Michigan Conference

American Association of University Professors


AAUP Organizational Structure

National AAUP

The American Association of University Professors is a charitable and educational organization [501(c)(3)] dedicated to the advancement of academic freedom and shared governance, the definition of fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and the insurance of higher education's contribution to the common good. AAUP chapters and state conferences uphold and promote the principles of the national Association. While some AAUP chapters engage in collective bargaining, the national Association is not a union.

The Council and other bodies of the Association are assisted in their work by the staff in the Washington & West Coast offices. Program staff members are appointed by the Executive Committee. The role of the staff at all levels is to oversee the implementation of the policies of the Association on a daily basis. It is at the staff level that the pronouncements of the decision-making groups are translated into specific actions. Members of the national staff have specific areas of assignment, in one or more of the following departments: Office of the General Secretary, Legal Department, Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, & Governance, Department of Organizing & Services (includes West Coast Organizing & Services and Membership Services), Department of External Relations (includes the Communications Office and the Planning & Development Office), Department of Research and Public Policy (includes the Government Relations Office and the Research Office), and the Business Office.

Executive Committee and National Council

The AAUP is governed by an Executive Committee consisting of four officers (President, two Vice-Presidents, Secretary-Treasurer), four at-large members (selected from the National Council) and four additional members (Past President, CBC Chair, ASC Chair, General Counsel. The officers are elected by popular vote of the membership to two year terms. Advising the Executive Committee and overseeing the AAUP staff is the National Council, a 39 member body consisting of 30 individuals elected to represent ten districts across the country in addition to the Executive Committee officers, its past president and the current and past chairs for both the ASC and CBC. The two bodies work to establish and direct association policy, while working in conjunction with the national committees to redefine the rights and responsibilities of faculty members through approved Policy Documents.

National Standing Committees

The AAUP’s standing committees specialize in a variety of higher education issues. The members of these committees are appointed by the President of the association. These bodies include standing committees, executive and governing committees for the AAUP, CBC and ASC, and ad hoc committees among other specialty groups. Standing committees work with the national staff to oversee operations and spearhead initiatives. Some, like Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, spend much of their time investigating complaints and concerns related to their mission and publishing their findings. They represent a major force in the protection and advancement of rights of the professoriate. See the committee directory for complete list of national committees, their members and their missions.

Collective Bargaining Congress (CBC)

The Collective Bargaining Congress is the umbrella organization of local AAUP collective bargaining chapters and affiliates. Its purpose is to develop and disseminate information and resources in support of the collective bargaining activities of local AAUP chapters, and to engage in other activities in support of higher education collective bargaining. Currently, the CBC comprises the more than 70 AAUP chapters and affiliates that serve as the collective bargaining representative on their campuses. Most of these represent faculty and other academic professionals in public institutions in states that authorize public employees to bargain collectively, although a number are private-sector AAUP chapters which have continued to maintain the benefits and protects of collective bargaining even in light of the 1980 Yeshiva Ruling. The CBC works extensively with local faculty to assist them in a variety of activities, including academic organizing, training faculty for collective bargaining negotiations, training in grievance handling, arbitration, and providing public education and advice about ongoing negotiations, grievances and other problems that occur during the term of a collective bargaining contract.

Assembly of State Conferences (ASC)

The Assembly of State Conferences is the umbrella organization for individual state AAUP conferences. The ASC provides training and helps to coordinate state activities in areas such as government relations, academic freedom and tenure, membership development, and communications. The ASC also financially supports the work of state conferences through Per Capita Grants and Flexible Response Grants. To assist members and chapter leaders, the ASC and the CBC co-sponsor the Summer Institute and the Fall Training Seminar to instill and hone the skills required to effectively champion the principles of the AAUP locally and nationally.

State Conferences

In most states, local chapters have incorporated a statewide conference to streamline cooperation and information sharing. Across the national, the extent of conference activities is generally related to the size of its membership and more specifically to the number of collective bargaining members. Unionized chapters collect more state dues and tend to have a greater number of active members willing to work at the state level. For more information, see our directory of state conferences.


With a minimum of seven AAUP members at an institution, a local chapter may be established. Chapter activity is the backbone of the AAUP. While most other faculty associations are centered at the national or state level, the AAUP revolves around the work done locally. To this end, the national and state offices provide data, national trends and political and technical support to the chapters. It is the chapters that renegotiate contracts at our collective bargaining schools. Chapters oversee the activity of their administrations and share that information with the national office and with one another.


Anyone can become an AAUP member. Six membership types are available:

Members are entitled to a subscription to Academe in addition to additional benefits and discounts. Membership in the AAUP includes corresponding membership in the state conference and local chapter, if one exists, although these groups usually require additional dues. Download a membership form {Link to membership form} and become an AAUP member today.