100 Years in Bulletin and Academe Covers

With Academe magazine now in its hundredth volume, it seems an appropriate time to look back on the history of the AAUP’s periodicals.

The AAUP was founded in January 1915 and published the first Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors, which included what is now called the Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure, in December 1915. In the early years, the Bulletin included reports, policy documents, and information on membership development and chapter formation. The journal began listing an “editorial committee” on the masthead in 1927, and around the same time, it began to include essays and book reviews.

Editorial contents took up an increasing proportion of pages in the decades that followed. At the same time, editorial oversight became more structured, with members of the national office staff assigned to roles as editors and associate editors. (The current structure, in which feature articles are solicited by a faculty editor who works in the field and most of the editing and production work is handled by a managing editor in the national office, dates back to the early 1970s.)

Academe came into existence in 1967. Originally a newsletter, it ran short updates on chapter activities and developments in the national office. Academe appeared alongside the Bulletin until 1979, when the two publications merged as Academe: Bulletin of the AAUP.

The new Academe published regular news items together with articles, reviews, and AAUP reports. The debut 1979 issue featured cover art for the first time, and, as Academe went through a number of redesigns in the decades that followed, it came to look more like a magazine and less like a journal. The tone shifted as well, although Academe continued to include Association reports in a separate section.

The AAUP separated the magazine’s editorial contents from the reports in 2010 with a title change to Academe: Magazine of the AAUP and the revival of the Bulletin of the American Association of University Professors. This time, the Bulletin was an annual publication that collected the previous academic year’s reports, which were now being released online before they appeared in print. In its first two years, the new Bulletin was mailed to members as a supplement to Academe; beginning in 2012, the Bulletin took the place of the September–October issue, appearing (as the March–April salary survey had for many years) as a special issue of Academe.

The slideshow below provides a visual overview of this publication history, with each slide marking a new cover design. These covers reflect not just the gradual evolution of the Bulletin and Academe but also a century of changes in typographical and stylistic taste.

Online media have driven the most recent changes to the magazine. Academe is now available in a purely electronic format for readers who choose to opt out of the print subscription, and the online edition of the magazine regularly features articles that are not included in the print edition. The most substantial recent change, however, is the development of the blog you are reading now. Since its launch in 2012, Academe Blog has grown rapidly, offering new ways of connecting the AAUP with its members and with members of the broader public.

Keep an eye on Academe Blog in the coming months for other posts about the AAUP’s history and its centennial.

“The New Public Intellectual”

In his introduction to the 2000 edition of his 1987 book The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe, Russell Jacoby wrote:

Intellectuals have not disappeared, but something has altered in their composition. They have become more professional and insular; at the same time they have lost command of the vernacular, which thinkers from Galileo to Freud had mastered. Where the Lewis Mumfords or Walter Lippmanns wrote for a public, their successors “theorize” about it at academic conferences.

That is not quite so true today, thanks in part to the silo busting sparked by digital technologies, but we in our ivory towers still have a ways to go before today’s William Jameses will attract invitations to address church groups and community organizations, filling their halls with excitement and conversation. Jacoby goes on:

At the end of my original preface, I indicated possible change in the offing. Driven by academic discontent and boredom, professors might want to reinvent themselves as public writers. To a limited extent I think this has happened in the last ten years. In the domain of philosophy, for example, Richard Rorty represents an effort to invigorate a public philosophy, and he has been followed by a number of others. Historians and literary critics increasingly try to break out of closed discussions into a larger public. Yet these professionals are not heeding but bucking institutional imperatives that reward esoteric rather than public contributions.

The growth of the blogosphere and the advent of social media are, today, making it easier for academics to “break out,” but we still, for the most part, speak only to each other—though, as Jacoby says, positive change does continue.

The Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Academe is headed “The New Public Intellectual.” Perhaps we should have added a question mark but, I think, we are in fact seeing a change in the way American academics relate to the rest of American culture. One article, by Nicholas Behm, Sherry Rankins-Robertson and Duan Roen, makes once more the case that the role of the public intellectual is crucial even to us in the academy. Another, by Rebecca Gould, details the legacy of Aaron Swartz, an intellectual outsider whose influence, if there is any justice in the world, will only grow. Richard McCarty takes the quest for academic freedom to religious institutions, considering the clash of conflicting public roles. Former Academe editor Ellen Schrecker provides an overview of the history of academic freedom, the bedrock for public-intellectual activities. In separate articles by Leemon McHenry and Paul Sharkey and then by Chris Nagel, one of the greatest contemporary threats both to academic freedom and the public intellectual—the continuing rise of reliance on contingent hires—is once again explored. Finally, Patricia Hill shows how the skills developed in academia can even be applied to something so mundane as jury duty.

In addition to these, I hope readers will take a look at Kevin Brown‘s “That’s Not What Happened to Me” and Jane Arnold‘s “What Do Students Think?” Good stuff!

Read and comment!

Participate or Perish – New Issue of Academe available now

The new issue of Academe, which looks at the public policy landscape for higher ed, has just been posted online.

The issue is guest-edited by Brian Turner, a professor of political science at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and chair of the AAUP’s Government Relations Committee. Turner tells a story in his introduction to the issue which is very telling: He writes that when he started organizing lobbying days for faculty to speak with members of the Virginia legislature and their staffs, the officeholders were confused: Didn’t they already know about higher ed issues? After all, they met with college presidents and administrators all the time! It had never occurred to them until those meetings that the faculty might have views and opinions different from the administration. Needless to say, those meetings have become a regular feature of the Virginia state conference.

In this issue, our authors describe the current state of politics and policy on higher ed. In Ohio, the state legislature is no longer responsive to the will of the people – so popular ballot initiatives have become the best way to make changes in policy. Across the country, states are racing to implement performance-based funding for higher ed. In California, state employee pensions are coming under attack. In Kentucky, the state’s higher education board now includes a faculty representative, who writes about her experiences. And in Washington, DC, the National Labor Relations Board is considering a case that could dramatically expand the opportunities to bargain collectively at private institutions. 

All this in addition to our usual columns, book reviews and association news. Take a look at the November-December 2013 issue of Academe

Change Requires Discipline

This is a guest post by Adrianna Kezar and Daniel Maxey. Kezar is professor at the University of Southern California and director of the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success; Maxey is dean’s fellow in urban education policy at USC’s Rossier School of Education and Pullias Center for Higher Education. Their article, “Change Requires Discipline,” appears in the newest issue of Academe.

Today, approximately seven out of every ten instructional faculty members at nonprofit institutions of higher learning are employed off the tenure track; nearly half of all faculty members providing instruction in nonprofit higher education hold part-time appointments. One of the reasons that contingent faculty issues have not been adequately addressed is that responding requires the attention, support, and action of many different groups across higher education. No single group or coalition representing only a few stakeholder groups has the ability to act unilaterally to make the changes needed. This is a systemic problem, but one that presents disciplinary societies with various opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways to the overall solution. Continue reading

Reflections on Cleveland State’s Unionization Experience 20 Years Later

This is a guest post by Rick Perloff, a professor in the communication department at Cleveland State University. His article, “Organizing Cleveland State,” appears in the newest issue of Academe and goes into greater detail about the unionization campaign at CSU.

It was the unlikeliest of stories at the most improbable of institutions. Cleveland State University, a bricks-and-mortar, urban state university bereft of much faculty culture (to say nothing of a faculty club, which, try as they might, faculty and administrators could never get off the ground), spawned an all-out grass roots effort to mobilize faculty in favor of AAUP unionization. It transfixed the university two decades ago. And the amazing thing is that the movement succeeded: Faculty voted to unionize, grievance procedures were implemented, gaping salary inequities were addressed, and the much-discussed dissolution of faculty-administration ties never materialized.

As a professor at Cleveland State in the early 1990s, when the union movement caught fire, I remember the battle for unionization well. Scrappy, at times scruffy, and emboldened by bright-eyed zeal, the union activists caught my eye and garnered respect. Few thought that a sometimes-ragtag band of bright, impassioned warriors could convince their Enlightenment-liberal colleagues to embrace unionization. But the campaign succeeded against striking odds for a host of reasonsself-interested, symbolic, and ideological. Continue reading

“Back to my Future”

Silvio Lacetti is a recently retired professor from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. While attending a retirement party for a colleague, he happened upon an intriguing idea: What if, rather than having a single retirement party, he organized dozens of small dinners, with one of his old students at each? And rather than simply filing it away as an interesting idea, Lacetti decided to embark on just such an odyssey.

In his article in the September-October issue of Academe, Lacetti describes the joys and excitement of meeting up with students from the full length of his academic career. Of his students, he says, “They had become compounded versions of their younger selves, with enlarged, powerful personas, but not different. …character-wise they are who they were—only more so.” The journey was thoroughly rewarding for Lacetti and his students. Read the full story in Academe.

Looking Back: Lessons from the Past in Academe

The September-October issue of Academe has just been posted (and will be in your mailboxes soon). In the issue, Rick Perloff looks at the campaign to unionize Cleveland State University twenty years ago, and William Vesterman looks even further back—to turn-of-the-century economist Thorstein Veblen—to learn lessons about the university today. Leslie Bary uses the benefit of hindsight to see just how much power has been taken from the faculty, and Silvio Laccetti looks at his own past, by visiting many of his students from the breadth of his career.

Meanwhile, anyone interested in copyright and intellectual property should check out Joe Moxley’s article about open textbook publishing, and Helena Worthen looks at a survey of faculty teaching online courses. Rounding out the features, Adrianna Kezar and Daniel Maxey make the argument that disciplinary societies can be crucial players in the struggle for better conditions for contingent faculty.

The issue also features our regular columns, book reviews, and a profile of the Merrimack College AAUP chapter. So take a look, and be sure to leave a comment if an article catches your eye.

Faculty Members on Boards of Trustees

The new issue of Academe takes a look at all aspects of governing boards. There are individual perspectives and individual institutions that get examined, but also a broader, quantitative look at how faculty participate on boards.

In 2011-2012, researchers at the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute (CHERI) did a survey of faculty members who serve on boards of trustees. Including faculty on boards is often cited as a “best practice” for improved board-faculty relations, so this research is an important way to find out not only to find out how widespread this practice is, but also what effects it is having where faculty are included. Three of the people involved in that research – a professor, a grad student, and an undergrad – wrote about the study for Academe.

It’s a great source of information on a lot of different questions you could ask about boards: Which committees have the highest rates of faculty involvement? Which have the least? Which committees are faculty generally allowed to sit on, but not chair? In what areas do faculty think they have the most influence? Take a look at the full article for the answers to these and more questions.

Pathways at CUNY

 Recently, the administration of the City University of New York proposed a series of academic changes to the school, grouping these changes together under the name “Pathways.” The system would make it easier for students to transfer between CUNY schools, and it would have looser graduation requirements. This proposal and the faculty opposition to it are the focus of an article in the May-June issue of Academe.

Sandi Cooper, a professor in the CUNY system who has been closely involved with the system’s faculty senate, writes about the Pathways proposal and how problems with the board of trustees led directly to this controversial plan. In some ways, the proposal (or something similar) is the result of years of slow acquisition of power by the trustees, and away from academic schools, departments, and professors. In one example of misplaced institutional priorities, the president of the student government is given a voting seat on the board of trustees, but the president of the faculty sits on the board without a vote.

Of course, the whole story is just one case study of one specific board; the new issue of Academe features several articles on the topic of faculty boards. Click here to read Sandi Cooper’s article, “The Road to Pathways,” and click here to see the whole issue.

The Persistence of Crisis: Work Harder or Fight Back

At my monthly department meeting yesterday, the department’s representative to our University Senate gave his report on their last meeting. As part of his report, he told us some of the concerns our university president, Javier Cevallos, expressed about a recent drop in enrollment. Cevallos’s remarks before our University Senate echoed a statement he released in October 2012 in order to explain another $3 million shortfall:

Budget Shortfall 

This fall semester, Kutztown University is facing a problem of serious magnitude.  For the second straight year, the university has experienced a drop in enrollment.

Almost 300 students have made the decision not to come back to KU to continue their education for this fall semester. While we realize many of our sister institutions and private universities within our region are facing the same situation, the drop we are experiencing this year is much larger than we have had in the past.

Upon learning of this, we immediately identified the students and called them to determine their status and/or reasons for not returning.  Although we are still evaluating the information we have gathered, it is evident that we need to become more effective at retaining our students.

As I stated at our opening day gathering, each student we lose seriously impacts our budget.  With only 20 percent of funding coming from the commonwealth, and with our operating budget based on our year-to-year enrollment, the student body is our lifeblood.

As a result of this enrollment loss, we face a shortfall of $3 million on top of the reductions we have already made.  I have decided to cover this gap with carry over funds on a one time basis to meet the deficit in the current year.  Although this is only a temporary solution, it will provide us with time to thoughtfully consider base budget reductions, beginning next year, in the context of our mission.

I want to stress the importance of our role in student retention. We all need to go above and beyond to assist our students in persisting and graduating from KU.   It is crucial to the future of our university and the region.

I urge you all to put our students first, and do whatever you can to make KU a place they will take great pride in.   It is really going to take each and every one of us to help KU overcome this challenge in the future.

Continue reading