Letter to the Faculty
Dear Villanova Faculty Member:
When noted economist Edward Ross lost his job at Stanford University in 1900 because Mrs. Leland Stanford didn't like his views, other professors were watching. The incident stuck in the mind of Arthur O. Lovejoy, philosopher at Johns Hopkins. When he and John Dewey organized a meeting at Johns Hopkins University in 1915, to form an organization to ensure academic freedom for faculty members, the AAUP was born. "Academic freedom" was a new idea then.
Your interest in academic freedom, the defense of the tenure system, and an active role of faculty in university governance remains important. To make your interest effective, we need your participation in the Villanova chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which was established here at Villanova in 1941. THe AAUP is the national organization for all faculty, as the ABA is for lawers or the AMA for medical doctors.
As the national organization of all faculty members from all academic fields, the AAUP brings the expertise of its professional, full-time staff in Washington, D.C. to Villanova in ways requested by our local chapter. It can bring the weight of broad exposure to bear on individual colleges and universities, as it has done recently during the direct assaults on tenure at Bennington College in Vermont and the University of Minnesota. It commonly deals with the more usual threat to tenure: administrators’ desire for flexibility and chronic complaints about underfunding – all of which leads to the frequent use of adjunct faculty who have little job security, low pay, few if any benefits, and no pension. Nationally, almost half of all college courses are taught by adjunct faculty. Tenured professors account for only 30 percent of college teachers.
In the past, the Villanova chapter of the AAUP sponsored meetings on faculty organization with Patrick B. Shaw, Associate Secretary, AAUP Department of Organizing and Services in Washington, D.C., and Dr. Jeffrey Halpern, a university and national AAUP faculty leader from Rider University. We sponsored a discussion of the Office of Mission Effectiveness’ document, “Guide for Faculty Search Committee: Mission Centered Hiring.” We also offered a discussion of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, including then recent events surrounding the mandatum (which Roman Catholic theologians are now required to obtain) and the wider implications of these events for the Villanova academic community.
Academic freedom is not free. Every organization requires time and money; still, membership dues to the AAUP are reasonable. See the current rates here.
To further our work at Villanova and to maintain the national AAUP’s support of our chapter, we need your continued support. Our influence at Villanova depends on your participation and membership. Our executive committee urges you to participate in our programs and discussions. We ask you to please renew your membership and to encourage other faculty to join.
Thank you for your consideration of this.
Michael Levitan, Nancy Sharts-Hopko, Robert Jantzen, Catherine Warrick
Executive Committee Villanova Chapter, AAUP 2011
I have been a dues paying member of the AAUP for decades. We all pay into various kinds of insurances for various aspects of our lives. The whole idea of insurance is that all members of a group pay into a common fund to help those in need when the need occurs. We have various kinds of medical insurance---Medicare, Medicaid, private. We have unemployment insurance, retirement insurance---it’s called social security. I look at the AAUP dues like insurance for my professional health. Some ugly things happen in the world of our colleges and universities and the AAUP is the only organization which can come to the defense of those among our profession who need help. I think of my support for the AAUP like a civic duty, similar to trying to help keep alive the Philadelphia Inquirer as a decades long paper subscriber, since a free press is insurance for democracy. Please consider joining.
Secretary, Villanova Chapter June 2020