American Association of University Professors
Minutes of the spring meeting, April 3, 2004
The spring meeting was convened at 10:30 a.m. at Newman University, in Eck Hall room 120, Wichita, Kansas. Charles Merrifield (NU) introduced Provost Lee Cooper who officially welcomed us to the campus.
The business meeting began with the conference president, Donna Potts, presiding. The president presented the proposed agenda for the day, and it was accepted, without alteration, by the conference.
- The minutes of the fall meeting (October 18, 2003) were distributed to attendees. Brigitte Roussel (WSU) noted that there was a mistake in paragraph 5 regarding a motion. The minutes will be altered to just state that the motion was made and not name the individual. After further review of the minutes it was moved by Elmer Hoyer (WSU-emeritus) that the minutes be approved with the one recommended change. The motion was seconded and it passed.
- The treasurer's report was distributed to the members present. After the treasurer briefly explained the report, Kathy Lewis (NU) moved that the report be approved. The motion was seconded and it passed.
- Elmer Hoyer offered a Committee A report. He discussed three recent Committee A contacts referred to as ID #23, 24 and 25. He used a handout that summarized the general nature of the complaints.
Information on Kansas Conference Committee A (KCCA) activity can be found at the website http://aaup-in-ks.org/Committee_A/.
- President Donna Potts reported on the 2004 Higher Education Day, February 10, at the state Capitol. This was our second attempt to attract legislators and let them know about our concerns regarding higher education in Kansas. Donna felt that our attempts have not been fully successful. She questioned if we should continue this activity or not? It was decided that this is an important venture and we should try again in 2005. It was also suggested that we should see if we could set up a meeting with Governor Sebelius.
- The next item of business was the election of the Kansas Conference president-elect. After considerable discussion, Charles Merrifield (NU) was nominated by Elmer Hoyer (WSU). There were no other nominations, and Charles was elected by a unanimous vote.
- It was decided that the Fall meeting of the Kansas Conference would be held at ESU in mid-October, probably Saturday the 23rd.
- We heard Chapter reports from several universities, but not all, because lunch had arrived and the faculty were getting mean and hungry.
- After lunch we had a presentation by Dr. Pan Papacosta, president of the Illinois Conference (AAUP) and physics professor at Columbia College, Chicago. Previously, Columbia College did not offer tenure to the teaching faculty. As a result of the effort of many faculty, including Pan Papacosta and the president of Columbia College, the college now offers tenure to its faculty. His presentation was about tenure at private universities.
He noted that tenure is not about money and only indirectly about job security. It is fundamentally about academic freedom. The academic freedom of faculty must be protected because the freedom of the "academy" is the right of all citizens in a democratic society.
Tenure helps to attract the very best faculty. It also helps faculty become the best they can be, because it protects them as "risk takers." Tenure helps save money at a university by reducing the turnover rate of faculty.
But, tenure must not be seen as a device to protect "dead-wood" at the academy. Some type of continuing review is probably important to reassure administration that faculty continue to be productive after being tenured.
His presentation was followed by a question and answer period.
Dr. Papacosta's presentation was excellent.
- The meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.
Rich Hughen (FHSU)