July 12, 2020
Here is the report of the Drexel AAUP survey of faculty opinions and perspectives about the Fall Term.
Just click on the link below:
Please read and share widely!
June 17, 2020
Virtual Covid Forum Slide Show:
Here is a comprehensive textual summary of the Virtual Forum held on June 17 about returning to campus in the fall. It is a great alternative to watching the 90 minute recording! Feel free to view or download.
June 5, 2020
Statement from the Executive Board of the Pennsylvania AAUP:
The killing of George Floyd by four police officers in Minneapolis has horrified the country. The PA-AAUP mourns Mr. Floyd’s death as well as the pattern of abuse that his killing exemplifies. Institutions of higher education have grappled with inequities, including systemic racism, sometimes with successful outcomes and sometimes with a continuation of unjust systems. A more inclusive society in which young people of all races have equitable access to higher education is a goal for us all. We would rather see people gain an education and use that for the betterment of society than face incarceration, generational poverty, and more.
The impact of this spring will be felt in the classroom in the fall. Thousands of students and professors have joined the wave of protests across the country and the state of Pennsylvania. The executive board of the PA-AAUP supports the right to peacefully protest injustice. This issue may be political but we see it as non-partisan. We all want to work for a better America.
To our colleagues of color, we stand with you as allies. Racial violence has a traumatic impact on the collective mental health of those communities. We acknowledge your pain and offer our support. Anti-racist practices improve working conditions for all faculty. Our working conditions are our students’ learning environments.
In that spirit, we have begun to collect resources that may be useful for you to navigate conversations in classrooms or around your colleagues. Here are just a few to help you get started:
Statement from AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum
National Museum of African American History, “Talking About Race”
Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources
Anti-Racism Resource Collection
Anti-Racism Resources for All Ages
Anti-Racism Resources for White Allies
Stacey Ault, “10 Ways for Non-Black Academics to Value Black Lives,” Medium, 1 June 2020
As part of our call for greater transparency and faculty involvement in the University's budget decisions, Drexel's faculty-led advocacy chapter of the American Association of University Professors (Drexel-AAUP) encourages you to attend the Faculty Senate’s special session on Tuesday, May 26th from 2:30-4:30, featuring Drexel's COO, Interim Provost, and SVP for HR.
Please make sure to register for the 5/26 Faculty Senate Webinar in advance.
To continue conversations begun at the Faculty Senate session, address new questions that emerge from this meeting, and update colleagues on our initiatives, Drexel-AAUP will host a follow-up Virtual Town Hall on Friday, May 29th at 2pm. We invite all faculty and academic workers at Drexel who would like to attend the Drexel-AAUP Town Hall on 5/29 to RSVP for a Zoom link at email@example.com .
May 18, 2020
Drexel-AAUP Open Letter and Report on Survey Findings
Results of Pandemic Needs Assessment Midterm Survey
May 8, 2020
Below is a slide presentation containing an initial analysis of results from Drexel-AAUP's latest survey. The Organizing Committee presented these findings at a Drexel-AAUP Town Hall meeting on May 8, 2020. A full report, to be posted here and shared widely with the university community, is forthcoming. In the meantime, Responses and feedback are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Pandemic Needs Assessment Midterm Survey
April 29, 2020
Given the lack of representation of faculty who teach and do research on President Fry's appointed Covid-19 Task Force, it is now a critical time to gather the input of faculty independent of the administration process. In accordance with the Drexel University Charter, Drexel-AAUP is working to ensure that faculty play a central role in decisions that affect the academic life of the institution. To help us collect forward-looking concerns and policy suggestions, and to assess the current needs of faculty during this time of emergency remote teaching, we ask that you please take 5 minutes to fill out the following anonymous Pandemic Needs Assessment Midterm Survey, conducted independently by Drexel-AAUP and accessible here. Summary findings will be posted on this website on May 5.
We intend findings from this latest survey to support transparency and decision-making processes with maximum faculty participation and input, in accordance with the Drexel University Charter and AAUP guidelines on institutional action in times of financial uncertainty. Given the lack to date of robust faculty representation in decision-making processes regarding Drexel's future course of action in this crisis -- evidenced most recently in the composition of John Fry's Covid-19 Task Force -- we hope to tabulate our needs and concerns through the anonymous survey and make its central findings available to the faculty senate, task force, provost, deans of all colleges, and the president.
Individual responses will remain completely anonymous and will not be shared with any members of the administration. In addition to posting overall findings on this website by May 5, results will also be discussed at our meeting on Friday, May 8 at 2pm. As always, all academic workers at Drexel are welcome to attend our weekly meetings, every Friday at 2pm.
In the meantime, we ask that you please share this announcement with your colleagues, join the Drexel-AAUP mailing list, and send any questions about our ongoing initiatives to email@example.com.
Drexel-AAUP Open Letter to Drexel University President John Fry, Interim Provost Paul Jensen, and the Faculty Senate Concerning the Covid-19 Emergency
March 23, 2020
The global coronavirus pandemic has created formidable challenges for institutions of higher education, and Drexel University is no exception. Members of our university community face severe disruptions in their everyday lives that will likely continue and deepen over the next months. We recognize that the unfolding crisis demands enormously difficult choices for how Drexel may best continue to function as a center of teaching, learning, and research excellence.
In the weeks and months ahead, it is more critical than ever that faculty and other academic workers participate in decision-making processes for adjusting teaching and research expectations in ways that best reconcile the ethical imperatives of equity and academic freedom with the constraints of the exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves. Recognizing that disruptions in our everyday lives render working conditions more difficult at exactly the moment when some are being asked to shoulder a sudden increase in workload, Drexel-AAUP calls on the university to implement concrete measures, developed in coordination with faculty and other academic workers, that will make the challenges ahead more manageable for all involved.
At an initial meeting convened by Drexel-AAUP that brought together faculty members from across the university, we discussed many issues and achieved immediate consensus around three measures that, if put into effect, could represent the first of many steps toward substantially alleviating stress experienced by those offering courses for Spring term.
Allowing instructors discretion over whether or not to record synchronous online sessions, empowering them to exercise their judgment in balancing concerns over student privacy, disability accommodation, academic freedom and self- censorship in ways most beneficial to learning outcomes.
Granting an automatic one-year extension to the tenure clock of all probationary faculty who are not currently under review for tenure, allowing faculty to opt out if they so choose.
Granting faculty currently or soon to enter sabbaticals whose research capabilities have been curtailed to extend or reschedule their leave time according to their needs.
Such measures, many of which have already been implemented by a number of other universities, represent only a small range of further steps that need to be considered through mechanisms of shared governance with the urgency that the situation demands. Other potential measures taken by peer institutions that should be considered include, but are not limited to:
Allowing greater discretion for departments to grant course releases and other reductions in workload for faculty and staff facing disruptions in childcare, elder care, and other critical services no longer available due to coronavirus;
Commitments from deans and department heads to adjust all faculty’s annual review assessments in ways that are consistent and clearly defined ahead of next academic year;
Changes in standard pass/fail policies for student grades, allowing greater latitude for students to take this option without penalization, or for instructors to grant this option according to their discretion;
Modifications to graduate student funding packages, teaching obligations, and expected progress to degree;
Expanding access to health insurance and sick leave protections for adjunct instructors, compensating them for the labor of converting courses to online platforms.
We believe that weighing such measures and others that might arise through open, transparent deliberation that meaningfully involves members of the affected groups would go a long way toward easing burdens and stress experienced by members of our community, and ultimately improve the quality of the work we can muster in these difficult times.
In support of such critical efforts, Drexel-AAUP will be conducting a needs assessment survey of academic workers in the coming weeks, particularly in relation to the perceived ability to maintain acceptable standards of academic freedom set forth by the AAUP at this time. We will also be holding a series of virtual town hall meetings to hear and discuss the needs of academic workers during this difficult period. We welcome the participation of all academic workers across the university in these initiatives, and are happy to collaborate with the Faculty Senate, the Provost’s Office, and the President’s Office in our work. We call on members of these governing bodies to rise to our shared challenges by reaching beyond their usual ranks as we chart the best possible path forward.
The Drexel-AAUP Organizing Committee
After a period of hibernation, the Drexel-AAUP chapter is ready and eager to come together once more for urgent business relating to the state of academic freedom on our campus and beyond.
Over the last year, several members of the Drexel-AAUP Organizing Committee have been working in collaboration with colleagues in the Faculty Senate to draft University policies and procedures relating to academic freedom. We are now approaching the point where we will be able to share a full working draft of the document with members and participants of Drexel-AAUP who may be interested in offering feedback and input before the draft is finalized and submitted up the chain of command in the Faculty Senate.
The Academic Freedom policy/procedures document outlines some ways in which the AAUP Chapter could play a role in ensuring that Drexel delivers on its obligation to uphold principles of academic freedom. Such considerations necessarily beg a broader discussion among our group about the best format, structure, and goals of Drexel-AAUP going forward. Two high priorities on our list of items to discuss, therefore, include determining a timeline for holding the next chapter elections, and ensuring that our chapter bylaws are aligned with the collective vision for the chapter.
To maximize the number of possible attendees for these important discussions, we are convening two meetings in the next two weeks: the first on Friday, February 28, from 11am-12pm, and the second on Friday, March 6 from 11am-12pm, both of them at 3101 Market St., Room 213.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to attend either session. Zoom links are available upon request. A reminder that one need not be a dues-paying AAUP member in order to attend -- all academic workers at Drexel are welcome.
Also, please save the date: On March 31, Henry Reichman, Chair of the AAUP Committee on Tenure and Academic Freedom and author of The Future of Academic Freedom will be giving talks at La Salle (lunchtime) and UPenn (afternoon). Happy to pass along further details and arrange heading over to either event as a group if others are interested in joining.
Looking forward to reconnecting and welcoming new folks soon!
We invite you to join Drexel-AAUP for the first meeting of the summer term. We will gather Friday, July 12th at 2:30pm at our usual location in Room 213 of 3101 Market St.
Whether you are new to hearing about us, a longtime supporter, or have been meaning to get involved, all are welcome! Our agenda will include:
1. Further discussion and action steps relating to alteration and elimination of programs
2. Summer activities and scheduling
3. Moving forward with chapter bylaws and officer elections
Please be in touch with us at email@example.com if you would like to add any items to the agenda, and if you would like to request a link to join us via Zoom.
Best wishes, Drexel-AAUP Org. Committee
Hoping everyone is enjoying the break. Looking ahead to the Spring, please save the dates for our monthly Drexel-AAUP meetings, to be held on the first Fridays of every month.
Friday, April 5th, 2:30-3:30 at 3101 Market St., Room 213
Friday, May 3rd, 2:30-3:30 at 3101 Market St., Room 213
Friday, June 7th, 2:30-3:30 at 3101 Market St., Room 213
All Drexel academic employees are welcome at our meetings; one does not need to be an AAUP member to attend. Zoom links are available upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org for anyone wishing to attend remotely.
Please stay tuned, as well, for details on our Spring event.
Best wishes, Drexel-AAUP Org. Committee
The Q3 2018 edition of the Higher Education Employment Report produced by HigherEdJobs.comis now available online. Here is a brief overview of the findings:
Higher Education Employment Growth Stable as Job Postings Increase
The number of jobs in higher education increased by 0.4 percent, or 13,800 jobs, during the third quarter of 2018, only slightly less than the growth observed one year earlier in Q3 2017 when the number of higher education jobs also increased by 0.4 percent or about 16,000 jobs. However, as also noted in previous reports, overall growth in higher education jobs was negatively impacted by a continuing decline with community college employment. Employment trends continued to be mixed between public and private institutions at community colleges, technical and trade schools, as well as business, computer, and management training schools.
View the full report at: https://www.higheredjobs.com/career/quarterly-report.cfm
Drexel-AAUP will be holding its monthly membership meeting Friday February 8th, from 2pm-3pm at 3101 Market St., Room 213. Please contact email@example.com if you would like a zoom link to join us remotely or to see the updated agenda. Looking forward to seeing you there, and/or at upcoming events:
--Thursday, February 28, 4pm-6pm: Happy Hour, New Deck Tavern (3408 Sansom St.)
--Friday, March 8, 2pm-3pm: Membership meeting, 3101 Market St., Room 213
Drexel AAUP Org. Committee
Announcement: Due to unhappy scheduling conflicts, this month's Drexel-AAUP Happy Hour is postponed. But we will be back in February! Mark your calendars for these upcoming dates below, and do reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with news and updates in the meantime:
--Friday February 8, 2pm-3pm: Membership meeting, 3101 Market St., Room 213
Drexel-AAUP Statement on Program Closures and Alterations
Dec. 7, 2018
Drexel University has recently dissolved its Department of Anthropology, and the Provost’s Office appears poised to downsize or eliminate several other academic programs as well. The Drexel advocacy chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) writes today to express concern about the conduct of these processes.
We understand that program changes, including the elimination of units or programs, are sometimes necessary. However, Faculty Senate protocol, in accordance with AAUP guidelines, requires that faculty members and their representatives participate in any consideration of program alterations or terminations long before final decisions are made. Changes or closures by fiat break with standard norms and practices of shared governance in higher education, and erode our ability to fulfill the University’s academic mission.
Moreover, a central pillar of academic freedom is the freedom to teach. This professional right can be seen to apply not only to faculty members’ work as instructors in the classroom, but also in their role as central architects of their programs of study.
It is now clear that the Office of the Provost has created a list of programs under consideration for downsizing or elimination. In the spirit of transparency, we ask that members of the units directly affected, Drexel-AAUP, the Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs, the Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Affairs, and all academic workers at the University receive access to the full list of programs slated for potential closure or alteration as soon as possible. We call on the Office of the Provost to communicate the "big picture" motivations behind the range of changes being considered, as well as the specific rationale for each proposed alteration.
Opening spaces of deliberation and collaborative decision-making with faculty and other academic workers would send a strong signal that the Provost's Office is committed to real partnership with the University's teaching professionals. It would instill confidence that any program changes are part of a coherent strategy that balances administrative imperatives with the educational mission of the University. And it would provide an encouraging sign that Drexel is committed to principles of shared governance, academic freedom, and its own University Charter.
From the home office: "Last week the national AAUP delivered a letter to the leaders of the Rutgers University AAUP-AFT chapter expressing concern about a report by that university’s Office of Employment Equity, which concluded that Facebook posts on gentrification made by history professor James Livingston “were not protected by the First Amendment and furthermore violated the university’s policy on discrimination and harassment.” We wrote that any discipline stemming from that finding would violate long-standing principles of academic freedom that are embraced in the university’s own policies and collective bargaining agreement. A day after chapter leaders gave the letter to Rutgers president Robert Barchi, he ordered another review of the professor’s social media posts, calling for a more rigorous assessment. Barchi — who said he was not aware of the report before its release — wrote that “few values are as important to the University as the protection of our First Amendment rights.” In light of the “complexities of this matter and the importance of our considering these matters with exceptional diligence,” Barchi announced the formation of a special advisory group, consisting of First Amendment and academic freedom scholars and attorneys, to provide guidance on this and similar alleged violations of Rutgers policies. For more on the case, here’s an article from today’s Inside Higher Ed.
The model provided by Kent Syverud, chancellor of Syracuse University, is worth noting. When one of his faculty members was harassed for a controversial tweet, he said, “We are and will remain a university. Free speech is and will remain one of our key values. I can’t imagine academic freedom or the genuine search for truth thriving here without free speech. Our faculty must be able to say and write things — including things that provoke some or make others uncomfortable — up to the very limits of the law.” Barchi’s move, while perhaps not finally laying this case to rest, marks a major win nonetheless. One can only imagine how Professor Livingston might have fared had the Rutgers AAUP-AFT and the national AAUP not been there to defend his academic freedom right to extramural expression."
The student group Fossil Free Drexel shared this link earlier this week with the following post: “Do Drexel students have a legal case against Drexel Trustees for gross negligence? Would a judge find that by failing to divest the University's endowment from fossil fuels, Drexel Trustees failed to take reasonable action to protect their students careers from harm due to climate calamity? What portion of all those Drexel graduates' salaries will be forfeit due to environmental calamity? 10%? 50%? Can anybody recommend a good class action lawyer? Maybe one who's also a Drexel alum?”: Hothouse Earth Is Merely the Beginning of the End, Not the end of the planet, but maybe the end of its human inhabitants By JEFF GOODELL: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/hothouse-earth-climate-change-709470/
The FIRE: Rutgers caves to outrage mob: Professor faces punishment for Facebook posts about white people, Harlem gentrification: see article here: https://www.thefire.org/rutgers-caves-to-outrage-mob-professor-faces-punishment-for-facebook-posts-about-white-people-harlem-gentrification/ (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience — the essential qualities of liberty. )
Corey Robin: As political scientists head to their annual convention, the workers at the convention hotels prepare to protest: Here’s what you can do: see article here: http://coreyrobin.com/2018/08/26/as-political-scientists-head-to-their-annual-convention-the-workers-at-the-convention-hotels-prepare-to-protest-heres-what-you-can-do/ (Corey Robin is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center)
A message from the AAUP President:
Today, a narrow majority of Supreme Court justices sided with extremely wealthy interests in the long-awaited decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. Although this decision was not unexpected, we are disappointed by the opinion of the majority. At issue was whether non-union members, who share in the wages, benefits, and protections that have been negotiated into a collectively bargained contract, may be required to pay their fair share for the cost. The court ruled that they may not.
You can find out about the background of this case at https://www.aaupcbc.org/together .
On the surface, this case may seem like a technical one that doesn’t affect many faculty. But Janus and similar court cases and legislative initiatives are part of a broad assault on public institutions and the common good. They seek to roll back protections for working people, lessen public support for civic building blocks such as education, and diminish the ability of unions to have a positive impact.
AAUP members and chapters on campuses across the country advocate for academic freedom, professional values and standards, and the faculty voice in higher education. They help ensure that our students have challenging learning environments and strengthen our institutions of higher education. Those AAUP chapters that have been formally recognized as unions take this advocacy a step farther, by negotiating legally enforceable contracts that incorporate AAUP principles. This ruling makes their job more difficult.
But make no mistake, our fight as AAUP members to have a positive impact on our colleges and universities, to strengthen public higher education, and to protect academic freedom is not over. Together, we will continue to fight for our students, our campuses, and our communities. We will continue to say, loudly and clearly, that strong universities and well-educated citizens are essential to our survival as a democracy. That’s why our work as educators, union members, and advocates has never been more important than it is now.
UPDATE: Status Report on the Proposed Dissolution of Anthropology at Drexel, June 22, 2018
The Drexel University Department of Anthropology is undergoing an administrative process likely to result in its dissolution. If and when the department and program is eliminated, seven tenured faculty and two teaching faculty will be transferred to other units and provisions made for current Anthropology majors to complete their degrees.
This process seems to have been initiated by the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Provost at the beginning of the Spring quarter (AY 2017-18). Since that time, the Anthropology faculty met with the Dean as well as the president of the Faculty Senate to discuss procedures and outcomes and to insure compliance with AAUP protocols governing the elimination of programs. It should be noted that Drexel University policy specifically states that termination of academic programs is to be done in full compliance with AAUP protocols.
AAUP protocols require that three things happen prior to approval of the elimination of the department by the Faculty Senate: 1) all tenured faculty must be transferred to other units appropriate for their teaching; 2) current student Anthropology majors must be guaranteed all necessary course offerings to finish their degrees in their major; and, perhaps most importantly, 3) the Anthropology faculty must agree to the dissolution process. Without such agreement there can be no elimination of program and department.
The Position of the Anthropology Faculty
The anthropology faculty voted unanimously that they will not agree to dissolve the program and department until such time as each individual faculty member is provided with a proposed appointment letter spelling out the conditions of their future placement. The anthropology faculty further agreed that only when all colleagues, tenured and non-tenure track, are individually satisfied with their proposed placements, will the group give their consent to the dissolve the program and department. This “all for one and one for all” approach protects the faculty as a group and ensures that whatever happens is carried out in a way that is both transparent and in the spirit of faculty governance.
Why is this happening?
You are likely asking yourself why the Anthropology faculty would even consider agreeing to the elimination of their Department. The fact is no one is happy with this prospect. However, it is the unanimous conclusion of the Anthropology Department faculty that they are left with no realistic alternative.
To understand the present situation a little history is order.
Four years ago, Anthropology, Communication, Criminal Justice Studies and Sociology became independent, single discipline departments upon the dissolution of the multidisciplinary Department of Culture and Communication. However, following this dissolution, the Department of Anthropology did not receive the investment necessary to successfully launch a new department. Rather, from the very beginning the fledgling Anthropology department was subjected to budgetary austerity in the extreme with effectively no budget beyond faculty salaries. There was no funding for a department head search because the faculty tenure line left open by the retirement of a senior colleague was “eliminated”. There was no budget for a department office or even a single full time staff person. When the copying machine broke, it was carted off without replacement. Thus, despite the very best efforts of its faculty over the past very difficult four years, it is now the consensus of this faculty that Anthropology as a unit is no longer viable.
The Drexel AAUP advocacy chapter is working to assure that whatever happens it will be both transparent to the university community and follow the AAUP prescribed protocols. The AAUP will support the Anthropology faculty as they work out their solution with the administration. Our members among the Anthropology faculty have been involved in this process from the beginning and will see it through to the end. Drexel AAUP will do all it can to maximize the democratic power of faculty shared governance in this difficult situation and will keep you updated as new developments occur.
David Kutzik, Professor
Department of Anthropology
Vice President, Drexel AAUP Advocacy Chapter
An Update from the Organizing Committee
We've had a great run of Drexel-AAUP open houses and happy hours this spring. Thanks to all who have made it out. Due to end of quarter scheduling conflicts however we will need to postpone our last scheduled open house, which was previously set for Tuesday June 12.
In the summer and fall terms, members and others interested in learning more about AAUP will have more opportunities to gather, including over other happy hours, and -- building on the conversations and feedback received over the last few months -- at open houses that will focus on specific issues. Individual sessions will be devoted to the role of faculty governance, the working conditions of teaching and clinical faculty, and issues affecting graduate students, adjunct faculty, and more. Please stay tuned!
The Drexel-AAUP Organizing Committee
PS: Our survey outreach continues to gather responses across different colleges and schools of the university. If you haven't yet taken the Drexel Academic Employee survey, or if you are able to share it with a few colleagues who haven't yet done so, please use this link: https://goo.gl/okR54x. Thank you!
In the Fall quarter, we will be hosting Hans-Joerg Tiede from AAUP National for a public talk and discussion on academic freedom in higher ed today. This will take place probably in late October, date & location TBD.
PLEASE INVITE FACULTY, LIBRARIANS, GRADUATE STUDENTS and OTHER ACADEMIC EMPLOYEES WHO MAY BE INTERESTED!
A REMINDER: Our survey outreach continues to gather responses across different colleges and schools of the university. If you haven't yet taken the Drexel Academic Employee survey, or shared it with colleagues, here is the link: https://goo.gl/okR54x
Thank you for helping us spread the word about Drexel-AAUP. Hope to see you at one of our gatherings!
Drexel-AAUP Organizing Committee