Faculty Affairs Committee final report, 2011-2012

The Faculty Affairs Committee, which met twice monthly, was given seven charges for this academic year. 

One, undergraduate/faculty scholarship, was an Academic Affairs Committee charge on which we were not called to comment.  A related charge was tow work with the Director of Undergraduate Research, who did not contact us.  A third was to work with the Diversity Enhancement Committee on domestic partner benefits.  This became an all-council effort and the FA committee was not called upon for special consultation.

Of the four remaining charges, the call to evaluate the Chancellor's Professorship was given the lowest priority and was not addressed during this academic year.

The two top charges from the Strategic Plan were to form a task force to review faculty promotions and to form another task force to review promotion and tenure.  As these two charges required task forces composed of distinguished full professors and were highly related, the committee chose to combine them.

Identifying qualified and interested professors for this task force was a longer process than expected.  Eventually professors were found in almost all colleges and schools and Sudarshan Loyalka was appointed chair.  Loyalka was the chair of Faculty Affairs the previous year and had started the background research for the effort.

The task force gathered additional background data, but was sidetracked with the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute reorganization controversy, in which he was a primary player.

We recommend that a new chair be appointed and that the task force be reconstituted in the coming year.

The final charge to look at promotion issues and governance representation for Non Tenure Track faculty resulted in an enormous amount of discussion by the committee and other members of the council.  Several drafts of a new definition for "faculty" were proposed, with a simplified final draft still on the table.  At issue are concerns about the current lack of representation for NTT, the impact of NTT faculty on tenure policies, the composition of Faculty Council if NTT are given equal representation.

The number of NTT faculty is increasing much faster than the number of tenure-track faculty at MU.  Combined with the current budget squeeze and the lack of job security for NTT, this is a major issue for the university.

We recommend that the review of NTT issues be continued by Faculty Affairs or that the council appoint a special ad hoc committee to address it.

Clyde Bentley