January 11, 2000
During its Dec. 6 meeting, the University Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve a motion amending the faculty handbook to include a new category of faculty. By a vote of 44 to 7 (with two abstentions), the senate passed a measure that will allow University College to hire as many as eight full-time, non-tenured faculty members who will hold the title of lecturer.
"This allows us to offer higher-quality programs," said Rick Marksbury, dean of University College, who pointed to the growth of University College and, in particular, the addition of satellite campuses as reasons to enlist more academic support.
"Our program advisers are now overseeing operations across different locations," he said. "Having a handful of faculty members who can be a consistent and ongoing resource is critical in terms of our curriculum and strategic planning."
Another reason for a full-time faculty, said Marksbury, is to satisfy the requirement of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the university's accrediting organization. SACS requires that an institution must have at least one full-time faculty member with a primary teaching assignment for each major in a degree program.
Marksbury said he does not expect to hire lecturers until January 2001. As stipulated in the motion, the maximum number of appointments is two each in four University College programs: Paralegal Studies, Business Studies, Computer Information Systems and Media Arts. According to Marksbury, the appointments will be made on a 12-month basis, with lecturers "likely to teach seven or eight courses in a year" as well as serve as mentors to the adjunct faculty and advisers to students.
Lecturers will also be voting members of the University College Council. Each lecturer will be given a renewable multi-year contract and will be evaluated at the end of each year.
"University College will come up with an initial statement for hiring, evaluating and reappointing lecturers," said Marksbury.
In doing so, he said he would solicit information from other universities that have similar appointments in their continuing education units. Such universities include University of Denver, George Washington University and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Marksbury said the next step in the process will be to send the proposal first to University College's Executive Committee and then the senate's Committee for Educational Policy (CEP) for their review.
One issue that surfaced among senators during the discussion before the final vote on the motion concerned faculty oversight of hiring, evaluating and retaining lecturers. The original motion, as crafted by Marksbury in consultation with CEP and the Faculty Tenure, Freedom and Responsibility Committee (FTFR), required approval by CEP of any policies and procedures governing the appointment of lecturers.
An amendment to change the language of the motion to require approval of these policies and procedures by the full senate was rejected after some debate. Instead, the senate passed an amendment to require CEP to consult with FTFR during the approval process.
"I thought the second amendment was fair and appropriate," says Marksbury, who strongly opposed the initial amendment on the senate floor. "The more help [from FTFR] the better. But having to go back through this process for a full senate vote could have thrown us back for another year."
Marksbury, who has been considering the creation of a full-time faculty for University College for 10 years, said he "really felt good" about the senate vote. "My greatest pleasure in all this has been to see the tremendous support from all sectors of campus as represented in the senate," he said. "I found it a significant day in the history of University College."
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