Local Highlights and Events

"Republican state lawmakers are pushing again to eliminate tenure at Iowa’s public universities, which already have been reporting fewer tenured faculty for years even without a mandate to eliminate the academic freedom protection.

"House Study Bill 66 cleared an education subcommittee Thursday. The measure would bar the state’s public universities from spending any nonstate money “unless the expenditure is approved by an act of the general assembly.”

"the No. 1 reason tenure benefits students and all Iowans: Tenure is indispensable to academic freedom. It allows professors the independence to do the best work they are capable of doing without fear that they will be fired for their opinions or conclusions

A longer-term issue, brought into prominence now, is the university’s increasing reliance on lecturers to teach undergraduates, particularly in CLAS. Brutally put, lecturers are cheap and are treated by administrators as dispensable. Though any large teaching institution must have some short-term teaching staff to fill in when regular faculty are ill or on leave, current use of lecturers goes well beyond that. In seeking to achieve budgetary “flexibility,” CLAS employs scores of lecturers who undertake crippling teaching loads, work for low salaries, and who may then be cast aside with little or no notice. From a management point of view, the obvious attractions of that arrangement, along with the deep pool of talented and highly accomplished PhDs in the Iowa City area, have made over-reliance on lecturers too seductive to resist. Now CLAS administrators are exercising their flexibility by failing to renew lecturer contracts, without regard to the human cost or the gaps in the curriculum that will result. Yet as other colleges such as the Carver College of Medicine have demonstrated, ways exist of sharing the sacrifice more equitably, such as temporary salary reductions or reducing the salaries of highly paid faculty and administrators, without loss to the educational program.

"True, UI President Bruce Harreld and other representatives of the central administration met with Faculty Senate and Faculty Council a number of times to inform us of their deliberations and answer our questions. However, it quickly became clear that they had already decided to move forward on this risky scheme. [...]
The main concern which faculty raised at every meeting, and to which no one from president on down had a satisfactory response, was how this scheme would affect state appropriations. What’s to stop the Legislature from reducing them in proportion to the millions of dollars we will now be competing over in the coming years? The answer: Nothing. 

Indeed, insofar as the scheme was originally proposed by the governor, it would appear likely that such deappropriation was part of the plan.

Letter of Introduction from Chapter President Prof. Loren Glass

Dear chapter members, fellow travelers, and other interested parties,


It is a pleasure and a privilege to introduce myself to you as your new chapter president. This message is intended to give you an idea of how I understand my role and what issues I see as important to address in the coming year. I also hope to use this message as a recruitment tool. After finishing, if you approve of what you’ve read, please forward it to at least three people who you think might want to join the AAUP [...] click here for more

Highlights and events from around the academic world

"[T]he board policy, by depriving faculty members of the due-process protections without which tenure, as the AAUP understands it, does not exist, effectively eliminates tenure at any institution that adopts it. While some regard tenure as an exalted faculty status separable from the due-process protections of the kind described here, tenure is inseparable from those due-process protections which in fact define it. An institution that fails to afford those protections cannot protect academic freedom in service of the common good.

AAUP Guidelines for Higher Education Response to Covid-19

We present the following document that reprints the PRINCIPLES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION RESPONSE TO COVID-19, currently being distributed by the national office along with some institution-specific guidelines endorsed by the University of Iowa chapter of the AAUP:

Guidelines for the University of Iowa's Response to Covid-19.pdf

Sign the 100% Fees Petition

While COGS has successfully negotiated reductions in fees through past contracts, the University continues to manipulate how fees are classified to keep increasing charges. Fees like those facing international and first-year graduate workers are not covered by this scholarship because, while required, they do not fall under the University’s official, but seemingly arbitrary, category of “mandatory fees.”

Academe blog