Month: April 2015

My Visit with the Illinois Conference


This past weekend, I had the pleasure of joining the leadership and some members of the Illinois Conference at their annual meeting in Chicago. I had previously met several of those in attendance, and I had the opportunity to meet in person several others with whom I have corresponded about posts to this blog and other AAUP matters. But, I was meeting most of those in attendance for the first time, and everyone made me feel immediately very comfortable: very truly, they made me feel that I was among friends.

The annual meeting was held at the Uptown campus of St. Augustine College, in buildings that in the 1910s served as the production facilities for Essanay Studios. (I would say “soundstages,” but of course, these facilities were used during the silent-film era.) The auditorium in which the annual meeting was held has been restored to something close to the condition…

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New Issue of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy, Part 1


The most recent issue of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy is available at

The issue includes two op-eds and four articles. Here are excerpts from each of the op-eds and the first of the articles:

Boris, Richard (2014) “From Ivory to Babel to A New Foundation,” Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy: Vol. 6, Article 1. Available at:

“During my 12 years at the National Center for Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, I observed with increasing frustration the inability of administration and faculty leaders—union and governance—to fully grasp, analyze, and find pathways out of public higher education’s current existential crisis. Before becoming director at the National Center, I was local union chapter head at York College and then First Vice President at the central CUNY union. At that time, there were local issues such as grievances and, in my…

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New Issue of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy, Part 2


The most recent issue of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy is available at

The issue includes two op-eds and four articles. Here are excerpts from the second through fourth articles:

Hicks, Steve (2014) “Post-Recession CBAs: A Study of Wage Increases in the Agreements of Four State-wide Faculty Unions,” Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy: Vol. 6, Article 4. Available at:

“Everyone presumes the Great Recession of 2008-2009 (Recession) had a profound impact on almost every economic front in the United States, or even Western Europe. In the United States the Recession led first a bailout of the financial markets followed by o the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (known by its acronym ‘ARRA,’ or as ‘the Stimulus Act’), then to over $6 billion in cuts to higher education in state budgets in 2011 (Appendix 2: Grapevine Table 1). For those in…

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The Limitations of Simple Solutions to Complex Problems: Degree Attainment in Indiana


Writing for the Indianapolis Business Journal, J. K. Wall has reported:

“Indiana’s public colleges and universities, spurred by pressure from state lawmakers, are pumping out more graduates than ever.

“But in spite of a 20-percent increase in degrees granted since 2010, the education level of Indiana’s younger adults has barely budged, for reasons that aren’t clear.

“Compared with the rest of the nation, the state actually lost ground in the past decade on the chunk of its residents age 18 to 34 holding at least an associate’s degree.”

Specifically, over a five-year period, the number of baccalaureate degrees awarded by Indiana’s public universities increased by about 7,700, from 38,400 in 2010 to more than 46,100 last year. Indeed, according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, which has led the effort to increase the number of graduates, “rates of students completing their degree doubled from 2011 to 2013, and…

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Higher Ed’s Version of the Revolving Door


One often hears complaints that legislators, especially at the federal level, court donations from powerful interests, introduce and seek to advance legislation that serves those interests, and then, when they leave office, continue to promote those interests as paid lobbyists.

Although the monies involved might be somewhat smaller, depending on the state, the same thing occurs at the state level—especially in states that have placed term limits on their legislators. In effect, term limits have made professional staffers and lobbyists the most knowledgeable and most powerful figures in those state houses. Ironically but all too typically, the term limits that were ostensibly intended to make state governments more democratic by preventing politicians from becoming entrenched in their elected offices have actually made governance less democratic by making much of the deal-making much less transparent and most of the actual deal-makers more shadowy. Indeed, as on the federal level, many of…

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Welcoming AAUP’s Newest Advocacy Chapter, a Major Addition to the Ohio Conference


The faculty at Miami University in Ohio have formed an advocacy chapter, initially  consisting of about 100 of the university’s 700 full-time faculty. The formation of the chapter will be marked formally with an on-campus event on April 29, featuring a talk by AAUP president Rudy Fichtenbaum.

An article in the Dayton Daily News notes that the impetus for the formation of the chapter has been that the faculty “feel ignored when major decisions are made on campus.”

The article’s author, Amanda Seitz, notes that “Miami was once Ohio’s only public [university] without a collective bargaining union or advocacy chapter.”

A focal point for the new chapter will be how the university allocates its resources and the role that faculty play in such decision-making. One of the areas of concern is the institutional subsidizing of intercollegiate athletics. Seitz refers to the Dayton Daily News’s own “recent investigation found that nearly…

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Income Inequality–among Universities


Moody’s has just released a report indicating that just ten universities control over 30% of the total institutional wealth in higher education.

The first number in brackets is the previous year’s total; so it is very clear that, here as elsewhere, the rich are now getting much richer one year to the next.

The second number in brackets is the endowment per student, which demonstrates that most of the elite private universities have much higher endowments in proportion to their fixed expenses than the elite public universities.

1. Harvard University — $42.8 Billion [35.8 Billion] [$1,709]

2. University of Texas System — $36.7 Billion [$25.4 Billion] [$118]

3. Stanford University — $31.6 Billion [$21.4 Billion] [$1,351]

4. University of California — $28.6 Billion [NA] [NA]

5. Yale University — $25.4 Billion [$23.9 Billion] [$1,955]

6. Princeton University — $21.3 Billion [$20.9 Billion] [$2,621]

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology — $15.2 Billion [$12.4 Billion]…

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OCAAUP Testimony on Legislation Stripping Ohio Faculty of Collective-Bargaining Rights


Testimony of John McNay, Ph.D., President

Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors

Before the House Finance Committee

Representative Ryan Smith, Chair

April 16, 2015

Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Driehaus, and distinguished members of the Finance Committee: my name is John McNay and I am President of the Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the largest faculty organization in Ohio, which represents nearly 6,000 college and university professors at both public and private institutions of higher education across the State of Ohio. I am also a professor of American history at the University of Cincinnati where I teach courses on the Cold War, World War II, and the Vietnam War. I am chair of the history department at the UC-Blue Ash campus.

I come to you today to voice my association’s strong opposition to provisions that were added to Substitute House Bill 64 this…

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Sound-Bite Pronouncements on the Present and Future State of Higher Education


Sandra Napolitano, the President of the University of California system recently wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post in which she argued that, despite the challenges created by unprecedented cuts in state support for public higher education, it is a gross exaggeration to assert that American higher education is in crisis.

Scott H. Levine, the Executive Director of Higher Education Research Consultants, responded in a letter to the editor that Napolitano failed to account for four factors undermining American higher education:

(1) The average student is a working adult, needing completely different services than traditional residential higher ed offers;

(2) Online learning has proved to be hugely successful for some adult learners (not all), and it must factor heavily into the evolving university;

(3) Universities are difficult to manage, due in large part to tenured faculty who simply don’t want to change;

(4) Private, not-for-profit higher education institutions educate…

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