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You’ve heard about the Summer Institute — But have you heard about the Mini-Innie?

July 30, 2015

As you know, the AAUP’s Summer Institute was held at Denver University this year — by all accounts a rousing success and another opportunity for Colorado Conference members to contribute to the AAUP collective experience.

What you may not know is that the day after the Summer Institute ended, the Colorado Conference conducted a smaller, more intimate Institute — the Mini-Innie — expressly for our community college members. We persuaded AAUP Vice President Hank Reichman and AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress President Howard Bunsis to stay in Colorado an extra day and address the Mini-Innie.

While we enjoyed breakfast on the patio of the Bittersweet Cafe in charming downtown Louisville, Howard kept us laughing even as he explained the ups, downs, ins, and outs of unionizing in Colorado and then gave us an updated collection of charts and figures showing the relative wealth of the Colorado Community College System, reiterating that the demand for fair compensation for CCCS instructors is both reasonable and affordable. Well, you had to be there to understand how Howard could make these topics so humorous.

Howard Bunsis CCCS Finances web

Hank Reichman followed up with a most eloquent explanation of AAUP principles and philosophy. It was invigorating to be reminded how academic freedom, shared governance, due process, and secure employment fit together to create a system of higher education that is the “envy of the world.” I was inspired to renew my dedication to this crucially important work that we do, and I know others at the Mini-Innie felt the same way.

Hank Reichman 7 27 Louisville web

Participants at the Mini-Innie repaired to the Waterloo restaurant, just across the street, for lunch and then around the corner to a meeting room in the Louisville Public Library for afternoon sessions. There, Ray Hogler, the Colorado Conference’s Vice President for Legislative Affairs, and a labor lawyer in his own right, talked about Colorado’s particular labor laws, especially with regard to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and how they affect our efforts at securing fair labor practices for community college instructors. Colorado Conference President Steve Mumme offered advice on organizing via the acronym NAIL: networking, advocating, informing, and lobbying. Colorado Conference Executive Committee and National AAUP Committee A member Don Eron talked about the primacy of due process for preserving academic freedom, peppered with “war stories.”  Summer Institute attendees Anne Emmons, Caroline Chapman, and Caprice Lawless talked about their impressions  of the SI. And finally, Daniel Schweissing, ESL instructor at Community College of Aurora and human rights activist, presented a training session titled “Mainstreams and Margins.”

Bittersweet Group MI 7 2015 web

The Mini-Innie was the brainchild of Caprice Lawless, president of the Front Range Community College chapter and the Colorado Conference’s Vice President for Community Colleges. Caprice has made quite a splash, nationally, as an advocate for contingent faculty. Hank Reichman was duly impressed with her presentation at the Summer Institute and has posted her notes, titled “AAUPropriate Considerations: Organizing at the Community College,” with an enthusiastic endorsement, to the AAUP’s Academe blog. Hank’s posting takes its title, “From Awfulizing to Organizing,” from one of Caprice’s tips for organizing community college faculty.

Hank also posted his own take on our Mini-Innie and other efforts in Colorado to improve working conditions for community college instructors: “Colorado Community College Fight for Equity.”

Participants at the Mini-Innie walked away with tote bags, AAUP water bottles, perennial plants for their gardens, and, one assumes, renewed hope for changing the Colorado Community College System from its current “business model” to a model for academic freedom, shared governance, due process, and fair compensation for all who teach there. A round of applause for the instructors who participated in the Mini-Innie and who have made it their business to change the direction of the community college system in Colorado.

AAUP Colorado Shared Governance Conference September 2014

February 18, 2015

If by chance you missed our shared governance conference at Fort Lewis College in Durango last September, I have good news! Thanks to our friends at the Fort Lewis AAUP, video of the entire event is now available.

Here’s Panel 1 on Shared Governance Disasters:

Here’s Panel 2 on Shared Governance Best Practices:

Here’s Panel 3 on Strengthening Adjunct Faculty:

Last, but hardly least, here’s the terrific keynote from our friend the former AAUP Executive Director Gary Rhoades:

Certainly, this is a lot of video to watch, but if you are interested in such things I think you’ll find it all very valuable.

New Faculty Model at the University of Denver a Prototype for Reform?

February 17, 2015

by Dean Saitta, University of Denver

IHElogo8.5.10Inside Higher Ed has the story in today’s edition. Here’s the take from the National AAUP:

Henry Reichman, chair of the American Association of University Professors’ Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, said there was a lot to like about the new Denver policy, including its strong protections of academic freedom and endorsement of tenure. But he said he also had some concerns, including why — if the teaching professional series was supposed to honor strong academics — they wouldn’t be put on the tenure track. Reichman noted, too, that according to AAUP guidelines, anyone serving at an institution for more than seven years should enjoy the privileges of tenure — including due process for any termination.

Denver’s policy “integrates many important AAUP principles into the university’s system of tenure and appointment, in some places offering protections even stronger than AAUP demands,” Reichman said. But “in practice it remains to be seen whether the university will shift significant numbers of faculty off the tenure track and into the other non-tenure-line series. I certainly hope they do not.”

The University of Denver’s AAUP chapter had substantial input on the APT document revision, especially the section dealing with academic freedom. That section didn’t previously exist, and chapter leaders not only drafted it but insisted that it be placed front-and-center.  Thus, we’re delighted to hear from Henry Reichman that DU’s policy offers research, teaching, and shared governance protections “even stronger than AAUP demands.” We’re also in agreement with his concerns.

It’s disappointing that Colleen Flaherty didn’t reach out to our chapter leadership for the local AAUP perspective on DU’s APT revision. Some IHE commentators suggest that the DU revision isn’t all that novel or trend-setting. They may have a point. However, as Reichman notes there’s still “a lot to like about the new Denver policy.”  Our AAUP chapter pushed for revisions that we believe would have made the document even more progressive in respecting what contingent faculty contribute to the research, teaching, and faculty governance enterprise on campus, including tenure and all of its protections after 7 years of demonstrably excellent performance.

AAUP Summer Institute Coming to Colorado

February 10, 2015

AAUP Institute.DUThe Colorado Conference is proud to report that the next AAUP Summer Institute will be held in Colorado, on the University of Denver campus, July 23-26. The Colorado location honors the work that our Conference has done over the last few years supporting academic freedom and shared governance, including the very successful shared governance meeting that we sponsored in Durango last fall.  Please mark your calendars. Preliminary details are on the National AAUP website. The Colorado Conference will be hosting a welcoming reception for all AAUP members and guests on Wednesday evening, July 22, on the University of Denver campus. This event will be open to all members and guests irrespective of participation in the Summer Institute. More details about that event will follow.

The AAUP Summer Institute is the national organization’s most popular program. Organizers, data analysts, seasoned campaigners, and issue experts help build skills that make participants better advocates for AAUP principles and higher education generally. The Institute also provides plenty of time for social events, informal networking, and exploring the host city. Please see this video created by participants in last year’s Summer Institute.

The AAUP Colorado Conference will have a small number of stipends available for conference members who would like to participate in the Institute so please contact your chapter officers with your expression of interest. We will be reviewing these requests at our next Executive Committee meeting in early April. Please check the National AAUP website for additional information on AAUP Summer Institute scholarships— details are not yet available but the information should be posted soon. Watch this space.

We hope you will join us and our DU Chapter in welcoming AAUP colleagues from across the country to Denver.

SB15-094 Defeated in Committee

January 29, 2015

Colorado SB 15-094, a bill to end the two-tier faculty design within Colorado’s community colleges, was defeated in its hearing Monday, Jan. 26,  before the Senate State, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. Nevertheless, we are so very grateful for the sincerity and integrity of Senator John Kefalas, who championed our cause.

Read the news distributed nationally across the Adjunct List-Serv:
Defeat of SB 15 094 by Don Eron, Member, Executive Committee, AAUP Colorado Conference

Listen to Senator Kefalas’s presentation of the bill, the formal arguments for it, testimony provided by witnesses and lawmakers’ comments:  Audio recording of SB 15-094 before the Senate State, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

Read some of the testimony provided by adjunct faculty and supporters during the hearing.

Read some of the letters sent  to the senators on the committee.
SB 15-094 aimed to end two-tier faculty design in Colorado’s Community College System

Read the bill: SB 15-094

Read Bill Amendments 001002 and 003

Read the SB 15-094 Fact Sheet prepared for us by AFT Colorado.
Read the white Paper by Suzanne Hudson, AAUP Colorado Conf. Executive Committee:
Proposal for a Unified Faculty in Colorado’s Community Colleges

Senator Kefalas discusses SB 15-094 with scores of CCCS full- and part-time instructors, AAUP and AFT officials at the Snowflake Summit, held Jan. 14 at the Denver Press Club.


Bill Introduced to End Two-Tier Faculty System in Colorado’s Community Colleges

January 20, 2015

A bill to end the two-tier faculty system, aka “adjunctification,” in Colorado’s community colleges has been submitted for consideration by the 2015 Colorado State Legislature. Senator John Kefalas and Representative Joe Salazar are sponsoring SB15-094, “A Bill for an Act Concerning Community College Faculty.”

John Kefalas

Joseph SalazarColorado Senator John Kefalas

The bill requires Colorado’s community colleges “to classify as faculty all employees with teaching responsibilities, including part-time teaching responsibilities. Once classified as faculty, the employees will have the same responsibilities, benefits, and freedoms of regular faculty.” If passed, the bill would make Colorado the first state in the Union to make the two-tier system illegal.

Colorado Representative Joseph Salazar

The two-tier system allows colleges to maintain a core of full-time faculty who receive benefits and fair compensation while employing a large number of instructors who receive no benefits and are poorly compensated. Instructors in the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), commonly referred to as “adjuncts,” are not permitted to teach enough classes during any one semester at any one college to qualify for inclusion on the employer health, dental, or life insurance plans. Though they may teach as many classes over the course of an academic year as their full-time colleagues, they are regarded as part-time. They teach 72% of the classes in the CCCS, are as educated and experienced as their full-time colleagues, yet they receive roughly one-third of a full-time faculty member’s compensation per credit hour taught.

CCCS instructors have little to no representation in their faculty governments, few opportunities for professional development, and no access to due process or a grievance procedure if they have been unfairly dismissed, no matter how long they have served the college. Needless to say, these conditions cast a chill on the exercise of academic freedom at the community colleges. Nonetheless, instructors at four of the community colleges have formed AAUP chapters: Front Range Community College, Community College of Denver, Community College of Aurora, and Red Rocks Community College. Full-time faculty have joined their instructor colleagues in the AAUP chapter at the Community College of Denver.

Thanks to Senator Kefalas and Representative Salazar for recognizing that students are best served by a stable, fairly compensated, full-time faculty who are able to concentrate on teaching, mentoring, and advising students. Education is a public good, and when students are receiving the best possible education, all of the citizens of Colorado reap the benefits.

SB15-094 will be heard by the Senate Veterans, Military and State Affairs Committee on Monday, January 26, 2015. Committee members are Ray Scott (R), Jerry Sonnenberg (R), Owen Hill (R), Matt Jones (D), and Jessie Ulibarri(D).

Read more about the Colorado Conference of the AAUP’s efforts to end the two-tier faculty system here.

  • Proposal for a United Faculty at Colorado’s Community Colleges
  • SB15-094
  • Colorado Community College Faculty Bill of Rights
  • Results of the 2014 Colorado AAUP Survey of Adjunct Faculty


CU Denies Barnett Request for AAUP Observer at Privilege and Tenure Hearing

November 21, 2014

In early November David Barnett, a philosophy professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU), requested that an AAUP observer be present at his dismissal hearing before CU’s Privilege and Tenure Committee (P&T), December 4-5. In a case that has attracted local and national notice, CU has charged Barnett with retaliation for a report he submitted to CU President Bruce Benson and Chancellor Phil DiStefano that was critical of a guilty finding by the CU Office of Discrimination and Harassment against a CU graduate student.

According to the AAUP’s Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure (RIR), 5c6, “At the request of either party or the hearing committee, a representative of a responsible educational association will be permitted to attend the proceedings as an observer.” However, the Chair of the P&T committee, Thomas Napierkowski, turned down Barnett’s request, citing a CU Regent law that is in conflict with the RIR.

On November 17, the Colorado Conference, in a letter to Napierkowski that outlines numerous ways in which CU appears to have violated Barnett’s due process protections to date, requested that Napierkowski reconsider his decision:

 [T]here is no more grievous threat to academic freedom than the disregard of due process procedures in the dismissal of tenured faculty. It is the obligation of colleges and universities to adopt policies and regulations that are consistent with AAUP policies. Hypothetically, in the event of a national investigation into the practices of the University of Colorado’s administration regarding the academic freedom of faculty, it is not the laws of the institution but the standards of the AAUP to which the institution will be held. Thus a good faith adherence to AAUP policy regarding due process for faculty protects both faculty and the institution.”

On November 19 Laurie Gaspar, chair of the P&T hearing panel, denied the Colorado Conference request.

Here’s the Conference letter to P&T Chair Napierkowski: