Q: What is AAUP and why should I consider joining?

A: The AAUP is an organization of academics, and offers support at the national, state, and local levels. Academic Faculty at JMU and across the country are concerned about the AAUP’s core issues. These issues include: shared governance, academic freedom, contingent appointments, Administrative/Non-academic/Managerial bloat. You will be part of a larger community with a shared voice when you join AAUP.

Q: I thought that the Faculty Senate was the faculty voice on campus. How different is AAUP from the Senate?

A: We do work closely with the Senate (whose voice is only advisory) and collaborate on many occasions, but AAUP is an independent association, not related to the university. In our chapter, all members are necessary and have a voice and everyone can join without going through an election process as Senators do.

Q: How do I join the local chapter at JMU, AAUP-JMU?

A: Joining your local chapter is confidential: to be added to our list simply send us an email at aaup.jmu@gmail.com with your preferred (typically non-JMU) email and say if you’d like to join AAUP@JMU as an official “member” or instead as a “friend” (a non-official member). Per AAUP national guidelines, members of AAUP@JMU must also be a member of AAUP national. But as a friend of AAUP@JMU, you will still included in our meetings, events, emails, etc, to which we invite our members.

Q: Can I just register as a user on aaupjmu.com to sign up for JMU@AAUP?

A: No, and actually we are intentionally keeping the two separate. This site is for the JMU community, and we certainly don’t expect that all community members who will want to participate on this site will also want to join our chapter. We do hope that some do, though!

Q: What is the registration process for aaupjmu.com, and why is there one?

A: We are using member registration to confirm that you are a member of the JMU community and manage who can post to the forum. We ask that you provide a user name (pick a nice nickname!) and your JMU email when you submit your request to register. Once the site admin approves your request, you will get a invitation to activate your account in an email with subject “[AAUP JMU] Activate your account”. If you don’t get an activation invite within a day or so, please check your spam folder. If you still don’t see anything, please email us at aaup.jmu@gmail.com and ask for a resend. Once you activate your account on this site, you should be able to log in and log out. And once logged in, you are able to post comments to the topic boards, either under your user name (by default) or anonymously (as an option).

Q: How can I donate money to AAUP@JMU?

A: Separate from the AAUP national membership dues, our chapter is requesting a small annual due of $10. This donation will go to supporting our chapter’s website, and to all our social activities. Please use PayPal or Venmo to send money to our account, at cba.jlang@gmail.com, or drop off a check at MSC 1802 for the AAUP@JMU Treasurer. Your donation of any reasonable amount can be considered “giving money to a friend.” If you have questions or need to contact our treasurer you can use this same email address. 

Q: Why should I think about become a member AAUP national if I can so easily just be a friend of AAUP@JMU? 

Your membership to our national organization gets you some perks, like access to workshops and the publication Academe. But the real benefits are less tangible, and include the types of support that only an association can provide, and the knowledge that your money goes into supporting faculty across the country.

Q: It is late in the semester, can I still become a member?

A: Yes! We welcome new members at any time!

Q: I am a part-time or adjunct faculty member. Am I welcome to join and participate? 

A: Absolutely! The AAUP is for every academic member of the campus, including graduate students.

Q: I’m a member of AAUP@JMU. Am I automatically a member of AAUP National?

A: No. Joining the AAUP-JMU local chapter does not give you National AAUP membership or access to their resources.

Q: How do I join National AAUP?

A: You may join National AAUP here: https://www.aaup.org/membership/join. Your annual academic income determines your dues rate, which range from ~$70 to ~$300. Dues are tax-deductible professional expenses, since AAUP national is a 501(c)3 organization.

Q: Can you tell me some more about the AAUP’s view of shared governance?

A: The AAUP’s view of shared governance states that “the role of the faculty is to have primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and aspects of student life which relate to the educational process. The responsibility for faculty status includes appointments, reappointments, decisions not to reappoint, promotions, the granting of tenure, and dismissal. The faculty should also have a role in decision-making outside of their immediate areas of primary responsibility, including long-term planning, budgeting, and the selection, evaluation and retention of administrators.”  Recent events at JMU, including the Hiring Guidelines debacle and the results of the COACHE survey make it clear that shared governance is in a perilous state at JMU.  https://www.aaup.org/our-programs/shared-governance 

Q: What about academic freedom?

A:  Academic freedom is the freedom of a teacher or researcher in higher education to investigate and discuss the issues in his or her academic field, and to teach or publish findings without interference from political figures, boards of trustees, donors, or other entities. Academic freedom also protects the right of a faculty member to speak freely when participating in institutional governance, as well as to speak freely as a citizen. https://www.aaup.org/programs/academic-freedom/faqs-academic-freedom

Q: Why does AAUP think the rise in percentage of contingent faculty appointments such Adjuncts and RTAs Faculty is a concern?

A: The continuing increase in contingent appointments as a proportion of the faculty has been ongoing for decades.   According to results prepared by the AAUP research department based on IPEDS data, in 2019, 10.5 percent of appointments were tenure track, 26.5 percent tenured, 20 percent full-time contingent, and 43 percent part-time contingent. This trend is evident at JMU. It mutes and chills the faculty voice, which means erosion of shared governance and faculty rights.  Shared governance requires that faculty feel free to speak their minds. So increasing contingent faculty means eroding shared governance.  See https://www.aaup.org/report/2022-aaup-survey-tenure-practices

Q: What is the AAUP’s view of the increase in Administrative/Non-academic/Managerial positions in Academia?

A: Disproportionate increases in nonacademic positions suck up an increasing proportion of the finite financial pie and threaten the faculty’s role in shared governance, academic freedom, and the academic mission of the university.  The AAUP supports the reversal of this trend, as well as a systematic reinvestment in   in academic positions, particularly full-time, tenure-track positions. This includes the conversion of faculty and positions that are contingent to tenure-track lines. We’re working on a bloat report, consulting with the VCU AAUP folks, who produced their own, which had real impact on campus. Join us, we can use more hands! 

Q: I’m sold! How can I become more involved in the chapter?

A: Easiest is to join, and then add your voice to conversations in the Forum and join us at social events. We also have ongoing open positions to serve on different committees according to your skills and interests. We have a low time commitment with one or two hours of service a month. – Communication Committee: We are looking for people interested in maintaining our website, creating newsletters, and handling our social media. – Research and Development Committee: For this committee, we are looking for people who would research legal or quantitative information, policies, help write letters, motions, etc…. – Organizing Committee: This committee is in charge of outreach and you’ll get to know your colleagues across campus and help with identifying and listening to faculty concerns and recruiting.

Q: That’s great! How and when can I join a committee?

A: For these committees, you can nominate yourself or a faculty anytime during the year.

Q: Which email should I use to join and communicate?

A: We recommend that you use a personal email address (non-jmu). Your membership is confidential and the list of our members is not published or shared with the university.

Q: I still have questions….

A: We’ll be happy to hear and answer them! Contact us at aaup.jmu@gmail.com and let’s talk!