Letter to the Editor: Contract terms give faculty a voice

The Sept. 23 issue of The Rider News carried an article on the negotiations between Rider’s faculty union — the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) — and the university administration. In it, the administration’s chief negotiator, addressing his AAUP counterpart, is quoted as saying that “we should not miss this important opportunity to take stock of those articles of the labor agreement that directly impact the University’s ability to meet its mission.”

The implication is that the current agreement impedes the University’s ability to meet its mission. To view the mission, see The Source here: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/b850b0fd#/b850b0fd/4).

The reality is precisely the opposite: the current agreement and the many elements of this agreement the faculty wish to see continued — and also the additions to this agreement the AAUP seeks — very much support and further the accomplishment of this mission. They do so in many ways.

The agreement provides for the replacement of full-time faculty with new full-time faculty — experts in their fields, whose up-to-date knowledge permits the addition of new and relevant programs and courses vital to students. Full-time faculty, unlike part-time faculty, serve students by advising, by participating in important campus committees and through scholarship that is essential in continuing the accreditation of our programs by premier accrediting organizations.

The agreement limits the use of part-time faculty in place of full-time faculty.

The agreement permits the faculty to have a strong and appropriate voice in many areas, for example, in the shaping and changing of curricula; the selection, retention and promotion of new faculty; and in establishing limits on class size.

As academic departments at Rider have found over the years, the agreement has been very important in recruiting and retaining highly qualified faculty, who are essential to our mission. Prospective faculty members are impressed with the clarity of the procedures spelled out in the agreement — including the important ones that address their annual reappointment, and later promotion and tenuring. They are also tremendously impressed with the fairness and objectivity of these procedures and the influence of faculty at Rider overall, especially in comparison with other colleges and universities they know.

As someone who has intensely studied and written about workplaces, I know one thing for certain: the administration jeopardizes the accomplishment of the university’s mission by advocating changes to the current agreement that lowers faculty morale and makes Rider a far less attractive place for employment.

– Dr. Gerald Klein

Professor of Organizational Behavior and Management

College of Business Administration

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