Learn the Lingo — The administration’s jargon defined

Ten-year?  Tenor?  Tenure?  The administration is spitting jargon like an angry llama.  Read on to wipe the saliva out of your eyes and figure out exactly what they’re actually saying.

Tenure: Protects a faculty member in the exercise of academic freedom and provides continuous employment with the college until the faculty member resigns or retires.

Tenure is a system by which a faculty member serves for six years on probationary appointments.  During that term, the faculty member works to meet college-established standards for value to students (teaching effectiveness), scholarly development, value to the department, and contributions to the college.  In the sixth year of the faculty member’s term at the college, s/he is reviewed on those criteria by department members, the Faculty Personnel Committee, the provost and the president.  With a positive recommendation, the Board of Trustees grants tenure.  (Susan Conner, provost)

Probationary: A person serving a probation or a trial. (Oxford English Dictionary)

Tenure-track: A faculty member hired in a national search who has six-year probationary period until tenure. (Susan Conner)

Visiting professor: A faculty member hired nationally, regionally, or locally on a one-year appointment (with the possibility of renewal if there are continuing programmatic or enrollment needs). (Susan Conner)

Adjunct professor: A faculty member hired on a course-by-course basis typically for specialty courses, lessons, or as a replacement for someone on leave. (Susan Conner)

Full-time equivalent (FTE): A formula used by places like US News and World Report to recognize the size of a faculty and have a standard measure. (Susan Conner)

A professor must be considered to be teaching the equivalent of 3 classes to be considered a FTE.

  • 3 adjunct professors = 1 FTE
  • 1 visiting professor = 1 FTE
  • 1 tenure or tenure-track professor = 1 FTE

Financial exigency:

1) While some institutions have adopted a formal definition, Albion College has not. (Mike Fransden, VP finance)

2) An imminent financial crisis that threatens the survival of the institution as a whole and that cannot be alleviated by less drastic means. (American Association of University Professors)

Curriculum and Resources Committee (C&RC):

C&RC reviews all matters of academic and curricular policy and makes recommendations to the faculty thereon.  In addition, C&RC makes recommendations to the administration concerning the number and allocation of faculty and academic staff, and reports these recommendations to the faculty.  Duties include:

  • reviewing changes in total College enrollments and their long‑term implications;
  • evaluating the allocation of faculty and staff in light of changes in the relative enrollments among departments;
  • evaluating the allocation of faculty and staff in light of changes in existing programs or the introduction of new programs;
  • planning for contingencies to deal with changes resulting from projected enrollment trends;

(Faculty Handbook – not a complete list of duties)

Faculty Steering Committee (FSC):

The Faculty Steering Committee has broad responsibility for the effective functioning of faculty governance.  Duties include:

  • acting as liaison for the faculty to the administration;
  • serving as representative for the faculty to the administration;
  • assigning to the appropriate standing committee or committees any problem or issue not already allocated as a regular function of any existing committee when consideration of such a problem or an issue has been requested by appropriate faculty action or by appropriate request of students, administration, or Board of Trustees;
  • appointing ad hoc committees to study specific issues;
  • and adjudicating disagreements arising between two or more committees concerning responsibility for policies or issues;
  • rendering an opinion as to whether proper procedures were followed in the decision to discontinue a program or department of instruction.
  • In cases which might give rise to a dismissal hearing (i.e., cases of termination of continuous tenure for cause or because of financial exigency or discontinuance of a program or department, or the dismissal for cause of a faculty member previous to the expiration of a term appointment)

(Faculty Handbook – not a complete list of duties)

Budgets, Salaries and Benefits Committee (BS&BC):

The Budget, Salaries, and Benefits Committee advises the administration on matters pertaining to faculty salaries and benefits, to the academic budget, and to the use of physical facilities.  Duties include:

  • advising on salary and on such matters of faculty welfare as pensions, insurance plans, sick leaves, group health insurance, retirement, other faculty benefits, and such other matters of financial planning as are deemed necessary;
  • advising on matters pertaining to the academic budget, including departmental budgets;

(Faculty Handbook – not a complete list of duties)

Still confused? Post the words that baffle you, and we’ll update our list of student-friendly definitions.

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