From the Wartburg College AAUP Chapter
The American Association of University Professors was founded in 1915 by John Dewey, A.O. Lovejoy, and other eminent scholars because they felt that
the quality of higher education in America was dependent on the extent to
which the faculty, as highly-trained professionals, maintained primary
control over teaching, scholarship, and faculty governance.
One of the fledgling organization's first undertakings was to formulate
principles and standards for a tenure system that would protect the academic
freedom of professors in teaching, research, and governance. That
formulation, the 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and
Academic Tenure, provided the first effective defense of academic freedom in
American higher education.
In the last ninety years, the AAUP has continued to promote academic
excellence by advocating for the highest professional standards. The
traditions of tenure, academic freedom, due process, and shared governance
that have contributed to making our colleges and universities the best in
the world were all established by the AAUP, and have been kept alive and
strengthened by its activities.
Academic Freedom and Due Process
The definitive exposition of the principles that support this country's
model tenure system is the AAUP's 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic
Freedom and Tenure. The 1940 Statement has been endorsed by 213
disciplinary and other higher education associations. A fabulous collection
of resources on academic freedom is available on the AAUP's website.
To assist colleges and universities in developing their own policies
supporting academic freedom and tenure, the AAUP has developed several sets
of recommended standards and policies. Among these, the most important are
Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities. Jointly formulated in
1966 by the Association of Governing Boards (AGB ), the American Council on
Education (ACE), and the AAUP, this document contains the definitive
understanding of the concept of shared governance.
"What Is Shared Governance Anyway?" An attempt to capture the essence of the
"The End of Shared Governance: Looking Ahead or Looking Back." In this 2003
conference paper distinguished higher education scholar Robert Birnbaum affirms the utility of shared governance as defined in the Statement on
Government. His conclusion:
"There is no doubt that, as its critics suggest, faculty participation in
shared governance will have the effect of making it more difficult to change
the programs and purposes of higher education. Whether this is a good thing
or a bad thing is a matter of ideology. The faculty are the primary
upholders of the academic culture, and so those that give precedence to the
idea of a university as an academic institution—who believe with [the
English poet John] Masefield that 'there are few earthly things more spendid
than a university'—are likely also to continue to believe in the importance
of shared governance. The basic question to ask is not whether we want to
make governance more efficient, but whether we want to preserve truly
academic institutions. If the answer is affirmative, then shared governance
is the essential precondition."
The Role of the Faculty in the Accrediting of Colleges and Universities. A
set of guidelines and recommendations for applying the principles of shared
governance to the process of institutional accreditation.
You can access a treasure trove of additional resources on governance on the AAUP web site.