About Our Program
Today, NEA has the largest college and university faculty and staff membership in the United States, representing more than 200,000 higher education employees in public, as well as private, institutions nationwide.
Since NEA's beginning, college and university faculty have played prominent roles in the Association's history. During our first 60 years, there was hardly a leader in American higher education who was not also a leader in the NEA. At least one-fourth of its founding members were faculty or administrators from higher education institutions.
To learn more about the work of the NEA in higher education and the issues and priorities of our higher education members—faculty, education support professionals, academic professionals and graduate assistants—follow these links.
Ensuring Your Voice is Heard
The National Education Association puts the strength of 3.2 million members and the experience of more than 150 years of educational advocacy to work for faculty and staff. No other professional organization or union can claim so long and strong a record of effective representation.
The cohesiveness of NEA higher education membership is particularly important now in light of the constant challenges and threats to our professional and economic rights. NEA strongly supports the efforts of faculty and staff to safeguard intellectual freedom, professional integrity, tenure, and the right to a voice in academic governance.
Through its strategic priorities, NEA works to improve teacher quality and student achievement and to increase the capacity of institutions and associations to tackle tough educational and professional issues.
Higher Education Research Center
The Center provides data and other research products to the NEA higher education affiliates. The Research Advisory Committee, composed of higher education leaders and staff, meets twice a year to review products from the Center and to make recommendations about additional research needs.
Legal Advice and Liability Protection
NEA's legal staff has effectively argued that academic freedom should be recognized as a constitutional right. As a result of NEA litigations, tenure is now viewed as a property right protected by the 14th Amendment.
The Association's Legal Services Program protects members subject to dismissal or severe sanction and provides legal advice on other issues.
NEA higher education members are automatically protected by a $1 million professional liability policy at no extra cost. This liability insurance protects members in cases that arise from the performance of their professional duties.
Each year since 1983, in March, the NEA sponsors the National Conference on Higher Education, which brings together educational and political leaders and experts along with faculty and staff to discuss issues confronting colleges and universities. The theme of the conference each year deals with an issue that is vital to the interests of higher education.
The day prior to the higher education conference, faculty and staff leaders convene to discuss issues pertaining to governance and to develop leadership expertise. In addition, the NEA sponsors an Emerging Leaders Academy, open through nominations to new or emerging leaders within the NEA higher education community.
Your Professional Resources
As the largest employee association in the country, NEA's size and resources allow it to provide its higher education members a wide range of free services and resources.
The NEA's Office of Higher Education, based in NEA's Constitiuent Relations Department, coordinates the efforts of staff assigned to higher education activities in other NEA departments. Staff ensure the development and delivery of NEA-sponsored programs for higher education members and affiliates. They assist the states with organizing membership and chapter development through the NEA regional offices, work with higher education governance, and work in coalition with other associations and unions.