BACKGROUND TO RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FACULTY-PART-TIME APPOINTMENTS

RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION  COMMITTEE

Fall, 2007

 

Task Force Members:  Jeff Bryan, Melanie Cary, Sandra Grunwald, Sharon Jessee, Susan Kelly, Jennifer Miskowski, Tom Krueger, Beth Hartung (Consultant), Karen McLean (Consultant), Jennifer Wilson (Consultant), Jodi Vandenberg-Daves (Chair)

 

Task Force Charge (February 13, 2007):

“The senate executive committee requests that your task force evaluate and make recommendations about part-time tenure track and tenured positions as such positions might relate to recruitment and retention.  We encourage the consultation with senior administration about the possibility of such positions.  If possible, we would like you to make a preliminary report to faculty senate about the feasibility of these types of positions at the April 12, 2007 meeting.  If deemed feasible, we ask that you continue your work to develop policy recommendations for part-time tenure track and tenured positions.”

 

Substance of Recommendations:

We recommend that UW-L take advantage of existing personnel rules which allow for part-time faculty appointments through specific additional policies proposed by the task force:

  • We recommend two pre-tenure options:  part-time at time of hire and conversion to part-time for a period of up to two years.
  • We also recommend two post-tenure options:  one for up to two years for reasons of family or personal care and the other negotiable for any reason. 

See Proposed University-Wide Part-Time Faculty Appointment Policies for details.  See Recommendations to Facilitate Implementation of Part-Time Faculty Appointments for proposed implementation details.  

 

Progress Report:

The task force has met regularly throughout spring, summer, and early fall, 2007.  The Task Force chair has met with deans and department chairs in all three colleges and solicited input on proposed policy recommendations.  She also met with Chancellor Gow and Interim Provost Colclough.  Dean’s Council is scheduled to review the committee’s recommendations on October 23, 2007, after presentation of recommendations to Senate. 


Rationale for Recommendations:

Essentially, the task force’s charge is aimed at stemming the tide of junior faculty leaving the university through a strategy of providing increased career flexibility advocated nationally, most notably by the American Council on Education and the American Association of University Professors.  Numerous national reports and studies identify the particular challenges of women faculty with care-giving responsibilities and reveal lower levels of work satisfaction in academe among women.  In addition, given the existence of shared responsibilities within families, the importance of these policies to both genders is evident.     

 

The Task Force found that, despite the disruptions caused by any change in policy, there is much to be gained by instituting such policies, not only for junior faculty, but also for post-tenure faculty, and ultimately for departments and programs at the University.  We all benefit from an environment that promotes flexibility for employees.

 

a)      Offering part-time options is a promising recruitment tool for hiring qualified faculty, especially those in younger generations, including but not limited to young parents.  Faculty are sometimes willing to trade high salaries for the quality of life offered in a town like La Crosse outside the demands of a Research 1 institution. Options like this could enhance UW-L’s hiring package for new faculty.

b)      Offering flexibility could help repair the “leaky pipeline” of women faculty documented in many studies and evident on our own campus.

c)      Offering career flexibility options for mid-career/senior faculty could help departments maintain collective knowledge and particular areas of expertise.

d)      Career flexibility before retirement could facilitate replacement planning for departments for future retirees.  Currently departments often learn of retirement plans one year or less in advance.

e)      A part-time position option could help us recruit established professionals who would like to contribute to UW-L in a faculty role, at least initially on a part-time basis. 

f)        Offering part-time options could help us recruit and retain more diverse faculty.

g)      Offering part-time options could facilitate dual-career hiring.

h)      Dual career hiring initiatives might offset some of the increased benefit costs of part-time faculty receiving full health benefits.

i)        Departments may be able to make creative use of FTEs if faculty FTEs were to be defined in halves and not just wholes.

j)        We would not need to re-invent the wheel to implement these options since there are other models in academia. 

k)      At the same time, UW-L could be a leader in the system in developing actual policy in this area, and could help us compete for new faculty in a system with less-than-stellar salaries and in a profession that is behind the corporate world in terms of developing flexible employment policies.