Faculty Classification Initiative Delivers Final Presentation
A faculty subcommittee charged with clarifying the classification of employees at Georgia Tech has received the green light for a public reading and vote.
At last week’s monthly meeting of the Institute’s Executive Board, subcommittee chair Jeanne Balsam delivered a presentation on recommended changes to the faculty handbook that will alter the existing definitions of faculty members who can participate in faculty governance. If approved, nearly all job titles will fit one of four categories: academic faculty, research faculty, administrative officer, or staff.
Changes to the faculty handbook require two separate readings and votes of the General Faculty, the first of which is scheduled for February 18, at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Theater. The second reading would follow on April 22. All General Faculty members are allowed to attend the meeting and vote.
Though relatively straightforward, the ramifications of such a change will also lead to modifications in governance at Georgia Tech, Each faculty group, for example, will have its own body — an Academic Faculty Senate and a Research Faculty Senate — for reviewing policies and practices specific to their institutional role. They will also meet collectively on matters of mutual interest, and as such, will constitute the Faculty Senate.
The subcommittee has also advocated for the creation of a staff council and a postdoctoral association. Each of the proposed entities currently has its own working group developing a proposal for leadership review.
The changes clear up lingering ambiguities surrounding the “general faculty” status, a designation not traditionally recognized within academia. The subcommittee first devised definitions for academic and research faculty; then, with the Office of Human Resources, reviewed every job title and job description, and sorted positions accordingly. Anyone losing general faculty status will retain their current rate of leave accrual and, if serving on an elected faculty committee, complete their term of service.
“These changes do not represent an end point in how Tech enacts faculty governance,” said Balsam, who is also principal research associate in GTRI. “It is one step in a process. While our focus has been on addressing faculty categories, our hope is for greater advocacy among all segments of the campus community.”
For example, she said, the creation of a staff council will be the first organization representing this cohort. In addition, there are suggestions to create a task force to represent postdoctoral and visiting faculty, two groups who have previously had no formal voice or representation. This may in time lead to a standing committee for this purpose.
Summary of changes to Faculty Handbook:
A website has been created that shows the proposed Draft 2014 Faculty Handbook and provides an opportunity to provide feedback: