Academic Council hears proposal to add senior lecturer title
- A senior lecturer position may be added to faculty ranks, which carries a 6 percent salary increase.
- Departments would have control over who is promoted to senior lecturer, though criteria must be robust.
The faculty ombudsman election will not take place until next meeting, and further discourse is needed about the duties of the position.
The Academic Council considered the addition of a new faculty rank during its meeting Thursday.
The creation of a new academic title of senior lecturer, first proposed last March, was further discussed Thursday before the council votes on the proposal next month. The new faculty rank is designed to provide promotion opportunities for lecturers, which is currently the only regular rank faculty appointment track without the possibility of promotion.
“Lecturers make an incredible contribution to our collective life, to the curriculum and to the university,” said Laurie Patton, dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences. “During the past three or four years we have discovered that a lot of lecturers have been in that rank for more than seven years, and we are increasingly uncomfortable with that.”
Thirty faculty members hold the rank of lecturer in Trinity. Two-thirds of the lecturers are concentrated in only three departments—10 in Romance Studies, six in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and four in biology.
“Given their numbers and their contribution, we think it is important for us to create this [new] rank,” Patton said.
Practical advantages of promotion to senior lecturer include a 6 percent salary increase, improvement of morale and incentives for faculty to make additional contributions to the curriculum and the profession, according to the proposal.
Criteria of promotion require candidates to have been in their lecturing position a minimum of two years. Promotion would be demonstrative of excellence both in the classroom and in the development of curriculum, Patton said.
Kevin Moore, senior associate dean of faculty affairs, added that each department develops their own criteria for faculty ranks and the council would work with different departments to make sure those criteria are robust.
Patton noted that the establishment of senior lecturer title is not an attempt to hire more lecturers and is not an imposition of this rank on anyone. Some departments have no lecturers at all, and it is up to departments to decide what they do with the new rank.
Peer institutions including Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania have the rank of senior lecturer, Patton added.
In other business:
The council heard a brief report from Faculty Ombudsman Jeffrey Dawson, professor emeritus of immunology, and decided to postpone the election for his position until next meeting.
Council Chair Joshua Socolar, professor of physics, noted that there has been no discussion about the faculty ombudsman position since 2004 and a council conversation is regarded necessary before the election.
The faculty ombudsman has jurisdiction to consider complaints from faculty and instructional staff concerning issues such as termination of appointment and instances of harassment.
“I spend time discussing with faculty who come in with their problems, and the meetings are basically about conflict resolution,” Dawson said. “They will come by and talk to me and sometimes it is just venting, so I will talk to them and get it out of their system… I have no power other than the power of persuasion.”
He added that the University needs to develop a better description of the position of the faculty ombudsman.
The council also heard three annual updates from the Academic Programs Committee that provides the provost with input regarding academic initiatives, the University Priorities Committee that assesses academic priorities based on financial budgets and the Global Priorities Committee that reviews and finds the University’s global strategies.