The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance; to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education; to promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals, graduate students, post‐doctoral fellows, and all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education; to help the higher education community organize to make our goals a reality; 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 maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities.

Origins of the AAUP

In 1900, when noted economist Edward Ross lost his job at Stanford University because Mrs. Leland Stanford didn’t like his views on immigrant labor and railroad monopolies, other professors were watching. The incident stuck in the mind of Arthur O. Lovejoy, philosopher at Johns Hopkins. When he and John Dewey organized a meeting in 1915 to form an organization to ensure academic freedom for faculty members, the AAUP was born. At that time, the notion of “academic freedom” was still a novel concept.

Almost a century later, the AAUP is still addressing the kinds of abuse that spurred Lovejoy and Dewey to organize the Association. Academia has changed a lot since 1915, but there are still people who want to control what professors teach and write. Thanks to the AAUP, academic freedom is recognized as the fundamental principle of our profession. Despite this acceptance, academic freedom remains vulnerable. The attacks are more subtle in some cases, but the response must always be decisive.

The AAUP remains the leading organization primarily dedicated to protecting the academic freedom of professors. Faculty members turn to the AAUP for assistance in the thousands each year. Some of these faculty members are well-known figures with resources and support. Most, however, are ordinary faculty members who need guidance in responding to troublesome or threatening professional attacks.

Through the AAUP, faculty determine the principles of our profession and the procedures by which to protect them. When the AAUP speaks, it is the voice of the profession.

See also:

Origins of the Association.” By Walter P. Metzger. AAUP Bulletin Volume 51, Number 3 (Summer 1965): 229-237.

1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic TenurePolicy Documents and Reports, 10th edition. 291-301.

Entering the Academic Freedom Arena Running: The AAUP’s First Year.” By Daniel H. Pollitt and Jordan E. Kurland. Academe Volume 84, Number 4 (July-August 1998): 45-52.

75 Years: A Retrospective on the Occasion of the Seventy-fifth Annual Meeting.” Academe, Volume 75, Number 3 (May-June 1989): 1-33.

The First Investigation.” By Walter P. Metzger. AAUP Bulletin Volume 47, Number 3 (Autumn 1961): 206-210.

For more information, please consult the website of the national organization: http://www.aaup.org/