INSIDE IOWA STATE
February 9, 2001
Senate set to discuss proposal for non-tenured positions
by Linda Charles
A proposed policy on non-tenure track faculty creates a new faculty
designation and sets limits on the number of non-tenure track faculty
allowed in departments and at Iowa State overall. The policy was developed
by a Faculty Senate task force (chaired by senate president-elect Christine
Pope) and will be considered by the senate during its Feb. 13
Under the proposal, temporary faculty could be appointed to longer
non-tenure track terms -- three years, with the possibility of renewal
for a second three-year term. Tenure-line faculty would oversee the
After two terms, a person holding such a position could be appointed to a
continuing position of senior "lecturer" or "clinician,"
with approval of the appropriate faculty. These continuing faculty would be
peer-reviewed every five years, with termination possible after the sixth
In addition, the task force that prepared the proposed policy recommends
that the number of non-tenure track faculty be limited to 15 percent in any
department, and 5 percent in any college and the university as a
Senate President David Hopper said the task force proposal was prompted by
the administration's consideration of continuous non-tenure track
faculty positions in the College of Veterinary Medicine and perhaps other
While the university has used temporary faculty for years, those
appointments have required yearly reappointments, with a cap on the number
of times a person can be reappointed. In addition, usually a department DEO
or other administrator is in charge of hiring and reappointing temporary
faculty. This sidesteps the faculty's ability to have a say on who
their colleagues are, Hopper said.
While the senate would like all faculty positions to be tenure-line, Hopper
said it recognizes that can't always happen. Because of budget
concerns, the university often does not have enough funds to hire people who
will be actively engaged in scholarship, teaching and outreach. In many
instances, temporary faculty are hired, at lower salaries, to teach
"service" courses, such as English 104, or conduct research at
many of the university's centers.
Hopper said the proposed policy is an effort to give temporary faculty more
job security, and at the same time, preserve academic freedom and faculty
responsibility for the curriculum.
During open forums held last week to gather faculty input on the proposed
policy, some temporary faculty objected to tenure-line faculty overseeing
their work, saying that made it appear they weren't doing an adequate
But Hopper said the intent of the proposal is to give non-tenure track
faculty as much job security and academic freedom as possible, by taking the
reappointment away from the "caprice" of a single person, such as
a DEO, and giving it to a group of people, who are less likely to be swayed
by a single incident or personality conflict. Also, he said, many of those
in non-tenure track positions teach, and the faculty has a responsibility to
oversee the curriculum.
Some temporary faculty at the forums indicated they were more concerned
about job security than academic freedom.
Others at the forums questioned the proposed percentage caps on non-tenure
track faculty, worrying that the caps wouldn't be high enough to allow
temporary faculty to continue to teach the large number of service courses
some departments must offer.
Discussion of the proposed policy has just begun. The task force is
expected to make revisions, based on comments from the open forums, and
present the proposal to the senate this month.
The senate will discuss the proposed policy at both its February and March
meetings, and vote on it in March. If the senate approves a policy, it will
be presented to the administration.
In all probability, the administration and senate will need to work out
differences, Hopper said, and if the policy is substantially changed, it
will be returned to the senate for approval. If the final policy contains a
new type of faculty appointment, it also would need to be approved by the
Board of Regents, State of Iowa.
The senate will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, in 260 Scheman. The
meeting is open to the public.
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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