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Presidentís Message

The annual meeting of the Illinois Conference of the AAUP will be held Saturday, April 22, 2017, at Columbia College, Chicago. This yearís Conference will focus on the current state of higher education in Illinois and the issues faculty now face. Individuals can register for the Conference by emailing Diana Vallera, Conference secretary at diana@studioera2.com

Faculty participation is vital to a strong AAUP. Illinois higher education is facing significant challenges to academic freedom and shared governance. The current financial stalemate within the state has added to the difficulties faculty are now encountering. The April 22 Conference has assembled a group of talented presenters who will address these concerns and present strategies to protect the principles of effective higher education.

In early January of this year, the Conference received a grant from the Assembly of State Conferences (ASC) to address the threats to academic freedom and shared governance. Alan Iliff, a current officer, and a team of our Board members will be presenting a number of workshops throughout the state starting this summer and continuing in the fall. These workshops will cover faculty handbooks, strengthening shared governance and specific strategies to maintain and enhance faculty rights. More information about scheduling a workshop will be available at the Conference and on our website in early May.

Our National meeting will be held June 14-18 in Washington, D.C. The Conference will focus and highlight the rights and freedoms of students. All faculty should consider attending. On Friday, June 16, the Assembly of State Conferences will meet. The ASC provides leadership, expertise and direct support to state conferences. The Assembly board has a strong network of resources ready to support state conferences, local chapters and faculty at large. They work to protect faculty rights and our profession. Since our November, 2016, board meeting, the officers and board have supported faculty throughout the state. The challenges and threats to academic freedom and shared governance are evident. As these threats continue, the Conference will provide support, expertise and resources to help our Chapters and faculty in general.

Committee A will continue defending faculty rights and assisting our colleagues. The journey ahead in higher education may continue to be difficult. Faculty should be prepared for these challenging times. If you do not have an AAUP Chapter, consider starting one. If you have a local Chapter, make sure to meet regularly and involve your Chapter members and faculty-at-large. If you have achieved a level of engagement, become active at the state and national levels. Faculty can volunteer for committee work, submit proposals to the state and national conferences, contribute to Academe, and develop workshops to present to other state chapters. By moving in this direction you can make a difference in the future of higher education in Illinois and at the national level.

Engagement and involvement are critical to the protection and enhancement of academic freedom, shared governance and tenure. The Illinois State Conference of the AAUP is looking forward to your participation and contributions.