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Faculty Senate Meeting
April 7, 2017
Founder’s Room, Lovett Hall

 

Senate Meeting Agenda (and actions taken):

I.    Call to Order
II.   Proposed Revisions to the Procedures for Appointments for Teaching Professor Ranks (Approved)
III.  Proposed Revisions to University Policy 201 (Reviewed)
IV.  Proposed Revisions to University Policy 214 (Reviewed)
V.   Adjourn

Senators present: David Alexander, Graham Bader, David Caprette, Keith Cooper, Scott Cutler, Erik Dane, Maryam Emami, Julie Fette, Jeffrey Fleisher, Christopher Johns-Krull, Marek Kimmel, Steve Klineberg, Michael Kohn, Susan McIntosh, Marie Lynn Miranda, Ed Nikonowicz, Fred Oswald, Stan Sazykin, Laura Segatori, and Kerry Ward.

PROCEEDINGS
(To listen to an audio tape of this meeting, email senate@rice.edu .)
 

I. Call to Order
Speaker Jeffrey Fleisher called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. He thanked the members of the Faculty Senate Working Group on Policy 201 and the members of the Faculty Senate Working Group on Faculty Roles, as well as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (VPAA) Paula Sanders and Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Arnaud Chevalier. Fleisher announced that the three documents were approved by the Senate’s Executive Committee for presentation to the full Senate for its approval. He noted that the documents would then need review by the university’s legal counsel.

II. Proposed Revisions to Procedures for Appointments for Teaching Professor Ranks

Scott Cutler said that the document needed an executive summary, as well as a “difference” paragraph for every rank so that faculty know what it takes to rise to each rank. He said that there are important differences between the ranks. VPAA Sanders explained the delay in presentation of the document to the Senate and the importance of Senate approval so that individuals could be promoted. There was a motion to approve the document, seconded, followed by a unanimous vote for approval.

III. Proposed Revisions to University Policy 201, “Faculty Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure”

Fleisher presented the proposed revisions to University Policy 201. Dave Caprette asked if the entire policy was up for discussion by the Senate or simply the recommended edits. Fleisher replied that the edits were being presented for Senate approval, and he suggested that the Senate begin with the “substantive changes” summary document. However, the Senate decided to review the edits page by page. Comments that necessitate additional changes to the document are shown below.

    * Policy 201 contains links/references to many outdated University Policies; this must be corrected.

    * Fleisher: Agreed.

    * VPAA Sanders: On page 1, in paragraphs 2 and 3, change “direct supervisor” to “direct academic supervisor.”

Section 2.d. Tenure for a faculty member becomes effective only after the Board of Trustees of Rice University (“the Board”) has approved the president's recommendation for tenure.

  • Provost Miranda: I recommend that this section state that tenure state that tenure is awarded July 1 after the Board’s vote, but legal counsel will weigh in on the issue.

Section 3.b Periodic performance evaluations for all non-tenure-track faculty are expected on at least an annual basis. The chair, or immediate supervisor if the faculty member is not departmentally affiliated, is responsible. See also Policy 214–03, “Faculty Performance Reviews.”

  • This practice of annual reviews should also apply to tenure-track (TT) faculty, to be consistent.

Section 3.b.1.b Teaching professors must hold a terminal degree in their teaching-related field.

  • The language regarding TT faculty uses the words “should normally” instead of “must.” I recommend that “should normally” be used for both TT and NTT.
  • In the same section, instead of “teaching-related field,” use “appropriate discipline.”
  • Reply: Rice is not seeking simply good teachers, but individuals who have reached the highest level in their field.
  • I just completed a national faculty hire search for the Center of Languages and Intercultural Communication, and many of the candidates do not hold a PhD. I am concerned that a wording change might mean that Rice could not hire a person who did not have a PhD.
  • Reply: It was our intention that NTT hires are teaching material in an area close to their field, not necessarily that they are degreed in teaching.
  • Fleisher: We will look at this language.

Section 3.b.1.c. Lecturers and senior lecturers may be included in faculty meetings at the departmental and school levels that pertain to teaching or other relevant departmental matters at the discretion of the chair or supervisor.

  • What is the comparable language for TT faculty regarding voting in departmental meetings?
  • Reply: The language does not exist for TT because the default is that they can vote.
  • Fleisher: It has been suggested that we write a document outlining the promotion from lecturer to senior lecturer. We will add that to the list of possible future actions.

 

Section 3.b.2.a. The professor in the practice rank is intended to foster excellence in teaching and mentoring by putting students in contact with persons who, by virtue of their credentials and experience (often outside of academia), bring a distinctive insight. Therefore, professors in the practice may participate in additional roles such as research, as approved by the chair, the dean, or other relevant authority (e.g., vice provost for research to be principal investigator for research support or department chair and dean of graduate and post-doctoral affairs to serve as member or chair of thesis or dissertation committee).

  • I recommend that the “or” in the phrase “…chair, dean, or other relevant authority…” be changed to “and.”
  • Provost Miranda: Include the “the Vice Provost for Research.”
  • Reply: The change is allowing NTT faculty to be involved with research, which was not allowed previously. We will have to discuss how to change this language.
  • Is it the intention that professor in the practice are eligible to perform research, but teaching professors are not?
  • Reply: This part does not mean to exclude research by the teaching faculty, but it may not be explicit in the language.
  • It should be stated explicitly that the NTT-Teaching ranks can perform research.
  • Fleisher: We will improve the language.
  • The term for professor in the practice is listed as three years, but I propose it should be five years, as recommended by AAUP.
  • Reply: This has to be a separate discussion with the administration.
  • Along those lines, we put the discussion of defining the professor in the practice position on hold last year; we need to continue that discussion. In industry, this is a vaulted title.

Section 3.b.2.b. The instructor rank is an entry-level title for instructional faculty. The duties of an instructor include teaching but usually also incorporate other activities, including scholarly research. At the time of their appointment, instructors usually have had their terminal degree for less than three years or are in the final phase of completing that degree.

Instructors may be appointed initially for up to two years. The initial appointment may be renewed, but the total length of service must not exceed five years. An appointment as an instructor carries no implication of eligibility for promotion or candidacy for any other position. Except for exceptional cases, non-tenure-track faculty with a primarily teaching function should be appointed as lecturers or teaching professors, not instructors.

A small number of faculty appointments in academic departments with duties corresponding to the description of “Instructor” are named positions.

  • Why do we need the title “lecturer” if we now have the teaching professor ranks?
  • VPAA Sanders: The teaching professor ranks are meant to provide a career path for those individuals who have subject expertise and pedagogy expertise. We expect them to be available to improve pedagogical research. We will need to work with deans and department chairs regarding titles.
  • We are all performing at the exact same level whether we have a terminal degree or not. We are all asked to do the same amount of work. How will the new system work for lecturers who do not have a terminal degree?
  • Reply: This system can be controversial in the School of Humanities, for example, which is one reason we have a path for lecturers to become senior lecturers. There is no way that everyone is going to be satisfied, but at least we have a senior lecturer track.
  • How will the system work, will the decisions be pushed down or pushed up?
  • VPAA Sanders: We will be proactive, asking school deans to identify faculty for the new titles.
  • Who identifies “exceptional cases?”
  • Reply: A lot of the exceptions are in Natural Sciences. For a number of years, we have had named instructors with specific duties for a defined period of time. They are “exceptional cases.” In general, there are instructors who are specified as faculty versus those who are identified as staff (Lifetime Physical Activity Program instructors or Emergency Medical Services instructors). We encourage other departments to use the title of lecturer.
  • Provost Miranda: Exceptions exist: in Math, the “Evans Instructors” are higher than the “Evans Lecturers.”
  • The revision in the document is to allow for exceptions and to provide guidance. A new title will require approval from the provost.

Section 3.c.1. Emeritus faculty: Professor Emeritus and emeritus professor

Persons retiring from tenured ranks may receive emeritus status. This honorary status is permanent, is not equivalent to employment, and does not require teaching or, except through supplemental appointments, entitle the person to support such as clerical help, office space, lab space, and so on.

  • The eligibility to receive emeritus status depends in part on a person’s initial appointment:
    Faculty who were initially appointed to a Rice tenure-track rank before July 1, 1995 automatically receive Professor Emeritus status upon retirement.
  • Faculty who were initially appointed to a Rice tenure-track rank before September 9, 1997, who decided to remain covered by Policy 201–87, and who notified the President’s Office of that decision in writing prior to December 31, 1997 also automatically receive the Professor Emeritus status upon retirement.
  • All other tenured faculty may receive the status of emeritus professor upon retirement.
     
  • There are multiple versions of Policy 201 and the use of the emeritus title is not consistent. At one point, emeritus was bestowed automatically, but no longer; faculty must apply to become emeritus.
  • The term emeritus is used throughout industry and at other academic institutions. I want this title to be allowed for NTT faculty, as well as TT faculty, when merited.
  • Reply: That is a conversation for another time. The edits were made per the working group’s charge. There are other items that we chose not to address; we could form another working group.
  • Does the second bullet point refer to faculty members who were hired between July 1995 and September 1997?
  • Suggestion: Include a reference to the policy in effect when the person was hired, 201-87 or 201-97.
  • Provost Miranda: People know the date of their hire, not the policy number that existed.
  • Fleisher: This section will be clarified, including making the capitalization consistent.

Section 3.c.6. A joint appointment is an appointment between two or more departments, one of which may be outside of Rice. A joint appointment may be extended when a person has significant teaching and/or research involvements in the two units. Tenure at Rice may only be provided if the primary department is at Rice and will be provided through that department.

  • Change the two instances of “provided” in the last sentence to “granted.”
  • Fleisher: Agreed.

Section 4.a. Offer Letter

  • This section refers to Policy 213-71, which means it was written in 1971; it needs to be updated.
  • The president does not send all offer letters; sometimes it is the deans or department chairs who send them. This section needs to be clarified.
  • Provost Miranda: This section needs to refer to Policy 201 with its start date of July 1. I do not want a letter from a dean or the president’s office to accidentally include the wrong date.

Section 5.a. Schedule of notification of reappointments and terminations

  • There is an error in the table (below) “one year” is not included.
    • If the appointment is shorter than one year …
    • If the appointment is longer than one year but shorter than two years….
    • If the appointment is longer than two years…
  • Fleisher: Agreed.

Section 7 Leaves

  • I have a strong objection to primary caregiver leave being different for NTT versus TT faculty. In addition, we need to put in the same provisions regarding a change in the tenure clock.
  • Reply: Regarding medical and primary caregiver leave, extending the clock is allowed. The president and provost sent announcements regarding several policies. I recommend that you bring this issue to the president and provost at another time.
  • I understand the distinction regarding research faculty, but regarding the career teaching ranks, this document states that lecturers are not eligible for primary care giver leave.
  • Reply: It has not been removed from anyone; it has been added to the teaching professor ranks.
  • We are establishing a principle that one group is inferior to the other.


IV. University Policy 214, “Faculty Performance Reviews”

The Senate reviewed the proposed revisions to University Policy 214.

  • Fleisher: a phrase regarding evaluations by students had been removed but will be added back to the document: “…but these may not be the only method used to evaluate teaching performance.”
  • The word “primarily” (shown in bold below) needs to be removed:

TEACHING PROFESSORS, PROFESSORS IN THE PRACTICE, AND LECTURERS

All full or part-time faculty in the ranks of teaching professors, professors in the practice, and lecturers should receive an annual performance review and a more in-depth review every three years or prior to a year in which promotion is being considered. These reviews should be in person and in writing with a mutually signed copy for both parties. Reviewers may rely primarily on student evaluations for annual reviews. For reappointments, three-year reviews, or pre-promotion reviews, a minimum of two letters from those familiar with the teaching and service (where appropriate) of the individual should be included. Copies should be entered into the department files and forwarded to the Dean and to the Provost.

  • Remove “rely primarily on” and replace with “may consider.”
  • Many factors should be considered when teaching is evaluated.
  • Just state that the same factors should be considered as are used for TT faculty.
  • In the Procedures document that we approved, there are five bullet points per title regarding performance evaluations. We could use the same exact language in Policy 214.
  • Fleisher: We will look at editing this language.

V. Adjourn
Fleisher said that per the Senate discussions of Policy 201 and Policy 214, many corrections would be made to the documents. He asked the Senate for a non-binding vote for approval of each document. The poll of the Senate regarding Policy 201 indicated approval, with one abstention. The poll of the Senate regarding Policy 214 indicated approval, with one opposed.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.