< Faculty Governance Review
Questions & Answers About the AAUP Investigation
Why is the American Association of University Professors investigating Rensselaer?
The organization stated in December 2009 that it had launched an investigation into faculty governance at Rensselaer after receiving grievances from an undisclosed number of Institute faculty. The AAUP’s primary issue with Rensselaer is the “continued suspension of the faculty senate.” To Rensselaer, this is an invalid concern, as the Institute has a faculty governance structure that is both active and constructive. The Institute Board of Trustees approved this faculty governance structure in March 2008.
Why did Rensselaer refuse an offer from the AAUP to send a third-party mediator to interview Institute faculty and leadership?
The AAUP has no jurisdiction in this matter. Rensselaer has a constructive, effective faculty governance structure that was approved by the Board of Trustees, so we believe the basic premise of the AAUP’s concerns is incorrect and misleading. Furthermore, we view matters of faculty governance as internal to the Institute.
What is the current state of faculty governance at Rensselaer?
Faculty governance spans activities beyond the representation offered historically by a faculty-elected body such as a faculty senate. Governance is operational at all levels of the Institute, from departments through the schools, to the Provost. Faculty participate in managerial decisions at each level, including faculty hiring, promotion and tenure, and curriculum development, modification, and execution.
How are faculty representatives elected under the current system?
The current faculty governance structure assures the right of faculty in shared stewardship of the university’s academic mission. As part of the current structure, the tenured and tenure-track faculty elect annually representatives to serve on key faculty committees relevant to university progress, including promotion and tenure, curriculum, faculty handbook and grievance, and faculty honors. The elected members of these committees elect chairs from their ranks, and these chairs compose a Faculty Advisory Committee, which regularly meets with the Provost to discuss matters of importance to the faculty, including faculty governance.
Through what channels may faculty air their concerns with the Provost and campus leadership?
Elected members of faculty committees elect chairs from their ranks, and these chairs compose a Faculty Advisory Committee, which regularly meets with the Provost to discuss matters of importance to the faculty, including faculty governance.
What other channels exist to foster communication between the faculty and the administration?
The Provost meets monthly with deans and department heads, leaving ample time and availability to discuss issues, including faculty governance. The Provost has also recently initiated monthly meetings to which the entire Rensselaer faculty is invited. A full meeting has been scheduled to discuss faculty governance issues.
Where can I read more about faculty governance at Rensselaer?
A comprehensive overview of the topic, including a robust Q&A, may be found at: http://www.rpi.edu/about/governance/index.html