GEORGIA CONFERENCE OF THE AAUP
October 27, 2018
Georgia Institute of Technology
Mason Civil Engineering Building, Room 1133
Present: Steve Anthony (retiree, Georgia State University); Matt Boedy (University of North Georgia); David Broad (University of North Georgia); Patricia Carter (Georgia State University); Bette Finn (Georgia Tech); Stephen Herschler (Oglethorpe University); William Hunt (Georgia Tech); Rick Lakes (Georgia State University); Angie McAdam (Georgia State University); Andrew Peterson (Georgia Tech); Anne Richards (retiree, University of West Georgia); David Scott (Georgia Tech); Robert (Scotty) Scott (Augusta University); Amber Smallwood (University of West Georgia); David Stinson (Georgia State University); Hassan Tavossi (Savannah State University); Craig Turner (Georgia College & State University); Dan VanKley (Columbus State University); Susana Vélez-Castrillon (University of West Georgia); Carol White (Clayton State University); Mark Watson (Clayton State University); Abdul-Hamid Zureick (Georgia Tech).
1. President Robert (Scotty) Scott called the meeting to order at 9:30 am, welcomed the group, and introduced our host for the meeting, Abdul-Hamid Zureick and the Georgia Tech chapter of the AAUP.
Abdul-Hamid welcomed the group on behalf of Georgia Tech and said the group was honored to be able to sponsor the meeting and to have Dr. Denley, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the USG, to talk to us. He also stated that the date of today’s meeting was chosen because of the timing of particular construction and related parking challenges at Georgia Tech. If anyone experienced problems needing facilitation, he invited them to let him know.
Scotty thanked Abdul for his role in bringing the Georgia Tech chapter of AAUP back to life. It had disappeared in an organized sense, although several individuals on the Tech faculty were members of the AAUP. He also commented on how this week the AAUP chapter at Georgia State University was coming back to life as well. Further, he reported that in the past year chapters have been created at Clayton State University and the University of North Georgia and, most recently Oglethorpe University has resurrected one that was active at the time of the founding of the Conference. He stated that he had gotten from Anne some documents related to the founding of the Georgia Conference of the AAUP and noted that Howard Zinn, teaching at Spelman at the time, was among the attendees at the second annual meeting of the GA Conference of AAUP, held March, 1963 at Oglethorpe University.
As Conference President, Scotty said he wants to put more emphasis on chapters and, as a result, he has sent a lot of information to them during the year. We have 21 chapters in our Conference, but 50-60 persons in Georgia who are members of the national AAUP are not members of a chapter in the state. He then reviewed the agenda for the day and encouraged those in attendance to consider becoming lifetime members of the AAUP.
2. Introductions. Those present at today’s meeting (see list on p. 1) introduced themselves, letting others know their institutional affiliations and whether or not they were part of an AAUP chapter.
3. GUEST SPEAKER/ DIALOGUE WITH TRISTAN DENLEY, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University System of Georgia
Re: Shared Governance and Paradigm Shifts Occurring in Higher Education
President of the GA Conference of AAUP, Robert (Scotty) Scott invited Vice Chancellor Denley to the meeting of the GA Conference of AAUP to discuss the 2017 statement on Shared Governance developed by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (whose mission is to strengthen and protect this country’s unique form of institutional governance). In particular, Scotty wondered if the Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia (USG) had discussed this AGB statement and expressed support for it. Given that AAUP works to expand faculty rights and responsibilities in shared governance processes, Scotty expressed the hope that would be the case.
Dr. Denley explained that the AGB statement had been developed in response “to a lot that was happening around issues of Free Speech” that “raised ugly incidents.” From Denley’s perspective, the AGB statement parallels the position AAUP has taken since its founding. Also, according to Denley, a long-standing policy of the Board of Regents is similar in its language to that of the AGB statement. In addition, in March of 2017 (before he became a part of the USG administrative team), Denley explained that the BOR adopted a policy around Freedom of Expression that is now in section 6.5 of the Board of Regents Policy Manual. As an aside, Denley noted that this manual has recently been revised to make it easier for individuals to find particular policies. For people who knew just where things were under the old system, this makes it difficult on occasion to find policy they are seeking. Policy 6.5 outlines practical ways to implement Freedom of Expression. It makes clear that campuses can designate sections of campus where people can gather to hear others speak or to share speech, but not in ways that infringe free speech. In general, the policy supports the positions taken in the AGB.
Denley then moved on to discuss some “big things” happening across the USG.
a. College 2025. This is an attempt by a group to try to respond to the challenge
of where higher education is going. What will it be for in the future? Why do people go to college? What will its role be over the hill and far away?
He stated that this work paralleled a Commission (referred to as “The Next”) at Georgia Tech which looked at Tech 2040, focusing on what a Research I institution should look like in 2040 and how Georgia Tech will position itself to get there.
The idea for College 2025 is similar in nature, Denley said. The College 2025 initiative was created by Chancellor Wrigley. What are the means by which we can position ourselves more effectively in higher education as we move into the future? Paradigms are being discovered regarding how to think about this. They didn’t involve concrete steps initially, but “we’re now working on those,” he commented.
What is anticipated in regard to a particular paradigm is that it will be helpful to think about higher education through the lens of adaptability, life-long learning, essential skills (such as Math and English), and partnerships. There were representatives from industry, college presidents, faculty, librarians, students, and other college administrators on the College 2025 committee – as “we wanted everyone’s picture.”
Understandings of the above-mentioned words about education’s purpose and role have changed over the last decade and will change more in the coming decade, Denley asserted. This represents a challenge to our thinking through the new lens of adaptability. To meet the educational needs of the students we must engage students we haven’t yet engaged.
Attendee: We should be helping students find their passion. We don’t do much at Georgia Tech about this. I’m struggling with this. How do you engage students actively in something they are passionate about?
Tristan Denley: Strategies that can enable students to be more successful are a part of the “Momentum Year” approach. It is based on significant research and data. It is crucial when students come to college that we engage their passion regarding “What am I going to do with what I am learning?” Many students change what they plan to do. What’s crucial is we can’t have students coming to college who have no idea why they are in college. Data shows that such students tend to drop out before they even choose a program.
We are now trying to craft a plan for students to make a choice about what they will study. There is a phenomenon known as “choice paralysis.” This is when people have lots of choices, one of which is “I can choose later.” Many who experience choice paralysis, for example, postpone the decision about what to major in. They believe they don’t know enough now to make a choice. But the data shows that those who choose majors later tend to drop out.
And yet we can’t have them face choice overload and make an un-informed choice. So we have to find a new way to “stage” that choice. Some know generally what they want to do in life, whether it is something in Education, Science, etc. If that’s the level of specificity they can deal with, we want them to do that. Then we can assist them in choosing a curricular path to explore that choice.
Steve Anthony: I’m glad you explained this in more detail. It still begs the question, though. What about the students who change their minds? Almost everything you undertake in life is all about the message. Can you make the messaging about handling these choices as specific as possible? I encourage you to do this so students and faculty know what this initiative really means. All we see now is that students have to decide in the first semester what they want to major in. Today it’s clearer that you are encouraging them to make a choice – but recognize that they have leeway to change over time. The students and faculty don’t know you acknowledge this, however.
Tristan Denley: When you think you’ve communicated well, that’s typically the first signal that you haven’t. As we design things I’m passionate about ensuring that we are designing them for humans, not ideal humans. We have to create the way we do this so students can change their minds. Some may take a particular class and find a new interest. So we have to construct advising pathways that do not unnecessarily penalize changing majors when this occurs.
Attendee: I say to students, you may come into my class or get involved in my research and decide you may never want to deal with this subject again. I want you to know that’s not related to a mistake on your part, but provides you with information that is good for you to know.
Tristan Denley: Some of you have a math background. A familiar theorem about matrices was proved in 1819. It didn’t have a lot of practical aspects at the time. But today it is a fundamental part of the Google search engine and it impacts technology in significant ways. Sometimes you may have a learning experience that seems to have no practical use until years later.
Scotty Scott: I wonder what the trade off is between expecting them to complete aspects of the core curriculum that all should have or taking 9 hours in their field the first year? These 9 hours would be instead of what? What gets displaced?
Tristan Denley: For almost all majors these 9 hours are courses involved in the core, and just involve taking major-related courses earlier rather than later. The devil’s in the details, though. Some believe we’re trying to get Freshmen to take 4000-level courses. This is not so. When I worked in the state of Tennessee, I had a conversation with the Modern Language Department Chair. Students in their first year were taking at least three courses in the Humanities or Social Sciences or in STEM areas. I asked the Department chair, “So when do students start learning a language?” He replied: “In the Spring of their Sophomore year.” I then asked: “So students who might want to major in French, speak no French for the first year and 1/2 because they need to complete the core first? Then they begin taking courses in their major?” The Department chair replied: “You know, when you put it like that, it does sound strange. And we have a low-producing program. Do you think that’s one of the reasons we’re a low-producing program?”
Steve Anthony: What’s your vision of who communicates about this shift in coursework to students?
Tristan Denley: How this plays out on a particular campus has to happen locally. One campus wanted to create focus areas and chose the following categories: Health Sciences, Sciences, Not Sciences. I’m not sure that’s a good set of choices. But the approach institutions take can’t be dictated from the System office. There are some high-level guiding principles we articulate, however.
Steve Anthony: This is a ripe area for supporting shared governance. It’s a prime opportunity for everyone to get on the same page.
Tristan Denley: I hope you know about Faculty Learning Communities that are set up on all campuses. We have asked each campus to nominate Chancellor’s Learning Scholars. These are individuals who have a reputation for being wonderful educators (about 4-5 people on each campus). That adds up to 110 across all campuses. We’re working with them to be able to lead a Faculty Learning Community of 10-12 faculty. We’re not yet sure if each of these groups would come from one college or one department, or a mix of faculty from across an institution. It’s up to the institution. The idea is to create a way that faculty can discuss with one another various options, challenges, and alternatives in teaching. This would create a strong faculty voice. There are about 1300 faculty across the system who will be part of the “grand conversation” on this in the current academic year, and we hope to double that number the next year.
Scotty Scott: You’re reaching the upper half of teaching faculty in this room. Half of our faculty are less interested in such developments than the other half. We need to engage people who think something like this is a stupid idea as well as those who support it. There is likely something to be learned from a range of experiences regarding any idea.
Tristan Denley: I hope that many of you will be involved in some of these learning communities.
Attendee: You mentioned “essential skills” in Math and English. What about the hard sciences?
Tristan Denley: There is interesting data on the messaging about this. Math and English are essential. It’s difficult to do Physics without Algebra. And the written word is critical, probably more powerful today than it has been in human history. People who are successful in introductory Math and English courses are ten times more likely to graduate. So we need to craft key strategies to support student success there. The Mathematics approach is to go for small things to have long-term impact. The wound is deeper for those who don’t successfully complete English and Math courses. I hope you know about the work of co-requisite remediation. Students are much more successful who get this.
By essential skills we mean real and present skills that are an essential part of modern living that were not before. What are they? Technology is not going away, so we have to embrace it and see it as essential for an educated person. The workplace today often provides opportunities to work in one’s field, but also to bring one’s field to one’s work. I live this out on a daily basis. I no longer prove theorems as I once did, but I use mathematics as a lens in my work. I think we’ve done a good job in the past on the former, but not the latter. I think we need to do more for the latter. You should recognize that you have a part to play in given areas because of the skills you bring from your field.
Matt Boedy: I teach Freshman English. The pathways idea changes what the core curriculum can do. You suggest the core is not part of the whole, but in a distinct form or not it is connected with what I want to do in my English classes.
Tristan Denley: This is a danger we absolutely need to be aware of. We have design principles, not labels. In the past we haven’t taken into account that students sometimes postpone math until their senior year. The data is now clear – it’s a bad idea to postpone these courses. It’s not that these courses are more important than others, but when we sequence coursework in these areas, we have to do it with success principles in mind.
Matt Boedy: You use the metaphor of the pathway, which suggests particular courses have to come first. Another metaphor we could use is that we’re building something in which all courses work collaboratively together in producing the final outcome. I have asked students in my English classes to fill in the blank after a statement like “I have to _________.” Typically, students say they are taking a writing class because “I have to.” There is research about this mindset. Students and we are disserved by not understanding the purpose of their learning something. Students need to recognize that all they are learning is important.
Scotty Scott: Shared Governance is the tie back. Augusta University has various committees looking at the College 2025 report and other initiatives, and at the time line for implementation of these. What’s left out of that is we have a University Senate with a committee focused on Curriculum and Academic Policies. Historically, what that committee did, when proposals for curricular change came to their attention, is reviewed these things. That empowered the committee. The way the College 2025 effort is set up now, it bypasses all of that faculty approval process. So faculty feel it’s happening “to me,” is forced upon me by the USG. Contrasted to that would be a situation in which we faculty own the process based on our recommendation. We need a way to bring about faculty buy-in with regard to these initiatives. I think we should use the shared governance processes we have in place to engage the faculty to think about whether these are good ideas or not.
Tristan Denley: I feel reticence about getting inside how faculty bodies interact with the leadership on their campuses, but I’d like this to happen. There is a huge array of Regents’ Academic Advisory Committees. Each will talk about the 2025 recommendations. What recommendations can we bring forward? What should we be aware of? What strategies should be put in place around that? We have had grass-roots conversations about co-requisite remediation related to these recommendations.
When I visit a campus I make it a point to meet with faculty and Faculty Senate representatives, and with a group of students. So from my perspective this absolutely must happen. To truly change we have to help reach all faculty and talk through the issues to get them on board. It’s important for how we can move forward as one. Different parts of the organization have different roles and parts to play. We need all voices to do their best.
b. A second initiative is the Momentum Year. This is a large-scale student success strategy. It involves both a paradigm shift and, consequently, a re-visitation of advising. It’s a different way of looking at what we do. It involves such areas as STEM initiatives, the African American Male initiative, Adult initiatives, the Military. “Gateways to Completion” is part of this. We need some design change to increase student success. How do we recognize curricular difficulties, student learning that is too shallow in some areas, how students feel about themselves and the learning environment around them? To impact student success you have to do something that involves more than one thing. It is a multi-faceted, complex process to lay the foundation for student success.
Attendee: Students are concerned about how they can pay for their education. We have much fund-raising, but I haven’t seen part of the funds raised going to education.
Tristan Denley: The Chancellor has three overarching goals (not in order of priority):
2. Increased attendance and attainment.
For two of the last 3 years there has been no increase in tuition. Tuition has risen about 1.5% over the last three years. Inflation is 2.5%. It’s important for us to know in Georgia that if we look to see how education is funded in other states, we’re doing well in comparison. Public support pays for about 1/2 of funding for education in Georgia. In Tennessee, it pays for about 1/3, while 2/3 is paid for by tuition. In another state, 1/4 is paid for with public funding and 3/4 comes from tuition. Overall, costs per headcount in Georgia corrected for inflation have basically stayed flat for many years. The BOR is committed to making sure tuition stays low.
c. Comprehensive Administrative Review (CAR) is underway. My hope is that faculty welcome this. This is about seriously getting to the bottom of and clarifying to what degree we are using money for covering administrative costs that we could be using for other educational purposes.
We are working with the Huron Consulting Firm. They crafted a method with a group from across all campuses, including faculty. Each campus gets a report that says what your administrative structure looks like (in depth and breadth). Some supervise a massive number of people. The report asks questions about whether administrative structures are the most effective. They give their report to the campus and the campus is encouraged to use it to make better decisions about distribution of their administrative resources.
Steve Anthony: What is the hammer? No colleagues will likely be fired.
Attendee: Will persons be fired?
Tristan Denley: There will be people who will remain administrators and some whose positions will be dissolved. So that means some administrators might not be in their positions anymore because it is believed that we can achieve our overall goals and purposes more effectively by refocusing resources of the institution on education.
Steve Anthony: Another evil is the enormous pay raises for existing administrators.
Tristan Denley: A procedure was put in place just before I arrived to prevent pay raises like this.
Attendee: At my institution, a lot of introductory courses are taught by adjuncts. A lot of us agree that particular introductory courses are important, but are concerned that we’re not putting our most professionally qualified persons in place to teach them.
Tristan Denley: I don’t make classroom assignments. I say you need to craft policy that will enable student success. People say we can’t afford to do this, but we have to get to that point.
Attendee: A lot of us believe you should think about putting full-time faculty in positions to teach those classes and providing a living wage for others who teach them.
Tristan Denley: This is exactly what I did as a former Provost. I got adjuncts moved to full-time instructors or created tenured positions. Gradually, the teaching core coalesced into something more sustainable.
Attendee: I think you win the hearts of faculty if you do this here.
Marian Meyers: A lot of what we’re talking about rests on financial considerations. Over the course of the past few years, the Legislature has been giving us less dollars. At a meeting of the USG Faculty Council I recently heard the Chancellor say there will be no more money this year than we had in the past.
Tristan Denley: That’s right, the funding formula will remain unchanged. We will be funded according to that model.
Marian Meyers: So we’re talking about how to redistribute the money we have. Is there talk about taking money from the administration and giving it to faculty to support adjuncts and give to faculty for raises?
Tristan Denley: Yes, absolutely. This is what the opportunity is, campus by campus.
Marian Meyers: I think there needs to be something communicated about this from the top.
Tristan Denley: The Chancellor is giving clear guidance to the campus presidents about how to take the CAR reports seriously on their campuses.
Scotty Scott: At Augusta, we recently learned that three new administrators had been appointed – a new VP for Faculty Success, one for Teaching Excellence, and one in the area of Development. We are not sure what these people are expected to do. Yet it seems we have money for hiring them, but not for adding more faculty or insuring that we can provide students with smaller classes.
Tristan Denley: I agree that, in the end, it has to be the case that an institution works to help its students be successful. Sometimes this requires tough decisions.
Attendee: Transparency is an issue. This year it seems that 1/2 of the raises given were unnecessary. I don’t know what the data is about this. I might be able to find it on Open.ga.gov. Administrators decided a lot of the raises were necessary. I’m concerned about transparency. What kind of data would you like to see in this process? I hope you would ask faculty that.
Tristan Denley: Just before I arrived in the system, a procedure was put in place establishing scrutiny over raises that would artificially inflate them. There are strategies now in place to address this issue.
Attendee: I had issues with my own salary and was told it could take me three years to have the problem adjusted because of the policies the Chancellor put in place. These are the kind of incidents about lack of transparency that are of concern to us. It shouldn’t take three years for an adjustment to be made in my case.
Attendee: There are a lot of adjuncts in the USG. You stated that if people are successful in initial math classes they will graduate. If you look at the amount adjuncts are being paid, it’s horrific. People serving as adjuncts are not working for a livable wage and have a lack of connection to students and the institutions that employ them. So why do we go campus to campus and see the number of adjuncts and graduate students teaching more intro courses? Everything you’ve said I agree with, but I experience a complete lack of transparency and ethical leadership on my campus. In my judgment, we continue to pretend that the ethical temperature is not important. I have people committed to their students and discipline, but it is troubling that the USG seems blind/deaf to the real consequences of what’s going on in the state of Georgia that is detrimental to institutions.
Tristan Denley: We both agree that something needs to happen about how Freshmen classes are taught and how the number of adjuncts proliferate. We have to have a strategy to sustainably enable student success.
With regard to ethical leadership, you should know that, at the most recent meeting of the USG Presidents, which all 26 Presidents attended, the Chancellor spent 1.5 hours of a 5-6-hour-long meeting focusing on the importance of ethical leadership. The Chancellor emphasized how crucial it is that Presidents not only seem to be but are making ethical decisions in ways people are treated. Presidents were told they should be especially cognizant of how their actions are or might be perceived. I can’t suddenly undo your perceptions of the past, but the Chancellor is absolutely committed to this and hopefully you will see things change along the lines you are talking about.
4. CONVERSATION REGARDING POSSIBLE APPLICATION FOR AAUP
CONFERENCE DEVELOPMENT GRANT
Scotty explained that the Conference has an opportunity to make an application for grant funding from the national AAUP. We are required to come up with a project that meets AAUP guidelines set at the national level to secure this funding. Two or three years ago, we proposed that our Conference purchase copies of the AAUP Redbook for all Faculty Senate presidents in the USG state system and for every Historically Black Institution in the state as well. We also distributed copies at our meetings as door prizes.
The purpose of this grant funding is to help us build our membership. The Executive Committee came up with one idea (noted on the Agenda) – to research AAUP Georgia Conference archives at UGA and write an article for Academe. The purpose of this would be to build a recruiting tool for faculty and chapters in Georgia. There is a rich history of our Georgia Conference dating back to the 1960’s in the archives at Athens. The Executive Committee wanted to give the membership an opportunity to share other ideas that might be of interest to them. Suggestions outlined below were made following Scotty’s invitation.
a. Prepare a White Paper on shared governance that explains what it means, and clarifies how it can have more “teeth” in the state of Georgia. Shared governance is the cure or the solution to get in place a system of checks and balances that would make it more likely that matters of consequence could be dealt with in an august body of the faculty before being addressed by a group appointed by the president. Research about what’s happening on given universities can be conducted and shared that emphasize the solution shared governance represents to many problems facing higher education.
b. Develop a White Paper focusing on the intellectual roots of John Dewey and their implications for the modern university. November 12-16th has been designated as “Ethics Awareness Week” on our campus (GA Tech). The President at Georgia Tech hired all of those who were recently fired and no search was conducted to hire them. Yet we are required to spend 4 days talking about ethics. If the faculty had had the opportunity to look at some of these individuals at the time of their hiring, some of them wouldn’t have been selected in the first place.
c. Consider asking for funding to pay for a television ad in support of the AAUP.
Steve Anthony noted that the amount we could potentially request from the national AAUP ($3,000) wouldn’t be sufficient for developing the TV ad, never mind distributing it.
d. Develop a series of Professional Development presentations to help faculty learn
more about shared governance, academic freedom, and AAUP policies. These would be aimed at increasing membership. The person proposing this added that White Papers can be meaningful, but they have no immediate practical application. Perhaps $3,000 could be requested to pay a group to get in front of faculty who have not heard about these issues before. It could also cover the travel, meals, and lodging expenses involved for presenters. Another attendee, who liked this idea, mentioned that a video could be created on YouTube that addresses such issues. Steve Anthony said such a video could also be posted on our website.
e. Develop an online course at the graduate level that people can take as a Professional Development Activity. Focus: The History of the AAUP.
f. Apply for funding to put a flyer in every faculty mailbox once a month that contains information relevant to the AAUP (its policies, procedures, recommendations, history, etc.)
Some faculty might be willing to distribute these on campus (as has been done at the institution of the person proposing this).
Marian Meyers: If this project is supposed to be aimed at increasing membership, you might want to consider that, in my department, no one checks their mailboxes. I have to get to an 8th floor to check mine – so this would be a problem if you want to get faculty attention.
Attendee: If we did research on the past activities of the Georgia Conference, I think that would be highly effective, especially given the victories we’ve experienced over the decades.
Steve Anthony summarized the above suggestions as follows:
Undertake a research effort regarding the history of the AAUP in Georgia and using material in the GA Conference of AAUP archives at UGA,
(1) Develop a White Paper or Papers on shared governance, ethics.
(2) Create an on-line course that can be taken for Professional Development Credit.
Steve noted, however, that if this option is endorsed by the group, another one
would have to be proposed as an alternative because there are several obstacles
that would have to be overcome to actually make this a reality. For example, the
USG would have to approve it, it would have to be determined who would staff it
and which faculty would be qualified to teach it. A syllabus would have to be
drafted and someone would have to grade the work of those taking the class.
And there is also the question of how to handle this in relation to schools that
have no graduate programs. One attendee suggested that Josh Cuevas be the
person designated to assign grades for the course, if this is approved.
(3) Develop Professional presentations on matters of consequence to the AAUP and
secure travel funds, etc. in relation to these so they could be taken to various
(4) Prepare materials on the AAUP for distribution to chapters in published form.
One attendee asked: What sorts of measurable results would have to be shown?
Response: An increase in membership.
Rick Lakes mentioned that Howard Zinn’s papers are available in archives and a symposium could be designed around them.
Attendee: Our campuses are becoming more diverse, but some think we have no rights because Georgia is a right-to-work state. They don’t see that AAUP can make a significant difference as a result of our diversity.
Steve Anthony: There is enough money in the Conference treasury to supplement by $1500 a $3000 grant we might get from the national AAUP to address all of the above ideas. If this is the will of the membership, it could direct the Executive Committee to frame our application as inclusive of all of these options and take this approach to use of the funding.
Scotty: I will send out a written summary to all chapter presidents of what we agree to in this regard and persons can comment on and let us know if they see problems with the approach we’re taking.
Steve Anthony: To me it’s important to examine the history of the organization when developing a White Paper or presentations, because you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from.
Attendee: Is Ethics core to the mission of the AAUP as it relates to shared governance? If not, I’d recommend the proposal be written in language that is most consistent with AAUP policies and procedures.
It was then agreed by consensus to move forward with the Chapter Development Grant proposal as Steve had proposed.
5. PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE GEORGIA CONFERENCE OF THE AAUP.
Copies of the changes proposed in our Conference constitution had been distributed online in advance of today’s meeting, in accordance with Conference procedures. Paper copies of the proposed changes were distributed to all attending today’s meeting as well, along with an additional proposed amendment.
MOTION (Turner/Richards): to adopt the proposed changes as distributed in advance of
today’s meeting in accordance with our current constitution.
Question: A provision in Article II (Purpose), #6 stipulates that the Conference will “Maintain an archival collection of all conference records and correspondence.” Where do these go?
Anne Richards: The Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at UGA in Athens has a special collection that includes chapter records from institutions in Georgia, Georgia Conference records, and national AAUP records. In addition, some campus libraries around the state have established archival collections of AAUP documents and records. Hopefully, inserting this provision in our Constitution reminds all associated with the AAUP in Georgia that records from chapters, the Conference, and the national AAUP should be preserved.
Question: What led to the choice (in Article VI – Meetings) of having “Five percent of the membership . . . constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any regular or special meeting of the Conference”?
Steve Anthony: It’s an arbitrary choice in some respects, but it seems easily attainable in the foreseeable future. We have members of the AAUP in Georgia who never come to our meetings, so there is a need to have a reasonable number to making voting possible on issues that are important to us.
MOTION (Turner/Richards): to propose an amendment to the proposed changes that is described on the last page of the material distributed at this meeting. It adds a sentence to the end of paragraph 2 of Article IV (Officers) that would read: “Persons elected as members-at-large shall be eligible for election to their respective offices for up to two consecutive full terms and may be re-nominated for service in their respective offices following a one-year absence as an elected member-at-large.”
Craig explained that, after the original proposal for change was distributed to the membership, it was discovered that it was incomplete in addressing term-limits for a subset of the Conference leadership, i.e., those serving in at-large positions on the Executive Committee.
MOTION: (VanKley/Richards): to call the question. Passed on a voice vote.
MOTION: (Peterson/Meyers): to adopt the amendment to the motion as written in the handout provided at today’s meeting. Passed on a voice vote.
MOTION: (VanKley/Peterson): to adopt the proposed changes to our existing constitution as amended. Passed on a voice vote.
[See pages 30-33 for approved content.]
6. AKIN AWARD
Scotty called attention to the description of the Akin award as stated on the Agenda for today’s meeting. It read: “Warren Akin was an English professor at Georgia Highlands (then Floyd) College and former president of the Georgia Conference. After Akin’s unexpected death at the age of 38 in 1983, this award was created in his memory. The award is the highest the Conference gives and is presented when the Akin Award Committee and the Conference Executive Committee deem it appropriate. It is given to persons, like Professor Akin, who have rendered outstanding service to academic freedom in higher education.” Scotty announced that this year’s winner of the Warren Akin Award is Dr. Josh Cuevas from the University of North Georgia. Because Josh was unable to attend today’s meeting, his colleague, Matthew Boedy, would accept the award on his behalf.
Matthew explained that Josh was “massively trolled” on line. Persons hacked into his email account, created fake assignments for his classes, and tried to get him fired. All this began with a benign message Josh posted online. He wrote an article about his experience for Academe [see “A New Reality? The Far Right’s Use of Cyberharassment Against Academics,” in the January-February, 2018 issue, Vol. 104, No. 1, pp. 24-28.] The assaults on his reputation and accounts are still happening. Hackers inserted themselves into his syllabi and made it appear as though Josh were requiring his students to write a final essay assignment explaining how much they hated President Trump.
Matthew then read the following statement from Josh to the group:
First, I’d like to say that I sincerely wish I could have been here today. But I had a long-planned trip for my wife’s birthday to one of her bucket-list destinations (the Ryman Theater in Nashville to hear Jason Isbell perform), and I need not explain the fury that would have ensued had I tried to cancel that one.
I am very grateful for being named the recipient of the Akin Award for 2018. I believe both Matt Boedy and David Broad would have been just as deserving of the award, if not more so, for the work they’ve done to strengthen the AAUP and the values it upholds at the University of North Georgia. (And, no, Matt did not insert his name here at the last minute into this speech. Really.)
I only chose to write a personal account of an unfortunate situation that I experienced with the hope of making others in academia aware of the new dangers that lurk in the shadows. And they are very real.
What began as a testy back-and-forth political discussion from my personal account on social media turned into an all-out harassment campaign directed at me by a small group of extremists and White Supremacists who attempted to manipulate the university into firing me. Students, parents, professors, administrators, and even a state Senator and my U.S. House Representative were pulled into the fray, with many being duped by the fabricated documents that were being distributed by the trolls.
David Broad, the AAUP chapter president at UNG, contacted me and stepped forward to request that the president of the university, Dr. Bonita Jacobs, make a public statement in support of me and of academic freedom.
I was surprised to find that she did exactly that, and her response was also subsequently published by the AAUP.
At a time when situations like mine have become more commonplace, Dr. Jacobs was actually one of the first university presidents in the country to publicly and forcefully stand with an embattled faculty member. In many cases, universities have been cowed by small groups of extremists who create the facade of a public outcry based on false or distorted information, and the professors are left to endure the abuse without support, at times even being sanctioned by their universities.
While, unfortunately, only a couple thousand people usually read my empirical work, upwards of 20,000 read the piece in Academe, and as a result I was contacted by roughly 70 professors from around the world. To my horror, nearly a third of them told me that the same thing had happened to them, and they simply suffered in isolation and in silence.
One professor reported that that very week, she and her family were forced to leave their home and sleep in a safe house because she had received so many death threats. Her transgression? She was a communications professor who, as part of her research, was studying how ideologically-motivated groups use the internet and social media to promote their agendas. Her work became known, and she became a target.
Of the professors who contacted me, all seemed shell-shocked by the experience, all described the trauma they endured, and all had been isolated to suffer alone.
One professor at a prestigious university reported that students were being paid to go to training sessions where they were taught to register for classes of professors who might teach topics that they’d be ideologically opposed to. They would then wreak havoc in class discussions for several weeks before dropping the course while they could still be reimbursed for the tuition fees, thereby poisoning the well for that professor and her class for the remainder of the semester.
This is why Matt Boedy’s (another plug) and other professors’ work on organizations like Turning Point USA, the Professor Watchlist, and CampusReform.com is so important.
Make no mistake, higher education is under attack. There has been a concerted effort of state legislatures to underfund higher education in recent decades. Wealthy funders such as the Koch brothers have sought to purchase influence and manipulate curriculum to inject their views through hefty donations. And they have been successful in dictating both the creation of new departments and the hiring of professors at at least two high profile universities.
And funds do trickle down to muckraking sites like CampusReform and organizations like Turning Point, whose goal is to undermine higher education to the point that it becomes nothing more than a political tool for those forces, and science and scholarship become anachronisms of a bygone era.
The henchmen in these scenarios are those online trolls whom I have dealt with. They are loosely tied to a network of extremist groups and, coincidentally, were responsible for the march in Charlottesville where one woman was murdered.
Besides using our ballots to elect those who will support and nurture higher education, I do not know that there is a clear-cut solution to this issue, which has sinewy roots that reach the depths of the worst parts of this country. And those roots run deeper and spread wider than I ever imagined they would in this day and age.
But the AAUP has been part of my personal bulwark against such attacks, and I am hopeful that our chapter at UNG can bring about positive change at the university, particularly in regard to working conditions and the standard of living for all faculty and staff. What happened to me was not an isolated occurrence; I just decided to write about it to let others know what lurks beyond the walls of our classrooms.
I encourage all faculty I meet to join with the AAUP, because we become our own best defense if we can collectively speak with a unified voice. As much as we prefer to lock ourselves away with our research, our books, and our students and block out the distractions that pull us away from our chosen passion, we must become advocates for ourselves, and by extension for our universities and higher education in general. And for our country. Our nation and future generations depend on us for that. Thank you. – Josh Cuevas.
In concluding his remarks, Matthew mentioned that Turning Point USA is a large group on the UGA campus and also at the University of Nebraska. He invited anyone interested in helping him follow this group to let him know of their interest.
Scotty mentioned two books addressing related issues that were discussed at one of the AAUP’s Summer Institutes:
Dark Money: The Hidden Story of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer (2016)
Democracy in Chains. The Deep history of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean (2018).
7. OFFICER REPORTS
a. President’s Report. Scotty spoke about the national annual meeting of the AAUP, which takes place in June, from a Thursday to a Sunday morning. Each Conference has four votes at the meeting of the Assembly of State Conferences (ASC). Each chapter and Conference has two votes at the annual AAUP business meeting. This is the meeting where the membership determines which schools might be placed on the Censure list (as occurred this year for the University of Nebraska). In Scotty’s judgment, it is an excellent opportunity to learn how the AAUP works, how it can help faculty, and what issues engage persons in the national office of the AAUP. It also can help attendees better understand how persons working in the national office can be too busy to look into all issues that come to their attention. Further, it is an opportunity to meet AAUP counterparts in other states. Thirty-six states do not have collective bargaining units.
Scholarships have been made available for first-time attendees. In February, the date and location will be announced for this meeting. It can be expensive, but if you are not sure how to pay for attending, you might consider applying for the scholarship funding or for funding from the Georgia Conference that should cover about 70% of your expenses. I typically attend the meetings, but don’t stay in the hotel where the conference takes place. Instead, I stay at a cheaper hotel, sometimes driving there and making the trip as part of a family vacation. The fee for registration is typically $300. I recommend this meeting to you. All AAUP Committees are represented there. So persons here in Georgia serving on a Conference Committee have an opportunity to meet others working on similar issues. In some instances, you might also be able to convince the institution where you teach to pay for part of your expenses.
Scotty also discussed the Summer Institute that is organized every July by the national AAUP. It helps teach AAUP members how to be more effective in their Conferences and chapters. It is hosted by a university. Last summer it was held at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham, NH. Prior to that it was held in Portland, OR and Denver, CO. It is held at the end of July, typically in a location that provides relief from summer heat. It’s possible to save money by staying in the dorms at the campus where it is held. And attendees qualify for a meal plan that includes two meals per day. David Broad and Abdul-hamid Zureick went last year.
David reported that he found it “so uplifting” to be among a couple hundred people who share our interests in the mission of higher learning and talked positively and productively about matters of consequence. It’s an experience of being among “our people.” Details about how to go about organizing, leadership, etc. were discussed to an impressive extent. It was a very active group. Lectures focused on contingent faculty, organizing to achieve goals, public relations, etc. There was a focus on the contents of the AAUP Redbook.
Abdul-Hamid said he found the experience a “rewarding” one. Sessions helped him and the GA Tech chapter figure out how to improve their Faculty Handbook. One of the most helpful sessions was on how to better understand financial statements at an institution of higher education. The AAUP provides an audited financial statement for three years regarding the specific institutions with which attendees at the Institute are affiliated. And explanations are provided as to what the data in these statements mean. This, Abdul-Hamid said, was “very very helpful.”
Scotty mentioned that the date and location for this year’s Summer Institute has not yet been announced. Examples of what worked for others and what didn’t work at all are shared. It is also an opportunity to better get to know persons serving in positions of leadership in the national AAUP. The Conference will subsidize those who want to attend up to an amount of $500. Transportation to the site is likely to be the biggest expense for attendees.
Mark Watson stated that he has attended two of these Summer Institutes. He also mentioned that the demographics at these gatherings are different than in the room where today’s meeting is held. The groups attending the Summer Institutes are younger, more diverse ethnically, and largely female. To build the AAUP as the future unfolds, he added, we have to make sure our demographics match those in the higher education community. Attending sessions on diversity and inclusion at these Institutes can be useful in this regard.
A third meeting members of the Georgia Conference of the AAUP attend is the University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC). Four years ago, the executive committee of the USGFC agreed with the GA Conference to have the president of each organization be an ex-officio member of the other’s organization. This gives us an official entrée for having issues of concern to us brought up at their meetings. At the most recent meeting of the USGFC, Marian Meyers attended in my place.
Marian Meyers: I was there for the Friday session of the most recent meeting of the USGFC. The Chancellor spoke about College 2025, and the USG Momentum Year. “We are really well-supported by the state,” he asserted, as compared to institutions in Wisconsin, for example. His emphasis was on the Nexus degree – designed to graduate more people for the workforce. Due to a declining birth rate, the student population is decreasing. Companies want people in jobs. Nexus degrees involve a coordinated effort to get students into the workforce. They include 6 hours of experiential learning, part of efforts to place students in industry for academic credit. The curriculum is designed in partnership with major industry. In effect, we turn teaching over to industries. Students are “free labor” but get college credit hours, which students pay for. Faculty have the authority to plan curriculum and the authority to say yes or no to such Nexus degree programs. We should oppose programs that prepare students for industry without faculty having the opportunity to review and approve them.
Anne Richards reported that she had attended the Board of Regents meeting in August (2018), when a particular Nexus program was described as having significance for economic development in Georgia. She read the following from her notes of that meeting.
A report was given about a new defined collegiate pilot career path program (known as DELTA PROPEL) that has been developed between Middle Georgia State University (MGSU) and Delta Airlines. The Governor and the General Assembly provided state appropriations for aviation support and this has been used to put together an opportunity for Juniors, Seniors, and graduate students to accelerate the time line for their becoming pilots (in 3-4 years or less) – for Delta Private jets, Delta Connection, and for the military. These students will be in a position for a Qualified Job Offer (QJO). DELTA PROPEL is a customized experience that involves mentoring from active delta pilots. Eight schools have been selected initially for this program (including Auburn and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University along with MGSU). It has been instituted because pilots must retire by age 65 across the industry and half of them will be retiring in the next decade. Commercial pilots currently earn around $111,930 annually and airline pilots earn around $130,059 annually. In the next ten years, 8,000 pilots will have to be hired as replacements and a process is needed to help develop their availability. This program was lauded as a “great collaborative job-creating effort for our state.” It was also noted that the aerospace industry is Georgia’s second largest industry.
Matt Boedy pointed out that the AAUP website is against privatization efforts in higher education. The curriculum for these programs will be designed in partnership with private industry. Job readiness is the focus. There are multiple ways for students to get into jobs more efficiently. One way is to build better attitudes about education with the public.
Marian Meyers: At the USGFC meeting, Wisconsin was mentioned as underfunded while we in Georgia are better off. In this age, however, Wisconsin is a cautionary tale.The governor supported a bill (funded by the American Legislative Exchange Council – ALEC) to privatize education. That’s where we seem to be headed. College 2025 doesn’t address what’s happening on a larger scale. We have to educate the public more. I worry that we are headed in the same direction as Wisconsin. Money for education will go to private corporations that will have money to provide online courses. The USG plan doesn’t address key concerns faculty have about privatization and public money going to corporations.
Attendee: Did the USGFC respond to the Chancellor’s remarks?
Marian Meyers: No. They just listened.
Scotty Scott: For the most part, Faculty Senate presidents have become part of the establishment and follow what their administrations want to do. I’m reminded of the Stockholm Syndrome. At USGFC meetings I don’t see an effective shared governance body at work. Instead, it seems to be a place where the Chancellor and other administrators come to say: Here’s what we plan to do, what the legislative climate is, what the Board of Regents (BOR) is doing.
I wanted to have a voice there because we can “stir the pot.” We can come to these meetings with resolutions for the Council to debate if we think this Nexus idea is a bad one, for example. We could write up a resolution that the USGFC could study and vote to approve or not statewide. This would require our colleagues to vote on it and give us an opportunity to influence both decision-making and shared governance.
Attendee: Maybe AAUP chapters should be coming out instead with our own studies. Our Conference could take it on and introduce it at the state level. This would make the decision a more public one.
Rick Lakes: I attended the September, 2018 meeting of the BOR. There was a discussion there about institutional partnerships as an economic driver but helping to build curricular efforts are organizations like Creative Media Industry Institute and Fin Tech (the latter being an Atlanta Mecca for processing credit and bank cards). It’s probably embedded in this.
Dan VanKley: The Nexus degree may have come up just recently at the USGFC meeting as a body to report to about what’s happening, but that train has already left the station. At Columbus State University, our university has a partnership with the W.C. Bradley Company with regard to our film degree. It’s all about economic development.
b. Report of the Executive Director – Steve Anthony
(1) With regard to Committee A work, Steve mentioned that Matthew Boedy is now the Coordinating Chair of Committee A for the GA Conference. Steve added that he himself began with some cases prior to Matthew taking on this role, and will get these to a certain point. Steve explained that Committee A exists to assist faculty when they are aggrieved in their role as faculty. The same committee exists at the national and state levels, and at our last Conference meeting we encouraged local chapters to also establish a Committee A. The Conference will help these with do’s and don’ts. These situations can get tricky. Steve advised chapters not to ask department chairs to serve as chairs of Committee A on a given campus and reported that, currently, five cases are in various stages across the state. The AAUP deals with academic freedom and tenure cases, not other issues that faculty might have with their department chairs, Steve explained.
(2) With regard to his Executive Director report, Steve expressed kudos to all who have created new AAUP chapters. More have been created in the last 12 months than in the past five years and Gordon College may soon resurrect its chapter also. We still have fewer chapters at private institutions than we would like, but Oglethorpe has resurrected new chapter at a private institution. Public and private institutions may be different in several respects but they all employ faculty in an academic institutional setting. [Editorial note: Oglethorpe was the site of the Second Annual meeting of the GA Conference of the AAUP in March, 1963.]
(3) Membership Committee. Steve announced that Mark Watson will be chairing this committee for the Conference as we go forward.
(4) Legislative Report.
Scotty Scott: I’d like you to begin this report by telling the group about your background with the Legislature and what qualifications you have for the job as our Government Relations chair.
Steve Anthony: For 18 years I served as the Chief of Staff for then Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, Tom Murphy. I was asked by then Gov. Zell Miller to head up the State Democratic party from 1995-1998. I started a consulting business after that. At the same time I started teaching Political Science at Georgia State University, which I did until 2015, reaching the rank of senior lecturer. I phased out my consulting business by that time. I transferred from there to Kennesaw State University (KSU) to help start a new Fall program at the study abroad program they have in Italy. I retired in early 2016.
Continuing, Steve went on to say that he thought Tristan Denley’s presentation was good in our morning meeting, and more forthcoming than has been characteristic of him in the past. He seemed to be in more of an outreach state of mind. Both Steve and Scotty have been in presentations where Denley didn’t seem as connected to faculty. Steve added that, while there are some things Vice Chancellor Denley couldn’t answer or comment on he seemed to agree with comments made in today’s meeting about the status quo at Georgia State University. Steve expressed the wish that we had brought up the Nexus program in the Q&A with him. It’s an example of what goes on in this state and its relationships with public institutions. There is a move to make degrees tie in more to the needs of businesses in the state so they can hire graduates who benefit them. Chancellor Wrigley and the BOR can’t say no, because if there’s considerable pushback they don’t get the funding they request. It should be remembered, too, that faculty are state employees working in a state institution, funded to a great degree or totally by state tax dollars. So we all have bosses. Currently, the mindset of those bosses is not friendly to higher education. There’s a lot they do (such as guns on campus) as a result. They also tried to push for particular “Free Speech” legislation that would affect what happens in the classroom. Legislative representatives supported the Senate bill initially and the House cleaned it up to a point. “I sat down with chair of the House Judiciary Committee and they took most of my suggestions. By the time the bill became law, it put all the power in the hands of the Chancellor. The original bill would have told faculty how to teach. So this is one example of how the state Legislature is trying to run higher education and what the AAUP was able to accomplish in blocking these efforts last year. It is also an example of what the Georgia Conference does for you, its members, and for all faculty around the state.”
Most legislation that affects us comes to the Higher Education Committee. The bill referred to above went to the Judiciary Committee. The Higher Education Subcommittee of Appropriations deals with our budget. Earl Ehrhart, the chair, has retired. His wife ran to take the seat he vacated. She now has opposition in the general election, but we don’t know how that will turn out. Representative Ehrhart is the one who called the president at Georgia Tech to the Capitol and told him that if things didn’t change with regard to a particular issue, he would fire him and pull all money out of Tech. He wouldn’t have gotten enough votes from the General Assembly to do this, but he would have tried. In expressing the threat, however, he did the impossible – which was to get faculty to rally in support of the president of Georgia Tech.
We don’t know what the results of the coming elections will be. We don’t know the make-up yet of those who will be elected. We don’t know who the next Governor will be. The General Assembly will stay overwhelmingly Republican. If the next Governor is a Democrat, that person will be at loggerheads with the Legislature. If the next Governor is a Republican, they will go in lockstep. Either way, we are in a mess. I’m not sure who will win the Lieutenant Governorship. If it’s a Democrat, the Republican majority will take away significant power from that office. So we have nothing to look forward to there, either.
The Speaker of the House is David Ralston. He is all we have standing between disaster and treading water. But he still has to get re-elected as speaker.
All the above is to say, don’t expect anything to be moved forward in the coming session. We’ll most likely have to play defense all year.
With regard to elections, it’s important to consider that higher education faculty have a horrible turnout rate when it comes to voting. The simple reason is that so many are not originally from this state. As a result, they don’t vote in local elections. If you arrive here as a 25-30 year-old, you aren’t tuned in to local elections. And yet these elections affect you the most – your salary, living conditions, careers, viability in the classroom. I spent 15 years talking to professors, trying to get a feel for what it is that keeps them from voting. One problem is that they see that teachers in K-12 have more power. The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) represent teachers who teach kids who are 5-18 years old. These are the children parents are really emotionally concerned about. When their children go off to college, parents seem to have a different mindset about them. So faculty tell me they don’t enjoy the same emotional pull that K-12 teachers do when they go to talk with legislators. GAE has parents going to the capitol. Parents all over the country will not do likewise to get a pay raise for faculty teaching in higher education. So we have to create our own excitement.
Attendee: I think we should align ourselves with the students. Persons serving in the Legislature have college-aged children. We’ve been labeled too long by the public with negative ideas about college professors, when legislative representatives are really upset with administrators for taking money for purposes not approved by them.
Steve Anthony: It’s important to be careful about the students one might approach for such an alignment because some can use social media in ways that might not be helpful to our causes.
Eighteen years ago, I cautioned faculty about saying anything of substance on their campus email. Now faculty teach knowing that they could be recorded and/or filmed. That means that anything you say can be taken or twisted to hurt you. You have to teach differently now than faculty did in the past. I stopped telling jokes in class. I had to be cognizant that times have changed. The idea of “trigger warnings” used to be laughed at. This is no longer the case.
Attendee: I worry that this makes people say less. I’m a citizen but you’ve reminded me that we all work for the state.
Steve Anthony: This is true. I say this just so you will be aware of the potential consequences if you want to “incite” others to pursue a particular direction.
Attendee: But there has to be strong advocacy of some sort. Too many faculty don’t see AAUP as an advocacy group. I’m a teamster’s kid. I hate cautionary stories because they keep people from acting at all. So far as guns in the classroom are concerned, we missed the boat on that completely. 80% of faculty and students don’t believe in that, yet we have it in place.
Steve Anthony: I’ll make my last comment. 99% of professors – everyone one of you – should know your local representatives, even when you don’t need them. I recommend you talk with them even when you disagree with them and tell them what you think. That’s how you get change. Be friends with them. Offer to provide them with information about particular issues.
Attendee: We have some brilliant students at Georgia Tech. If you are well-spoken, you can get together with House members at the state level through Student Government and get them involved in issues of concern to you. You can bring in students in some contexts. It’s hard for legislators and administrators to tell students no.
Scotty Scott: Let us know if you have ideas you want us to pursue.
Mark Watson: I understand that we can’t put out a Voter Guide.
Steve Anthony: You can’t put out suggested candidates, but you can address particular issues of concern to you. To maintain our non-profit status, we can’t use our funds as those do who are serving in the role of a Political Action Campaign (PAC).
Mark Watson: Georgia State organized a Democracy Day event. That helped students get involved in organizing around issues of concern to them. They contacted House members. Students are ready to organize. Plenty of them were in attendance at this event. Many are just in need of leadership.
Attendee: We are facing a degradation of the value of higher education. If we support students in being able to express the value of their education, this can be a tipping point. If we got just 10% of young conservatives to talk about the value higher education has had for them, this could begin to tip the scales to restore political support for our institutions.
Rick Lakes: My representatives are both seen frequently as commentators on Fox News. I see no point in talking to them.
Steve Anthony: You can tell them who you are, tell them you want to be a resource for them if they ever have questions. Let them know that you will do your best to explain to them factually what they want to understand. You can do that.
c. Treasurer’s Report
Since the Conference Treasurer, Felix Tweraser, was participating in a conference being held on the campus of the institution where he works (UWG), Anne Richards presented the Treasurer’s report on his behalf. It showed that a balance of $22,848.32 was brought forward from March 26, 2018. Income received from national AAUP dues was $2,573.90. Expenses included the following:
$ 283.60 to cover expenses for Benjamin Baez, Keynote speaker for our Spring GA
$2,000.00 to Steve Anthony (Executive Director stipend)
$ 46.57 reimbursement to Mark Watson for Conference refreshments
$1,000.00 to Scotty Scott (travel reimbursement for AAUP national meeting and Summer
$ 500.00 to Rick Lakes (travel reimbursement, AAUP national meeting)
$ 500.00 to Patricia Carter (travel reimbursement, AAUP national meeting)
$ 50.00 to UWG for preparation of the PDF for our Summer Conference newsletter
$4,380.17 total expenditures
The above represent a net loss of $1,806.27, leaving a balance in our treasury of $21,042.05
Anne called the group’s attention to the fact that we are presently expending more money than we are taking in. While we are able to do what we think is important at this point, we should be mindful of the fact that increasing our membership is important to our financial stability in the future. In addition, Anne mentioned that we have been fortunate that two long-time members of our Georgia Conference, who died last year, remembered us in their wills. Each (Betty Derrick and Lucy Garmon) left $1,000 to our Conference.
8. COMMITTEE CHAIR REPORTS:
a. Marian Meyers, Chair of Committee W (The Status of Women in the Academic Profession)
Marian reported that she has just recently returned to chairing this committee after a hiatus of a few years. She plans to look at salary discrepancies, gender equity. At one time she was considering undertaking a survey of all institutions of higher education in Georgia, but is now thinking that individual chapters might do better to undertake such surveys at the institutional level instead. Another issue is student evaluations. Women faculty are generally evaluated more harshly than their male colleagues. This is a real issue she will be working on with the president of the University Executive Committee in the University Senate at Georgia State.
b. Dan VanKley, Webmaster for the GA Conference of AAUP website
An invitation was extended to all attending today’s meeting to send things to Dan for the website. Steve Anthony commented that, meanwhile, there is currently “a lot” on the website.
c. Matt Boedy, Committee A
Matt reported that he has spoken to colleagues at Clayton State University about academic freedom and cases related to campus carry. He and Steve went to Gordon State College in April. This is a public institution that needs two more members to reinstate its AAUP chapter.
9. CAMPUS CHAPTER REPORTS:
What has your chapter done that worked for you?
Augusta University. Scotty Scott reported that the Augusta chapter of AAUP had 18 persons present the last time it met. A year ago, about 9 members were in attendance. Scotty is the interim President of the group. It conducted a survey to determine issues of primary concern to faculty. Among the options listed were: paid parental leave, a standard faculty workload, gender equality, sabbaticals. The group received 35-40 emails with some strongly advocating for one or another of these issues. Some respondents added extra issues as well. The following month, the chapter reported on the top 2-3 issues and the chapter has been writing White Papers and working on what might be helpful related to these issues.
Marian Meyers: Can we use campus email for AAUP purposes?
Steve Anthony: No. I would err on the side of caution and not do this.
Attendee: At the University of West Georgia, we can’t do this now. Following a change in policy, people have to ask permission from the Provost. I also have to get permission to send things from my personal email.
Marian Meyers: It’s hard to get personal emails from all faculty. But at our next organizational meeting for the Georgia State University chapter of AAUP we could get them.
Mark Watson: At Clayton State University we in the AAUP recently lost the privilege of communicating with each other via email.
Matt Boedy: At the University of North Georgia we have a large discussion Board and I have posted to it for AAUP. You can start with a departmental listserv.
Attendee: At the University of West Georgia there is a discussion listserv entitled “Items of Interest.” But faculty have to opt in to it to be a part of it. We can post to this.
Scotty Scott: When our chapter at Augusta got started, all faculty could be reached on a listserv.
Steve Anthony: If you have friends in other departments, you can communicate with them on social media, like Facebook.
Matt Boedy: On our campus (UNG) we use Facebook messenger.
Columbus State University. Dan VanKley reported that the AAUP chapter at Columbus State is not meeting currently. In the past it reached out to faculty through a welcome-back wine/cheese event each year. It was billed as a “new faculty welcome.” Existing faculty provided the food and drink to welcome new faculty.
Georgia College & State University. Craig Turner reported that the AAUP chapter at GCSU is similar. It is not meeting a lot but a lot of its membership is active in the Faculty Senate. Recently, the University Senate endorsed use of the current edition of the AAUP Policy Documents and Reports (the Redbook) as the guiding principles when developing or modifying policies and procedures on campus. The President is supportive of AAUP. In all departments, administrators down to the chair have received (free) copies of the AAUP Redbook. And the university counsel recently asked for a copy.
University of West Georgia. Susana Vélez-Castrillon, president of the UWG chapter, reported that the UWG chapter now has about 40 members. A table was set up at this year’s new faculty orientation, which worked really well. People were excited about joining the AAUP. One told us “I dreamt of the day I could join the AAUP.” We also held a workshop on retirement matters and financial literacy (seeking to clarify differences between 403a, 457b, and HSA accounts). Unfortunately, virtually no one attended this session. The main issue our chapter is dealing with now is that full-time instructors have to leave their positions after 6 years. Matt Franks, Vice-President of the chapter, wants to look at what we can to do help them.
University of North Georgia. David Broad, president of the UNG chapter, reported that the UNG chapter now has 45 members. At the first membership meeting of the chapter, a topic of discussion was a proposal the President of UNG put out at the Faculty Senate about the idea of creating two tracks for faculty – one for teaching and one for traditional research. Both were to be tenure-track tracks. There has been blowback about this. AAUP has developed a case against the idea. There has been gratifying development/membership growth in the chapter. Matt Boedy added that he and Dave talked about five minutes at the new Faculty Orientation session where they learned that some had heard about the AAUP as graduate students.
Georgia State University. Marian reported that 10 individuals met to begin the process of organizing a chapter. A Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer have been identified. They will meet again next month, by which time it is hoped someone will be willing to serve as President and the chapter will become officially chartered. Marian said she began with a list of names of people who are members of the AAUP at Georgia State University and the group can also call Perimeter College (recently consolidated with GSU) to see if some of the faculty there have an interest in joining this initiative.
Steve Anthony: For those who may not be aware of this, faculty can join the AAUP at the national level on their own, even if no chapter exists on the campus where they are employed. This makes them automatically eligible to be a part of the Georgia Conference or a chapter that forms on the campus where they work, however.
Scotty Scott: Every month, on the third of the month, I get a report from the national AAUP about the persons in Georgia who are members of the national organization. I am restricted
in how I can circulate this information. It is to go only to members of the Executive Committee of the GA Conference, but a given chapter can request it from national as well and it will be provided. [The contact person for this is Rebecca Lewis, Assistant Director of Membership Accounting for the AAUP (202-594-3659).]
Attendee: I want to make a quick plug for life-time membership in the AAUP. It takes about 5-8 years for it to be in your favor financially. But if you can enroll a new member as a life-time member, that’s a great deal. You don’t have to worry about their re-enrolling on an annual basis.
Scotty Scott: You can also sign up to do this via payroll deduction. Keep in mind as well that chapters can charge membership fees of their own for their operations.
Clayton State University. Mark Watson, president of the AAUP chapter and chair of the Faculty Senate at Clayton State, reported that the biggest issue on the Clayton State University campus is pay. The chapter recently asked the President of CSU to back up his claim that salaries there are “competitive.” The president put together some data and the CSU chapter of AAUP will organize its own independent analysis. A professor of Corporate Communication has agreed to design a social media publicity campaign for the chapter. A professor wants to change the name “Fall Break” to “Indigenous Peoples’ Break.” It used to be “Columbus Day Break.” The AAUP chapter at Clayton State supports the change being recommended.
Georgia Institute of Technology. Abdul-Hamid Zureick reported that the chapter on the Georgia Tech campus was resurrected in February of this year. It has held three meetings thus far and is trying to identify issues that will improve working and living conditions. It is also trying to strategize the best ways to proceed in advocating for these. Parking is also an issue. The chapter’s website is under construction and it is hoped this will be an avenue for other colleagues to join the AAUP. The chapter is concerned about a “non-disclosure issue.” Currently, when people serve on committees they are asked to commit to saying nothing about committee activity and decisions. The chapter is also interested in examining the process of Post-Tenure Review.
Oglethorpe University. Stephen Herschler, president of the OU chapter of the AAUP, reported that Oglethorpe has recently set up a new chapter of the AAUP. A primary issue for the group is Shared Governance. Faculty believe there is no good process of shared governance in place. The Faculty Handbook has been tampered with. The faculty wanted a resource to turn to that could provide them with ‘best practices.” Now about 15 faculty have joined the AAUP, which is about 1/4 of the faculty at OU. An Ad Hoc Committee has been created on the issue of shared governance which involves four Trustees of the University, four faculty, the President and the Provost. There is fear that it will be all smoke and mirrors that cover a secret agenda. There is also concern that it will have no policy power and only provide an opportunity for conversation. There are even faculty suspicious of the AAUP because they think it will take away power and resources from other clubs they might want to put together. Thanks to the AAUP, however, the campus is acquiring a vocabulary (like shared governance) that all can reference. Some of those who have been troublemakers in the past are now learning how to express themselves in quite constructive ways that bring about broader understanding.
What would you like to see the AAUP do – including support from the Georgia Conference and/or the National AAUP?
Attendee: There is interest in examining the loss of integrity of the curriculum to business interests. Business interests sell well to potential donors. Curriculum issues are now on the margins, cobbled together with people who don’t have the expertise to deal with them. People who have administrative experience are pulled in to teach some of these courses. Now more students make take these courses, no matter what, rather than achieving the educational goals we’ve set up. There is an interest in film studies at our university – but coursework is all done through adjuncts. There seems to be a desire to rapidly create and destroy programs to adjust to the ever-changing demands of the marketplace.
Scotty Scott: And adjuncts are typically hired through departments without a formal search process. At Augusta University, there is a search for tenure-track faculty positions, but not for adjuncts.
Mark Watson: This is a problem for us. We’re seeing more and more adjunctification.
Attendee: At Oglethorpe University, some faculty don’t want to give adjuncts governance authority. Since someone else hires them, it makes faculty uneasy. But faculty don’t want to have the difficult discussions around these issues.
Marian Meyers: Doctoral students should be part of the AAUP. They would come in under the $30,000 level for salary, and thus would pay less for membership.
Attendee: On our campus we have different tracks for faculty – some with and some without tenure. Some of our adjuncts or instructors have Ph.Ds. Some would not be eligible for a tenure-track position, but some would. But the AAUP statement on Contingent Faculty says there should be different tenurable work assignments.
Steve Anthony: In Georgia, schools set up the tenure-track process. But you have to apply for a tenure-track position.
Attendee: I thought the AAUP was not against teaching tracks and research tracks, but now I learn you are worrying about this at UNG.
Attendee: The President floated this idea. We have a considerable number of those getting Associate Degrees (due to consolidation). They pay tuition at a lower level. This is an unsustainable budget model. One way to increase productivity is to have some teaching a 5/5 load. But we know from the literature that, when this is done, it creates two tracks with different status. Faculty who do research are more upwardly mobile and get salary raises.This is why faculty are universally opposed to the plan.
Scotty Scott: AAUP believes that the criteria for these matters belong to the faculty.
Attendee: Is it still the case that a program has to graduate a certain number of students every so many years in order to remain in place?
Attendee: There are already two tracks for teaching faculty at Clayton State University. Increasingly, there is a tendency to hire lecturers. Service on committees gets pushed to the side. Lecturers can’t currently serve on committees. That pushes the workload on to others, with no additional compensation for what they take on .
Attendee: At Georgia State University, all lecturers do service work.
Attendee: There are reasons why different institutions have evolved as they have. I see the consolidation we have endured in Georgia as an attempt to divide the faculty who put together the institutions that have evolved in different ways.
Attendee: At Oglethorpe University, the university got a large gift to create a Business College. The Dean of the College, the donor said, would assume some authority over classes. But the administration came up with the donor.
Scotty Scott: this discussion has been helpful. Please send me additional ideas you have along these lines. You may have noticed that on the last page of our newsletter, we have committees in place with a person named as chair in each case. For most of these committees, the chair is the only person serving on the committee. We would love to get others involved. We have tried to organize our committees so as to parallel those at the national level, so we can reach out to the national groups for resources and assistance.
10. NEW BUSINESS
a. New Business from the Floor
Attendee: If faculty are at risk this year, what will the AAUP do about this?
Scotty Scott: The AAUP has core interests in academic freedom and promotion and tenure. We make referrals to several attorneys for those who have individual grievances. You can also get professional liability insurance through the AAUP to deal with such cases. This is a great benefit of membership in the AAUP.
Attendee: What is the status of the revisions to the BOR Policy Manual? We want to send comments to the USG Faculty Council about this.
Scotty Scott: The best solution is to have us help to write up any changes. Typically, however, the Chancellor’s staff sends the Faculty Council material and asks for their comments before it goes to the BOR. They have had mixed results in impacting policy, though, because of the short time given for the review. They are always told that, if they don’t like how things are revised, they can always request further changes.
With regard to prioritization for the Georgia Conference of the AAUP, what are the top issues across campus? I know shared governance is an important one. Are there others? Salary?
Steve Anthony: We represent the faculty before state government year-round. Whatever issues come up under that umbrella can be addressed. And if we increase our numbers, we will have more of an impact.
Attendee: Our Faculty Senate doesn’t provide substantive opportunities for discussion about issues when it meets. All details are supposed to be worked out in committees before recommendations come to the Senate for final approval.
Anne Richards: The same is true about how the Board of Regents operates.
Scotty Scott: We had clickers given to Faculty Senate representatives at one point at Augusta. Persons could anonymously click either yes, no or an abstention on any vote.
Attendee: At our school, the Senate only has the option to vote “Yes” or to abstain. There is no option to vote “No.”
Attendee: Roberts’ Rules of Order doesn’t allow for just a yes vote on matters.
11. LOCATION AND TIMING OF SPRING MEETING.
Stephen Herschler, president of the Oglethorpe University chapter of the AAUP, offered to explore the possibility of hosting the Spring meeting on that campus. Among other things, there would be no charge for parking there.
Mark Watson offered to host a meeting again at Clayton State University if things didn’t work out at Oglethorpe.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 3:35 pm.
Anne C. Richards, newsletter editor
GA Conference of the AAUP