Welcome to the web site of the Tennessee Conference of the American Association of University Professors.  The purpose of the AAUP, founded in 1915, is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good.  It is through the AAUP that faculty across the nation determine the principles of the profession and the procedures to protect them.  (www.aaup.org)

The Tennessee Conference provides services to AAUP campus chapters and strives to protect the rights and of all faculty members in Tennessee at public and private institutions, whether they are full-time or adjunct, tenured, tenure or non-tenure track. We attempt to help government officials, the media and the general public understand the importance of higher education in helping students become more competitive in a global economy and more capable of exercising their rights and responsibilities as citizens of our republic, and the role that faculty plays in achieving those goals. Our role is especially important as the state moves toward implementation of the Complete College Tennessee Act which places increasing demands on faculty in a time when state support for higher education is falling and the proportion of monies being spent on actual instruction has also steadily declined.

We hold two conference meetings each year, one in the fall and one in the spring, which are rotated around the state.  We also publish an online newsletter that you can access under Documents in the Directory (sidebar).  If you teach at any institution of higher education in Tennessee, then there is a place and a need for you in the Conference.  You can join the National AAUP online at www.aaup.org, and you will automatically become a member of the Conference. The national organization has just adopted a new dues structure that makes membership more attractive to younger faculty.

If you are interested in becoming involved in initiatives of the Tennessee Conference or have concerns regarding specific actions or policies on your campus, then feel free to contact me or any of the other Conference officers.

H. Coleman (Coley) McGinnis,
President and Director of Government Relations
Tennessee Conference, AAUP

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What Is the AAUP?

The American Association of University Professors was founded in 1915 by John Dewey, A.O. Lovejoy, and other eminent scholars because they thought that the quality of higher education in America was dependent on the extent to which the faculty, as highly-trained professionals, maintained primary control over teaching, scholarship, and faculty governance.  

One of the fledgling organization's first undertakings was to formulate principles and standards for a tenure system that would protect the academic freedom of professors in teaching, research, and governance.   That formulation, the 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure, provided the first effective defense of academic freedom in American higher education.

In the last century, the AAUP has continued to promote academic excellence by advocating for the highest professional standards.   The traditions of tenure, academic freedom, due process, and shared governance that have contributed to making our colleges and universities the best in the world were all established by the AAUP, and have been kept alive and strengthened by its members and activities.

Academic Freedom and Due Process

The definitive exposition of the principles that support this country's model tenure system is the AAUP's 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.  The 1940 Statement has been endorsed by 186 disciplinary and other higher education associations.  An extensive collection of resources on academic freedom is available on the AAUP's website.

To assist colleges and universities in developing their own policies supporting academic freedom and tenure, the AAUP has developed several sets of recommended standards and policies.  Among these, the most important are the 1958 Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings, Statement on Procedural Standards in the Renewal or Nonrenewal of Faculty Appointments, and Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

Shared Governance

The Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, jointly formulated in 1966 by the Association of Governing Boards (AGB ), the American Council on Education (ACE), and the AAUP, contains the definitive understanding of the concept of shared governance.



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Rudy H. Fichtenbaum
AAUP President, 2014

A Special Collection of On-Line Materials Relevant to the Intersection between Higher Education in Tennessee and the Global Economic Crisis

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