The Congressional Record, August 1985, provides a revealing perspective held by Albert Shanker, former President of the United Federation of Teachers from 1964 to 1984 and President of the American Federation of Teachers from 1974 to 1997, regarding his job as a union leader.

When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of school children.”

You have to admire his unabashed transparency. More rather than less such clarity regarding motive could actually be useful in framing issues of governance and mission at our institutions of higher learning, giving us a way into productive negotiations to improve teaching and learning.


Shared governance is a simple and powerful concept. In a university, where the nature and substance of the institution is determined by the faculty, it and university leadership should share the process of direction setting and decision making.