Faculty discuss hiring, tenure
University officials emphasize importance of alumni, professor connections at meeting
Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 11:04
University officials discussed the recent hiring successes and the acquisition of research grants during a Faculty Senate meeting last week.
University President Patrick Harker said university officials have made numerous hires during recent years and desired to add more educators who will focus on the students, while university Provost Tom Apple said more than 90 percent of administrators’ top-choice candidates have joined the school’s faculty.
“We will have on campus interviews for candidates of new faculty which helps put the students in front view,” Harker said. “We need to be picky to make sure we get the right person.”
Apple said the numerous faculty and staff have joined the university while other schools have been unable to make similar hires.
“The decision to continue to grow the faculty and hire new faculty at all ranks when other universities weren’t capable of doing so has really paid off,” Apple said.
Apple said that for two years in a row, the university and its professors have received a significant amount of money from research grants.
“We are now on the positive side of about [$130 million] in external funding for research, and we’ll eclipse $200 million for the first time in total external sponsor programs,” Apple said.
Faculty senators also debated the last two sentences of the faculty handbook, which state that faculty members have to maintain high standards in all professional activities.
Human sciences and family studies professor Martha Buell, the faculty chair of the promotions and tenure committee, was among numerous faculty members who agreed that the term’s definition was unsettling and was not specific or necessary because each college specifies their standards differently.
Faculty senators resolved to remove the phrase, in order to establish a more clear and neutral understanding for future members of the promotions and tenure committee.
“This language is not specific enough and messy enough that it could be used in cases to derail future activities around post-tenure review,” Buell said.
Members of the promotion and tenure committee also discussed increasing the number of members from six to eight in order to widen its representation for each college, as suggested by Buell.
“One of the reasons the ad-hoc committee was suggested is that the [promotions and tenure] committee is too small, and in fact it is,” she said. “There’s actually not enough slots to have representation from every college on the [promotions and tenure] committee as it currently stands.”
Director of alumni relations Cindy Campanella spoke about the fourth annual Alumni Weekend, which will be held between June 1 and June 3.
She said the number of attendees has increased by approximately 19 to 20 percent each year.
“Our first year, we had 1,690 alumni, friends and community members join us on campus,” Campanella said. “In 2010 we had 2,714 and last year we had 3,221 people.”
She said there will be more than 25 new programs and educational workshops this year with the large increase in alumni student body, such as The Science of Wine and The Buzz on Beekeeping and affinity reunions, which are events for individual student groups.
“We will begin to see a lot of explosive growth,” Campanella said.
Campanella encouraged faculty to attend the event to connect with alumni and maintain friendly relations citing an alumnus who once donated $500,000 to the university after having a positive conversation with a faculty member.
“There really are some tremendous things that happen when faculty and alumni get together in terms of relationships,” Campanella said. “We have had many people come back and speak in the classroom after bumping in with a former faculty member.”