UNCP Faculty Corner

Tenure/Non-Tenure

Last year there was a discussion of the need for a higher ratio of tenured/tenure-track faculty to non-tenured/non-tenure track faculty. This year the discussion has shifted to the new mandatory 5/5 teaching load for non-tenure track faculty. Please give us your thoughts.

2 Comments »

  1. Jessie makes several good points and has provided some excellent references regarding non-tenture track faculty.

    Recently, because of efforts that appeared to marginalize (my terminology) full-time, non-tenture track faculty by requiring them to teach a 5/5 load without compensation, FIAC passed a resolution that was adopted by the Faculty Senate in November. (http://www.uncp.edu/senate/fia/minutes/2008-09/FIAC%20Minutes%2011-20-08.doc)

    After this action, faculty were assured that it was a misunderstanding and a 5/5 teaching load, without compensation would not be required. I felt the entire event could be chalked up to a lack of adequate communication. Some changes have taken place to better inform staff and faculty, but still there is the uncertainity and the need for a more comprehensive effort to keep the UNCP community “in the loop.”

    Recently, Deans appear to be united (at least through the rumor mill) as expressed in an email, one of which was entitled: “Overloads – Not.” The general message is that, “no full-time faculty will be scheduled for course overloads for the 2009 fall semester.”

    Unfortunately, some are portraying this as an administrative “back in your face” response to the above mentioned faculty resolution. I am not quite that cynical … the resolution was clear and addressed a specific group, problem and “failure to communicate.” To interpet the faculty resolution otherwise is, to be kind, disingenious at best.

    While maybe my naievete is probably showing, I believe the administration is taking the necessary action to ensure that non-tenture faculty have an opportuinty to continue teaching at UNCP. With budget cuts, we must also cut classes. By controlling overloads, we are ensuring fewer non-tenture faculty will suffer future budget cuts.

    I can only hope this is the plan … we are all left to speculate and the information vaccum only serves to create and sustain rumors and the rumor mill.

    Comment by Ottis Murray — February 27, 2009 @ 12:43 am

  2. Here are some useful resources as we consider this national and local topic. This is a complicated situation within our profession and warrants productive dialogue and collaborative efforts as we clarify the direction and vision of UNCP. We must protect the rights of all contingent faculty while maintaining a commitment to a tenure system that allows for academic freedom and shared governance. One thing you may find shocking is that currently about 68% of all faculty appointments in American higher education are non-tenure track appointments.

    As you will see in the articles below, this issue has been developing at a rapid pace for the last 15 years. On the one hand, it is imperative that contingent faculty have increased recognition and support within the university. But as the numbers of contingent faculty increase, and more responsibilities are placed on them, it also starts to look as if universities are shifting to a model that eliminates tenure and develops a workforce with little or no job security. The peer system of tenure ensures academic freedom that enhances the exploration of ideas, but it also allows faculty a strong voice in the administration of a university.

    A quick search on the web will reveal that many universities are engaged in these types of discussions and issues of policy. Clearly, there are no easy answers. But this is a moment when our profession is being redefined to a large degree, and we should certainly participate in the conversation.

    The Status of Non-Tenure Track Faculty
    http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/comm/rep/nontenuretrack.htm

    Contingent Appointments and the Academic Profession
    http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/policydocs/contents/conting-stmt.htm

    Accreditation Standards and Part-Time Faculty
    http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/comm/rep/accredpt.htm

    Background Facts on Contingent Faculty
    http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/issues/contingent/contingentfacts.htm

    Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor
    http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/issues/contingent/cocal.htm

    Report on the Academic Workforce in English
    http://www.mla.org/report_aw

    NEA Links on Contingent Faculty Issues
    http://www2.nea.org/he/contingent.html

    Inside Higher Education Article on Contingent Faculty
    http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/views/2007/11/13/hoeller

    On the Brink: Assessing the Status of the American Faculty
    http://www.rutgersaaup.org/news/onthebrink2006.pdf

    Comment by Jesse Peters — February 23, 2009 @ 11:20 am


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