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ERIC Number: EJ867306
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
The Unhappy Experience of Contingent Faculty: The Curious Case of Boston University
Academe, v95 n6 p22-25 Nov-Dec 2009
Boston University (BU) has had a history of contentious relations between administrators and faculty. John Silber, who ran the university from the early 1970s through the late 1990s, gave faculty little say in university governance, and an "us versus them" atmosphere soon developed. In 2004, however, major changes in the board of trustees and the presidency provided an opportunity to mend fences with faculty by increasing transparency and offering faculty, including those not on the tenure track, a role in decision making. Robert Brown, the current president, and David Campbell, the provost, promoted shared governance by fashioning new procedures for the development of university policy that mandate faculty input. The future looked good, and faculty morale improved. Then came the economic downturn, and BU, like many other universities, saw its portfolio decline significantly in value. When such troubles occur, the reaction of the powers that be is extremely illuminating. Such was the case at BU. The institution's callous disregard of non-tenure-track faculty members, along with last-minute layoffs at the College of General Studies in spring 2009, has prompted a number of the nontenured "survivors" to wonder whether BU is aging backward into its former inglorious days of ignoring faculty input and rejecting shared governance. This article describes the unhappy experience of contingent faculty at BU.
American Association of University Professors. 1012 Fourteenth Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 800-424-2973; Tel: 202-737-5900; Fax: 202-737-5526; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts