Nontenure track faculty at MU to get representation on faculty council

Thursday, May 6, 2010 | 6:59 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA ­– On Wednesday nontenure track faculty at MU will have something they haven’t had before – representation on the MU Faculty Council.

Nontenure track faculty, who until now were missing representation on campus committees, will have access to electronic ballots to elect three representatives in teaching, research and professional programs to the council.

Similar elections were held a few years ago, Faculty Council Chairwoman Leona Rubin said, but representatives stopped attending council meetings and the positions just disappeared. New avenues for contacting faculty members, such as the recently implemented faculty listserv, will hopefully prevent history from repeating itself, she said.

“There are people on the nontenure track who have been here for 20 years,” Rubin said. “They are certainly invested in and affected by the decisions made at this university, so I think they need to have appropriate representation.”

Rubin said nontenure track faculty Jason Aubrey, business mathematics coordinator, and Nicole Monnier, assistant teaching professor of Russian, jump-started the process by asking to sit in on council meetings.

“They wanted to understand the expectations of holding a council seat so they could communicate them to their faculty,” she said.

In addition to missing representation on the faculty council, Rubin said, nontenure track faculty were not able to serve on campus committees until this year. Of the 150 faculty volunteers this year, 54 were nontenure track faculty, she said.

Of the roughly 2,600 faculty at MU, Rubin said approximately 600 are ranked nontenure track faculty. According to Rubin, the designation of “ranked” faculty stems from job title – anyone with the word “professor” in his or her title is a ranked faculty member.

Nontenure track faculty are still not able to vote at faculty meetings, a fact Rubin hopes to address in the future despite the difficulty to implement such a vote.

“I would love for them to have full representation, but that would require a change to the collected rules,” she said.

Also at the meeting, Rubin reported that MU is anticipating its largest freshman class on record for fall 2010, with 6,036 students expected (an increase of 461 from last fall). She said all colleges throughout the university saw an increase in applications except the Trulaske College of Business and the School of Journalism. She also said that graduate applications increased, as did those from African-American, Hispanic and transfer students.

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