A group of our members met last week and had a lengthy discussion on what should be part of NC higher education in the future. The group agreed that it would be important to prepare two documents. One would be a more formal document that delineates in detail what is essential for higher education to carry out its pubic mission. The second document should be a shorter version of the first one that is intend to be a press release and written so the general public will quickly understand what we are promoting and supporting for NC higher education as an organization. You may also want to create YouTube that provides this same message in a different format.
Format of the Longer Official Statement
We suggest that this document have essentially three sections. The first part would introduce AAUP and its primary contributions to higher education particularly in regard to shared governance and academic freedom. In this same introduction it would be helpful to indicate the rationale for this official statement from NC AAUP on what should be part of higher education in this state in the future.
The second or middle section of this report should list in concise but clear terms what essentially ensures that higher education is accomplishing its primary public mission.
The last section or closing should summarize what is contained in this statement and indicate what we intend to do with it in terms of distribution and elicitation of support for it from other stakeholders involved in higher education.
Essentials elements to include in the middle section of the document
- Ensure that all citizens, without discrimination, have equitable access to college education
- Make tuition affordable, even free if possible, and place limits on student fees which are currently driving up total cost to attend NC colleges
- Support, reinstate, and expand tenure track faculty positions (provide rationale for quality of education, continuity of academic programs and advising/working with students, conducting research and contributing to our knowledge base, and securing grants to further fund cutting edge research)
- Standardize contingent/adjunct/clinical faculty positions in terms of salary, job security, and establishment of ranks for advancement.
- Support HBCUs while providing assistance when needed in order to maintain essential academic standards
- Recognize the importance of higher education institutions generating new knowledge not just focusing on economic growth
- Support and endorse the preparation/education of students for future careers not just the current job market
- Support and endorse the importance of universities teaching students critical thinking skills so they are better prepared for any career and better prepared as citizens of this state/country.
- Endorse and support the importance of the humanities at our universities and provide rationale
- Oppose NC legislature over-reaching involvement in higher education and clarify why this needs to stop and why it is important for the public good that universities retain a level of independence
- Endorse and support shared governance at all NC universities so faculty have an integral role in all decisions impacting the curriculum and teaching
- Endorse and support academic freedom for faculty and students and provide rationale
You may find it helpful to quote from AAUP some points regarding academic freedom and shared governance.