Two schools out of compliance with University tenure rate

Neither the School of Public Health and Health Services nor the Graduate School of Education and Human Development are currently in compliance with University policies regarding the number of full-time faculty in each school, but both are making strides to correct the problem, officials said this week.

The faculty code requires that at least 50 percent of professors in each school be tenured or tenure-accruing and caps non-tenured professors at 25 percent of the school’s total active faculty. The remaining 25 percent represent the visiting, research or emeritus faculty in departments.

SPHHS, as of this fiscal year, reached the 50 percent mark, but still employs too many non-tenured professors at 38 percent. GSHED faces the same problem, with 33 percent – 23 faculty members – of their full-time faculty not tenured or on tenure-track.

One of GW’s newest schools, SPHHS has been addressing this shortcoming since its creation in 1997. In 2005, only 39 percent of faculty members were employed as tenured or tenure-accruing faculty, SPHHS Interim Dean Josef Reum said.

GSEHD had 59 percent of faculty on a tenure-accruing track in 2003, but broke compliance by employing more than 25 percent of its full-time professors not on a tenure track, GSHED Director of School Communication Jane Bornhorst said.

Officials in both schools reported that policies implemented by the programs are helping increase the number of tenured-track faculty.

“We agree, SPHHS is out of compliance,” Reum said. “We take the situation seriously, and we believe we are making strides toward compliance with Article I.B. 1,” referring to the documents outlining the requirements for tenured professor employment.

Reum said either he or the new dean the University is searching for will meet with the committee established by the Faculty Senate to monitor SPHHS progress twice a year until the school is in compliance. The dean also submits an annual report to the Faculty Senate.

“Every department in SPHHS is currently recruiting tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty,” Reum said. “We estimate that six of the seven departments will comply with the 50 percent rule in [fiscal year] 2010,” which began on July 1, 2009, and ends June 30, 2010.

SPHHS increased the employment of tenure and tenure-accruing faculty from 39 percent in fiscal year 2005 to 62 percent in October of 2009, and budgeted $965,000 for faculty recruitment this year.

Officials in GSEHD also reported efforts to increase the number of tenured faculty in the program.

“Each time the dean has submitted her annual faculty search plan to the executive vice president for academic affairs, she has requested that some of the existing faculty lines be converted to tenure-accruing lines, when appropriate,” Bornhorst said.

GSEHD went from 59 percent tenured or tenured-track in 2003 to employing 67 percent of faculty as tenured or tenure-track during the 2008-2009 academic year.

Neither SPHHS nor GSEHD has been greatly affected by the shortcoming, either with the Faculty Senate or in the academic community.

“The Faculty Senate has always worked to resolve issues of noncompliance with the faculty code through discussion and cooperation,” said Arthur Wilmarth, chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. “In an extreme case, the code provides for a faculty vote of no confidence, but that remedy is rarely used.”

Bornhorst said that GSEHD’s lack of tenured or tenured-track faculty has not hurt GSEHD’s academic reputation.

“Last April, GSEHD was ranked 23rd in the nation among graduate schools of education for total funded research by U.S. News and World Report,” Bornhorst noted.

Lauren French contributed

to this report.

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