In the course of developing a web site for my local chapter, I decided
to broaden the site to provide resources for other chapters and state
conferences as well. The national AAUP's site had links to a considerable
number of chapter web sites with excellent material that could be borrowed.
In order to make a continuous reading experience, we copied text rather than
requiring people to switch back and forth between scores of links. Since I
am now branching into subjects not of direct interest to the local chapter,
I have duplicated the files and expanded them here.
One thing I couldn't do at Illinois was put our current contract on line.
Since we do not have collective bargaining, we have no contract, despite a
clear need for our academic freedom and shared governance principles to be
enforceable. Most AAUP CB chapters—including Eastern Michigan University,
Wright State University, and the University of Cincinnati—have web sites
continually updated with current news. During contract negotiations, members
often check them daily. Advocacy chapters may have to work harder to
generate web site interest.
Some AAUP sites offer inspiration that cannot quickly be emulated. The
Northern Michigan University AAUP has a link to an excellent Michigan
Historical Review essay on the history of the chapter. Illinois will have to
commission comparable work. And we must do so. As with many older chapters,
Illinois has shared governance primarily because of the chapter's hard work.
Not that more recent faculty know that. Indeed the University of Illinois
was censured in 1963, and many of our better traditions were put in place as
part of an effort to get off censure. Once again, very few faculty even know
we were censured, though the case produced a classic investigative reports.
It is far better to get that sort of history recorded while the people
involved are still active. A number of other AAUP chapters, including the
one at Villanova University, are beginning to get their history on line.
More recently, Illinois faculty have had to defend academic freedom and
shared governance very aggressively once again. Luckily we have a former
association General Counsel on campus, as well as a number of faculty, many
retired, who have been defending academic freedom ferociously for nearly
half a century. Yet even when these cases receive significant press
coverage, most of the faculty, absorbed in their work, never seem to learn
of them. Getting them on web sites, then notifying colleagues by email, is
On more general topics, there was material on many other web sites I could
use. For a section titled "Why Join the AAUP" we copied (with credit) fine
statements from AAUP sites at Virginia Commonwealth University, the
University of Washington, Louisiana State University, and Indiana
University. To reinforce the sense of a national organization, a section
titled "What the AAUP Means to Me" uses testimony from individual faculty
all over the country. A section on "AAUP Principles" relies on material from
the excellent Wartburg College AAUP site, including an original ordinary
language statement about shared governance.
I recorded a series of mock recruitment videos and put them on line to serve
three purposes—to help teach AAUP members how to recruit colleagues, to
encourage nonmembers to join, and to assist other chapters to build
membership. Since the best recruitment videos would be ones starring your
own faculty, I hope my somewhat amateur products—filmed in my basement—will
encourage other chapters to make their own. All AAUP chapters should add
video to their web sites to make them more personal and effective.
The most ambitious section is titled "Chapter Development and Action
Strategies." National Council member Glenn Howze created a powerpoint
overview. Long-time local activist Ken Anderson wrote a section on lobbying
at the state level. Pat Shaw in the national office wrote a piece on
negotiating salary and benefits outside collective bargaining. Gwen Bradley
gave us the texts on communication techniques she had prepared for the
AAUP's summer institute. Erika Gubium offered a fine AAUP Glossary. We
borrowed an excellent Rutgers University program encouraging faculty to
recruit two new members, and we added a number of memos the national office
has been mailing and emailing to fledgling chapters. This is thus a place
that showcases the work our national staff and our leaders across the
country have done. I thank all these chapters for their superb work.
The Illinois State Conference awarded the local chapter a grant to help with
expenses. To establish a visual link to the national AAUP, we borrowed some
elements of their new web design. We hope many other chapters link to this
material and use it. As the comments above should suggest, there are many
other good web site models out there as well. The University of Tennessee
chapter does a fine job of highlighting current issues on its opening page.
The University of Vermont has a rich resource titled "United Academic
Reports." And so forth. I trust this is enough to encourage you to do some
AAUP web site exploration and upgrading.
Thanks to all who helped make this project possible: Ken Anderson, Ernst
Benjamin, Michael Berube, Gwendolyn Bradley, Ann Franke, Peter Garrett, Joe
Grohens (my web designer), Mary Heen, Glenn Howze, Richard Jerrard, Rachel
Levinson, Maria Lovett, Iris Molotsky, Debra Nails, Pat Shaw, Deb Stauffer,
Paula Treichler, Don Uchtmann, and Larry White.
Please send comments or suggestions about additions to
Cary Nelson (email@example.com).