Home | IL Academe | About IL AAUP | Conference Corner | Calendar | Services | Committees | Contact Us | Grants | Reports | Links


Higher Education at a Crossroads

Higher education in the United States is at a crossroads. Will our federal and state governments commit to supporting a strong, high-quality system of higher education? Will college in the next decades be financially accessible for all students? Will the various reforms and consolidations that are being proposed or implemented be based on ideology or on substantial evidence and planning? Will faculty unions (along with others) survive the serious attacks under way in many states? Will the proportion of faculty positions that are parttime and nontenured continue to swell?

If you care about the answers to these questions, your participation in shaping the public debate is vital.

And it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. If you read the news, you can participate by commenting on online news articles or writing letters to the editor in response to what you read. Your comments should be brief and to the point: it only takes a few minutes to correct a misimpression created by an article, add additional information, or offer your experience.

If you have a little more time, consider writing an op-ed. You should still focus on one main point, but you can elaborate a bit more and explain to people in your community why a specific higher education issue is important and affects them.

Finally, we all talk to our families, friends, and neighbors, and these days topics such as collective bargaining and state budgets are much in the news. Simply explaining to people how an issue is important or why it matters to you personally can do a lot to enhance public understanding. 
See tips on writing effective letters and op-eds and on talking to friends and neighbors about higher ed issues.

Examples of op-eds and letters to the editor:

Op-eds and letters do not have to be elaborate or published in major news outlets to be helpful. It is more important to get them in quickly when an opportunity presents itself. Here are some examples; find more on our website.

Letter to the Editor. BG News. By Karen Craigo, writing instructor, Bowling Green State University, and communications director for the BGSU Faculty Association (an AAUP chapter).

Labor's Ground Zero: Fighting for the American Dream. NorthJersey.com. Op-ed by James Gray Pope, law, Rutgers Law School in Newark, and executive council member of the Rutgers Council of AAUP/AFT Chapters.

How Unions Help Higher Ed. Guest blog post on WashingtonPost.com. Gwendolyn Bradley, AAUP staff.