Town Hall Meeting on Faculty Hiring
SEQ CHAPTER h r 1October 12, 2004
[This transcript was produced by Marc Becker and David Robinson. All the
people quoted here were asked to proofread the text, except for President
Dave Robinson (AAUP chapter president) presented opening comments.
About 28 faculty attended, including the university
president, VPAA, and one division head.
Four announced categories for
1. Use of non-tenure-track
(perhaps better: contingent) faculty
2. Sabbaticals (without funding
3. Name change from Division
Heads to Deans and hiring of administrators
4. Other issues of concern.
Robinson handed out two tables,
supplied by Faculty Senators: (1) Temporary Faculty Goal for Fall
2006, and (2) Faculty Positions Fall 2003 – Fall 2004. Robinson acknowledged
that the impulse to increase use of contingent faculty might reflect special
concerns in recent years, e.g. dropping student enrollment, changes in student
Wolfgang Hoeschele: Are statistical methods supposed to determine
how many temp positions there will be in each division (regardless of differing
needs of different divisions), thus having a potentially negative impact on the
quality of faculty who are actually hired in these temp positions?
Peter Rolnick (via Robinson): AAUP national standards recommend
that no more than a certain percentage of faculty member
should ever be non-tenure-track. That does NOT mean that AAUP recommends the
maximum level, as some administrators have implied. Trumans special mission
would indicate that we should remain well below that maximum.
James Harmon: What is the relationship of temporary to permanent
Dan Mandell: How were these figures (on handout) reached?
Tom Marshall: The faculty handbook discusses the relationship of
faculty to division heads and administration. What about the temps? Is there
any faculty input into these figures (on handout)?
David Gruber: The old faculty handbook states that faculty will be
involved in all faculty staffing matters, but that
language has been deleted in the most recent version of the handbook.
Previously, contingent faculty members were hired with the same care as
full-time faculty; now it appears that we will take shortcuts.
Marshall: The old handbook says that tenure
lines will have national searches; temporary positions will now be decided on a
case-by-case basis. The result is a two-tier system.
Sally West: What does it mean to have lines revert to
administration, if these are multi-year lines?
Hoeschele: I am only here because my position was advertised as
tenure-track; otherwise, I would have searched for other jobs.
David Conner: Is there a connection between temporary lines and
loss of tenure lines? In Social Science, do we have to lose five lines before
we get any new hires?
Marshall: Would temporary people be subject to same process as
Dennis Leavens: In Language & Literature Div., some of us are
concerned that temps have more classes and students than those with tenure linesthe
issue of inequitable workload.
West (via Robinson): In History, we have had one experience with a
replacement who had a heavier work load. We all worked to help him, but felt
cheated that it was that kind of situation. How does this work in other disciplines
Chett Breed: The situation has changed from when we came in the
1980s. In Lang&Lit there was of course a two-tier system in which part-time
faculty received reduced benefits, but they were full voting members and were
thus fully empowered in our divisional deliberations. We are now going in the
wrong direction in terms of how we treat our part-timers.
Conner: We need a long-time framework for predicting where the
needs will be; it takes as many as two years to go from starting the process to
getting a new person working on campus. And what does the new policy do to fill
ongoing needs (as in Psychology)? Hiring decisions are difficult to do on such
a short horizon (from June to August).
Gruber: Will contingent hires be eligible for tenure hires on same
basis as everyone else?
Conner: I have questions about how the process will be implemented.
Gruber: I have questions about how we treat and socialize
contingent faculty. If we factor in the hiring process every time, this can be
a very expensive policy. How are we going to treat contingent faculty?
Robinson: How will the comings and goings of temporary faculty
affect students, and how will students respond to temporary faculty?
Hoeschele: Teaching and research require long-term commitments. For
a temp to teach a JINS course, for example, the governance process would need
tweaking. Maybe we cannot expect temporary faculty to teach such a course. The
use of temporary faculty can hurt the quality of instruction and commitment.
Programs for undergraduate research require an understanding that research is
an ongoing process and assists teaching, which is conducive to better research.
We cannot teach research to students if we dont do it ourselves.
Terry Olson: What would be the expense of teaching such new faculty
our process and the outcome statements if they only stay for one year?
Leavens: GTAs in English have not received a raise since 1988
(their stipend is $8000 annually). This was competitive then, but now GTAs
often have to find other jobs to supplement income. They have provided a great
service, but their abilities are now undermined, and this is an injustice.
Robinson: Yes, the situation of GTAs seems to be part of our
part-time employment issues.
Harmon: The Guest Visiting Artist in Art provides unique and
Elaine McDuff: A grant program provided us with wonderful person in
Sociology/Anthropology, and now we have a hole that she is gone. We wanted to
keep her, but she needed a permanent position. That type of program is too
demanding (McNair, advising, teaching), but it provided wonderful service. It
was a positive experience, though, probably better than other plans for
Robinson: We should have something like a Mellon Fellowship for
Gruber: I am not so sure; such programs can contribute to a process
of slow erosion of the core faculty.
Marshall: Hiring temporary faculty should be purview of the
faculty. My concern is that we already dont do a good job of hiring temporary
faculty (sometimes it is logisticsthe middle of summer and no one is here).
Olson: We sometimes hear about how much damage a temp can do in one
Conner: The chart makes it look like there isnt much change in
other divisions, but only in Social Science.
Robinson: For some people, the big issue is that we havent talked
about it this policy enough yet. It was simply announced, as a done deal.
Marshall: The Faculty Handbook says that temporary positions will
be discussed with faculty, but that hasnt always happened.
Breed: Faculty members have to have responsibility for hiring. I
relate this issue to the current question of sabbatical replacements, also to
the faculty governance process.
Robinson: Our current period of no sabbaticals, now to be followed
by sabbaticals with no funding, means that we have a vicious backlog of
demand for sabbaticals. There appears to be a missing step that should have
been considered three to five years ago, i.e. we could have in the meantime
have kept granting sabbaticals without funding them, couldnt we?
Roger Festa: It may be a cultural thing in Chemistryno one is
motivated to apply for sabbaticals.
Leavens: It is difficult for some faculty to go on sabbatical
because of demands of the workload in their discipline. Some will not apply for
the new sabbaticals because of what it would mean for their colleagues, who
must cover the classes.
McDuff: But this was not mentioned when the call first went out;
our assumption was that there would be replacements. But without replacements
in a small discipline, it would be impossible for anyone to take a leave. This
question has not been answered.
Hoeschele: I applied assuming that there would be replacements. My
Division Head Seymour Patterson told me that I should not be penalized because
I am from a small discipline.
Gruber: The new AAUP policy on contingent faculty (authored by
Gruber and othersed.) takes up many of these issues. It addresses the
integrity of the academic profession, provides guidelines and models, and calls
for reducing dependency on contingent faculty.
Festa: What do you do when two-year temp slot comes to an end but
faculty of the discipline want to renew the slot. Is it possible to renegotiate
for a tenure slot?
President Barbara Dixon: If the person has come out of a temp
search, that pool will be different than the one for a tenure-track search.
That is why we normally do not convert a temp line directly to a tenure line.
Robinson: Usually there has to be an open search.
Dixon: But if the person is qualified, usually there is nothing to
keep that person from applying during the new search.
Festa: What would it take to convert a temp to a tenure line?
Dixon: It would have to be requested in the normal budgeting
Gruber: There are inherent problems in converting positions from
contingent to tenure-line.
Harmon: On the question of changing the title from Division Head to
Dean, what does this imply?
Festa: I have already witnessed some confusion with the
Dixon: My perception is that the work of Division Heads here is the
same as Deans elsewhere (budget, hiring, etc.). The title would reflect what
other universities have. The primary consideration is the small pool of
applicants when Truman recently searched for Division Heads. We may not be getting
the quality that we should. We had only 18 applicants last time for Head of the
Social Science Division; others have been in the single digits. Such jobs ads
at my previous university would yield 80-90 applicants.
Robinson: Were the salary levels the same? (Answer: yes) Was
advertising comparable? (No answer to that.)
McDuff: Can we clarify what role Deans had in Dixons previous
Leavens: A Division Head should have good experience in research
Robinson: I certainly agree, especially with the latter.
Gruber: We also have a weak culture in terms of how faculty members
are involved in hiring. The administration regularly overrides faculty
Judi Misale: Is faculty input valued? The culture can be very different
even across disciplines. Will faculty input be decided on a personal or
Leavens: Such discrepancies look odd.
Dixon: But it doesnt look different to me whether we call them
Deans or Division Heads.
Robinson: Is the title mostly to make the job look more attractive,
Lynn Rose: It could be worth it, just to get better candidates.
Dixon: My office is looking at getting together with faculty in
small groups (taken across divisions, etc.) to discuss issues. Everyone will
get an invitation. We anticipate that there will be three formal questions, and
one of them will be on organizational structure. We will do this as soon as my
office can get it organized.