Senate talks positives of differing experience in faculty

Makayla Tendall

Issues that tenured and non-tenured eligible faculty face was the main topic Faculty Senate on Nov. 11. 

Provost Jonathan Wickert said faculty members have asked him about the balance between tenured and non-tenured faculty members. 

He was asked about departments that continuously have non-tenure eligible faculty teach introductory undergraduate classes and whether or not it was a problem.

Wickert said the purpose of having NTE faculty members teach many classes is because they help with a lot of the ‘heavy-lifting’ that tenured professors — who also do research and teach classes — do not have time to do. Wickert also said much of the NTE faculty professional practice experience to the classroom that also benefits students. 

“As we higher faculty, it’s not unconstrained process,” Wickert reminded the Senate.

If the university focuses only on hiring tenured faculty, they would not be able to hire as many faculty members total, which would not meet students’ needs. The key, Wickert said, is to find a balance between the number of tenured and NTE faculty members. 

A bill to change the post-tenure review specifications was also discussed at the Senate meeting. 

The post-tenure review is designed to be a peer review for tenured faculty members to continue advancing their performance. 

On the post-tenure review, tenured faculty can rate peers as superior. Many of the senators had voiced concerns that rating a peer as superior or unsuperior was misleading and a bad representation of a faculty member’s work. The proposed change would adjust the section to say “exceeds expectations.”

Stephanie Downs, ISU Wellness Coordinator, also spoke at Nov. 11 meeting on what she had been working on to change the university’s views on wellness and well-being. 

Downs asked faculty members what first came to their minds when they thought of wellness and well-being. 

The words exercise and broccoli were some of the first words that came to mind for wellness, while the words vacation, happiness, no stress and workplace environment were the first to come to mind for well-being.

The exercise proved Downs’ point that wellness and well-being, essentially the same words, do not deal specifically with physical health. 

Downs said she wanted faculty to start focusing on bringing their best self to work each day. In order to do that, she said they had to balance career, social, emotional, financial, physical and community health.

Interim Dean Joyce Garnett for Parks Library, spoke to Faculty Senate about what her department is continuing to do advance service provided by the research library. 

Accessibility is a large focus for library employees, Garnett said. The digital repository now has close to 30,000 journals, articles and research materials on file, which adds to students’ accessibility of the library, Garnett said. 

William Carter, assistant professor for world languages, was also asked about the mold on books that took most of the German language collection out of circulation, along with many other books. 

Garnett commented that the situation is under control and said she made sure the library does not have a humidity problem.

“The collection itself was subject to heightened humidity. It’s actually quite pretty, this nice little bloom that looks like artificial vintage,” Garnett said.