May 14, 2002
March 12, 2002
Selected Resources from AAUP National Website
"It may not be unethical to have higher expectations for a new generation of scholars, but we shouldn't apply higher standards or a lengthened timetable just for their own sake or because administrations demand it."--W.W. Roworth (Academe)
"The corporate management model, devised to control the railroads and factories of mass production, is simply an inappropriate way to distribute authority among the highly educated professionals of academic institutions."--M. Snyder (Footnotes)
At a time when "knowledge workers" are heralded as the harbingers of the new millennium, academics and journalists find themselves in the paradoxical position of seeming to lead a revolution that threatens the very essence of their professions. Professors and journalists are pressured by the management convictions that the generation of profit is the engine and goal of all enterprise, and that the model of manufacturing processes applies to the creation, development, and distribution of ideas and knowledge. When cost containment and profit maximization become the central motives for developing information and circulating basic knowledge about human affairs, the activities of journalists and professors are viewed as drains on resources.
In fact, the professions of journalism and higher education have long been viewed, and view themselves, as the critics and conscience of society. This role has been recognized in forums as wide ranging as the 1989 New Zealand Education Act and the 1997 UNESCO "Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel."
The American Association of University Professors and The Newspaper Guild-CWA will work together to maintain the kinds of values that both organizations have articulated and promulgated since their beginnings. Since 1915, the AAUP has stood for the freedom to pursue research and to question the institutional conditions for teaching and research, as well as the conviction that the best mode of governance is that in which faculty share in making decisions. Since 1933, TNG has worked to raise the standards and ethics of journalism and to promote the integrity of the newspaper industry.
On the Application of Corporate Model to Faculty Review:
It might be thought that the untoward impact on academic freedom and tenure may thus be eliminated by implementing a system of post-tenure review that has no explicit provision for disciplinary sanctions. Even here, however, where the reviews are solely for developmental ends, there is a natural expectation that, if evidence of deficiency is found, sanctions of varying degrees of subtlety and severity will indeed follow, absent prompt improvement. Hence, even the most benign review may carry a threat, require protections of academic due process, and inappropriately constrain faculty performance. This point warrants further elaboration.
A central dimension of academic freedom and tenure is the exercise of professional judgment in such matters as the selection of research projects, teaching methods and course curricula, and evaluations of student performance. Those who have followed recent attacks on faculty workloads know that the issue rapidly shifted from the allegation that faculty did not work enough (which, it turned out, they plainly did) to the allegation that faculty did not do the right sort of work. Some proponents of post-tenure review will thus not be content with the identification of the few "slackers" already known to their colleagues by other means, nor even with the imposition of a requirement of faculty cooperation and institutional loyalty. They also want faculty members to give back some portion of their ability to define their own work and standards of performance. For example, increased emphasis on students’ evaluations of teaching may lead to the avoidance of curricular experimentation or discourage the use of more demanding course materials and more rigorous standards. Periodic review that is intended not only to ensure a level of faculty performance (defined by others than faculty) but also to shape that performance accordingly, and regardless of tenure, is a most serious threat to academic freedom.
Another consequence of the misapplication of the managerial model to higher education is the ignoring of another important dimension of academic freedom and tenure: time, the time required to develop and complete serious professional undertakings. Shortening the time horizon of faculty, so as to accord with periodic reviews, will increase productivity only artificially, if at all. More frequent and formal reviews may lead faculty members to pick safe and quick, but less potentially valuable, research projects to minimize the risk of failure or delayed achievement.
By way of summary, then, of the Association’s principal conclusions, well-governed universities already provide a variety of forms of periodic evaluation of tenured faculty that encourage both responsible performance and academic integrity. Those forms of post-tenure review which diminish the protections of tenure also unambiguously diminish academic freedom, not because they reduce job security but because they weaken essential procedural safeguards. The only acceptable route to the dismissal of incompetent faculty is through carefully crafted and meticulously implemented procedures that place the burden of proof on the institution and that ensure due process. Moreover, even those forms of post-tenure review which do not threaten tenure may diminish academic freedom when they establish a climate that discourages controversy or risk-taking, induces self-censorship, and in general interferes with the conditions that make innovative teaching and scholarship possible. Such a climate, although frequently a product of intervention by trustees or legislators, may instead regrettably flow on occasion from unduly intrusive monitoring by one’s faculty peers.
Comprehensive post-tenure review is thus a costly and risky innovation, which may fail either to satisfy ill-informed critics on the one hand or to protect professional integrity on the other. If managerially imposed, it may be a poor substitute for the complex procedures colleges and universities have crafted over the years to balance professional responsibility and autonomy. On the other hand, if designed and implemented by the faculty in a form that properly safeguards academic freedom and tenure and the principle of peer review, and if funded at a meaningful level, it may offer a way of evaluating tenured faculty which supports professional development as well as professional responsibility. To that end, we offer the following guidelines and standards.
Increasingly each year undergraduate as well as graduate institutions specify "research" as a major responsibility of the faculty. Lack of clarity or candor about what constitutes such "research" can lead to excessive demands on the faculty generally or on part of the faculty.
If the expectation is only of that "general preparation" already described, no additional reduction in faculty workload is indicated. Usually, however, something beyond that general preparation is meant: original, exploratory work in some special field of interest within the discipline. It should be recognized that if this is the expectation, such research, whether or not it leads to publication, will require additional time. It is very doubtful that a continuing effort in original inquiry can be maintained by a faculty member carrying a teaching load of more than nine hours; and it is worth noting that a number of leading universities desiring to emphasize research have already moved or are now moving to a six-hour policy.
If it is original work that is expected, but the institution fails to state candidly whether in practice scholarly publication will be regarded as the only valid evidence of such study, the effect may well be to press one part of the faculty into "publishing research" at the expense of a "teaching research" remainder. Neither faculty group will teach as well as before.
In short, if research is to be considered a general faculty responsibility, the only equitable way to achieve it would seem to be a general reduction in faculty workload. If the expectation is that some but not all of the faculty will be publishing scholars, then that policy should be candidly stated and faculty workloads adjusted equitably in accordance with that expectation.
Faculty status and related matters are primarily a faculty responsibility; this area includes appointments, reappointments, decisions not to reappoint, promotions, the granting of tenure, and dismissal. The primary responsibility of the faculty for such matters is based upon the fact that its judgment is central to general educational policy. Furthermore, scholars in a particular field or activity have the chief competence for judging the work of their colleagues; in such competence it is implicit that responsibility exists for both adverse and favorable judgments. Likewise, there is the more general competence of experienced faculty personnel committees having a broader charge. Determinations in these matters should first be by faculty action through established procedures, reviewed by the chief academic officers with the concurrence of the board. The governing board and president should, on questions of faculty status, as in other matters where the faculty has primary responsibility, concur with the faculty judgment except in rare instances and for compelling reasons which should be stated in detail.
The faculty should actively participate in the determination of policies and procedures governing salary increases.
3. Governance Standards in the Accreditation of Colleges and Universities; Role of Faculty in the Accreditation Process. The committee discussed a document, prepared by Muriel Poston and based on the Ramo assessment materials, which consisted of a brief checklist of governance issues/concerns that faculty members ought to take into account, along with the longer Ramo "Indicators of Sound Governance," in preparing their self-study report prior to an accreditation visit. Members commented on the disappointingly weak governance standards set forth in the guidelines of the regional accrediting bodies and on the desirability of trying to influence these bodies to adopt more rigorous standards. It was agreed that, while endeavoring to influence the standards for accreditation that are utilized by site visiting teams, the Association (through this committee and the Committee on Accrediting of Colleges and Universities) should also be trying to raise the consciousness of faculty members at institutions undergoing accreditation review to make use of these instruments as part of the process of self-examination and to encourage faculty: (1) to get involved in the self-study process; (2) to obtain the right of final review and approval of the self-study report; and (3) to be aware of the right to prepare a minority report. Finally, it was agreed that, when an institution on the sanction list is about to undergo a reaccreditation review, the statement prepared by this committee recommending the imposition of the sanction be sent to the faculty at the institution and to the members of the site team when their identity becomes known.
4. Evaluating Administrators: Developing Model Instruments. The committee's discussion focused on two immediate strategic questions: who is the target audience for the evaluations and what is their expected outcome? It was generally agreed that the most effective systems of administrator evaluations are ones that occur periodically, are part of a collaborative process (among the faculty, the administration, and the person under review), and are tied to reappointment. They should give administrators who have to make hard decisions on whether or not to reappoint a particular individual a rational basis for doing so, and at the same time they should provide the person under review with guidance on improving performance, where perceived deficiencies have been noted. In the latter case, where the purpose of the evaluation is developmental, then the methods/instruments used must protect the confidentiality of the process and prevent abuses by those with axes to grind. A summary of the review might be published, while some parts might be kept confidential (in some public institutions state personnel rules govern the dissemination of such results). There are different processes and different instruments, depending on the nature and size of the institution, the administrative position involved, and so on. Most committee members favored a model where everyone in the particular unit has an opportunity to participate in the review but where a committee analyzes the results. It was agreed that the governance committee's goal is to provide the academic community with a more explicit "statement of principles" on conducting such reviews and the tools with which to conduct them. The committee can serve as a resource by providing sample instruments for the evaluation of administrators. The staff will work with the committee on developing the statement of principles (supplementing the brief paragraph in the committee's existing statement on "Faculty Participation in the Selection, Evaluation, and Retention of Administrators"), and the staff would be responsible for compiling sample/model evaluation documents.
6. Means of Communication Between the Faculty and the Governing Board. Committee members agreed that nominal faculty representation on an institution's governing board, whether or not it occurs at a particular college or university, should not be a substitute for regular, substantive communication between the faculty and the board. It was further agreed that, in view of the AGB's own position in favor of regular communication between the two, AAUP should approach the AGB about working together to develop a brief joint statement of good practice regarding board-faculty relations. Such a statement would presumably emphasize the need for faculty and board representatives to have periodic, unmediated contact with one another.
The world has changed radically since the birth of the AAUP. Yet, the issue of the appropriate role of faculty in the government of colleges and universities remains current. Recent proposals have seriously threatened to disrupt the delicate balance and complex relationships that have characterized the best models of collegiate governance. Trustees, responding to calls to take a firmer and more aggressive stance in the exercise of their stewardship, have made incursions, either directly or through their hand-picked presidents, into areas traditionally reserved for faculty responsibility—the recruitment and review of faculty, admission and graduation standards for students, and academic programs, especially the core curriculum....
The corporate management model, devised to control the railroads and factories of mass production, is simply an inappropriate way to distribute authority among the highly educated professionals of academic institutions.
"Professional Ethics, Day by Day," by Wendy Wassyng Roworth, Chair of AAUPs Committee on Professional Ethics Academe.
If we believe that faculty should set standards for tenure and promotion, then we must set realistic goals for our peers. It may not be unethical to have higher expectations for a new generation of scholars, but we shouldn't apply higher standards or a lengthened timetable just for their own sake or because administrations demand it. Similarly, when faculty review the work of other faculty for publication, promotion, merit pay, grants, fellowships, or post-tenure reviews, the highest standards of professional ethics and responsibility should prevail....