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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

May 21, 2009

Task force recommends departmental responsibility in NTE teaching limits

by Erin Rosacker

A policy outlined in ISU's Faculty Handbook endorses a limitation on the number of teaching hours performed by part-time and non-tenure eligible (NTE) faculty. The limit -- no more than 15 percent of all instruction at the university, and no more then 25 percent of a department's teaching -- is a guideline established by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

Clark Ford, the 2008-09 Faculty Senate president, created a task force to examine ISU's ability to comply with the policy after 2007 data showed ISU's overall NTE instruction at 25.3 percent. Executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman, who presented the numbers to senators in 2008, said that percentage has been the norm at ISU for several years.

Hoffman also reported that 22 of ISU's 55 departments exceeded the 25 percent NTE teaching benchmark. The community and regional planning department topped the 2007 list at 49.4 percent.


In its final report released March 27, the task force said hiring NTE faculty (lecturers and clinicians) can help ease the teaching load for tenured and tenure-eligible faculty, creating more time for research and service demands. The report also said professional expertise, budget constraints and partner accommodations are among the reasons departments utilize NTE faculty appointments.

The task force acknowledged the importance of NTE faculty, but recommended ISU continue its pursuit of the AAUP guidelines. Recognizing differing needs among departments, the group proposed establishing a departmental responsibility statement. Each department, working with the college dean and the office of the executive vice president and provost, would formally set target NTE faculty numbers, with immediate and short-term needs taken into consideration.

Some task force recommendations for the procedure included:

  • Justification for proposed targets, especially those exceeding the 25 percent limit
  • Explanations for exceptions
  • Regular reviews by a designated Faculty Senate committee

"The overall value of NTE faculty is extremely high," the group's report stated, "but in keeping with the concerns voiced by the AAUP and the Faculty Senate, our task force is concerned about exploitation of NTE faculty, including the low salaries they are paid in some departments."


A PDF copy of the report is available on the Faculty Senate web site.