Faculty Union Looks at Higher Education in California

Academe, September/October 2000 | Go to article overview

Faculty Union Looks at Higher Education in California


WHAT CAN FACULTY MEMBERS DO if they find themselves teaching in a troubled university system? According to the California Faculty Association (CFA), they can let people know about their problems. The CFA, an affiliate of the AAUP, is the collective bargaining representative for faculty in the California State University system.

Following union elections last year, new CFA officers, headed by president Susan Meisenhelder, an English professor at the university's San Bernardino campus, initiated a series of public hearings. Faculty members, students, elected officials, higher education experts, and labor and business leaders have testified at these hearings about the role of the comprehensive public university in California and about ways to restore and preserve the quality of education it provides.

Meisenhelder sees the hearings as a chance for "faculty to present a vision of the university that contrasts with that of the corporate university. ... The project will permit us to move from what often appears a defensive position on key issues and will give us the initiative, based on sound principles, on the campuses, in the legislature, and among opinion makers in the state."

The first hearing took place at San Jose State University on March 14. …

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