To Bring Regional Faculty Together

Courtney Garloff, Editor-In-Chief

   The university will host the  Pennsylvania conference of the American Association of University Professors on Feb. 27.

   The AAUP is a national professional association of teachers in higher education. Philosophers John Dewey and Arthur O. Lovejoy established the organization in 1915.

   “It was established with a primary purpose to protect academic freedom, that is, the freedom of teachers to teach and to conduct research without fear of losing their jobs simply because those they work for might disagree with what they say or write,” said Misericordia AAUP President Dr. Mark Painter.

   Painter said the conference is sponsored by the Northeast Pennsylvania AAUP Alliance, a recently formed coalition of regional colleges and universities that have their own chapters of the AAUP, including Misericordia, King’s College, Marywood University, Keystone College, Wilkes University, Lackawanna College, and the University of Scranton. The conference will address best practices for a wide variety of topics.

   “I think it’s important for faculty and administrators to know that best practices in higher education begin with the good treatment of faculty and staff, and that these best practices are in line with Catholic social teaching,” said immediate past AAUP President Dr. Joseph Curran.

   All schools, with the exception of the University of Scranton, act as advocacy chapters. Scranton has a faculty union, organized in conjunction with the AAUP. Faculty have collective bargaining power.

   Advocacy chapters use a variety of resources to advocate for best practices and faculty and student rights, Painter said. Alliance member chapters share information, people and resources to address shared concerns and to build new relationships among members.

   “This conference is the first of its kind, and we hope to make it a yearly event,” said Painter.

   Alliance members feel the best results come from faculty, administrators and students working together as an academic community.

   The event will feature four presenters from several institutions.

   “The AAUP promotes academic freedom and shared governance. This conference is bringing in well-known national speakers to discuss best practices in higher education. I believe both faculty and administration can benefit from both listening to and sharing ideas with other professionals,” said AAUP member-at-large Paula Pate-Schloder.

   “One central emphasis of this particular conference is the implementation of Catholic social values in higher education as central to establishing best practices and contributing to the common good through education,” said Painter.

   While Painter notes that not all of the Alliance institutions are Catholic, Catholic colleges and universities can set the example for how institutions of higher learning can be guided by justice, and not only by market forces.

   “Ironically, many of the most serious violations of academic freedom are committed by Catholic institutions. One of the purposes of this conference is to reexplore and reestablish the synergy between Catholic values and best practices in higher education,” said Painter.

   University President Dr. Thomas Botzman will make the opening remarks.

   “Misericordia is blessed at this time with an administration that very much wants to work with the AAUP to achieve the best environment for its students. The university has graciously allowed the PA AAUP to utilize its facilities to make this conference possible.   

   By hosting this event, Misericordia is publicly placing itself out in front in the effort to fight what many call the ‘corporatization of higher education,’” said Painter.

   Many AAUP chapter members are pleased that Misericordia agreed to host the conference.

   “I’m very proud and pleased that it’s being held here. We want to let people know that both the Catholic tradition and the AAUP have a lot to offer as higher ed continues to change,” said Curran.

   For more information about the conference or the Misericordia chapter of the AAUP visit