A&S considers teaching track
Plans are underway to implement a new professorship position at Washington University, titled the Professor of the Practice.
Chair of the Faculty Council and Professor of Chemistry Richard Loomis announced the development at the monthly Arts & Sciences faculty meeting held last Friday.
The policy associated with the position is currently in its drafting stage and will be released sometime in Jan. 2009, Loomis said.
According to the policy draft, the criteria for the position dictates that a professor of the practice must demonstrate either “an exemplary, long-standing record of experience in the professional practice of the field” or “an effective and successful teaching record.”
The professor of the practice is not a position that automatically grants tenure, nor is the position associated with the tenure track.
The commitments that come with the new position also differ from those of tenured faculty.
“[Such] faculty should not have the same obligations in research as a tenure-track professor,” Loomis said.
A professor of the practice would receive the voting rights within the University administration of a lecturer, not those of a tenure-track faculty member.
Loomis emphasized that the level of standards for the professor of the practice were nonetheless “quite high.”
“There will be a high bar in terms of what we are asking for in criteria… [A professor of the practice] must have a significant role in service and in profession,” Loomis said during the faculty meeting.
Loomis cited the example of a well-known architect or performer whose presence on campus would enrich the experiences of both students and faculty alike.
The length of commitment for the professor of the practice is short-term, but full-time, and a one-year contract represents the minimum time commitment. However, in the future each individual department can propose how long it would like the contract to be for members within its own program.
During the meeting, other faculty members brought up the question of whether all long-time lecturers would eventually be granted the title of professor of the practice.
“Many departments have hoped for that, but the Faculty Council would like [the position] to be [reserved for] very elite lecturers,” Loomis said. “So I would say not all long-term lecturers [will be professors of the practice].”
Loomis also stated that there would be a cap on the number of professors of the practice in the University.
A more detailed description of the position’s requirements was composed by the Faculty Senate and has circulated among a few faculty members; the document, however, has yet to be approved and is still unofficial.
According to Loomis, University faculty showed a sizable amount of interest in the implementation of the new position following Senate document’s circulation, as he was soon “bombarded with e-mails” and questions concerning the position.
Apart from the discussion about the new position, the Arts & Sciences faculty meeting also touched upon the topic of a faculty’s role in service and leadership within the College of Arts & Sciences.
According to Loomis, increased questions over the process of choosing which faculty members are selected to take on leadership roles arose after Ralph Quatrano was chosen to stand in as the interim dean for Arts & Sciences.