The faculty at Miami University in Ohio have formed an advocacy chapter, initially consisting of about 100 of the university’s 700 full-time faculty. The formation of the chapter will be marked formally with an on-campus event on April 29, featuring a talk by AAUP president Rudy Fichtenbaum.
An article in the Dayton Daily News notes that the impetus for the formation of the chapter has been that the faculty “feel ignored when major decisions are made on campus.”
The article’s author, Amanda Seitz, notes that “Miami was once Ohio’s only public [university] without a collective bargaining union or advocacy chapter.”
A focal point for the new chapter will be how the university allocates its resources and the role that faculty play in such decision-making. One of the areas of concern is the institutional subsidizing of intercollegiate athletics. Seitz refers to the Dayton Daily News’s own “recent investigation found that nearly half of the fees — $997 — Miami students pay subsidize the athletics program.” Another concern has been the $641 million in debt related to new construction. Meanwhile, the salaries of non-tenure-eligible faculty at the university have lagged behind averages reported for other Ohio universities.
Although administrators at the university have pointed out the mechanisms by which faculty input is now solicited, “some professors have felt left out, however, over conversations surrounding changes at the regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown as well as the university’s decision to add an extra, short semester on the academic calendar during the winter session.”
Karen Dawisha, one of the co-presidents of the new chapter, is quoted as saying, “There was a general sense that the university — as with many universities — has adopted a top-down approach to decision-making. The faculty voice was not one that was routinely solicited early on.”
The complete article can be found at: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/miami-professors-form-advocacy-group/nk3P9/