How RPI’s Faculty Voice Was Quieted

Source: Inside Higher Ed, February 2, 2011

When the Faculty Senate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute voted, in spring 2006, to widen its membership to include contingent faculty, it set in motion a series of events that left the senate in a state of limbo and shredded the notion of shared governance, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Association of University Professors, which was based on an investigation by the national group.

The broad outlines of the controversy have been reported widely in recent years, including a piece, titled “The Demise of Shared Governance at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,” in the Journal of Academic Freedom, by the RPI professors Nancy Campbell and Jane F. Koretz. They warned that what happened to shared governance at RPI represented, potentially, “an early casualty of larger structural changes in higher education,” as the institute became more centralized and corporate.

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