May 10, 2016
AAUP-UD Statement on Faculty Governance and Article 3 of the By-Laws of the Board of Trustees of the University of Delaware
Relationships and interactions between the University of Delaware’s administrators, the University Faculty Senate and the University of Delaware Chapter of the AAUP (AAUP-UD) are generally open, frank and proceed from positions of mutual respect. The foundation for this mutual respect has been shared governance, in which all opinions are valued and considered and where positions are open for discussion and potential modification. Indeed, the University of Delaware is often regarded as an example of the best practices in shared governance in higher education.
Last autumn, the Board of Trustees began to consider revisions to Article 3 of their by-laws. Article 3 defines the functions and responsibilities of the faculty and officers of the University. Two members of the Executive Council of the AAUP-UD, Calvin Keeler and Prasad Dhurjati, were members of an ad hoc committee assembled this semester by Acting President Nancy Targett to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding Article 3. Throughout these deliberations your two representatives were consistent and steadfast in asserting the principle expressed in the AAUP Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities that “The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process.”
At its May 2 meeting, the University Faculty Senate strongly expressed its desire to have further input on the proposed revisions to Article 3. Although your representatives on the ad hoc committee strongly advocated maintaining current practices of collaborative shared governance, it is the opinion of the AAUP-UD that the proposed language risks undermining the culture of shared governance. In the long-term best interests of the University, the AAUP-UD urges all parties to maintain the traditional policies and practices of shared governance which for decades have benefited not only our faculty, but also the students whose education has been entrusted to us.
Be assured that the AAUP-UD has been, and will remain, vigilant in protecting the rights of the faculty of the University of Delaware as expressed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Faculty Handbook, and other official personnel policies.