As I have noted in a post last year (See: Academic Leadership), our university faculty will be strengthened by an environment that permits Assistant and Associate Professors to fully establish their international reputations as academic scholars. This assists them in jumping the promotion hurdles in front of them.
While all faculty have a role in the management and shared governance responsibilities of the university, some roles entail unusual administrative and leadership burdens. Chief among these is the role of department chair, unit head, or program director. These roles coordinate the work of full professors, other faculty, and research and administrative staff. They lead tenure and promotion reviews and oversee the construction of dossiers on those candidates. They interact directly with the dean’s and provost’s offices on behalf of the department. They represent the department to external bodies seeking contact to collaborate with the program. For these reasons, it is much preferred that full professors assume these roles.
While some service duties are appropriate for all faculty, particularly those who seek to contribute as leaders at the university, some limits to the burdens of service are appropriate to set for those faculty who still face promotion reviews.
On Friday, the Provost’s Office will discuss with the Main Campus Executive Faculty a new policy regarding such administrative duties: Starting with appointments that begin in the academic year 2014-2015, unless prior approval has been obtained from both the offices of the provost and the relevant dean, tenure-line faculty appointments that require 50% or more administrative duties will be restricted to full professors.
Policies like this need explicit exceptions. First, there are currently some faculty who are not full professors serving in roles with large administrative duties. They should be able to complete their terms without application of the new policy. Second, at Georgetown there are some small departments and programs that do not have any full professors. Third, extraordinary circumstances may require the appointment of an associate professor for administrative duties. In these cases, the dean’s office must assist the department in finding a leadership strategy that is tailored to its needs and discuss this with the provost prior to the appointment.
I look forward to faculty input on the ideas above.