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Letter to New Full-time Faculty Members

    (from chapter president or membership chair)

    Dear Professor_________________

    As you begin this academic year in a new position, I ask you to make membership in the AAUP one of your first priorities.  I know that there are many forms to fill out, first classes to teach, research and writing projects to complete.  But membership in the AAUP can actually help you see your way through the thickest of academic life rather than get lost in it.  And we can offer you membership at a greatly reduced entrant level rate.

    Your joining now will provide you with a subscription to Academe, our distinguished journal.  If you read it, you will find the issues in higher education addressed from the faculty point of view, which frequently does not get expressed.  You will also find policies and guidelines on such diverse issues as affirmative action, intellectual property, the corporatization of academe, and the service learning movement.  We publish the only annual faculty salary survey, which for years has helped faculty across the country argue for appropriate funding.  And we publish the results of our investigations of specific violations of faculty rights that bring the challenges to academic freedom and shared governance as they are experienced by individuals in a wide spectrum of schools.

    Furthermore, your membership gives you access to other publications of the AAUP, especially the forthcoming new edition of the “Redbook” – our collection of policy documents and reports that has been accepted as the standard for fair practice and shared governance by administrators and faculty alike.  Many of its principles, and a great deal of its language, are embodied in the faculty handbooks and/or faculty collective bargaining agreements of numerous institutions.

    We believe that new faculty members are not fully professors until they commit to one another as members of the academic community.  We also believe that the best way to carry out these obligations is to join the AAUP.  You have received excellent disciplinary training in preparation for the academic position you are now assuming.  The emergence of the primary of the discipline, while advantageous from a scholar’s perspective, has had the unforeseen effect of diminishing faculty members’ sense of allegiance to the profession, to the community of scholars.  We think it’s time to reaffirm to faculty members the importance and value of being part of a larger academic community – a community that shares professional responsibilities for, among others, institutional governance, curricular and program development, ethical standards, and the training of future professors.

    Locally, the [chapter name] is very important to this campus.  [Insert examples of chapter programs and activities over the past year or so.]  I’ve enclosed a copy of the most recent chapter newsletter so you can see what kinds of activities we’ve been engaged in over the past year.  I’ve also enclosed a membership application.  If you’d like us, please fill out the enclosed application, along with your dues payment, and return it to me at [address].

    If you have any questions, please give me a call.  I really hope you’ll join us.  Becoming a member of the AAUP isn’t just the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do.