The AFT represents higher education faculty (including both full- and part-time), professional staff and graduate employees, in all sectors of higher education—public and private, two-year and four-year institutions of higher education.
The AFT Higher Education division's 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. Political attacks on public service in general and public higher education in particular have, in part, resulted in:
- tight budgets, as due to an ongoing, systematic disinvestment in public higher education;
- exploitation of part-time/adjunct and other nontenure-track faculty, and graduate employees;
- increased calls for simplistic accountability measures; and
- attacks on tenure, shared governance and academic freedom.
The AFT Higher Education program and policy council, which represents the interests of higher education members to the larger organization, has developed a Quality Agenda 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 supplements these publications through both its conferences and its work with other AFT divisions on matters that affect higher education and our locals.