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Academic Council hears 2 reports from provost

Provost Peter Lange presented several new features of the University's retirement policy and the Medical Center released an appointments, promotion and tenure report at Thursday's meeting of the Academic Council.

Lange's presentation serves as an official response to the Committee on Retirement Policy, which offered four recommendations at the Nov. 11 Academic Council meeting. The committee, chaired by Professor of Sociology Angela O'Rand, sought a set of emeritus faculty benefits, financial planning programs for faculty members, an intermediate analysis of faculty demographics and the continuation of individualized retirement negotiations.

Lange responded favorably, in one way or another, to each of the committee's requests.

He released a statement that formally defines the status of emeritus faculty on such issues as access to libraries and athletics facilities, DukeCards and parking privileges. Many of the benefits have long existed but were never formally expressed.

"When this is put into the faculty handbook, [emeritus faculty] will have a clear list of what their rights and benefits are," Lange said.

He also announced the planned hiring of a new administrative staffer, the assistant for emeritus affairs, who will work in the provost's office and tend to emeritus inquiries and requests that fall outside of departmental jurisdiction.

Subsidized financial retirement planning is now in place on a trial basis, Lange said, with workshops beginning next week to help faculty members with financial management and planning. The workshops will be offered jointly by the University and TIAA-CREF, a financial services firm, and will be customized to meet the needs of the University faculty. An oversight committee has been established to provide feedback on the program.

Lange also agreed to work with the Executive Committee of the Academic Council to provide an annual model of faculty demographics, and said retirement negotiations will remain individualized.

The afternoon's other major presentation was given by Dr. Michael Frank, chair of pediatrics and the clinical APT committee, focusing largely on educating the faculty on the differences between promotions and tenure in the Medical Center and in the University.

In addition, Frank and Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs Dr. Joseph Corless discussed the proportion of women among the various ranks of the Medical Center faculty. "We have a great [gender] disparity at the tenure track," Corless said.

Although female professors comprise only 20 percent of the 1,100 regular appointments at the Medical Center, and an even smaller percentage amongst higher-ranking faculty, data suggest trends toward more female representation.

Two African-American clinical chairs - the first in Medical Center history - were also recently hired, which Frank interpreted as a positive sign.


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