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An Instructional Academic Staff Bill of Rights

Instructional Academic Staff are valued members of the UWM campus community. Many are veteran instructors who consistently teach a 4-4 load, often representing the core of lower-level course teaching in many departments around the university. And like tenured faculty, they meet with students outside of class, write letters of recommendation, work with students in developmental courses, teach first year seminars, participate in Living Learning Communities, and focus on intensive advising and retention strategies that are so critical in lower level or developmental courses. Instructional Academic Staff are often the “face” of departments for first year students.

Yet far too often, these folks get the short end of the stick at UWM, and at universities around the country. These instructors, many who have earned their PhDs, have committed their professional life to serving their students and programs. Yet often they must perform their professional work with paltry levels of compensation and non-existent job security. We should not tolerate a contingent, disposable workforce on our campus. Instead, we must strive for better integration and support for these staff within departments and colleges, and the reduction of tiered systems of privilege on campus. As the UWM AAUP chapter, we support the One Faculty campaign movement which is addressing this issue at UWM and on university campuses across the country. AAUP regards all who have taught at 50% time or more for 6 or more years as deserving the equivalent of the protections of tenure.

We therefore present an Instructional Academic Staff Bill of Rights at UWM:

  1. The right to academic freedom, which rests on economic security and due process protections.
  1. The right to job security and paths to tenure after a period of time of continuous employment and demonstrated effective teaching such as probationary status leading to indefinite status–the academic staff equivalent of tenure. AAUP national policy considers any faculty who have taught for six years at 50% time or more as effectively tenured. UWM policy in chapter 104.02 states that after 3 years of teaching at 50% or greater, fixed-term appointments should be converted to probationary leading to indefinite status.
  1. The right to fair employment contracts; semester to semester fixed-term contracts should never be used for employees who are long-term employees; instead, the use of multi-year and rolling horizon contracts should be utilized when not covered by probationary contracts or indefinite status appointment.
  1. The right to equitable compensation that addresses salary stagnation and the increasing divergence from faculty salaries.
  1. The right to participate in shared governance and have a voice in those decisions that directly affect one’s working conditions.
  1. The right to promotion tracks such as going up for senior lecturer or probationary status leading to indefinite status; the right to earn the full security conveyed by “indefinite” status; if there is demonstrated need within departments and a history of full-time employment, indefinite status should be set at 100% appointment level.
  1. The right to fair workload policies such as what constitutes full-time employment or the number of new course preps per semester; to be compensated for administrative work that is beyond the scope of regular teaching appointments.
  1. The right to be free from reprisal or capricious dismissal or reassignment; the right to due process protections.
  1. The right to not be singled out and targeted for budget cutting within departments and Colleges; to be able to access unemployment insurance and UWM’s Priority Referral Program when budget cutting, program restructuring, or enrollment downturns require major reductions in instructional academic staff employment.
  1. The right to be treated as a valued member of one’s department and program teaching faculty; to be welcomed and integrated within departments; to have equitable access to those amenities and resources afforded to other faculty; to have opportunities to participate in department discussions and decision-making; to be acknowledged and honored at those routine professional milestones such as publications or retirements, etc.

Statement of Support for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees

We, the UWM Chapter of the American Association for University Professionals, state our unequivocal condemnation of the immigration and travel ban enacted by President Trump on January 27, 2017, and affirm our support for our students and colleagues affected by it. We recognize the ban as part of a broader agenda that threatens the university and the very spirit of the Wisconsin Idea.

Many colleagues, graduate and undergraduate students at our university are citizens of the seven countries affected by this executive order.  In Fall 2016, 104 graduate students from these nations attended UWM. Many other students are citizens of other Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East. All these people are full members of the university community; the university belongs to all of us. The travel restriction interferes with their studies, their work as intellectuals, and their freedom of movement as people.

We affirm that public universities are places of free inquiry and collective endeavor for all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual identity, or national origin. We are a nation of immigrant entrepreneurs and refugees, travelers, slaves and indigenous occupants; at UWM, our diversity is our strength in research, teaching, and community service.

We likewise affirm our support for the many students, faculty, and staff throughout the UW System and across the country, facing discriminatory and exclusionary migration policies. We reiterate AAUP-UWM’s advocacy for the rights of our undocumented students to security and privacy. We call on our university leadership to speak out whenever and wherever possible on these pressing issues.

Sanctuary Campus Resolution

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Faculty Senate: December 15, 2016

WHEREAS extraordinary potential threats to existing safeguards on academic freedom, campus inclusivity, and student, faculty and staff wellbeing now exist at the state and federal level; and

WHEREAS the process of education best takes place in an environment of maximum trust, freedom, and security; and

WHEREAS, under the Wisconsin Idea, the public university is mandated to foster intellectual creativity and serve any and all people in the state; and

WHEREAS UWM aspires to become a Hispanic Serving Institution, hence broadening our service to the Latinx population of Wisconsin; and

WHEREAS A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo issued on October 24, 2011, indicates that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are subject to certain restrictions upon entering college and school campuses and should avoid targeting students for immigration enforcement, except under extraordinary circumstances. This memo is available at the following link: ; and

WHEREAS,  the term “Sanctuary Campus” bears tremendous symbolic, rather than particular legal guidance, and therefore sends an important message to the UWM community regarding collective wellbeing and support;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee directs the Chancellor to support our campus by adopting the following Sanctuary Campus provisions:

➔ REAFFIRM UWM’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness by proclaiming, highlighting and strengthening our campus policy to protect those who have been and may be targeted by hate speech, bullying, and harassment specifically based on race, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, religion and/or immigration/citizenship status; and

➔ CREATE a campus policy instructing the UWM Police Department to do everything possible to support our immigrant and international students including: to decline to assist federal ICE authorities in deportations or immigration raids; and to assure the entire UWM community that UWM Police will not engage in helping the federal government with deportations or with inquiries regarding the immigration status of students; except in the case a legal warrant is presented; and

➔TAKE A STAND, now and in the future, against any federal registry of Muslim Americans or other targeted groups; and

➔ MAKE legal clinics and “know your rights” trainings available for, particularly but not exclusively undocumented and international individuals; and

➔ ASSIGN an administrative resource center with the responsibility for counseling undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students on their education status on a strictly confidential basis with financial support from UW-Milwaukee student segregated fees; and

➔  SECURE resources for students whose legal status may change and/or who may be unable to travel to campus to finish their educational programs. These resources may include: access to online courses, additional tuition remissions, or other provision, as necessary (see the federal Education Department Resource Guide for Undocumented Students); and

➔  PROVIDE specific training for staff, faculty, and counselors on the needs of undocumented, DACA beneficiary, and marginalized students; and

➔  PROTECT the privacy of all university records unless a legal process is in place and compels otherwise.

The Wisconsin Idea in Peril


The Wisconsin Idea in Peril

Join Us! @ UWM

12:15 @ Wisconsin Idea Plaque

East Side of Mitchell Hall

Tuesday, November 1


At this time of year, it is the customary to remember those people we have lost. On November 1 members of the AAUP will be gathering on their respective campuses across the state to recognize not only the people but the principles that are departing from the University of Wisconsin System.


Over the past year we have lost dozens of colleagues to other universities. They were driven away when their confidence in the state’s commitment to higher education evaporated along with tenure protections, taxpayer funding, and shared governance.


We are quickly coming to the end of an era in which inquiry and the pursuit of truth are the driving force behind Wisconsin higher education. We are entering an era in which economic utility, rather than public good, is the sole motivating principle.


We are fortunate to have signs all around to remind us of Wisconsin’s commitment to, and benefit from, higher education. The innovations and services provided by University of Wisconsin campuses are beacons of educational impact in every corner of the state. On our campuses we also have signs to remind us of the all too fragile principles that have enabled our fearless sifting and winnowing.


It is not too late for Wisconsin’s public officials to heed the signs and restore the principles that made our state a leader in countless fields.


Instructional Academic Staff at UWM

Part 1 in an AAUP Series

Instructional Academic Staff: A Primer

“Ad hocs” or “adjuncts” as they are sometimes referred to on campus, are in many cases long term, full-time employees who teach a 4-4 course workload (often along with additional courses at other institutions to supplement their low compensation). These instructors frequently teach classes on fixed term contracts that may be on a semester to semester or year to year basis, and in some cases may not know which courses they will teach until just before the semester begins. The contingent nature of some instructional academic staff renders them unable to access general layoff protections and benefits that are standard for most other university employees and workers in the private sector. For many, their working and economic conditions render them nearly invisible on campus. And although many instructional academic staff are more integrated within departments (some with the academic staff equivalent of tenure) and play an active role in governance and other teaching and programmatic pursuits, all instructional academic staff to some degree hold a kind of second class citizenship within the university.

At UWM there are 804 instructional academic staff, the majority of whom (530) have appointments of 50% or greater which is close to the number of tenure-track and tenured faculty on campus. More than 300 instructors held 100% appointments within a single unit during the spring 2016 semester. And despite an average of 7.2 years of employment at UWM, the vast majority of instructional academic staff worked on fixed-term, terminal appointments (81%), either on a semester to semester or yearly basis (indeed, nearly 40% of instructional academic staff on fixed term appointments were hired in the 2001-2010 period and regularly receive contracts that state quite explicitly of no support beyond the contract date, despite years of continuous employment). [1] Nationally, non-tenure track faculty account for 58% of all teaching/faculty positions (41% who are part-time, and 17% full-time).[2] Those who are teaching below full-time often would prefer full-time employment, and teach at other institutions in the area to supplement their income. The notion of the “adjunct” as a professional in the community who teaches one course in addition to their regular employment elsewhere, outside of teaching, is more the exception than the rule today.

Instructional academic staff provide a critical role in helping departments meet specific curricular and programmatic needs in many departments on campus, from math or English to Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies and the professional schools. Despite the relatively low compensation they receive, and often with minimal department support, and even less security, instructional academic staff are highly committed to their students and academic fields; many hold PhDs, or are graduate students working toward their doctoral degrees, and often represent the core of lower-level course teaching in many departments. Like tenured faculty, they meet with students outside of class, write letters of recommendation, work with students in developmental courses, teach freshman seminars, participate in Living Learning Communities, and focus on intensive advising and retention strategies that are so critical in lower level or developmental courses.

And like tenured faculty, instructional academic staff frequently participate in shared governance and provide service, attend pedagogical workshops, and are often the “face” of departments for first year students. Yet, over the last year of budget cutting on campus, some administrators and budget-cutting committees have singled out instructional academic staff as an easy way to save money and cut department budgets[3]. Rather than single out this group for indiscriminate cuts, we should be supporting our instructional academic staff more fully to ensure they are successful members of the teaching faculty at UWM.


What’s in a name? AAUP national defines “faculty” as:

All those whose appointments consist primarily of teaching or research activities conducted at a professional level, including tenure‐track and non‐tenure track faculty, full‐time and part‐time faculty, and most librarians, research and teaching assistants, and postdocs. If you do the work, then you are faculty, regardless of the title assigned by the administration. [4]

Why does this matter? We should be wary of campus or college initiatives that seek to pit one group against the other as we have become far too familiar with ‘divide and conquer’ strategies in Wisconsin. This only serves to distract us from the true story behind our fiscal emergency: the dramatic retreat of state support for public higher education in Wisconsin and ideological attacks on academic freedom. But it is also the case that the long-established acceptance and promotion of contingent instructional staff in the academy has in many ways contributed to the overall weakening of tenure protections we see emerging today across campuses. The “flexibilities” and “savings” derived from maintaining a contingent workforce of instructional staff are only the most recent “efficiency.” To ensure that we create a strong defense against attacks on tenure and academic freedom and indiscriminate cuts, we need to speak as one voice, and as one faculty.

To that end, the national AAUP and local chapters have defined a broader set of principles and policies to be considered AAUP-Compliant that relate specifically to instructional academic staff:

  1. providing paths to tenure for teaching-intensive faculty/instructional academic staff
  2. participation in shared governance at both department and college/campus levels
  3. academic freedom, which rests on economic security and due process protections
  4. compensation that is equitable

On all four of these key areas, UWM comes up short. This academic year, our local UWM AAUP chapter will document specific working conditions at UWM for instructional academic staff and highlight issues and AAUP specific policies related to job security and contracts, workload issues, and equitable compensation, with the larger goal of educating the UWM community about these issues and advocating for better working and economic conditions for all instructional academic staff at UWM.

And to continue this discussion, please attend the Instructional Academic Staff Information Session with AAUP National Thursday, Oct. 20 at 4pm in AUP 116.


[1] ASC report on instructional academic staff appointments, Aug. 24, 2016. as_doc_103_ias_report

[2] Barnshaw, J. 2016. “Facilitating institutional improvement through enhanced benchmarking,” Academe, March-April, p.6.

[3] Michael Atteberry, “Ad Hoc, Lecturer Jobs Could Be Targeted To Fill UW-Milwaukee Budget Deficit,” Media Milwaukee, December 6, 2015,

[4]; The UWM AAUP has broadened the definition of One Faculty to include graduate students and academic staff in support services.