher Education, Free Speech and the Role of Faculty" in our last newsletter, we discussed a variety of issues pertaining to faculty free speech issues during a time of military conflict. Among other examples, we took a critical look at the case of Robert Jensen, the University of Texas journalism professor who was criticized by the university's president for ideas expressed in Jensen's anti-war op-ed piece in the Houston Chronicle.
We concluded the article:
"In a time of national crisis, we as faculty must reflect on the special role we play as teachers, scholars and intellectuals. This role cannot be played through silence or the encouragement of shortsighted analyses, but only through the molding of academic freedom into a tool for guaranteeing that national policies aren't decided without first being subjected to the rigors of critical thinking, even when such thinking includes unpopular ideas."
It is important to note, however, that whereas most AAUP members and many other faculty view free speech guarantees and independent thinking as a crucial aspect of the development of sound foreign policy, not everyone agrees. A recent report published by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) alleges that higher education faculty responses to Sept. 11 often lacked patriotism, were out of step with public opinion, and too often naively "invoked tolerance and diversity as anecdotes for evil."
Of the more than one hundred examples cited in the ACTA report of "weak" academic responses to the Sept. 11 attack was an open letter to the Wesleyan University community from the institution's president, Douglas J. Bennet. The report's "evidence" for Bennet's nationalistic shortcomings included the following quote in which he meditates on how Sept. 11 might not only encourage us to take terrorism more seriously, but also to analyze our own society's contradictions.
"...Disparities and injustices are there, all the more intolerable because they are embedded in some of the most fundamental aspects of our society and the world we live in... In this time of crisis, we have an unusual opportunity to see past stereotypes, identify and diminish our own prejudices, and experience a complex world through the sensitivities of others..."
Anyone wishing to read the report in its entirely can do so at http://www.goacta.org.
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni was founded in 1995 by Sen. Joe Lieberman, Al Gore's Vice-Presidential candidate in the last election, and Lynne Cheney, the wife of current Vice-President Dick Cheney.