Magazine article Academe

Goucher College Aaup Chapter

Magazine article Academe

Goucher College Aaup Chapter

Article excerpt

In the last issue, we profiled an AAUP chapter-at the University of Akron-that was founded almost eighty years ago. This time, we look at a chapter that is just one year old, founded in 2009 after numerous disagreements with the administration about the faculty's role in governance and in response to what the faculty perceived as unilateral cuts in benefits.

The chapter has twenty-five members, out of a total of about 175 fulland part-time faculty members at Goucher, a small independent liberal arts college in Baltimore. It is a traditional advocacy chapter: it does not engage in collective bargaining but provides a vehicle for faculty to organize and advocate for their rights. Despite its relatively small size, the chapter has been very effective- demonstrating again that even where unionization is not possible, organization is crucial.

What is the biggest concern of faculty at your institution right now?

Compensation. Retirement contributions have been cut, salaries frozen, and health-care costs continue to rise.

What is your chapter's proudest accomplishment?

We have persuaded the president to reconsider decisions he made on cuts to our TIAA-CREF retirement contributions. The administration has already made restitution of some of the disputed funds.

Best strategy for recruiting new chapter members and leaders?

Show them what you have accomplished and are doing. No one wants to belong to a dormant organization.

Most divisive issue within the chapter?

Rhetoric. Some members favor an aggressive stance, others are put off by this.

Biggest challenge facing higher education now?

The disproportionate number of contingent faculty members. …

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