Subcommittee on Faculty
Fundamental Charge: The goal of this subcommittee is to determine how effectively the University recruits, utilizes, assesses and supports its faculty. A quality faculty lies at the heart of a research university, and this subcommittee is charged to assess the extent to which the faculty and other qualified professionals are able to support the University's programs and assure their continuity and coherence.
- What steps are being taken to attract and retain high caliber faculty at the University (high caliber to be defined in the response), and how effective have these steps been?
- How successful has the University been in diversifying its faculty?
- How comparable is the support of the faculty through grants, leaves, etc. to support provided by peer institutions?
- What processes, in addition to tenure/promotion, are used on a regular basis to evaluate individual performance and provide feedback and follow-up? How well are these processes being translated into practices that improve the University?
- How does the University measure the productivity of its faculty as scholars and researchers?
- To what extent does the University support faculty professional development as researchers and as teachers?
- Are the policies and procedures that govern appointment, promotion, tenure, grievance, discipline and dismissal effective and executed in a timely fashion? Moreover, are they adequately reviewed and followed?
- How are the appointments of part-time and contingent faculty made? How consistent are practices for appointment and evaluation of these faculty across the University?
- How does the University award and encourage excellence in research, teaching and service, and how effective are these efforts?
- How well do academic freedom policies work, and how effective is the grievance process?
- What mechanisms does the University have in place to protect the faculty against potential violence in the classroom? How well do these mechanisms coordinate with other campus services to offer training and information to faculty for dealing with potentially harmful situations or abusive students?
- Has the workload or the balance of the research-teaching-service workload changed in the past 10 years for untenured full-time and part-time faculty compared to that of full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty? If so, what has been the impact, and what is the desired outcome if we continue the present trend or modify it?
- How does the pay scale of part-time and full-time contingent faculty compare to tenured and tenure-track faculty, and what are the implications of any differentials? What protections does the University offer its contingent faculty (e.g., job security, academic freedom), and how effective are these protections?
- To what extent do graduate students serve as instructors of record for classes? What is the connection between the teaching obligations of graduate students and the time to degree? How well does the University protect graduate students from being "overused" as teachers? Are these issues governed by formal policies and procedures, and how well do these policies and procedures work?
- What training and support does the University provide for its graduate student teachers?
- How does the University support and encourage its faculty to become engaged citizens through service to the University and community, and how effective are these efforts?
- How has the current budget and the absence of sustained leadership at the University affected the ability of the faculty to conduct research, scholarship and teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels?
Fundamental elements of integrity to weave into discussions:
- How does the University ensure that sound ethical practices and respect for individuals exist throughout its teaching, scholarship/research, service, and administrative practices? This would include the avoidance of conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict in all its activities and among all its constituents.
- How well does the University cultivate a climate of academic inquiry and engagement, supported by widely disseminated policies regarding academic and intellectual freedom?
- What provisions are in place to ensure commitment to principles of protecting intellectual property rights?
Data available: Faculty hiring guidelines; Faculty Handbook; 2007 COACHE survey report on faculty policies and procedures; 2003 HERI faculty survey report; campus policies regarding professional ethics enacted by the University Senate and signed by campus presidents; campus Clery report, internal Clery safety audit, and crime statistics reported by the University Police Department (UPD); tenure and promotion (T&P) guidelines of the Council on Promotion and Tenure (CPCA) and campus tenure and promotion policy; aggregate statistics provided by the Provost's Office on the number of T&P cases and their disposition over the self-study period; and other data, policies, and reports as requested by the subcommittee.
Methodologies: This subcommittee will begin its work by reviewing available information made available by the relevant administrative offices and University Senate Councils and committees. Interviews with governance leaders and faculty at-large, and with administrative staff may also be conducted.
Please click ELifshin@uamail.albany.edu to contact Dr. Eric Lifshin, chair of this subcommitee, to provide input or comments.