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* < Faculty Governance Review

Letter from President Shirley Ann Jackson on the Clinical Faculty

August 21, 2007

In June, I was asked by the Board of Trustees to establish a means through which a review of Rensselaer’s faculty governance system could be conducted. Since then, I have approved a proposal by our new Provost, Dr. Robert E. Palazzo, to conduct such a review by the end of the calendar year.

An important issue that will be addressed during the faculty governance review will be the clarification of the various roles of the members of our faculty and instructional staff. While the Board of Trustees and I believe that the tenured and tenure-track faculty must take leadership responsibility for the overall stewardship of our academic enterprise, we are quite cognizant of the important contributions the members of our clinical faculty have made and continue to make to our academic environment.

Therefore, consistent with the principles of a number of higher education associations, I am tasking Provost Palazzo and Curtis Powell, our Vice President for Human Resources, to work together on the following four elements:

  • A full compensation review for clinical faculty. Through this analysis, we will ensure that our clinical faculty are compensated in a manner consistent with their employment expectations, and with national private higher education standards and levels. We will assure equity and fairness in compensation. Any necessary equity adjustments in compensation will follow the completion of this review. The Provost, assisted by the Vice President for Human Resources, will undertake this review.
  • A clear statement of clinical faculty benefits. Clinical faculty will receive a briefing on benefit standards and levels, and will receive complete information on their benefits. This is to ensure that there is clarity with respect to the benefits to which clinical faculty are entitled. The Vice President for Human Resources will provide this information.
  • A review of faculty teaching loads. During the course of the faculty governance review process, it is important that we understand how teaching loads relate to one another across faculty categories, and how they compare to the standards of our counterparts at peer and aspirant institutions. This is especially important regarding tenured and tenure-track faculty loading, given the expectations for tenured and tenure-track faculty with respect to teaching, research, and service. There will be an explicit review of clinical faculty teaching loads vis-à-vis clarity of standards for all faculty teaching responsibilities. This will clarify expectations for clinical faculty teaching responsibilities. The Provost already has begun this review.
  • A review of the opportunities for involvement of clinical faculty members in academic programming and faculty governance in the academic departments and programs in which they are appointed, including committees, task forces, etc. It is important that our departmental and programmatic governance structures provide such opportunity, and that we have consistent expectations among the academic leadership of the university, at the departmental, decanal, and committee levels. The Provost will undertake this review.

I expect these elements to be completed by the end of this calendar year (2007).

I will meet with the clinical faculty with respect to these undertakings, and any other matters of concern, following initial meetings between the clinical faculty and the Provost.

Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
President

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