Faculty Senate > Final Report to the Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Standing Committee on Hartford
 

Final Report to the Faculty Senate
Ad Hoc Standing Committee on Hartford
April 24, 2002

Chair: Susan Sanderson
Committee: Trina Sego, Susan Smith, Ed Arnheiter, Lou Gingerella, Peter Schroth, Barbara Vizoyan and Mary Anne Waltz

Executive Summary

At the request of the Faculty Senate and its Executive Committee, members of the Ad Hoc Standing Committee on Hartford are examining issues facing Hartford faculty during the current transition on that campus. The Committee took as its charge identifying and addressing key issues regarding governance & transition to tenure at Hartford.

The committee is immediately concerned with protecting and extending the role of Hartford's current faculty. These interests include those of: a) faculty who are appropriately designated as clinical, vital to Hartford's mission, and who want to continue as clinical faculty; b) those who have engaged or have potential to engage in traditional scholarship and who have a basic orientation that suggests they might be appropriately considered for tenured/tenure-track appointments. In committee discussion, it became clear that supporting the continuing interests of Hartford faculty would require changes in institutional policies as outlined in the Handbook for Academic Staff.

Specific Recommendations

Definition of faculty
The Handbook definition of faculty should be revised to include clinical due to their status as long-term, full-time members of the academic community.

Promotion
Promotion committees (not tenure committees) should include all faculty of proposed rank regardless of tenure (as allowed in current Handbook).

Promotion of clinical faculty should follow similar procedures as for tenure-track faculty, including oversight by an institutional committee.

Hiring
In departments where clinical faculty are appointed, search committees should have representation from both tenured/tenure-track and clinical faculty.

As a transition strategy in Hartford, tenured/tenure-track faculty from Troy should be appointed to Hartford search committees.

Policies should be enforced that specify candidates for clinical positions apply through a public process.

Appointment to tenured/tenure-track positions in Hartford
As a transition strategy in Hartford, internal candidates should be allowed to apply (within a limited time period) for tenured/tenure-track positions without a national search; and should retain their clinical positions in the event of an unsuccessful application for a tenured appointment.

Tenure in Hartford
As a transition strategy in Hartford, tenured faculty from Troy should be appointed to Hartford tenure committees.

Clinical contracts
Clinical faculty should receive one-year notification of renewal of multi-year contracts
Length of clinical contracts should increase with higher academic rank.

Leaves of absence
Eligibility for paid sabbaticals should be extended to clinical faculty.
Eligibility for paid parental leave should be extended to clinical faculty.

Action Items

The Committee recommends that: a) the Faculty Senate forward our recommendations for consideration by the Ad Hoc Standing Committee working on Handbook revisions; b) the Senate charge the Ad Hoc Standing Committee on Hartford with devising strategies for implementation of these recommendations in Hartford; and c) the Senate charge the Ad Hoc Standing Committee on Hartford with reviewing & recommending activities for supporting continuing scholarship in Hartford.
Report

At the request of the Faculty Senate and its Executive Committee, members of the Ad Hoc Standing Committee on Hartford are examining issues facing Hartford faculty during the current transition on that campus.

In 1955, the Hartford campus was started with approximately one dozen tenured engineering faculty. For at least 25 years, Hartford faculty had rolling contracts (i.e., three-year contracts renewed annually). In 1997, when reunification with RPI-Troy took place, all Hartford faculty were given the clinical designation to indicate that they are non-tenured. Hartford faculty participate in professional activities including: education of working professionals; pedagogical innovation; textbook publication; publishing and presentation of papers in reviewed forums; publishing and presentations in professional arenas; and institutional, professional and academic service. The clinical designation traditionally identifies faculty who are engaged in teaching, research and service activities of an applied nature. In Hartford, some clinical faculty engage in basic research to the extent that the clinical designation may be inappropriate for them.
The Institute recently committed to appoint tenured and tenure-track faculty in Hartford. Including tenured/tenure-track faculty at the Hartford campus will allow traditional academic researchers to benefit from the applied activities in which current Hartford faculty and students engage. Including tenured/tenure-track faculty at Hartford will also allow Hartford's current clinical faculty increased scholarship opportunities and they welcome these opportunities. After the introduction of tenured/tenure-track faculty, clinical faculty will likely continue to represent a majority or at least a significant minority of the Hartford faculty. This will be important to keeping with the mission of educating working professionals.

Institutional administration, working with Hartford senior faculty and administration, have been developing a plan for the introduction of tenured/tenure-track faculty to Hartford. During this planning stage, many details will be worked out and the input of all faculty-in Hartford and in Troy-may be critical to the success of this important transition.

The committee is immediately concerned with protecting and extending the role of Hartford's current faculty. These interests include those of: a) faculty who are appropriately designated as clinical, vital to Hartford's mission, and who want to continue as clinical faculty; b) those who have engaged or have potential to engage in traditional scholarship and who have a basic orientation that suggests they might be appropriately considered for tenured/tenure-track appointments. In committee discussion, it became clear that supporting the interests of Hartford faculty would require changes in institutional policies as outlined in the Handbook for Academic Staff.


Recommendation: Institutional policy and the Handbook for Academic Staff should be revised and updated to recognize the evolving role of clinical faculty and to help solve governance issues at the Hartford campus.

The Handbook for Academic Staff defines the roles of non-tenure track, tenure-track and tenured faculty with respect to governance, hiring, promotion, curricular and personnel issues. In some passages of the Handbook, the role of clinical faculty is defined clearly and appropriately. In other passages, the definition needs to change to reflect the evolving role of clinical faculty both in Troy and in Hartford. In particular, the introduction of tenured/tenure-track faculty to Hartford will present unusual circumstances, especially in its initial stages (e.g., a very small minority of tenured/tenure-track faculty and a majority of clinical faculty), that may need special attention.

On the advice of Al Wallace (chair, Ad Hoc Standing Committee on Revisions of the Handbook for Academic Staff), we recommend that most changes apply equally to clinical faculty on both the Troy and Hartford campuses. We have made some recommendations specific to the Hartford campus to highlight the issues facing Hartford during the transition period, but readers should bear in mind that there are significant numbers of clinical faculty at the Troy campus as well.

Suggested topics to address in the Handbook:

Recognition of Clinical Faculty as Faculty
Sections I-C-1 and I-D-1 of the Handbook define and list faculty positions; clinical positions are excluded in both passages. Given that the clinical faculty is made up of full-time, long-term members of the academic community, they should be recognized as "faculty" as defined by the Handbook. The committee recommends that these passages be so revised.

Contract Guidelines for Clinical Faculty
The Handbook currently specifies that clinical faculty members are entitled to advanced notice of intent to renew the contract. For renewable contracts of one-year duration, notification is made at least 90 days prior to the end of contract; for renewable appointments of greater than one-year duration, notification is made at least one term prior to the end of contract (II-G-5). Even this minimal requirement is not always followed in practice.

In the interest of fairness to any member of the academic community, notice of renewal of any multi-year appointment should be made at least one year in advance. Tenure-track faculty with three or more years of service are given a minimum of one year's notice of termination (II-F-1). The committee recommends that institutional commitment to clinical faculty should increase with promotion to higher academic rank.

Thus, the committee recommends the following contractual guidelines for clinical faculty: 1) Appointments to the position of clinical assistant professor should typically be made through a renewable three-year contract, and renewal notice should be given one year in advance of the end of contract; 2) Appointments to the position of clinical associate professor should typically be made through a renewable four-year contract, and renewal notice should be given two years in advance of the end of contract; 3) Appointments to the position of clinical full professor should typically be made through a renewable five-year contract, and renewal notice should be given two years in advance of the end of contract.

Leaves of Absence

Sabbaticals
Sections of the Handbook that present procedures for non-tenure track faculty (II-G) state that research, clinical and lecturer faculty are eligible for sabbatical leaves for the purposes of professional development (II-G-6). However, this section of the Handbook specifies that the "sabbatical leave provides up to six months of unpaid leave with continuing benefits, upon completion of twelve semesters of service" (emphasis added; II-G-6). Sections of the Handbook that describe sabbatical policies for assistant, associate and full professors (II-E-1) specify that sabbatical leaves may be given with full or half pay (depending on years of service and duration of the leave).

The value to the institution of faculty professional development is the same for tenured/tenure-track and clinical faculty; therefore, the committee recommends that clinical faculty members be eligible for paid sabbaticals under the same conditions as tenured/tenure-track faculty members.

Parental Leave
The Handbook specifies that any full-time member of the faculty is entitled to up to six months sick leave with pay (II-E-4), while only tenured/tenure-track faculty are eligible for paid parental leave (II-E-2). The committee recommends that clinical faculty members be eligible for paid sick leave and paid parental leave under the same conditions as tenured/tenure-track faculty members.

Promotion, Hiring and Appointments

Promotion
The Handbook currently allows "each department, at its discretion" to "extend the [promotion committee] to include all faculty who hold the proposed rank, or higher, with or without tenure" (II-C-9). The committee recommends that this be a requirement rather than an option; that is, departmental promotion committees should include all faculty who hold the proposed rank or higher, with or without tenure.

The Handbook states that promotion decisions are made separately from tenure decisions although they may be considered simultaneously (II-C-4). Thus, non-tenured faculty of rank can vote on promotion but not tenure of tenure-track faculty.

The Handbook states that the promotion cases for clinical faculty should be modeled after those for tenured/tenure-track faculty in content and format, and that promotion cases for clinical faculty be reviewed by tenured faculty, the department chair, the academic dean and the Dean of Faculty (II-G-4). Thus, promotion of clinical faculty should follow the same procedures as for tenure-track faculty, including documenting scholarship, teaching, and service; and soliciting external letters of support. Standards for scholarship, teaching, and service of clinical faculty should be decided on by relevant departments and schools involved. The committee recommends that Hartford clinical faculty be promoted based on the recommendations of the departmental promotion committee (which would include all faculty of proposed rank or higher), the department chair, the academic dean, the VP/Dean of Hartford, the Dean of Faculty, and an institute-wide promotion committee. The committee recommends that an institution-wide committee oversee promotion decisions for clinical faculty. Institutional oversight could be administered by the current institutional promotion & tenure committees (The Faculty Committee on Promotion and Tenure and the Committee of Deans; II-C), with the addition of clinical faculty representative(s); or a separate institute-wide committee for non-tenure track faculty could be appointed.

Hiring
The latitude of a faculty hiring decision is much broader than that of a faculty promotion decision. For this reason, faculty search committees often seek input from diverse constituents such as students or industry advisors. The committee suggests that hiring decisions for both clinical and tenured/tenure-track positions should be made as a result of direct and formal input from both types of faculty members regardless of rank or tenure.

The committee recommends that in those departments where clinical faculty members are appointed, all faculty search committees should include representation from both tenured/tenure-track and clinical faculty members. As a transition strategy in Hartford, when there are few or no tenured/tenure-track faculty available to serve on search committees, the Hartford department should appoint tenured/tenure-track faculty members (at the discretion of the Hartford department) from a corresponding Troy department.

The Handbook states that the hiring of non-tenure track faculty members should be a public process with a presentation by the candidate (as with hiring of tenured/tenure-track candidates; II-G-1, II-A-4). This policy should be enforced.

At Hartford, clinical and tenure-track faculty should be appointed by the Dean of the Faculty on the recommendation of the search committee, the clinical and tenured/tenure-track faculty members of the department, the department chair, the academic Dean, and the VP/Dean of Hartford. In addition, as currently specified in the Handbook, all full-time faculty appointments must be reported to the Board of Trustees (II-A-1).


Appointment to Tenure-Track

Extraordinary circumstances exist in Hartford in that all faculty members are currently clinical, and the institute has committed to adding tenured/tenure-track faculty to the campus. Several members of the Hartford faculty are interested in tenured/tenure-track positions. Whether they will qualify for tenure depends on how the tenure requirements will be defined for the Hartford departments and whether adequate support will be provided to Hartford faculty to support scholarship (e.g., access to library facilities and lab equipment).

The transition plan for Hartford in development currently specifies that every tenured/tenure-track appointment in Hartford will follow a national search. A similar practice is generally followed for tenured/tenure-track appointments in Troy. However, the committee could find no evidence that such a policy is required by the Handbook, nor required by AAUP or AACSB policies. Subjecting a group of Hartford faculty, particularly those who are considered leaders among their peers and who have contributed immeasurably to the Institute over the years, to marketplace competition might prove to be a disruptive, distracting, demoralizing and divisive practice.

The committee recommends that, working with the school and institutional promotion & tenure committees and corresponding Troy departments, Hartford departments should specify qualifications for tenure-track positions and criteria for tenure for their faculty. As a transition policy in Hartford, clinical faculty should have an opportunity to apply for tenured/tenure-track positions without a national search. This opportunity would be allowed for a limited time and candidates would be otherwise reviewed according to policies specified elsewhere. Given the extraordinary circumstances in Hartford which include no on-campus experience with mentoring tenure candidates or with conducting tenure reviews, clinical faculty who apply unsuccessfully during the transition period for tenured/tenure-track positions should retain their clinical status.

Tenure
Tenure procedures as outlined in the Handbook should be followed at the Hartford campus. As a transition strategy in Hartford, when there are few or no tenured faculty available to serve on tenure review committees, the Hartford department should appoint tenured faculty members (at the discretion of the Hartford department) from a corresponding Troy department.

Action Items

The Committee recommends that the Faculty Senate forward our recommendations for consideration by the Ad Hoc Standing Committee working on Handbook revisions, and that the Senate charge the Ad Hoc Standing Committee on Hartford with devising strategies for implementation of these recommendations in Hartford.

Considerable work needs to be done to ensure support and mentoring for tenure-track faculty once they are in place in Hartford, and support for scholarship (e.g., access to library & lab facilities, support for MS & PhD students, support for contracts & grants, appropriate teaching loads & early career support for tenure-track faculty). The Ad Hoc Standing Committee will continue by reviewing policies and practices to meet those goals.

 
July 8, 2004