American Association of University Professors
University of Delaware Chapter

301 McDowell Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE  19716
Phone: 302-831-2292; Fax: 302-831-4119; E-mail:

Home Membership People Resources News CBA Constitution & Bylaws Student Award

April 2004 aaUPBEAT

AAUP Gains Are Your Gains: Support the Union
by Linda Bucher, President

The Reality: Introductory Facts

Whether or not a UD faculty member belongs to the local AAUP chapter, he or she receives the salary increases, benefits packages and grievance rights that the union offers.

Although the AAUP is like other unions in that our mandate is to help our members in a variety of economic and workplace-based ways, we also possess a spectrum of concerns unique to education and research. Our job, in other words, is multifaceted. For example, protecting UD faculty's economic stability and freedom from arbitrary treatment at the Administration's hands is a priority. We also guard free speech rights and conceptualize, and make the Administration aware of, specific ways in which the University can strengthen its commitment to educational excellence while simultaneously recognizing the faculty's indispensable role in producing that excellence. In these areas of the AAUP's work, just as with bread and butter issues, UD faculty members reap the benefits of these union activities whether or not they are AAUP members.

It is clear that one reason why faculties like UD's are able to meet the varying economic and philosophical challenges presented by the nation's changing higher educational environment is the existence of the AAUP and other unions that represent faculty. For instance, studies show that following the founding of an AAUP chapter at a college or university, salary increases outpace salary improvements at nonunion colleges and universities, although this pattern of outpacing frequently decelerates as the union becomes more entrenched and faculty begin to take the union's existence for granted.

Which brings us to our local situation?

As of this month (April 2004), 48.4 percent of the UD faculty belong to our AAUP chapter while 51.6 percent do not belong. This represents a decline from the above-50 percent membership level that we sustained for a number of years. Since bargaining power and the success of other AAUP activities depend in significant part on membership level, nonunion faculty members play with fire by remaining aloof from the union, since this aloofness undermines the union's capacity to win things that benefit all faculty members, union or nonunion - e.g., a year's sabbatical at 75 percent of salary and above-median salaries in our comparator group.

Some faculty of course have philosophical views that prevent them from joining the union. Although we may disagree with such views, we respect faculty members' right to hold them and to act in accord with them. However, many faculty who don't belong to our AAUP chapter have remained nonmembers not because of principle or ideology, but rather as a consequence of other matters: (1) being recently hired and therefore being preoccupied with other concerns, (2) absentmindedness or (3) taking the union for granted.

Whatever the reason, if you are a nonmember, you should consider altering this immediately by joining the AAUP. As we prepare to negotiate a new contract during the coming academic year, the union must be as strong as possible. We are all in this together. It's our salaries, benefits and rights that will suffer if the union is unable to go to the bargaining table backed by a committed membership. If a university like Rutgers, which is comparable to UD, can achieve a 66.7 percent membership level, we certainly should be able to increase our own membership level significantly and in the process maximize the union's capacity to represent UD faculty with regard to bread and butter issues as well as in the area of academic freedom.

Remember that these issues are of concern to all of us. If you're not a member or have let your membership lapse, please join the AAUP now.

Below, for your use, I will provide some information about both the National AAUP and the UD chapter.

Background: The National AAUP

One of the factors that precipitated the AAUP's formation occurred a number of years before its founding in 1915. That factor was the firing in 1901 of an economist, Edward Ross, from Stanford University because the wife of the University's biggest donor, Leland Stanford, a millionaire railroad builder and ex-California governor, was angered by Ross's criticisms of railroad monopolies.

After Ross was fired a number of faculty members resigned in protest, including the philosopher, Arthur Lovejoy who later in his career taught at Johns Hopkins University. Not only did Lovejoy never forget the Ross affair, the incident became a defining moment in his life and, as a result of it, guaranteeing academic freedom became one of his lifelong concerns. Consequently, Lovejoy eventually proposed the formation of a national association of professors whose role would be the protection of faculty rights. In 1915 he sponsored the founding meeting of the organization and John Dewey was elected president. The AAUP was born.

More than eighty years have passed since the AAUP's founding, yet the organization not only still exists, it has established itself as the major national organization devoted solely to faculty rights, including academic freedom, fair salary and promotion processes, and access to arbitration for those with grievances.

Representing over tens of thousands of faculty members across the nation, AAUP chapters have not only dug in and done the nuts and bolts work of providing the services just mentioned, but they have been backed by a national organization that, just over the past year, has:

  • Supported contingent faculty's efforts to obtain secure positions, fair wages, and benefits.
  • Organized conferences on academic freedom and collegial governance at religiously affiliated colleges and universities and also authored and distributed policy reports on these issues as well as on the reform of intercollegiate athletics and the plight of contingent faculty.
  • Received a grant of $406,000 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to pursue research and policy initiatives on work-family issues in the academic workplace.
  • Received $50,000 from the Ford Foundation to support the Special Committee on Academic Freedom and National Security in a Time of Crisis.
  • Filed amicus briefs in academic freedom, affirmative action, and discrimination cases.

The Local Connection: The AAUP at the University of Delaware

Our local AAUP chapter was founded in 1972 when UD faculty selected the AAUP over the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) as their bargaining agent. Although in the decades since the union's inception it has experienced ups and downs in its relationship with the Administration, over recent years the two parties have bargained on a more equal footing after more than a decade of the union strengthening its campus presence and formulating a vision of faculty's role in higher education.

As a result of the UD AAUP's evolution, our accomplishments over recent years have been noticeable. Seven of those accomplishments are:

  1. As a result of our Collective Bargaining Agreements, salaries at the University of Delaware are higher than the median for comparable institutions in our region.
  2. Our benefits package, including the University's contribution to TIAA-CREFF, is one of the best nation-wide. Not only is it now possible for faculty to take a year's sabbatical at 75% of their salary, but faculty members also now have at their disposal the option of taking a Research Semester free from teaching and service responsibilities before they apply for tenure.
  3. Faculty empowerment was increased when AAUP efforts resulted in the fact that faculty must now approve departmental policies for the allocation of merit pay.
  4. A faculty vote is now required for appointment and reappointment of department chairs.
  5. In a joint effort with AFSCME's campus leadership, the AAUP worked with the Administration to win tuition remission for book store and food services employees who no longer have University employee status since, as the result of their jobs being outsourced, they now work for non-UD vendors.
  6. We have vigorously supported part-time faculty's academic freedom as a result of our belief that attacks on the academic freedom of anyone teaching at UD present a danger to all faculty. Just as vigorously, we have advocated greater ethnic and cultural diversity in the employment of faculty.

In spite of these accomplishments, however, the need for a strong union remains, since corporatization trends, the expansion of distance learning, post 9/11 pressures on freedom of speech, and increased demands for curtailing research projects that do not have "practical" outcomes have put faculties across the nation on the alert. Increasingly, we are in the position of rapidly having to adapt in unified ways to new challenges that have been evolving for years but are now coming to a head.

Take as one example, the increased emphasis on administration as opposed to teaching/research as crucial to higher education.

Over the last two decades, from 1980 until the present, higher education institutions have budgeted their monies in ways that indicate an ominous shift in the traditional way of viewing education. During that time investment in administration has far outstripped investment in instruction, with administrative costs growing by 60%, whereas instruction-related costs have risen by only 39%. Coincident with this is the fact that as enrollments grow at public colleges and universities, the economic investment per student haven't grown equivalently. Teaching-related spending per student increased only 4 percent at public colleges and 12 percent at public universities since the late 1970s to the end of the 20th century.

As stated at the beginning of this section, although the union has experienced ups and downs in its relationship with the Administration over the last thirty years, for more than a decade now we have bargained on a more equal footing with the Administration. This has not occurred by accident, but as a result of the union's development of strategies to strengthen our campus presence.

This greater equality between the AAUP and Administration has sometimes resulted in greater ease of communications, but not always. The truth is that when it comes to policy interpretations and grievance analyses, there is always the possibility of union and Administration arriving at different conclusions. When this happens, the differences must be resolved through presentation of data, discussion and a shared commitment to fairness.

This process, based on differences of opinion regarding the meaning of certain facts, is inevitable no matter how well intentioned either side is. The reason for this inevitability can be found in the Administration and AAUP's two different mandates. Whereas the Administration's job is to manage the University's infrastructure, the AAUP's task is to make sure our institution's educational essence, and the balance of power that is crucial to that essence, remains intact.

These two orientations can certainly coexist in a cordial way, but it is also true that they don't always share exactly the same interests. For instance, look at the ongoing discussion about the corporatization of higher education. The Administration often views corporatization as a cost-cutting and efficiency-creating strategy. Faculty, on the other hand, recognize that corporatization can also be used as a model for increasing workloads and diminishing academic freedom.

Without the AAUP there would be no dialogue on these matters, which means that the AAUP does not only serve faculty members, it serves the cause of higher education in general by guaranteeing that a greater, rather than a lesser, variety of perspectives is brought to the table when higher education's present and future are discussed.

Facts For Those Who Want to Join the AAUP

  • If a faculty member who has been hired during this academic year joins the AAUP, she or he is exempt from local and national dues for the first year of their membership
  • If a faculty member who has been at UD for more than one year joins the AAUP, she or he is exempt from local dues for the first year of their membership.
  • AAUP members receive a free half hour of legal consultation for non-employment related issues and a ten percent discount at Newark Opticians.
  • Please note that a union enrollment card is included with the newsletter.
  • For additional information, phone the union office at 831-2292 or email us at

Facts for Members Who Want to Deepen Their Existing Commitment to the AAUP

There are a number of ways faculty can contribute to the union.

Attend open faculty meetings sponsored by the AAUP so you can participate in discussions concerning AAUP business and policies.

Seek appointment to an AAUP committee, for example the Awards Committee or the Grievance Committee, or present an idea for a new AAUP activity.

Faculty in each department elect an AAUP representative to be the liaison between their department and the AAUP. AAUP members who want to play a role in the union can seek to serve as a departmental representative.

Interested AAUP members can also consider serving on the union's Steering Committee. AAUP members in each college elect Steering Committee representatives. (See last section below for current Steering Committee members.)

The union's Executive Council members are elected by all AAUP members at UD. Any AAUP member desiring to run for one of these positions is eligible to do.

Executive Council members are willing to (a) meet with any faculty member or group of faculty or (b) attend department/college/committee meetings to discuss issues of concern to faculty members. This academic year, we met with faculty from the Colleges of Business and Economics and Arts and Science. These meetings provide an important mechanism for communication between the faculty and the AAUP. We will come if you ask, but you must ask!

AAUP Steering Committee Members

Paul Evenson
Bartol Research Institute
College of Arts & Science

Arwen Mohen
Department of History
College of Arts & Science

Benjamin Fleury Steiner
Department of Sociology
College of Arts & Science

Richard Braun
Department of Mathematical Sciences
College of Arts & Science

Peter Cole
Department of Linguistics
College of Arts & Science

Kevin Kerrane
Department of English
College of Arts & Science

Russell Murray
Department of Music
College of Arts & Science

Patricia Barber
Department of Food and Resource Economics
College of Human Services, Education, and Public Policy

Howard Garland
Department of Business Administration
College of Business & Economics

Steven Dentel
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering

John O'Neill
Department of Health & Exercise Science
College of Health, Nutrition and Nursing Sciences

Carolyn Manning
Department of Health & Exercise Science
College of Health, Nutrition and Nursing Sciences

Frances Mayhew
Department of Consumer Studies
College of Human Services, Education & Public Policy

Julie Wilgen
Department of Individual and Family Studies
College of Human Services, Education & Public Policy

Karen Stein
President of Faculty Senate
Department of Consumer Studies
College of Human Services, Education & Public Policy