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:

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October 2006 AAUP VOICE

“Scholars at Risk” University Forum: Make Your Lunch Reservation

You are invited to a lunch time University Forum to explore the ways in which universities and colleges associated with the Scholars at Risk Network promote academic freedom and provide assistance to persecuted scholars worldwide. The forum is scheduled for Wednesday, October 25 from noon to 1:30 PM in the Trabant Multipurpose Room. A buffet lunch will be served. This forum is jointly sponsored by the AAUP and the Provost’s Office. Make your reservation by contacting the Provost’s Office at

The forum will feature a discussion with a professor of linguistics and human rights advocate from Rwanda who will focus on the challenges facing academics in his own country, reflecting on his own experience as an at-risk scholar. He was imprisoned without charge between 1994 and 1999. As an academic leader and human rights advocate, this scholar became a target for harassment and intimidation during the time when genocide was occurring in Rwanda.

The forum will provide an opportunity to meet Robert Quinn, Director of Scholars at Risk, and to learn about worldwide threats to academic freedom, violence against academics, and how the Scholars at Risk network helps persecuted scholars. It will also afford us the opportunity to consider ways in which we may assist scholars who are victims of persecution.


Health Care Benefits for Future Retirees: Proposed Changes

During the last contract negotiation, the Administration asked, and the AAUP agreed to participate on a Post-Retirement Health Care Benefits Committee. The committee was charged with analyzing and making recommendations on increasing costs of retiree health care benefits. After months of meetings, information gathering, and discussion, the committee issued a report in July. The report recommends some modifications in health care benefits for future retirees.

The committee endorsed a proposal which would change the eligibility for health retirement benefits as currently stipulated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The proposal would increase the minimum service requirement for faculty retiring at ages 55 to 59 from 15 years to 20 years. For faculty retiring at ages 60 to 64, the current 15 year requirement would not change. For those retiring at 65 and older, the service requirement at the University of Delaware would increase from 5 to 10 years. Under the proposal, the University would continue its 100% health care contribution. Faculty who have completed 30 years of service would continue to be eligible for retirement health benefits at any age.

The committee refers to the proposed changes as “the modified rule of 75” because the faculty member’s age and years of service would add up to 75. The new eligibility rules would “be applied to all new UD faculty and the policy would be applied to all current faculty after five years. This will grandfather all those employees who qualify to retire by meeting the age and service year requirements currently set at 5 and 15 years.” The proposal can be summarized as follows:

Current Eligibility

At any age with 30 years service

Age 55 with 15 years service

Age 60 with 15 years service

Age 65 with 5 years service

Proposed Eligibility (“Rule of 75”)

At any age with 30 years service

Age 55 with 20 years service

Age 65 with 10 years service

Age 60 with 15 years service


100% of University Contribution

The AAUP Executive Council has carefully considered the recommendations made by the Post-Retirement Health Care Benefits Committee. The Executive Council determined that the recommendations provide an equitable solution to the issue of eligibility for retirement health care benefits based on the data developed by the committee, and the views of AAUP representatives Pat Barber, David Colton, and Leon Campbell who served on the committee and participated in its deliberations. The Executive Council supports these changes in eligibility for retirement health care and plans to incorporate them in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2008.

The AAUP has based it evaluation of proposed changes on two principles. First, the leadership has stated strong opposition to any proposals that would have different eligibility requirements for current faculty and for newly hired faculty. The AAUP would not endorse any changes that would create a two-tier faculty based on when people were hired since this would divide faculty members from one another and undermine the cohesion and morale that supports equal treatment and collegial working relations.

Second, the Executive Council affirmed that eligibility for retirement benefits should be stipulated in the next contract. Eligibility for retirement benefits is a condition of employment which is specified in Article 9.6 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. These eligibility requirements have been part of the contract between the University and the faculty represented by the AAUP for many years. Changes in these eligibility requirements must be stated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Executive Council also bases it support for the recommendations on facts. Although the impact of increased costs for health care benefits for current and future retirees is unclear in light of the overall expenditures, revenues and assets held by the University, there is no doubt that the health care costs for individual retirees have been increasing. In 2001-02, the cost per retired faculty member under sixty-five was $225; by 2005-06, the cost had increased to over $400. For retired faculty over sixty-five, it was $550 in 2001-02 and about $825 in 2005-06.

For faculty hired by the University at 60 years of age and older, the costs per individual retiree raise serious questions about equity between the University of Delaware and the individual’s previous employer. Under the current plan, a faculty member hired by UD at the age of 60 could work for five years and be fully vested in UD’s retirement package. The cost of the faculty member’s retirement health care benefits would be totally shifted from the previous employer to UD. Data prepared to the Post-Retirement Health Care Benefits Committee shows that during the 2005-06 academic year, there were 22 faculty who had been hired when they were 55 years old or older. Seven of these colleagues are either administrators or named professors while the others are regular faculty. As UD employees, under current policies they are fully vested in UD’s post-retirement health care plan after five years of employment, and their previous employers have no obligation to them. The proposed changes would reduce these institutional inequities.

According to data prepared for the committee, faculty at the University of Delaware would continue to have exceptionally strong post-retirement health care benefits in comparison to other institutions. In terms of service requirements, age, and, especially, employer contributions, the University of Delaware will remain in the very top tier of our comparators. In the years ahead, the AAUP will strive to maintain this position of superior benefits for UD faculty.

Know Your Contract: S-Contracts

Assignments of s-contracts for CEND, Summer/Winter Sessions courses, regular sessions and Study Abroad are the responsibility of department chairs and program directors. The Collective Bargaining Agreement specifies requirements that administrators must meet in assigning s-contracts.

Article 11.12 requires that full-time members of the unit be “apprised” of s-contract opportunities. Moreover, all s-contract opportunities “will be broadly announced, and efforts will be made to staff these programs and courses with appropriately qualified full-time members of the Department.”

In addition to these requirements, the contract also delineates the compensation for s-contracts by academic rank and credit hours. The contract states the floor and ceiling for overload compensation for each academic rank and for credit hours. The actual compensation may vary with the individual faculty member’s salary and the year during the term of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Should you have any questions about the assignment of s-contracts and compensation for s-contracts in your unit, contract the AAUP Contract Maintenance Officer.

Faculty Unionism: A Growing Trend

Faculty members across the country have shown increasing interest in being represented by unions. In recent years, national AAUP has been involved in successful organizing efforts at the University of Vermont, the University of Alaska, and Akron University in Ohio. Most recently, faculty members at the University of the Virgin Islands voted to be represented by the AAUP after a long struggle with their Administration.

Indeed, there has been major growth in the numbers of faculty members in the United States represented by unions, according to The 2006 Directory of Faculty Contracts and Bargaining Agents in Institutions of Higher Education. Data gathered in the directory show that 318,504 faculty members are represented by collective bargaining agents. These faculty members are organized into 575 separate bargaining units in 491 institutions or units on 1,125 campuses. This represents an increase of 62,000 faculty members, or 24 percent growth, since 1998. Eighty-nine percent of all organized faculty are represented by three national organizations, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the National Education Association (NEA).

Organized faculty are located in 31 states and the District of Columbia with very high concentrations in California, New York and New Jersey. About 94 percent are employed in public institutions, largely because of a 1980 Supreme Court decision which held that higher education faculty are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act.

AAUP Responds to the Spellings Commission Report: The Future of Higher Education

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings officially released a report prepared by the Commission on the Future of Higher Education on September 26. Spellings appointed the commission a little over a year ago. Commission members, overwhelming composed of business executives and administrators, were charged with determining the current state of higher education and proposing a future direction.

An issue paper prepared by committee staff which laid a great deal of the blame for increasing higher education costs on tenure and faculty workloads was developed in the early stages of the report. Roger Bowen, AAUP General Secretary, wrote a letter to Charles Miller, chair of the committee, critical of the issue paper. The issue paper directly contradicted an earlier government study, Straight Talk About College Costs, which concluded that the costs of faculty were not the cause of increasing costs of higher education. The final report mentions the role of the faculty in higher education in passing in connection with testing.

The report went through three drafts before the final version was voted on by commission members. Under the title, A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of Higher Education, the report portrays American higher education in a state of crisis. Without providing grounds for many of its key claims, the report likens higher education to the automobile and steel industries which experienced severe declines. Indeed, American higher education is viewed as “risk averse” and, like other “mature industries,” lacking in innovation and headed for catastrophe unless major changes are instituted very soon.

David Ward, President of the Council of Higher Education and a member of the commission, voted against the report. He said that the report draws “a false sense of crisis” in its portrayal of higher education. Instead of looking at the strengths of American higher education and looking at it in its diversity, higher education is viewed as a single system in need of deep transformations, especially in terms of its cost structure, accountability, transparency, and institutional arrangements. Overall, the report focuses on undergraduate education. It advocates greater ease for transferring credits from one institution to another and favors for-profit institutions and distance education. It seeks to shift the evaluation of higher education toward greater and more precise measurements of outcomes that can be used for comparing institutions. In this light, Secretary Spellings has advocated comparing the earnings of graduates of different colleges and universities.

The report prepared by the Commission on the Future of Higher Education could well dominate policy formation and debate for the foreseeable future. Although Secretary Spellings has turned down the rhetoric in her public presentations of the report, she has also claimed that parts of it could be implemented through Department of Education directives without new legislation. She has also said that the report should spark a dialogue about the future of higher education. We should welcome this dialogue and fully participate in it. The AAUP’s response to the commission report can be accessed by going to the AAUP web site and looking under “Press Releases.”