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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

PROPOSAL TO INCREASE STUDENT INVOLVEMENT IN THE HIRING PROCESS OF TENURE-TRACK FACULTY

The following proposal was approved by the Faculty Council on April 16, 2001, and is being circulated to the General Faculty on a no-protest basis, as described in D 1234.



<signed>

John R. Durbin, Secretary
The Faculty Council


Background

President Faulkner has stated that one of his highest priorities is to lower the student-faculty ratio here at the University. The goal is to reach a ratio comparable to our peer institutions by recruiting 300 new professors over the next ten years with thirty new faculty members recruited this year. The Cabinet of College Councils strongly believes that students should be involved in the hiring of all tenure-track faculty. Hiring processes vary by college and department, but the Cabinet of College Councils hopes that this proposal will serve to facilitate student involvement in the hiring process. Hence, adaptation of the proposal will vary in each college and will be the collaborative decision of the dean, department chair, and college council.

Students will be involved in the hiring process of new faculty through any of the following options.

Time and location of all programs associated with the first two options will be made available to the college council at least one week before the event is to occur. Surveys will be provided to students to evaluate the candidate's performance, and the student survey results will be considered in the hiring decision and become part of the official committee records.

Candidate Information Packets shall also be available at each option available below. A Candidate Information Packet shall consist of the applicant's curriculum vitae, a statement of his/her teaching and research philosophy, letter(s) of recommendation from former students (if applicable), and any other information or statements that the applicant wishes to share with our student community.

  • Lecture — Under this option, candidates would be asked to present a research seminar or teach a class to a group of students or to a regularly scheduled section of another professor 's course on a topic of their choice. This session will be open to all students, and Candidate Information Packets will be available. Student opinion would be surveyed.
  • Interview with Students — Under this option, candidates would be asked to meet with a group of undergraduate and/or graduate students during their interview process. Candidate Information Packets will be available. 1 Student opinion would be surveyed.
  • Voting Student Members on Committee — Under this option, at least one undergraduate and/or at least one graduate student shall be included on each tenure-track faculty selection committee. Students must be enrolled in the department in which the faculty member will serve and must be appointed to the committee by the time the first interview process begins with the candidates. These student representatives will have an equal vote to other members of the committee, and equal access to all information made available to the committee.
  • Non-voting Studnt Members on Committee — Under this option, at least one undergraduate and/or at least one graduate student shall be included on each tenure-track faculty selection committee. Students must be enrolled in the department in which the faculty member will serve and must be appointed to the committee by the time the first interview process begins with the candidates. These student


1 Corrected the statement ñundergraduate and graduate studentsî to read ñundergraduate and/or graduate studentsî on April 27, 2001.


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representatives will be non-voting members of the committee, however they will have equal responsibilities of other committee members and equal access to all information made available to the committee.

Rationale and Conclusion

In the past and coming years, faculty hiring has been growing in importance among the President and the Executive Officers of the University. Recently, Provost Ekland-Olson instituted a policy initiative requiring that departments assess candidates' "teaching interests and talents." The Cabinet of College Councils believes that the students of the University will be able to assist in lending a unique perspective to the selection process in regard to the focus of recruiting diverse faculty whose backgrounds represent those of our student population. Through the college councils' involvement in faculty hiring, we hope to strengthen the relationship between faculty and students at the University. In addition, we hope to reemphasize the importance of the classroom in faculty service.

Several colleges at the University, including the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the College of Communication, the School of Law, and the School of Architecture have included student members with voting rights on faculty hiring committees. The LBJ School of Public Affairs and the School of Architecture have also implemented mock classes. The Cabinet of College Councils encourages other colleges to look to these schools as a benchmark for student participation in faculty hiring.