AAUP@FHSU


Stand Up For Students, Stand Up to Privatization

Over the past decade, steady drops in state funding have created the need for new revenue streams at public colleges and universities. Similarly, private nonprofit institutions have felt the impact of the great recession on their budgets. As a result, many institutions are building out their online offerings to bring in more students and revenue by contracting with for-profit online education companies, who do much of the technical work and some of the core academic work.

To keep instructional costs low and maximize revenue, many new online offerings create low-paid, at-will instructor positions with no job security or opportunity for advancement, and require the teaching of information that has been preassembled into canned courses by contracted consultants. The savings on instruction are directed to marketing and recruitment programs to bring as many students as possible into virtual classrooms run by an under-resourced instructor.

As we know, these online education contracts often result in big losses for students and faculty. Faculty are experiencing a loss of academic freedom in their teaching, a loss of intellectual property rights over their original research and course materials, and the loss of the protections of tenure. When faculty lose the latitude to freely teach and research within their expertise, students lose access to high-quality coursework, lectures, and discussion. Furthermore, in a crowded and under-resourced online format, students lose access to substantive interaction and dialogue with their instructors.

Your AAUP chapter or faculty governance bodies can help regain what is being lost and ensure quality online education for students. Start by downloading the AAUP’s Education Not Privatization toolkit from our One Faculty, One Resistance site. The toolkit contains a primer on privatization, a list of ten actions chapters can take to help shape quality online education for students, and important questions to ask administrators about your institution’s development of online offerings with a private, external company.

Now is the time to act. Recently released deregulation proposals reveal that the DeVos Department of Education is aiming to further enable the privatization of higher education. The proposals water down requirements for establishing new accrediting agencies, limit accreditor oversight and give universities the latitude to contract full programs to unaccredited education companies that can market and recruit students using the brand of the institution. These proposals expand and normalize scenarios like Purdue’s recent acquisition of Kaplan University, wherein Kaplan, operating under the name Purdue University Global, benefits from the Purdue brand without the rigorous standards and quality.

Help make sure online education is quality education. Download our Education Not Privatization toolkit to take action, and stay tuned for upcoming actions.

In Solidarity,

Monica Owens
Political Organizer

P.S. For more on DeVos’ deregulation proposals, read New America’s “DeVos Deregulation Will Leave College Students in the Lurch” and Inside Higher Ed’s “Roiled Over Rules on Regional Accreditors.”


Targeted Harassment: What to do

What do you do if you or a fellow faculty member on your campus is subject to targeted online harassment?

In the current political climate, this has become everyday reality in higher education, and the AAUP has developed some resources to help guide you and your colleagues when these situations do arise. All of the resources can be found on our One Faculty, One Resistance site.

We’ve created a one-page guide to help you prepare to respond to cases of targeted harassment. By actively engaging with your administration to plan for cases of targeted harassment on campus and ensuring that institutional regulations or collective bargaining agreements reflect that academic freedom includes the freedom of faculty members to speak as citizens, you can help establish procedures for an institutional response when incidents occur.

We also developed a brief guide to social media policies. We believe that while institutional policies can provide guidance to faculty members who post in an official capacity, any such policies must recognize that social media can be used to address matters of public concern and thus that their use by faculty members speaking as citizens is subject to Association-supported principles of academic freedom.

Those guides along with a form to submit cases of targeted harassment and a look at some of work intervening on behalf of professors who have been targeted can be found on our One Faculty, One Resistance website.

Remember to share your thoughts and stories using the hashtag #FacultyUnderAttack

Mariah Quinn
Senior Program Officer, Digital Organizing