The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education's contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that have maintained quality education and academic freedom in this country's colleges and universities for most of the twentieth century, and now in the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The AAUP's Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure is the definitive articulation of these principles and practices, and is widely accepted throughout the academic community. The Association's procedures ensuring academic due process remain the model for professional employment practices on campuses throughout the country. AAUP's amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court and federal and state appellate courts address significant issues of academic freedom, and our policy statements are frequently cited in court decisions. As a non-profit (501(c)(3)) organization, we serve the profession, rather than individual members, and our services are available to all members of the profession, regardless of membership status.
More than a thousand faculty members call on AAUP each year for advice and assistance. AAUP is best known for assisting individual faculty members when there is the probability that academic freedom or due process rights have been violated. In addition to our "case work," the Association works with Congress and state legislators to promote effective higher education legislation, and promotes the profession and the purposes of higher education in the public eye. College presidents and administrators rely on Association-developed policy statements and procedural guidelines. The Association has recently issued statements topics such as distance education, intellectual property, graduate student education, and work and family policies.
AAUP annually publishes a nationally acclaimed faculty salary report that includes a comprehensive analysis of faculty salaries and benefits. In addition to its regular programs, AAUP issues reports each year on subjects of special interest. Recent initiatives include reports on the use of part-time and non-tenure-track faculty, faculty workloads and state intervention, the future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and tenure in medical schools.
Membership in the national organization is open to all faculty, librarians, and academic professionals at two- and four-year accredited public and private colleges and universities. Current membership is about 45,000, with over 500 local campus chapters and 39 state organizations. Leadership is provided by bi-annually elected national officers drawn from colleges and universities throughout the country. The Association is governed by an elected national Council that meets twice a year, and by an Executive Committee that meets four times a year. The permanent staff of 35, headed by General Secretary Mary Burgan, is located in Washington D.C., except for one West Coast Field Secretary, located in California.