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Academic Affairs | A Letter from Provost Bass

Dear Colleague:

American University respects faculty rights to freedom of association, expression, and participation in democratic processes, including the right to unionize. Service Employees International Union, Local 500, filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to be the certified representative for all AU adjunct faculty. To make information available to our faculty, this Web site has been established to serve as a repository for all university communications related to this matter. I hope it will also serve as a resource for individuals involved. Updates on the process will be provided as they become available.

As part of AU’s Strategic Plan, the university seeks to cultivate and maintain robust ties with vibrant institutions in the Capital City. Linked to that commitment is an effort to retain adjunct faculty experts who can further enhance ties to the pace and intensity of this great city. For many of AU’s professional schools, hiring experts who are immersed in the milieu of their profession is critical to provide the kind of immediate and contemporary knowledge that is interconnected to our effort to understand the great issues of our time and engage leaders at the frontier of the profession. This long standing relationship between our schools and colleges and our adjunct faculty is part of AU’s heritage and part of our connection to the city and region.

Faculty members are the soul of American University and contribute invaluably as a body to the teaching, research, and service missions of the institution. In recognizing the special role and contributions of adjunct faculty, the university has dedicated resources to address adjunct faculty needs. These investments have occurred in the context of a broader set of strategic initiatives to improve upon the university’s commitment to and standards for teachers and scholars at AU and include the following examples:

  • $1.26 million in resources over the last three budget cycles has been added to increase adjunct faculty compensation rates to be competitive with AU’s regional peers.
  • An additional $750,000 for increasing adjunct faculty compensation has been included in the proposed FY 2013 budget.
  • Free on-campus parking is afforded to adjunct faculty; whereas, part-time staff pay $750 annually for on-campus parking permits.
  • The opportunity to receive course development grants of $2500—in addition to the teaching salary—to develop and teach an online course during the summer. Since the program’s inception seven years ago, several dozen adjuncts have received this grant.
  • Free faculty training for online teaching and technology tools.

In this process, my best advice is your active participation and, most importantly, your vote. The university respects the right of adjunct faculty to determine whether or not they want union representation. I encourage all eligible faculty members to participate in this important election and vote according to their own will. As the process unfolds, I will continue to update the university community.

Best regards,
Scott A. Bass, Provost