Term faculty have new titles, more consistent policies

Hundreds of faculty didn't change jobs over the summer, but their titles did.

Following a two-year process to gather information, receive feedback and suggest changes, nontenure-eligible faculty are now called term faculty. The Faculty Senate approved the change in May 2018.

The change brought new titles -- effective July 1, 2019 -- and are more than just a new business card. Appointments, reviews, reappointments and career advancement are now more consistent for about 400 term faculty.

"It gives a better definition of each of the responsibilities and parameters of the job," said associate professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology Rob Wallace, who chaired the task force on nontenure-eligible faculty. "It provides an explicit set of policies in terms of review that could be adhered to across the university. When we started this process, practices varied from unit to unit, from one side of campus to the other."

Term faculty appointments are based on professional and academic experience and performance.

There are five term faculty tracks, each with ranks of assistant, associate and full professor. A lecturer appointment remains available for instructional faculty.

  • Teaching: This applies to faculty who spend at least 75% of their time on instruction, advising and curriculum coordination. An assistant teaching professor has a multiyear contract but has not advanced in rank. The lecturer title is for early-career faculty with a contract of one year or less.
  • Practice: These faculty come from nonacademic employers but have significant professional experience. They spend at least 75% of their time teaching in their area of expertise.
  • Clinical: Clinical faculty provide services to individual patients or clients and are largely found in the College of Veterinary Medicine. They incorporate those services with their teaching.
  • Research: Faculty with this title spend 80% of their effort on externally funded research, with at least 10%, but no more than 20%, of their salary paid from the general fund.
  • Adjunct: Adjunct faculty have a wider range in their teaching. This appointment can help ISU retain or recruit outside experts or strong faculty members, including dual-career couples.

On July 1, the titles of continuous adjunct, senior lecturer, clinician and senior clinician were retired.

Wallace said the response from term faculty members has been largely positive.

"They are happy and satisfied that there is a career path for them now and, although it took a long time, the final product is comprehensive and gives them a voice," he said.