In May 2011 NFM joined forces with the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, a national faculty campaign to support quality higher education.
In the words of the Campaign website: “The mission of this campaign is to ensure that affordable quality higher education is accessible to all sectors of our society in the coming decades. To make sure that these changes are good for students and our country, we need to reframe the current debate to focus on quality higher education as an essential right for our democracy. Faculty, students and our communities, not just administrators, politicians, foundations and think tanks, need to have a voice to ensure that changes – in emphasis, curriculum, pricing, and structure – are good for our students and the quality of education they receive.
What is at stake is nothing less than our democracy and our economic standing in the global economy.”
The Campaign is organized around seven core principles that must define quality higher education for the 21st century:
1. Higher Education in the 21st Century must be inclusive; it should be available to and affordable for all who can benefit from and want a college education.
2. The curriculum for a quality 21st Century higher education must be broad and diverse.
3. Quality higher education in the 21st Century will require a sufficient investment in excellent faculty who have the academic freedom, terms of employment, and institutional support needed to do state-of-the-art professional work.
4. Quality higher education in the 21st Century should incorporate technology in ways that expand opportunity and maintain quality.
5. Quality education in the 21st Century will require the pursuit of real efficiencies and the avoidance of false economies.
6. Quality higher education in the 21st Century will require substantially more public investment over current levels.
7. Quality higher education in the 21st Century cannot be measured by a standardized, simplistic set of metrics.
NFM signed on to this campaign because we believe that the Campaign recognizes that none of its objectives can be accomplished while contingent academic employment permeates higher education. NFM is actively involved in the Campaign, serving on its Steering Committee and sending delegations of members to Campaign planning meetings in Boston in November 2011 and Michigan in May 2012.
NFM president Maria Maisto spoke at the Campaign’s launch at the National Press Club in Washington DC in May 2011 and was part of a small delegation of Campaign representatives invited to meet with Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter.
The NFM Foundation has partnered with the Campaign’s think tank, the Center for the Future of Higher Education, to produce a forthcoming report on the last minute back-to-school hiring practices common in higher education and that undermine the Campaign’s stated principles.