THE FACULTY ADVOCATE

NEWSLETTER OF THE UMKC CHAPTER OF THE
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS

December, 2000                                     Editor: Patricia Brodsky                                  Vol. 1, No. 2


CONTENTS

Ending Abuse of Contingent Faculty and the Erosion of Tenure, by David Brodsky

National Conference on Contingent Academic Labor

Conference Planning Off to a Vigorous Start

The "Blueprint for the Future:" Some Questions, by Patricia Brodsky and David Brodsky

Chapter Activities

AAUP Joint Leadership Training Meeting

National AAUP Organizer Visit Campus

Academic Freedom and Tenure

Editorial--Post-Tenure Review: Neither Benign nor Inevitable, by Patricia Brodsky

Food for Thought, by Patricia Brodsky

AAUP Guidelines on Intellectual Property Rights and Distance Learning, by David Brodsky
 


Ending Abuse of Contingent Faculty and the Erosion of Tenure

by David Brodsky

        The plight of contingent faculty and the evaporating pool of tenure-track positions were summarized in the last issue of Faculty Advocate (Sept. 2000), pp. 5-7. This installment provides supplementary information and recommendations for action.

        Contingent faculty include part-timers (33%), full-time non-tenure track faculty (14%), and graduate teaching assistants (18%). Together they constitute 65% of the national academic workforce. Tenured faculty (25%) and probationary tenure-track faculty (10%) account for only 35%. (1)

        Many contingent instructors come from full-time careers outside academia, provide expertise--typically in vocational subjects--unavailable among the regular faculty, treat their academic job as supplemental, and derive somewhat better pay, working conditions, and satisfaction from their teaching. Their full-time salaries subsidize low teaching pay. The health sciences are a notable exception. As a result of corporate deprofessionalization under managed care, working conditions for many faculty in the health disciplines have deteriorated markedly.

        The largest and growing category of contingent faculty lacks full-time employment outside academia and depends on academic jobs as its primary income source; teaches core courses, usually lower division, typically in arts and sciences disciplines like English, mathematics, and foreign languages; holds de facto permanent positions despite the part-time label; works in substandard conditions for exploitative pay without benefits; is excluded from review of and incentives for performance, opportunities for professional advancement, curriculum development, student advising, and participation in governance; commutes between several contingent jobs to make ends meet; and expresses the lowest job satisfaction.

        Nationally, non-vocational contingent positions tend to be concentrated in the arts and sciences in four-year institutions, and across disciplines in community colleges. Administrations take advantage of the huge reserve army of contingent labor they help produce by replacing tenure-track jobs with contingent ones. With this weapon they intensify cutthroat competition, divide the workforce, and drive down job status, morale, wages, and working conditions for all faculty. The depleted ranks of regular full-time faculty are burdened with heavier course, advising, and committee loads, larger class sizes, a shrinking role in governance, and less time for research. Cheap contingent jobs reduce funding assigned to instruction, which is expropriated for administrative budgets.

        Research, clinical, laboratory, and library faculty increasingly receive insecure, temporary, renewable term contracts. A large and growing percentage of contingent faculty who have ter-minal degrees and a publishing record seek academic careers and are qualified for full-time tenure track positions. Their reasonable expectations are thwarted by administrative policies reducing the number of probationary tenure-track positions (these declined 9% between 1975 and 1993--a destruction of 11,722 jobs --while the faculty overall increased 43%) (2) and raising the standards for tenure to unrealistic levels. Such eugenics policies are meant to bring about the rapid extinction of the tenured faculty, and therefore of tenure and academic freedom as well.

        The administrative strategy of proletarianizing and disempowering the workforce threatens the academic enterprise as a whole. Replacing full-time tenure-track lines with contingent faculty, whose lack of job security makes them easy to exploit and abuse, endangers the survival of entire disciplines, the future of the profession, and the quality of education that students receive.

        Thus all members of the academy--students, teachers, and researchers--as well as the public have a common interest to defend. Viable solutions should protect all faculty, both tenure-track and contingent, and revitalize the principles and practices of job security, academic freedom, due process, and democratic shared governance. The key to success is organizing--all ranks and categories of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and the community, with outreach to the media and elected officials.

        Contingent faculty often defend their interests by gaining union representation. Graduate Teaching Assistants at nearby University of Kansas organized in 1995. More recently 10,000 GTAs in the University of California system won recognition after a nearly two-decade long campaign (http://www.uaw2865.org ), as did the New York University graduate students several weeks ago (both groups are represented by the United Auto Workers). But in itself unionization is not always enough. Reports in the workshop from three successful organizing drives stressed that independent part-timer organizing is necessary to persuade unions already representing them to prioritize their issues.

        The California Part-Time Faculty Association (http://www.cpfa.org ), which represents 30,000 part-timers in community colleges throughout the state, held a petition drive to pressure the governor and state legislature to guarantee equal pay for equal work, health benefits, paid office hours, and seniority and rehire rights (part-timers already have retirement benefits). The campaign, which included a humorous mascot, cartoons, and street theater, generated major media attention and educated the public about part-timer issues, attracting support from students, full-time faculty, staff, and even top administrators.

        Within a ten-mile radius of the center of Boston are found 58 institutions of higher education (only three are public) and 10,000 part-time faculty. Part-timers at University of Massachusetts Boston reversed union priorities and won their demands for medical and pension benefits. Because most part-timers in the region lack union representation, the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL; http://omega.cc.umb.edu/~cocal/ ) and the Greater Boston Area University Organizing Project have begun a multi-institution campaign. Their strategy is to build a regional social movement, educating the public, mobilizing support, and organizing adjuncts, GTAs, clerical, food service, maintenance, and janitorial workers, and technical and professional staff. A major goal of the project is union control of the part-time labor market (for example, through a hiring hall) and a regionwide basic contract. The main inspiration for the Boston initiative was the Teamsters' victory over UPS several years ago, which won conversion of thousands of part-time jobs to full-time, and gained solid public support with the truth that part-time salaries don't pay full-time bills.

        The Greater Boston Area University Organizing Project drafted a Campus Charter, a common program for adjuncts, that demands a living wage, equal pay for equal work, full medical and pension benefits, job security (protection from privatization, outsourcing, and subcontracting), academic freedom (free speech and due process), democratic participation in institutional governance, and the right to organize, all without fear of retaliation. The rights enumerated in the Charter explicitly apply to all other members of the academic community. Besides mass leafleting, rallies, and picketing, an important component of the campaign is labor history: a public rally and meeting commemorating the 1979 Boston University strike and featuring some of the original participants, when three unions won representation against the ultra-reactionary John Silber administration.

        1400 part-timers on the four-campus Connecticut State University system have won many gains in their latest union contract (http://www.ccsu.edu/aaup/csu/default.htm ), including pay raises of 12-13% over three years, health care and pension benefits, working conditions, academic freedom and non-discrimination protections, grievance procedures, and access to governance and to faculty development and travel funds. Part-timer gains have also been made by the NEA in Chicago and the AFT in New Jersey. A successful lawsuit in the state of Washington has won retirement benefits, and litigation for health care coverage is underway. Part-timers at Georgia State University in Atlanta gained not only a large pay increase but the conversion of hundreds of part-time positions into full-time non-tenure track jobs eligible for benefits, with hiring preference given to current part-timers.

        Karen Thompson, a part-time English teacher and staff person in the AAUP bargaining unit at Rutgers University (http://www.rutgersaaup.com ), recommends a policy of improving wages, benefits, and working conditions to a high enough level to price contingent labor out of the market. When contingent labor becomes "expensive" and its numbers are limited, the reserve labor force no longer provides big cost savings to administrators, who lose their cheap replacements for tenure-track positions and a reliable way to erode the tenure system.

        The ultimate goal of improving contingent jobs would be to convert them in stages to full-time tenure-track positions, aiming for a fixed percentage cap on the use of contingent labor. (3) Current contingent faculty would be given preference in hiring or a fair chance to compete for the new jobs. To make competition a fair option, different models of tenurable positions could be considered. Besides traditional full-time teaching-research-service jobs, there could be positions with a teaching focus or a research focus, part-time as well as full-time, with or without part-time administrative duties, etc.

        Contingent positions would continue to be available to meet special staffing needs, such as: unexpected fluctuations in enrollment, a limited number of courses requiring expertise unavailable elsewhere, short term curriculum experiments, replacements for faculty on leave, artists and writers in residence, and guest professorships. To the greatest extent possible such positions would be chosen voluntarily by instructors who preferred them.

        The American Sociological Association states that "part-time faculty should be treated like full-time faculty and given the same rights and privileges." (4) The following recommendations, collated from a variety of sources, reflect that principle.

        Both before and after conversion to tenure-track positions contingent faculty should be entitled to:

            1) careful interviews, detailed job descriptions, institutional and job orientations for new hires, and written evaluation criteria for reappointment

            2) living wages, calculated as a fair proportion of full-time work (pro rata rather than per course or course hour), raises, and full benefits

            3) employment security (e.g. long-term contracts, seniority preference, in certain cases tenure), timely and reasonable notice, compensation for cancelled courses, and unemployment compensation after termination of contracts

            4) limited teaching loads and adequate working conditions (e.g. office space, equipment, supplies, administrative services, use of campus facilities, library borrowing privileges, parking, etc.)

            5) support for professional development (travel funds, grants), regular contact with and mentoring by permanent faculty

            6) due process rights--to confer over terms and conditions of the job, to appeal negative decisions, and to fair and effective grievance procedures

            7) periodic fair and equitable peer evaluation

            8) eligibility for academic rank and promotion (a voluntary option for qualified candidates)

            9) participation in advising, curriculum development, textbook selection, committee work, and governance (e.g. representation on all committees dealing with contingent issues), including extra compensation for these activities.

            10) integration into departmental and institutional life, notice of campus events, discounts, tuition remission, etc.

        Implementation would vary according to local departmental and institutional needs, and decisions would be made through the process of democratic shared governance, where everyone affected by a decision would have a voice and a vote.

        Such a strategy would help rebuild the tenured faculty, enhance the status of contingent labor, and stabilize the work force. It would strengthen academic freedom, re-empower the faculty, raise their morale, and regain their loyalty to the institution. And it would advance educational quality and standards, restoring public confidence in higher education. Education, after all, is a human right, and it exists to serve the citizens and the society that support it.

(1) Ernst Benjamin, "Faculty Appointments: An Overview of the Data," Working for Academic Renewal (AAUP: 1998)

(2) Ibid.

(3) "The Status of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty (1993)," AAUP Policy Documents & Reports (1995), p. 79, recommends maximum contingent usage of 15% of total instruction within an institution and 25% within a department. The Conference on College Composition and Communication recommends a cap of 10% within a department, in "Statement of Principles and Standards for the Postsecondary Teaching of Writing" (October 1989), p. 3.

(4) "Guidelines for Employment of Part-Time Faculty in Departments of Sociology" (American Sociological Association [nd])


National Conference on Contingent Academic Labor

The California Part-Time Faculty Association (CPFA) is hosting the third National Conference on Contingent Academic Labor, which will take place in San Jose, California, January 12-14, 2001. Among dozens of co-sponsors are Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, AAUP, Modern Language Association, American Philosophical Association, Conference on College Composition and Communication, American Folklore Society, and Communication Workers of America. Speakers will include contingent labor activists and state and national legislators. The Conference will kick off plans for a National Equity Week, modeled on the A2K effort that collected 40,000 petition signatures from 86 California community college campuses. It will also showcase the successful organizing strategies used in Boston, Washington, Chicago and elsewhere. The Conference is likely to be the agenda-setter for a true national breakthrough. See: http://www.cpfa.org/cocal/announce.html . For more information contact: Mary Ellen Goodwin, megsplace@earthlink.net


Conference Planning Off to a Vigorous Start

        On November 18 organizers met in a marathon planning session for a conference "Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover," scheduled for Saturday, March 3, 2001. The conference, sponsored by the UMKC chapter of the AAUP, will be held on the UMKC campus, with co-sponsorships being sought from cooperating groups at other institutions. It is partially modelled on the statewide hearings organized by the California Faculty Association on the future of higher education.

        Twelve attendees made brief presentations covering a broad spectrum of issues related to the corporatization of education in America, ranging from corporate sponsorship of scientific research to corporate influence on curriculum to the imposition of a corporate governance model on institutions.

        One of the purposes of both the organizing meeting and the proposed conference is to create a network of education activists in the greater Kansas City area, the first step in an on-going joint effort to resist corporatization at all levels. To that end invitations went out to a number of area colleges and universities. At the November 18 meeting speakers represented four institutions: UMKC, University of Kansas, KU Medical School, and Kansas City Kansas Community College, and also included independent scholars and community activists. We plan to involve more area schools in the the conference itself.

        A number of individuals have already agreed to present papers and organize panels or roundtable discussions. AAUP members interested in participating are welcome to submit proposals to Stuart McAninch (Education) or Pat Brodsky (Foreign Languages). E-mail or hard copy is acceptable.


The "Blueprint for the Future:" Some Questions

by Patricia Brodsky and David Brodsky

        Many in the campus community have greeted the Blueprint with skepticism. Problems lie in its source and method of development, its sometimes ambiguous goals, and its language. Because its wording more often obscures than enlightens, we try to make informed guesses by translating euphemisms and evasions into ordinary English, and then pose questions based on them. Despite a number of projects and goals which apparently represent selected faculty and student interests, the tendency of the Blueprint is to undermine faculty prerogatives and responsibilities in the areas of curriculum and governance.

        The Blueprint was initiated by the administration and expresses the administrative agenda and priorities. The initial discussions took place during the summer, when many faculty and most students were out of town. Administrators continue to play determining roles on the Blueprint committees. Although faculty were invited to participate in public discussions during the fall, faculty concerns, criticisms, and real longstanding needs were shunted aside by the administration, particularly when voiced by individuals and units not privileged by the Blueprint. Unprivileged participants registering criticisms on the internet and at team meetings have had comparable experiences. This is business as usual at UMKC.

        The Blueprint process is fatally flawed because it violates the principle of shared governance, which allocates to each component of the university primary authority and responsibility. (1) AAUP guidelines state that faculty have "primary responsibility" and "primary authority" for decisions that bear directly or indirectly on "curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of life which relate to the educational process." Faculty likewise are entitled to participate significantly in total institutional budgeting and allocation of funds. The Blueprint proposes a massive effort in all of these areas, without subjecting them to the rigorous scrutiny of all the individuals who will be affected.

        The Blueprint process does not guarantee the formal representation and authority of each academic unit, a fundamental flaw, since some units and programs are explicitly privileged (health sciences, visual and performing arts, and urban-related studies), while the remainder are relegated to the outer darkness. Decision-making is taken out of the hands of relevant faculty bodies and placed in unelected and unaccountable mechanisms. Blueprint "teams" are not faculty bodies but administrative instruments in which faculty participate on an ad hoc and self-selected basis. Even those who participate with the admirable intention of representing faculty interests must admit that participation is not the same as authority. Faculty are deprived of the authority to make their own decisions in their own truly representative forums and to mandate their implementation.

        Faculty participation on the Blueprint "teams" lends them a patina of legitimacy which they do not in fact possess. Nowhere does the Blueprint state that final team proposals will be presented to the faculty and other members of the university community for a full, adequate, and unhurried public discussion, debate, amendment, and vote. As the 1994 AAUP statement on governance warns, "an inadequate governance system--one in which the faculty is not accorded primacy in academic matters--compromises the conditions in which academic freedom is likely to thrive" (p. 189).

        Perhaps the greatest threat hidden beneath the Blueprint's upbeat facade is to faculty control of curriculum. The theme, "Community of Learners," asserts that "every program" will be expected to "communicat[e] regularly ... with its alumni, the employers of its students, and other constituencies to determine their future ... programmatic needs." This is a clear attack on faculty control of curriculum and on the integrity of the university. It invites and encourages outside interference.

        In curriculum matters AAUP guidelines state that the "faculty's voice should be authoritative", because faculty in each discipline have the training and expertise to discharge their responsibility for supervision and oversight. The faculty's judgment is "more likely to produce better teaching and research in the discipline than are the views of trustees or administrators", as well as of other constituencies (p. 187).

        Pre-professional, professional, and vocational programs already are responsible to guidelines set by accrediting or certification agencies in their disciplines, and often to state laws as well (e.g. teacher training, law, medicine). What role does the Blueprint envision alumni, employees, and mysterious, unnamed "other constituencies" playing with respect to these professional agencies and state laws? Do they intend to supersede them?

        Since professional and vocational programs are already regulated, is the Blueprint targeting Arts and Sciences disciplines for meddling by outside forces? Surveying the national scene, we can be fairly certain that these forces represent corporate and business interests looking to make a profit from the teacher-student relationship. Is one goal of the Blueprint to force A & S courses into the vocational track? And to marginalize or eliminate their mission to teach critical thinking and a broad knowledge of the world and its cultures?

        Besides teaching and the production of knowledge, the essence of higher education is to discuss and debate issues that have not been settled. Outside control of curriculum spreads "a pall of orthodoxy," in the words of the Supreme Court, over education and research, rendering professional academic disciplines worthless. The AAUP affirms that "'the educational effectiveness of the institution' is the greater the more firmly the institution is able to protect this allocation of authority [faculty control of curriculum] against pressures from outside the institution" (p. 187).

        The theme, "A Community of Learners," calls for every course to have "stated learning objectives and expectations that are tied explicitly to instruction and assessment." But since our curricula already meet these guidelines, it is fair to ask whether the Blueprint has a hidden agenda. Which individuals, bodies, criteria, and instruments, within or outside the university, does the Blueprint specifically have in mind as the arbiters of assessment, other than individual faculty members and colleagues in their disciplines?

        The theme, "A Campus without Borders," contains a proposal for "significant e-Learning ... with all units having courses, programs, resources." An earlier version mandates favoritism toward those who adopt online teaching models ("a rewards structure that encourages, recognizes, and values those activities"). In other words, electronic instruction will be imposed on all units without exception, without regard for its appropriateness to the subject matter and the wishes of individual faculty members. Distance education is a curricular matter and, like any other curriculum policy, belongs entirely under the control of the faculty. Distance education not wholly under faculty control is merely a weapon to eliminate classroom instruction and the very idea of a teaching profession (see article below).

        The "comprehensive undergraduate research program" envisioned in Breakthrough Project #9 does not appear to have a primarily pedagogical intent, since learning how to do research is part of the educational process already in place. Given national trends, the "real research opportunities" promised by the Blueprint may be a euphemism mainly for work as unpaid or underpaid drones in corporate sponsored projects, the kind of exploitation that graduate students already are subjected to.

        "A Community of Learners" envisions a "roles/rewards system ... that permits excellent teachers to weight their workload in teaching more heavily, as long as they are able to demonstrate continual, valid scholarly development." But why should good teachers have to teach MORE in order to be rewarded for it? This is merely a euphemism for exploitation of the faculty, requiring more work for the same (or less) pay. Increasing the teaching workload leaves even less time for research and service. UMKC once had a Vice Chancellor who told faculty that they could do their research between 11 PM and 7 AM. Is this the kind of outcome the Blueprint has in mind?

        The Blueprint's facile reduction of quality to quantity is cause for alarm. "Academic Excellence: Building on our Strengths; Nurturing Innovation," requires "a marked increase in overall faculty quality as demonstrated by increased extramural funding (+30-50% above the current base within the next six years)." Funding opportunities are notoriously unequal among various fields, e.g. computer technology, business, and health sciences, as opposed to the humanities and basic sciences. This is a formula for starving the latter even more thoroughly. The aggressive promotion of outside funding and its equation with "faculty quality," moreover, implies a dangerous move toward privatization of the university.

        Nowhere does the Blueprint recognize that high quality scholarship, leading to grants, "awards, citations" and other external recognition, is fostered by decent working conditions and competitive salaries in ALL disciplines.

        Breakthrough Project #5, "UMKC P.R.I.D.E." originally called for "restructur[ing] the roles and rewards system for faculty, staff, administration, and students." Translation based on national trends: threats to the professional status of faculty and to academic freedom, through weakening or eliminating tenure (see below), and replacing classroom instruction with distance education and tenure-track positions with contingent ones. What lies ahead in terms of workloads? Who is to decide who gets rewarded for what, and according to what criteria?

        A third area of major concern is relations with the urban community. The latest draft of "A Campus without Borders" omits constructive ideas from previous drafts, envisioning a campus that was "accessible and welcoming to all," "hospitable," with "appropriate signage," where "visitors can easily find directions and assistance," a commitment to "increased positive interactions between Volker Campus and Hosptial Hill," and a proposal for wider cooperation among local institutions, based on the premise of a "common metro tuition rate." Given these deletions, just who is meant by "community"? In the mainstream media "public" and "community" are consistent euphemisms referring exclusively to the business world. Does the Blueprint have in mind anyone else, starting with the residents and homeowners of the neighborhood in UMKC's own backyard?

        Apropos of community relations, why not open up the campus to free public speech, where information tables and political discussion would be welcome every day, all year round. UMKC is a public university governed by the First Amendment. What better way to promote the value of open public debate than to open the gates of the university to a variety of viewpoints?

        Why is Project #8, the "Available Campus," being led by someone from the Campus Police? Is expanding access to campus facilities primarily a security issue? This has disturbing implications. We refer readers to an article by Sonya Huber in the recent book, Campus, Inc., that describes the situation at Baruch College, CUNY. The privileging of security issues there has led to the imposition of a student ID that is required "for entrance to the buildings, the libraries, the washrooms and the offices. Each use is instantly recorded on a computer and appears in real time on a screen in the security room. This means that anyone can be tracked in, out, and around a building complex by administration."(2) Is this what Blueprint envisions for UMKC?

        Breakthrough Project #4, which in an earlier draft would "institute a campus-wide, integrated marketing effort and launch an image campaign," is now called by a jazzy and euphemistic title, "Illuminate the excellence." It merely signifies the allocation of mega-dollars to PR. But reputation is not the same as image. The former is based on long-term solid achievement and enlightened policies, like good labor relations on-campus and good-neighbor relations off-campus. In the project's current form it promises to be both wasteful and an embarrassment.

        Breakthrough Projects #3 ("PROVIDE") and #6 ("Budgeting for Excellence") propose to "enhance efficiencies campus-wide" and "refocus resources to support themes." Likely translation: the standard formula of funding privileged areas by underfunding unprivileged ones, more UMKC business as usual. Likely targets for underfunding are undergraduate education and arts and sciences units. There is already evidence that moneys needed desperately for filling positions in the College will not be forthcoming, being diverted instead to privileged areas.

        "Academic Excellence" reaffirms UMKC's three mandated focus areas. But "health sciences" very likely means "biotech industry," as numerous reports in the local media document. Nowhere does the Blueprint acknowledge that "leading edge programs" can survive, much less prosper, without a solid core undergraduate arts and sciences curriculum. Structures collapse when built on a flimsy foundation.

        In summary, faculty rights and the integrity of the university must be a cornerstone of the plan. More serious attention must be paid to achieving diversity at all levels of the community and in the curriculum. And serious problems left over from the past must be addressed, or they will fester at the heart of any future vision. UMKC certainly needs a vision that could unite us as an intellectual and social community. At the current point in the process, whether THIS is the vision is highly debatable.

        As the AAUP's "Statement on Professional Ethics" warns, faculty members must "'accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.' If they do not, authority will drift away from them, since someone must exercise it, and if members of the faculty do not, others will" (p. 188).

        Participants in the Blueprint Project are invited to respond to the Editor of the Faculty Advocate . The latest version of the Blueprint is available on the WEB at http://www.umkc.edu/blueprint/

(1) See the 1966 "Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities," jointly formulated by the AAUP, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges; the 1994 statement, "On the Relationship of Faculty Governance to Academic Freedom;" and "The Role of the Faculty in Budgetary and Salary Matters (1972)," AAUP Policy Documents and Reports (Wash. D.C.: AAUP, 1995), pp. 179-189, 195-198. Further references to this source appear in the text.

(2) Geoffry D. White and Flannery C. Hauck, eds., Campus, Inc.: Corporate Power in the Ivory Tower (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2000), p. 122.


CHAPTER ACTIVITIES


AAUP Joint Leadership Training Meeting

The AAUP Assembly of State Conferences will meet in Kansas City on Saturday, February 24, 2001, from 8:00 till 5:00 at the KC Hilton. Members and other interested persons are urged to attend. Registration is $15. For more information, see the conference Website at http://www.aaup.org/asccbc.htm


National AAUP Organizer Visit Campus

        From October 25th to the 27th Iris Molotsky, Director of Membership Development at the national AAUP office in Washington, D.C., visited the UMKC campus for discussions with the chapter Executive Committee. In a series of very productive meetings Ms. Molotsky advised the committee on a number of issues, including recruitment, grievance procedures, and communications, and discussed chapter projects, such as a workshop on tenure and a conference on corporatization (see above).

        Ms. Molotsky also met briefly with other chapter members and with representatives of the graduate teaching assistants and adjunct faculty. The concerns of these two groups have been designated by the chapter as among our top priorities.

        In addition she informed us of a special rebate for first-time members. Full-time faculty pay $67, an Associate Membership is $50.50, Entrant or Joint Membership $34, and Part-time or Grad Student Membership $17.50. These rates are good until May 31, 2001, and membership will extend for 12 months from receipt of payment in the National office. Local chapter dues remain $10/year for all members.


Academic Freedom and Tenure

        The institutions of tenure and academic freedom have become authoritative in US academia, and their principles have been affirmed and adopted by 170 professional organizations.

        The 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, as clarified by later interpretations, confirms First Amendment rights (freedom of speech, press, and assembly) and Fourteenth Amendment due process procedures on the job, and recommends job security as the most effective way to guarantee these rights and practices. Academic freedom applies "not only to the full-time probationary and the tenured teacher, but also to all others, such as part-time faculty and teaching assistants, who exercise teaching responsibilities."

        1) "Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results."

        2) "Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject."

        3) "College and university teachers are citizens ... When they speak and write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline." Also, "as citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom."

        In addition, "the academic freedom of faculty members includes the freedom to express their views ... on matters having to do with their institution and its policies."

        In 1967 the U.S. Supreme Court wrote: "Our Nation is deeply committed to safeguarding academic freedom, which is of transcendant value to all of us and not merely to the teachers concerned. That freedom is therefore a special concern of the First Amendment, which does not tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom."

AAUP Policy Documents & Reports (Wash. D.C.: AAUP, 1995), pp. 3-6, 188; also see http://www.aaup.org/Redbook.htm


Editorial--Post-Tenure Review: Neither Benign nor Inevitable

by Patricia Brodsky

        We have repeatedly been told that the reason for creating a post tenure review policy is to forestall a more draconian one that President Pacheco fears will be imposed on us by the legislature. The story is that the Administration doesn't want it but is being forced into it. Steve Lehmkuhle declared in a Senate meeting on Oct. 17 that the policy was a "political necessity." President Pacheco, in an article in the October Spectrum (Oct. 2000) claimed "a national trend toward some sort of accountability."

        These claims are disingenuous at best, and in some cases simply untrue. Missouri legislator, Bob Hilgeman, who is a member of the House Higher Education Committee, told an AAUP officer at UMSL that the subject of post-tenure review had never been raised in his committee. Another legislator told her that post-tenure review has never been discussed at any length in the Missouri house. There has been no campaign, no legislation proposed. Thus the putative pressure from the Missouri legislature does not exist.

        Nor does the "outside pressure" come from the Curators. In an article from the Missouri Tribune of October 12 Pierrette J. Shields quotes Hugh Stephenson, President of the Curators, as saying that he had yet to be convinced that the policy was necessary, and that he was "wary of anything that might erode [the tenure] system." The article quotes Stephenson as saying that "tenure is important to a strong university...and [that] he does not want to endanger it."
 

        Where then is the pressure coming from? The Spectrum article declared that Pacheco "reaffirmed his commitment to a post-tenure review process." Post-tenure review was one of his projects at the University of Arizona. President Pacheco is using scare tactics to stampede the faculty into accepting his agenda. According to the Spectrum article, faculty forums "allowed professors to offer suggestions on how best to design a ... policy." But neither the forums nor the appointed faculty task force were given the option of simply rejecting post-tenure review. Eddie Adelstein, a member of the post-tenure review committee itself, stated in the Tribune that Pacheco's "requiring faculty members to develop the proposal was manipulative ... [and] gives a false sense of approval."
 

        The institution of tenure, or job security, was developed in order to guarantee academic freedom. Academic freedom reinforces the First Amendment rights to free expression, press and assembly, and the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. It protects the faculty's right to express itself freely in teaching, research, discussion of university policy, and public statements, as well as the right to fair procedures evaluating faculty status, complaints, and grievances. Tenure and academic freedom guarantee the right to speak out and to defend oneself without fear of reprisals. The weakening or elimination of tenure is intended to weaken or eliminate free expression and due process by making faculty vulnerable to retaliation.

        Under the tenure system faculty already are accountable as professionals--to their students, their academic disciplines, and the general public. The tenure system already provides for disciplinary action and dismissal of faculty. But it also requires that severe disciplinary action be the exception, based on bona fide and genuinely severe deficiencies, infractions, and exigencies.

        Post-tenure review is actually a punitive process. It reverses tenure system principles by making what should be exceptional procedures the rule, and by establishing overly broad and vague criteria for disciplinary action. It casts a pall of suspicion over the qualifications of the entire faculty, who have already undergone strict evaluation by the tenure process. It places all faculty at risk by subjecting them to the threat of ceaseless bureaucratic harassment, intimidation, and ideological control. Academic freedom was established to preclude the imposition of this sort of environment.

        What President Pacheco embraces as a "national trend" is in fact a widespread attempt to undermine and destroy the tenure system. A recent issue of Academe, the AAUP magazine, states: "the rise of the 'accountability movement' ... is the chief characteristic of the "managerial university," which "weaken[s] tenure and erode[s] faculty autonomy" (Academe, May/June 2000, p. 23-24), and post tenure review often replaces the "positive incentives of raises." (25)

        Tenure is already under attack at UMKC from several other directions. For example, Dean Michael Reed of the Dental School is replacing tenured faculty with contingent, non-tenure track instructors in ever-increasing numbers, reports Chris Cumming, Chair of Diagnostic Science. The push toward distance learning and the virtual university have been shown at other institutions to be a direct threat to the tenure system. Post-tenure review, replacing tenure-track lines with contingent positions, and eliminating full-time tenured jobs altogether in the virtual university are three prongs of a coordinated campaign to weaken and eventually destroy the tenure system and academic freedom.

        As benign as the present post-tenure review draft document may appear, it is a wedge that opens the way to future abuses. According to Faculty Chair Russell Zguta, faculty at UM Columbia declared in a resolution passed October 25: "In order to preserve the academic vitality of the U. of Missouri-Columbia the faculty respectfully requests that the Board of Curators refrain from implementing any form of post-tenure review on this campus." Nor is the only alternative to retain the present review system in use at UMKC, Chancellor's Memorandum #77. The UMKC faculty should take steps to rid ourselves of the current policy, and refuse any system-wide or other proposals that threaten tenure and the rights and freedoms it protects.


Food for Thought

by Patricia Brodsky

        With this issue of The Faculty Advocate we are inaugurating a column called "Food for Thought," which will bring brief items of interest to your attention. When possible we will provide sources for further inquiry.

1. PeopleSoft

        The University has decided to invest in PeopleSoft technologies for system-wide use (see e.g. University News, 5 Sept. 2000, p. 1). Faculty were not consulted about this decision. Had we been asked, we would have been able to tell whoever was interested that it was a potential catastrophe. Readers of the Chronicle of Higher Education know about the frustrating and costly experiences a number of colleges and universities have had with PeopleSoft. Ohio State ended up paying $30 million more to switch to PeopleSoft than it had intended. Cleveland State University suffered a cost overrun of $8 million while installing the system. University reserves were eventually depleted to the point that the fiscal health of the university was threatened, and Price Waterhouse issued a warning about the university's financial outlook. There has also been a major shakeup in the school's administration as a result. The Provost was dismissed in March 2000, and on November 7 the president announced her resignation, thus avoiding a possible vote of no-confidence.

        Some institutions experienced disastrous delays and mixups in normal functions such as reporting grades, disbursing student loans, and recording tuition payments. Others complained of poor customer service, missing components, and data corrupted by the system. Reports such as these began surfacing as early as 1998; they continued to be reported widely (see the Chronicle for Sept. 24, 1999, and Feb. 4, 2000). Yet a decision was made to purchase PeopleSoft software for use in the University of Missouri system.

        Technology decisions continue to be made, at the system level and on the campuses, without serious consultation with knowledgeable faculty and staff with hands-on experience. The PeopleSoft decision may be the biggest mistake yet. We need to insist on accountability to the people who will be using the technology: faculty, staff and students.

2. The Faculty Performance Shares: President Pacheco's New Rewards System

        Earlier this semester a new system of rewards for faculty performance, Faculty Peformance Shares, was announced. The rewards, for achievements which at press time remained undefined, were to be made in the form of stock options. At a Senate meeting on September 5 Chancellor Gilliland, when asked about the source of funding for these rewards, stated that she had been told that there had been unexpected savings on health benefits: "apparently not as many people were sick as they expected."

        However, according to a report by IFC members at the November 7 Senate meeting, President Pacheco, when asked about the source of the money for the funds, denied that they were being taken from the health insurance fund.

        Either possibility raises important questions. Ignoring for a moment the fact that this plan pressures faculty to gamble in the stock market, which some may find offensive, there are other possible responses to these "unexpected savings," if savings they are. The University could have established a rebate, refunding money to all of us who saw our health care premiums rise sharply this year. Or it could have renegotiated the premiums with the insurance company, rather than, as was recently announced, raising premiums for the second year in a row.

        If the funds did not in fact come from the health insurance plan, they are still evidently being shifted from one sector of the university budget to another, without consulting those involved. And a more equitable and constructive use of the funds might be, as several Senators suggested, to divert the money into the health plan, thus achieving the outcomes suggested above.


AAUP Guidelines on Intellectual Property Rights and Distance Learning

by David Brodsky

        Distance education is the geographical separation of teacher and student, the absence of face to face communication, or the physical absence of the teacher. It encompasses all technical media (computers, Internet, radio, TV, etc.) and applies to on- and off-campus instruction, credit and non-credit courses, live or pre-recorded instructional formats. For a summary of the dangers posed by unregulated and corporatized distance education see the last issue of Faculty Advocate (Sept. 2000) .

        The AAUP has developed written guidelines on intellectual property rights and distance learning that can be incorporated into agreements governing institutional policies. What follows is a selection of the most important recommendations.

        1) All but a handful of US institutions of higher learning are non-profits, whether public or private. They exist in order to promote the free flow of knowledge to the public through teaching and research.

        2) The university is a collective enterprise, and the faculty is a collective body that takes responsibility for the institution. Thus the faculty does not compete with its own institution, e.g. it does not charge the university royalties for the use of its courses. Since faculty are both creators and users of copyrighted material, they balance intellectual property rights with the requirements of fair use.

        3) The courts have ruled that except for specially negotiated projects, curriculum and research activities are not work for hire, that is, they are under the control of faculty, not employers. Faculty who create courses, whether for the classroom or for distance education, retain intellectual property rights over them in order to maintain their traditional responsibility for the curriculum (see 5 below).

        4) The same principle of academic freedom that applies to classroom instruction likewise applies to distance education. Faculty participation in distance education must be voluntary, never coerced. There should be no favoritism toward faculty using distance education or discrimination against those who don't (in workloads, promotions, merit pay increases, release time, grants, etc.).

        5) Distance Education is a curriculum matter, for which faculty, not administrative units, have primary responsibility and authority. Control over curriculum is a faculty prerogative guaranteed by the principle of academic freedom.

        AAUP guidelines state that faculty have primary authority over decisions about "choice of method of instruction, subject matter to be taught, policies for admitting students, standards of student competence in a discipline, the maintenance of a suitable environment for learning, and standards of faculty competence." (1) In addition, "distance-education courses (or modifications thereto) shall comply with all of the standard practices, procedures, and criteria which have been established for traditional in-the-classroom courses." (2)

        6) Standard practices, procedures, and criteria of faculty control over distance education include but are not limited to:

        7) Distance education courses must meet the same pedagogical standards as classroom courses. Technology should never replace but only supplement traditional classroom instruction.

        8) Decisions on the use of technology should be based on pedagogical, not market, principles. E.g. online courses should have enrollment caps of 25 students, while TV courses can run successfully with larger enrollments.

        9) Institutions should supply adequate technical training well before the course begins as well as adequate support for online pedagogy. Faculty should receive additional compensation, or release time, or a reduced load for first time preparation. They should not be penalized for low student evaluations because of equipment failure or inadequacy (a frequent problem).

        10) Distance education must not be a ploy to replace classroom instruction with technological delivery of courses, and full-time tenured positions with contingent labor.

        "Care should be taken to ensure that on-campus programs are not jeopardized by distance education courses. The offerings should not reduce on-campus offerings to the point where a faculty member must teach distance-education courses to maintain a full load. Distance education should enhance not replace on-campus programs. The use of distance education technology shall not be used to reduce, eliminate, or consolidate full-time faculty positions at the college or university. There will be no reduction in the number of full-time teaching positions as a result of distance education classes being added to the class schedule. No pre-recorded form of instruction shall be employed by the institution for the purpose of replacing faculty members, in whole or in part, regardless of the technology utilized." (3)

        The seriousness of the corporate takeover of intellectual property rights and distance instruction and the importance of effective organization to defend student, faculty, and public interests in quality education is exemplified by the Kent State University faculty, who are represented by an AAUP bargaining unit. Their preparation to go on strike and their picketing in the dead of winter in frigid central Ohio persuaded the administration to retract its original claim of total ownership of copyright and to agree to most of the AAUP guidelines.

(1) "On the Relationship of Faculty Governance to Academic Freedom (1994)," AAUP Policy Documents and Reports (Wash. D.C.: AAUP, 1995), p. 187.

(2) AAUP report, "Distance Education, Ownership of Intellectual Property: Suggestions and Guidelines, Sample Language for Institutional Policies and Contract Language," prepared December 1999.

(3) Ibid.
    An excellent analysis of these issues can be found in David Noble's four-part series, "Digital Diploma Mills."
    Part 1: http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue3_1/noble/
    Part 2: http://www.uwo.ca/uwofa/articles/di_dip_2.html
    Part 3: http://www.tao.ca/wind/rre/0584.html
    Part 4: http://communication.ucsd.edu/dl/ddm4.html



 

The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 1 (September 2000)

The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 3 (February 2001)

The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 4 (April 2001)

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