Panel:  Academic Freedom in Collective Bargaining Agreements and Faculty Handbooks

Panel Description

In this panel session, we will report on a recent research study conducted by the AAUP on the prevalence of academic freedom language and provisions concerning dismissal and layoff in faculty handbooks and collective bargaining agreements. The study examined policies at a random stratified sample of four-year institutions that have a tenure system. It compared these provisions to AAUP Redbook standards and to findings of a similar study conducted 20 years ago, providing a baseline in order to assess how well academic freedom and tenure are protected at this time and how these protections have changed.  The findings of the study also raise questions about the protection of academic freedom in contracts and handbooks in the future. The current political climate and the COVID pandemic constitute challenges both to the protection of academic freedom and the institution of tenure. We will discuss the implication of these challenges for handbook and contract language.

Panelists Bios

Hans-Joerg Tiede is Director of Research at the American Association of University Professors. He conducts survey research on academic freedom, tenure, and governance. He has also written on the history of the AUP and the development of academic freedom, tenure, and governance in the United States. Before joining the staff of the AAUP, he was a professor of computer science at Illinois Wesleyan University. He is the editor of Policy Documents and Reports (the AAUP “Redbook”) and author of University Reform: The Founding of the American Association of University Professors (both Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).

Risa L. Lieberwitz is a Professor of Labor and Employment Law in the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) and an Associate of the Worker Institute at Cornell. She also serves as General Counsel of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and is a member of the AAUP Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. Prior to becoming a professor, she was an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board in the regional office in Atlanta, Georgia.

Missy Matella is an experienced employment, labor, business, public sector, and higher education attorney who has worked as outside counsel and inside counsel for large institutions of higher education and in leadership positions for a large organization. Her work includes helping organizations navigate complicated business, employment, and labor situations; advising on and assisting with the implementation of new and ever changing state and federal guidance; drafting and reviewing contracts; negotiating settlement agreements and collective bargaining agreements; drafting employment policies and handbooks; and performing and overseeing employee investigations. Missy has extensive experience managing and mediating workplace and labor conflict, employment and labor disputes, and collective bargaining agreements. Missy has served as the lead negotiator for several rounds of faculty and graduate student collective bargaining.

Jeffrey Cross is the Former Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Eastern Illinois University (Emeritus). Mr. Cross served in the Teacher Corps in Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky, and graduated from Western Kentucky University with an M.A. degree in 1972. He worked for the Illinois Department of Public Health in Springfield, Illinois, before joining the faculty and administrative staff of Ferris State university in 1976, where he served in a variety of administrative positions including Acting Dean, and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Mr. Cross was hired at Eastern Illinois University as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1998 and continues in that capacity. He was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004; his dissertation is titled, The Impact of College and University Faculty Collective Bargaining on State Appropriations to Public High Education. Mr. Cross is currently a Board Member of the National Center and is Co-editor of the Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy.