The University of La Verne chapter of the American Association of University Professors on Monday presented highlights from their recent forum and their report on increased corporatization and diminished faculty governance at the University.
The initial forum invited faculty from central and regional campuses to gather and discuss the issue.
“It was a good exchange,” said AAUP treasurer Hector Delgado, who presented some of the major AAUP principles at the forum before fielding questions. “I was struck by the diversity of ideas. I didn’t know it was mainly going to be people who were opposed to the document or people who were in favor but wanted to express their concerns as well.”
Like in the 21-page document the AAUP released late last month, corporatization was a major theme at the forum, with the indication that these trends have started to blur the lines between educational institutions and corporate outfits.
“Business people will say that’s a naive understanding of what corporations do,” said Matthew Witt, AAUP chapter president.
“They’ll say that they find the term offensively reductive in its presumption about the processes of what corporations do. They will say that corporation is a legal term and to give it an adverbial connotation might be clever, but leads to more confusion than clarity.”
“When language appropriating from the profit sector is applied in a one-for-one exchange to the not-for-profit service sector then there’s something we need to talk about,” he said.
Some who attended the Monday event disagreed with the negative view on corporatization.
Allen Stout, director of the Inland Empire campus, offered an explanation for why certain marketing strategies could be pertinent to ULV. He said that regional campuses like the one he serves target working professionals instead of traditional-age college students, and this demands a different set of marketing tactics.
“We’re expected to go out and recruit students and bring them in the programs, and we’re a revenue-producing element of the University, which helps subsidize all the other programs, including those on the main campus” Stout said. “We have to think in terms of marketing and outreach, we have to think in terms of strategy and how we compete against the Phoenixes.
“My voice at that meeting was to try and say please don’t mistake our trying to manage the process to create quality competitive programs for University of Phoenix corporatization, where the bottom line is all about profit,” he said.
The AAUP presentation at the meeting was well received by the faculty senate.
“The members of AAUP presented a very balanced opening of a larger dialogue about what is shared governance and what does shared governance look like at the university of La Verne,” faculty senate president Erin Gratz said.
The AAUP presentation opened up an important conversation about faculty governance with the faculty senate, and it is their hope that this conversation will continue on in the future and bring about a positive change.
“I think its a critical conversation for us to have as faculty and as administrators at La Verne across arenas so in the faculty governance structure, as well as incorporating the local chapter of AAUP and the colleges,” Gratz said. “The more faculty that are part of that conversation, the more dynamic shared governance can be.”
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