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President's Message
By Michael Harkins, Illinois AAUP president

Since our Spring 2014 Conference, our Committee A, Board and National office have actively engaged in supporting Academic Freedom, Tenure and Shared Governance.

This expanded issue of Illinois Academe covers in detail the challenges and issues facing higher education in Illinois and the nation. Please read and share this issue with colleague and friends. Encourage them to join AAUP if not a member and also start a new Chapter. As AAUP celebrates 100 years of sustained action defining and defending our principles, we need new members and Chapters to carry our mission forward. The challenges we currently face need a united response. As a collective our voice must be heard. The time is now to establish the direction of higher education for the next 100 years. Together we can leave a legacy that enhances the role of all faculty in the pursuit of academic excellence for the students we teach. Join us, become involved, discuss the issues and stand with us as we defend our principles.

Last April North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, hosted our Spring 2014 Conference. Our speakers included the National AAUP Executive Director Julie Schmid, the Ohio State Conference Executive Director Sara Kilpatrick and Illinois Conference Board member Diana Vallera. The Conference focused on the Role of Women in Higher Education. All three presentations were exceptional. Major challenges, concerns and issues were addressed. The Chapters in attendance gained new insights into the concerns expressed by our presenters. AAUP members shared best practices and effective strategies in promoting and achieving equity for all faculty. The Conference also highlighted legislative issues at the state and national levels.

This October, 2014 the Conference Board met at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois. The Board discussed the many issues facing faculty at both public and private institutions in Illinois. The situation at Northeastern Illinois University was also reviewed and discussed. These cases and our AAUP response are covered in this issue. Important documents and responses can be found on our website. The Board decided to hold the Spring 2015 Conference in the Chicago area and focus on 100 years of Academic Freedom, Tenure and Shared Governance. More specifics will be sent to members and interested faculty after the first of the year. As we move into 2015, I would encourage our members to attend our Annual Meeting on the State of Higher Education June 11-14, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Join us this June as we celebrate our first 100 years and plan for the next to ensure that Academic Freedom and Shared Governance will stand as our hallmark for the next 100 years.

In closing, I would like to thank our Chapters at North Central College and Northeastern Illinois University for hosting the Illinois Conference meetings, the National office and officers and our Illinois Conference Board members for such outstanding work and dedication on behalf of faculty in higher education. These leaders have dedicated their time and talents for our profession. As we move forward, let us keep central the need to present a united and collective front with strong state chapters and a responsive National office.