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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

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

 

Katy B. Zarolia (student), on behalf of the Cabinet of College Councils, has filed the proposal below to increase student involvement in the hiring process of tenure-track faculty.

The secretary has classified this proposal as major legislation. The recommendation will be presented to the Faculty Council for discussion at its meeting on February 19, 2001, but by Faculty Council rules action cannot be taken for at least 21 calendar days after its circulation. Major legislation approved by the Council must be submitted to the General Faculty on a no-protest basis, as prescribed in the by-laws of the Council.

Only minor editorial changes have been made in the proposal as it was received by the secretary.

 

<signed>

John R. Durbin, Secretary
The Faculty Council

 

 

 

This legislation was posted on the Faculty Council web site (http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on February 13, 2001. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.


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

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 and the college council.

Proposal

Students will be involved in the hiring process of new faculty through any of the following options. Time and location of all programs 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 provided 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.

  • Class Lecture — Candidates will be asked to 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. It will be the responsibility of the college council to inform students about the class. This session will be open to all students, and Candidate Information Packets will be provided. Student opinion should be surveyed.
  • Lunch with Students — Candidates will be asked to have lunch with a group of students during their interview process. College councils will be responsible for recruiting students to participate. Candidate Information Packets will be provided.
  • Student Member on Committee — One undergraduate/graduate student (or both, depending on courses to be taught by candidate) shall be included on each tenure-track faculty selection committee. Students must be enrolled in the college 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. College councils will be responsible for recommending students to serve on the committee. These student representatives will have a vote equal to other members of the committee, and will have equal access to all information made available to the committee. The department may not veto the student’s choice or influence the selection of the student representative.

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 regards 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.