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About AFT Higher Education

AFT is the largest higher education union in the country, representing over 130,000 higher education faculty, professional staff and graduate employees. The AFT higher education department mission is to help our affiliates and their members prosper in the face of political, economic and technological forces challenging the most basic assumptions about the union's role on campus. The political attack on public service in general and public higher education in particular has, in part, resulted in:




  • tight budgets as well as anti-union presidents and boards of trustees;


  • attacks on tenure, shared governance and academic freedom;


  • exploitation of part-time/adjunct and other nontenure track faculty as well as graduate employees; and,


  • increased intervention from state and federal legislators.

The AFT Higher Education Program and Policy Council, which represents the interests of higher education members to the larger organization, has developed a Strategic Plan (PDF) to focus the union’s efforts in addressing the current trends in higher education. In addition, AFT Higher Education’s policy statements on issues such as tenure, shared governance, contingent labor, teacher education and technology offer information and policy guidance, as well as arguments and negotiating strategies to advance the union agenda. AFT Higher Education’s conferences supplement these publications, as does the higher education departments work with other AFT departments on matters that affect higher education and our locals.


Contact Information
The AFT higher education department is the primary contact for our local leaders and for other faculty who are interested in discussing AFT and higher education. If you need assistance, or are interested in discussing the possibilities of organizing with AFT, you can e-mail us at highered@aft.org or call 202/879-4426.