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ERIC Number: ED169816
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Unionism and Professionalism: Siblings?
Loewenthal, Alfred; Nielsen, Robert
The controversy surrounding the meaning of professionalism on American campuses is approached by examining the subject from an historical and trade union perspective. It is contended that faculty unions are compatible with professional needs and desires of faculty. The roots of the American college and university system are examined in conjunction with their historic relationship to the European academic communities. Recent polls and surveys commissioned by the American Federation of Teachers and others reveal that teachers, at all levels, value the achievement of collective bargaining and a union contract. They achieve economic and social benefits and positional security written into enforceable contracts. It presumes recognition that would actively include them in the decision-making process of educational institutions to determine courses of study, resource materials, research, and the granting of degrees. It is claimed that both historically and in modern practice, the terms "profession" and "professionalism" are inherently linked to group action and collective concepts. Unlike medieval European universities, which originated as guilds of master professors, or occasionally students, colleges in America were organized from the top down, with boards of managers to hire and fire teachers, appoint and dismiss presidents, and otherwise be responsible for the enterprise. It is concluded that college faculties today are professional only to the extent that they exercise real and autonomous self-governance. (SW)
Descriptors: Collective Bargaining, College Faculty, College Governing Councils, Decision Making, Educational History, Faculty College Relationship, Faculty Organizations, Governance, Higher Education, History, Labor Problems, Power Structure, Professional Recognition, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Employment Benefits, Teacher Role, Unions
Colleges and Universities Department, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, 11 Dupont Circle, N.W., Washington, DC 20036 (Item no. 622, $.15 per single copy, $12 for 100)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC.
Note: Adaptation of an article originally published under the title "Unions in Academia: A Bargaining Frontier," in the Federationist, April, 1977