October 4, 2019 – Dr. Shaw shared with the Robert Holland Faculty Senate that he was forming a Clinical/Instructional Faculty Task Force with the charge of ““Develop recommendations on how the university can best support the academic program through non-tenure-track faculty with a stronger teaching load, how we can adequately and fairly evaluate these faculty, and how we can have a clear process for promotion for these faculty.”
November 8, 2019 – Dr. Shaw shared with the Robert Holland Faculty Senate that the Clinical/Instructional Faculty Task Force had been established and Faculty Senate Vice-President, Mary Ann Jones was appointed chair. The committee of eighteen was composed of faculty and administrators of various ranks and representing all campus instructional units. The Task Force used a subcommittee approach to address each part of Dr. Shaw’s charge and engaged with additional faculty who were not members of the Task Force for input. During the November 2019 Faculty Senate meeting, the Faculty Senate Faculty Senate requested, and Provost Shaw agreed, to include additional consideration of and recommendations for:
- A pathway of promotion for Lecturers
- A pathway of promotion for Instructors
July 28, 2020 – Dr. Shaw shared the Clinical/Instructional Faculty Task Force’s Report and formally requested that the Robert Holland Faculty Senate review it and provide recommendations to him in response to the Task Force’s recommendations which included:
- Addition of Non-Tenure Track Ranks for Instructors (Instructor, Instructor II, Senior Instructor)
- Addition of a Non-Tenure Track Teaching Rank (Teaching Professor, Professor of Practice)
- Clarification of Clinical Professor Ranks
August 21, 2020 – Faculty Senate President Robichaux-Davis assigned the Task Force’s Report for review and recommendations to the Faculty Affairs Committee which was chaired by Senator Kathy Sherman-Morris. Other committee members were Senators Kimberly Kelly, Stephanie King, Lyndsey Miller, Todd Mlsna, Joel Pas, Amanda Stone and Chinling Wang.
November 13, 2020 – The Faculty Affairs Committee provided an update to the Faculty Senate.
- Senator Sherman-Morris shared that the Faculty Affairs Committee has read the Task Force’s Report and had begun to discuss each section of the report.
- Senator Sherman-Morris shared that the Task Force recommended that Mississippi State University provide multiple non-tenure-track options that carry a heavier teaching load, two of which are currently offered (Clinical and Instructor), but need modifications, and the addition of a professorial track with an emphasis on teaching.
- Senator Sherman-Morris reminded the Faculty Senate that currently Instructors have no promotional opportunities. She stated that the Task Force recommended opportunities for promotion for faculty within instructional ranks to enhance retention. The Task Force reviewed other SEC and peer institutions to develop their recommendations which included the addition of Instructor ranks of Instructor II and Senior Instructor.
- The Task Force Report also included specific recommendations concerning the promotion of Instructors which included:
- 0% required research expectations.
- Time in rank equivalent to tenure-track.
- Current Instructors will be allowed to count current years toward promotion.
- Departments will have discretion to hire with years toward promotion.
- Department heads will determine appropriate financial compensation within their budget.
- Senator Sherman-Morris also shared the Task Force’s recommendation to create a non-tenure track teaching intensive professorial track for faculty who are appointed with a majority responsibility for teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The purpose of this track would be to provide a department with the ability to hire professorial ranks of professionals to teach without the responsibilities of research. Suggested track titles were Teaching Professor and Professor of Practice with Assistant, Associate and Professor ranks within each. The Task Force also recommended that Departments would determine promotion standards in addition to the following guidelines:
- Minimum of 50% teaching responsibilities with 0% research expectations, though individuals may request up to 50% release for other scholarly activities.
- Time in rank will be equivalent to tenure-track.
- Financial compensation for promotion will be uniform across all units and must be consistent with those of other academic faculty.
- Senator Sherman-Morris also stated that the Task Force recommended that clinical ranks be used for teaching in a true clinical setting. Potential, but not limited to, departments that may choose to use the clinical rank: Veterinary Medicine, Psychology, Food Science, and Nutrition & Health Promotion.
- Senator Sherman-Morris further shared that the Task Force recognized that all faculty employed by the University should be expected to participate to some degree in service activities within the university, the discipline, and/or the community as well as meet high standards of professional integrity, collegiality and objectivity, and to further the goals of their unit and the University.
- Senator Sherman-Morris welcomed the Senators as well as those they represent to provide input and feedback to the Faculty Affairs committee concerning the Task Force’s recommendations, specifically the addition of the new faculty ranks. She indicated that the committee had planned a meeting with Dr. Shaw to ask questions and get clarification on what he was expecting from the committee in terms of agreement/disagreement with the Task Force’s recommendations. She stated that she would present a follow-up report at the next meeting of the Faculty Senate.
January 15, 2021 – The Faculty Affairs Committee provided an update to the Faculty Senate.
- Senator Sherman-Morris shared that the Faculty Affairs Committee was not ready to make a formal recommendation to the Faculty Senate. She stated that the Faculty Affairs Committee wished to present a draft of new instructional titles and an outline of the committee’s next steps. She shared instructional faculty descriptions for Instructor ranks, Teaching Professor ranks and Professor of Practice ranks.
- Senator Sherman-Morris stated that the committee’s next step would be to survey the general faculty at the end of January 2021 or the beginning of February 2021 with the following goals:
- Determine if faculty support the tiers of promotion for instructors, and if not—determine why not.
- Determine if faculty in units that employ clinical instructors and extension instructors believe there is a need for a similar tiered promotion structure that retains the “clinical” and “extension” designations.
- Determine if faculty support the addition of Teaching Professor/Professor of Practice titles and if not, determine why not.
- Determine what should be considered as faculty senate and administrators develop policies to oversee the new positions.
- Senator Sherman-Morris requested written feedback from any interested senators prior to January 22, 2021 regarding either the position descriptions or the goals of the survey.
- Senator Sherman-Morris stated that the Faculty Affairs Committee would present the survey results to the Faculty Senate along with their recommended changes to the Faculty Handbook at a subsequent meeting, but as soon as possible.
March 12, 2021 –The Faculty Affairs Committee conducted a survey of the General Faculty to gauge whether they would be supportive of adding additional ranks for instructional faculty. Senator Sherman-Morris shared with results of this survey with the Faculty Senate.
- Three hundred seventy-five faculty responded to this survey with at least five faculty members responding from each of the colleges or academic units.
- A majority of faculty supported the addition of each of the new titles. The following are the percentages who answered the question “Do you support the addition of…” and replied ‘yes.’
Percent in support (n of N)
Teaching Professor/Professor of Practice
69.2% (254 of 367)
88.5% (278 of 314)
Clinical Instructor promotion*
Extension Instructor promotion*
83.8% (62 of 74)
*of *of those who work in a unit that employs instructors/clinical instructors/extension instructors.
- Senator Sherman-Morris stated that the Faculty Affairs Committee would make a formal recommendation during the April 2021 meeting of the Robert Holland Faculty Senate.
April 9, 2021 – On behalf of the Faculty Affairs Committee, Senator Stephanie King presented the committee’s formal response to the Clinical/Instructional Faculty Task Force’s recommendations.
- Senator King shared that the Faculty Affairs Committee had discussed the Task Force’s report, conducted thorough background research including meetings with various stakeholders, and conducted a survey to gauge whether faculty would be supportive of adding additional ranks for instructional faculty.
- Senator King stated that the Faculty Affairs Committee recommended that the Faculty Senate approve the committee’s recommendation to add a rank structure for Instructor positions (Instructor I, Instructor II, Instructor III) and add two new non-tenure track instructional positions with professorial rank (Teaching Professor and Professor of Practice).
- Senator King also shared that the most frequent comment within the open-ended survey responses focused on the need for more detail and clarity. This included clarifying the roles of the positions, the differences among positions, the requirements for promotion and the promotion process.
- Senator King stated that instructional faculty members with professorial rank are currently employed by Mississippi State, but some are classified as “clinical” even though they are not instructing in traditional clinical environments. She indicated that the committee felt it would be appropriate to introduce faculty titles that more accurately reflected the responsibilities of the instructional faculty and to develop policies that would more adequately guide their appointment and promotion.
November 5, 2021 – The Faculty Senate Executive Committee met with the Academic Department Heads Advisory Council to engage in an initial discussion about the proposed faculty ranks. The department heads shared their concerns and thoughts regarding the need to provide faculty with detailed information about the promotion process for faculty in the proposed ranks. They suggested that a visual representation of all of the faculty tracks be created and shared with the General Faculty. They also shared questions they had or that their faculty had about the new faculty ranks. Those questions were subsequently shared with Dr. Shaw.
February 7, 2022 – Dr. Shaw met with Faculty Senate Executive Committee to share the approval of the Instructor, Professor of Practice and Teaching Professor rank titles by Associate Deans Council and Deans Council. Dr. Shaw also shared a report that was submitted to him from a subcommittee of the Associate Deans Council charged with responding to the Faculty Senate’s recommendations. This subcommittee was chaired by Dr. Melanie Loehwing; Senator Robert Banik served on the committee as the representative of the Faculty Senate. Dr. Shaw asked the Executive Committee to review the Associate Dean’s subcommittee report and to critically review the Faculty Handbook in terms of changes that would be needed should the additional faculty ranks be added to the handbook. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee had an initial discussion about the structure of Section V of the Faculty Handbook and the process for promotion for the new instructional tracks.
February 23, 2022 – Dr. Shaw met with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to discuss their thoughts on revisions to the Faculty Handbook should the additional faculty ranks be added to the handbook. Discussion centered on the need to think through what the Faculty Senate’s proposed promotion process would look like for the new faculty ranks so that this information could be shared with the faculty during informational Town Hall meetings prior to the vote by the General Faculty. President Robichaux-Davis suggested that the term “Professional-Track” be used rather than “Non-Tenure Track” when referring to all tracks that are not “Tenure-Track”. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Dr. Shaw were all in favor of this suggestion. Discussion continued about various parts of Section V of the faculty handbook. At the conclusion of this meeting, President Robichaux-Davis agreed to chair a Faculty Handbook Revision Subcommittee composed of Senate Executive Committee members and Drs. Brent Fountain and Jim Dunne. This subcommittee was charged with proposing edits and additions to the Faculty Handbook with regards to the proposed new instructional faculty ranks.
February 25, 2022 – The Faculty Senate Executive Committee met with the Academic Department Heads Advisory Council to discuss the proposed faculty ranks. The department heads shared concerns of faculty regarding the additional faculty ranks as well as the on-going needs of many departments for additional instructional faculty. The department heads suggested that President Robichaux-Davis attend the ADHEC’s Annual Spring Roundtable Luncheon on April 25th and that this venue be used to field questions from department heads concerning the additional faculty ranks. Dr. Shaw and President Robichaux-Davis agreed to this.
March 24, 2022 – President Robichaux-Davis shared proposed revisions to the Faculty Handbook with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Dr. Shaw and requested that they review the proposed edits and additions. She also met with President Keenum to discuss with him that the Faculty Senate Executive Committee felt that a meeting of the General Faculty should be called to discuss the proposed additional faculty ranks with a subsequent vote by the General Faculty on these ranks.
March 25, 2022 – Dr. Shaw met with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to discuss the proposed edits and additions to the Faculty Handbook that were suggested by the Faculty Handbook Revision Subcommittee. They also discussed the need for an information-sharing campaign during the weeks leading up to the General Faculty meeting to include multiple Town Hall meetings and a website with information about the new faculty ranks as well as information about the instructional faculty ranks at peer and peer plus institutions.
March 25, 2022 – In consultation with President Robichaux-Davis, Dr. Keenum called a Special Meeting of the General Faculty Meeting to be held on April 28th at 2:00 in Bettersworth Auditorium. The proposed changes to the Charter of the General Faculty that will be voted on were included in this call. Voting will be conducted from April 28th through May 2nd.