Joint Appointment Under Evaluation for Consistency
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 02:10
The university is currently working to implement new regulations to address inconsistency in faculty joint appointments across departments.
Since her appointment in August, Vice Provost for Faculty Adriana Kugler has created guidelines that standardize the process and encourage more joint appointments. The guidelines are currently under review by the Faculty Senate for approval.
“Basically, the idea is that there are some schools and some departments which really do a great job with these joint appointments,” Kugler said. “But there are many other departments and many other places on campus that do not take advantage of more interdisciplinary appointments.”
Currently all faculty who have joint appointments are considered associate faculty. Under the new guidelines, faculty will be distinguished as affiliate faculty or as courtesy joint appointments.
“Courtesy joint appointments are intended to provide for more lasting and substantial collaboration than affiliate faculty appointments,” President of the Faculty Senate Wayne Davis wrote in an email. “I think we have had both sorts of appointments before, so this change is probably more in the nature of a clarification.”
A complication of joint appointments is the pay system for the faculty.
“For a while, [payment] was handled by both departments that you were employed under,” Harley Balzer, a professor in both the departments of government and history, said. “The number [of joint-appointment professors] has grown so large that we can’t even try to operate like that anymore.”
The primary department that hired the professor is usually in charge of handling the salary of the faculty member, though this was not always the case.
Despite past attempts to address confusion over joint-appointment faculty designation, inconsistency still persists.
Joint-appointment faculty members are subject to the same guidelines of their single department colleagues, including teaching two classes each semester, one in each department for which they work, as well as an interest in the convergence of disciplines.
Typically, faculty members have research and teaching interests in areas between two fields.
“It’s usually a matter of common interest in material covered by two units,” Balzer said. “The SFS, for example, likes to think of itself as elite, so they like to cherry-pick the people they think are the best — the people who they believe show an interest in the other unit.”
Because the revisions of these new guidelines are still being discussed by the Main Campus Executive Faculty and the Provost’s Office, the possible impact of the implementation of such rules has yet to be determined.