Date of Award

Winter 2005

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This study, a combination of quantitative and artifact analysis, examined how New England public college and university faculty perceived their professional concerns were affected by working under a collective bargaining agreement. The professional concerns, derived from the pertinent literature, included the following: the ability of the faculty to effectively influence who joined the faculty ranks; their powers to determine the curriculum, with their related instructional practices/delivery systems, and the setting of degree requirements; determining their teaching, scholarship, and service requirements; assuring the exercise of academic freedom, and reasonable shared governance.

Coupled with these professional concerns were three research questions that also were the study's focus: (1) Does collective bargaining facilitate or inhibit faculty professional autonomy? (2) Is it important to their sense of professionalism? (3) Do collective bargaining agreements support professional autonomy?

For the survey phase, 650 faculty, drawn from thirteen four-year public institutions within New England, were surveyed to ascertain their perceptions on how their contracts affected their professional concerns. For the artifact phase, the collective bargaining contracts of the thirteen institutions were examined to see if the contracts' language might impinge on the professional concerns of the faculty.

The 141 total surveys received after an initial and a follow-up mailing, were analyzed using factor analysis and ANOVAs. The results showed that the respondents perceived that their professional concerns were adequately addressed by their collective bargaining agreements. Also faculty felt that their shared governance role was more secure.

There were differences among the survey responses based on union membership with regard to the agreements working as a balance on administrative powers, with significant differences found between those not in a union, and members of AAUP, AFT, and NEA. However, what faculty sought in their contracts to ensure a faculty role in shared governance was in fact very limited in the actual contracts' language.

Information gained from this study may inform the collective bargaining process for both sides of the table and lend an understanding of the impact of these agreements upon their respective institutions.