University Senate Proposed: April 30, 2004
RESOLUTION TO REDEFINE LECTURESHIPS IN THE ARTS AND SCIENCES
BE IT RESOLVED that the appointment of lecturers-in-discipline in the Arts and Sciences does not need the approval of the University Senate Faculty Affairs Committee, provided that the total number of lecturers does not exceed 6 percent of the Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Arts and Sciences faculty, not counting Language Lecturers in Arts and Sciences departments, or lecturers in the School of Continuing Education, the School of International and Public Affairs, and the School of the Arts;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the fraction of lecturers will be presented in a new table designed for the purpose in the annual Arts and Sciences Report on Faculty Size and Instructional Demand;
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the provost’s office will provide the Faculty Affairs Committee with an annual report on lecturers whose appointments have been renewed beyond their eighth year.
Faculty Affairs Committee
University Senate April 30, 2004
COMMITTEE ON FACULTY AFFAIRS,
ACADEMIC FREEDOM. AND TENURE:
REPORT ON AN ARTS AND SCIENCES PROPOSAL
TO ESTABLISH RENEWABLE APPOINTMENTS FOR LECTURERS
In addition to our usual work on individual grievances, at the beginning of the semester the Faculty Affairs Committee received a request from the Provost and the Acting Dean of the Faculty to endorse and forward to the Senate a "Proposal to Establish Renewable Faculty Appointments at the Rank of Lecturer" ("Proposal"). It was accompanied by a "Draft Report from the Committee on Lecturers, Adjuncts, and Research Scientists/ Scholars" ("Draft Report") prepared by Profs. David Helfand, Robert Jervis, and Pierre Force in the spring of 2001. This proposal seemed to us so important that we want to devote the present report to considering at some length the issues that it raised.
The Proposal spoke of the "importance of having a category of full-time faculty whose responsibilities were limited to offering instruction and who met a programmatic need in specialized fields not normally associated with professorial rank faculty." As the Proposal noted, in 1987 such appointments were authorized by the Senate "only in the less-commonly taught languages, English as a second language and the teaching of musical
instruments." In 1994, the appointment category was extended by the Senate to include music associates, and in 1996 it was further extended to all language teachers; in all three cases (1987, 1994, 1996) the Faculty Affairs Committee endorsed these resolutions.
In his letter of transmittal last fall, the Provost said "the purpose of this proposal is not to expand the use of lecturers in the Arts and Sciences." The Proposal too described itself as seeking primarily to "rationalize an existing situation" by creating a clearer and more structured career track for a group of lecturers whose positions have up till now been subject to eight-year limits and "piecemeal" management.
RAPID EXPANSION OVER TIME
By now, however, the larger trend toward rapid expansion in the use of lecturers in the Arts and Sciences is clear. Naturally, such positions are a hard-pressed administrator's dream come true. Lecturers are much cheaper than professors and teach more courses apiece, and there are fewer constraints on hiring and firing them. From being a few special cases (e.g., native speakers of exotic languages) in 1987, lecturers have now become normal, and numerous. How could more and more opportunities for using them not be discovered, or devised, over time?
The Draft Report, completed in the spring of 2001, itself remarked on this steady progression: "The first such appointments in A&S, Language Lecturers, were initially found only in the non-western language departments, but have spread to virtually all language departments (in addition to the staff of the ALP), and now number 49, a group 15% the size of the tenured faculty. Associates work under similar terms in the Departments of Music and Chemistry. Many science departments now house lecturers under the classic definition, although there is a proposal to introduce yet a new title to allow renewable contracts there as well. In all, there are now 73 occupied positions, equal to 21% of the tenured faculty. In addition, there are growing numbers of Professors of Practice in the School of the Arts and SIPA operating under similar renewable contracts. In summary, these categories now include a number of positions in excess of one quarter of the tenured faculty." (This tabulation does not even take into account the vast numbers of professors at Health Sciences with clinical prefixes and suffixes in their titles, all with annual appointments.) The ways in which these various numbers and percentages have been calculated are not entirely clear to us, but the general situation is not in doubt.
This expansion is in fact part of a larger national pattern. David Cohen, then Vice President for Arts and Sciences. told an Arts and Sciences Faculty meeting in 2001 that one clear trend he discerned around the country, and could report to us with confidence,
was that professorial workloads were being steadily reduced. This means that the time of even ordinary professors (not to speak of superstars) is becoming steadily more expensive. And as we all know, graduate programs in the Arts and Sciences around the country are, on the whole, shrinking. While the amount of actual classroom teaching by professors is thus declining, teaching by (nontenured) "other ranks" is steadily
increasing. (The widespread use of part-time and other short-term "adjuncts" is
another major, and largely unexamined, aspect of the situation.)
The Draft Report itself expressed concerns about this trend toward "a two-tier system defined by unequal salaries, unequal teaching obligations, and unequal status where the favored faculty end up in a rather small niche of their own."
As a committee of faculty, we want to make clear that we do not endorse this trend, and we hope our Senate colleagues will join us in reaffirming the importance of one's teaching to one's title of professor. Professors, after all, should profess.
OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES
The Draft Report also notes a number of other significant concerns, many of which are shared by members of the Faculty Affairs Committee. Among these are:
=Numerical ratios: "Should there be a limit on the fraction of the Faculty composed of Lecturers?"
=Definitional criteria: "How should we define what distinguishes courses appropriately taught by lecturers as opposed to those taught by regular faculty?"
=Definitional authority: "Who should define what courses can be assigned to lecturers?"
=Salary discrepancies: "What is the justification for salary discrepancies of factors of two to four between Professorial Rank Faculty and Lecturers? What might a reasonable band be?"
=Review procedures: "What is the appropriate extra-departmental review procedure for reappointment of Lecturers? What are the appropriate review criteria?"
Our own consideration of the implications of the Arts and Sciences proposal has also made clear the need for a Senate review of the proliferation of lecturers and adjuncts in divisions of the University outside of Arts and Sciences. Such a review will be on the Faculty Affairs agenda for next year.
THE SENATE'S DUTY OF OVERSIGHT
When the Senate created the first Language Lecturer positions in 1987, the resolution it adopted at that time called for a review of the new lecturership positions after five years. That review never took place, probably because the few new lecturerships seemed a minor issue at the time.
In recent years however, for the reasons described above, concerns have been increasing, and they have not always been easy even to investigate.
As the Draft Report notes, salary differentials between Professors and Language Lecturers are often extreme ("two to four times"). While looking into this question over the past few years, the Faculty Affairs Committee sponsored a resolution (March 29, 2002) before the Senate that sought to obtain, in a manner consistent with confidentiality, information on salary differentials between Language Lecturers and Assistant Professors.
Although that resolution was passed overwhelmingly, attempts to obtain the information were met with a flat administrative refusal. Since none of those administrators are now in office, there's no reason to dwell on the details of such past difficulties. We very much hope to develop a better working relationship with the administration in the future.
In fact, it's quite important that such a working relationship be developed, because the Senate Faculty Affairs Committee has a mandate to look at such crucial issues with detachment, and to provide a principled overview for the Senate's consideration. We take this mandate seriously, and will continue to pursue it in the future.
Therefore we appreciate the willingness of the Provost to meet with us and work with us. The 6% cap on the ratio of lecturers to professors in the Arts and Sciences generally (excluding SIPA, the School of the Arts, the School of Continuing Education and
the Language Lecturers) is an excellent first step, and his proposed annual update in the October Report will ensure openness, and will help us monitor the situation over time.
The Provost has also reported some progress, and future plans for more improvement, in enhancing the salaries of Language Lecturers; we hope to see these gains extended, and applied to the proposed new category of off-track lecturers as well. The goal he has spoken of, and one that we very much approve, is a situation in which the Senior Lecturers in language—and hopefully also lecturers in the disciplines who have passed
the eight-year mark—will have salary and benefits more or less equivalent to those of Assistant Professors. Such a goal, we believe, reflects his agreement with us that it is
not in the University's interest to allow such inequities in salaries and benefits to be maintained.
We therefore endorse the resolution that accompanies this report, and we urge that it be adopted.