MLA presentation for AAUP

Some of my notes (I’ve got to dig up the abstract):

On the topic of faculty governance, or shared governance, I’ve noticed the following phenomena as universities have gone to the entrepreneurial or “market” model:

  • no departmental meetings (decisions made by chairs in consultation with administration, or by ad hoc, sometimes secret committees)
  • no departmental peer review, evaluations made by chairs alone in consultation with administration
  • faculty no longer vote on tenure, decision is made by secret, ad hoc committee
  • no general rules for tenure, decisions made on “case by case” basis
  • no reasons given for negative tenure or promotion decisions (as giving a reason could invite an appeal / a lawsuit)
  • chairs do not support departments but follow orders given from above, and there is no clarity on who has given these orders
  • Faculty Senate meets but is not listened to
  • Strategic plans envision replacement of Faculty Senate with much smaller “University Senate”
  • Hand-picked task forces, undertaking tasks formerly done by Senate, but this time following directives from above
  • University committees charged with implementation of recommendations made by consultants hired by administration
  • …and more along these lines.

All of this is still called faculty governance, you realize, but it does not allow faculty agency qua faculty members or as a faculty and treats them more like staff or administrative staff.

I think it is important to note since so much AAUP wisdom presupposes a different conceptualization of the faculty role, imagines that the senate still is serious as a governing body, and so on.
Thus, my question becomes, how AAUP advocacy chapters can be effective when the governing structures that existed up until about 2008 have fallen away?


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