Feedback Needed on New Teaching Professor Faculty Positions
After careful planning with deans, and with support from Faculty Senate leadership, we are making progress in developing opportunities for non-tenure track faculty at the University of Kansas.
In recent years, lecturers have taken on additional responsibilities that their roles were never designed to encompass. One important way we are addressing this is to create a new job title series of non-tenure track faculty positions with added responsibilities. Our new faculty positions — teaching professors — will acknowledge the contributions of these individuals, provide greater job stability within the department, provide individuals with career advancement opportunities, and allow our tenured and tenure-track faculty to place greater focus on their passions and KU’s research endeavors.
The non-tenure track faculty positions (Assistant Teaching Professor, Associate Teaching Professor and Teaching Professor) are 3-year appointments. The teaching professors will focus primarily on instruction (approximately 75%), but also will contribute to research (especially on teaching and learning) and service. Much like the teaching post-docs that several units utilized in recent years, they also will work within their units to transform the curriculum and even assist in learning assessment activities.
The positions will give these important campus contributors opportunities for professional advancement within their role and voting rights on unit matters (excluding promotion and tenure decisions). Where appropriate, and with Graduate Studies approval, they will be able to serve on master’s thesis and dissertation committees.
These positions, which launched on a small-scale last year in a handful of departments, are consistent with Kansas Board of Regents policy and with similar positions we see at some of the nation’s top institutions.
I also see these positions offering benefits to tenure-track faculty. When KU adopted our last strategic plan in 2012, faculty were asked to transform their classroom experience and become experts in learning assessment. While these are still important goals, faculty were provided with few resources to build these skills and succeed. A formal expansion of the teaching professor roles will ensure more faculty have greater access to resources that lead to excellent engaged learning, and more KU students will have classroom experiences that reflect the way the students learn.
Conversations with deans and leadership in governance have been quite helpful in developing the attached guidelines for teaching professor positions, and we now look forward to broader campus feedback over the next two weeks. We will consider this feedback before we codify a final version through our policy process.
Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts and questions.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor