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Author Topic: Evaluating 0.5 time tenure track faculty  (Read 3359 times)
johnr
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« on: January 04, 2013, 2:45:01 PM »

A year ago we benefitted from a spousal hire arrangement and accepted into our department a new half-time, tenure track faculty member.  Annual reviews are coming up now and I'm wondering if any of you have any experience or thoughts regarding the evaluation of part time, tenure track faculty.  The teaching part is easy.  The spousal hire is teaching half the number of classes as a full time faculty member, and that is spelled out specifically in the signed acceptance letter.

Evaluation with regards to research productivity is where I'm having some difficulty however.  The acceptance letter has no specific language regarding this other than this new faculty member will be evaluated according to  the department Unit Evaluation Plan (which really only addresses full time appointments).  It also states that this person can go up for tenure during the sixth year (which is the same as for a full time appointment). One could argue that, as a half time appointment, one would be expected to be half as productive as a full time appointment.  However, one could also argue that to be granted tenure, one would be expected to produce the same quality and quantity of work as a full time appointment (and perhaps it would take longer with a half-time appointment). After all, we wouldn't be granting "half-tenure",  we would be granting full tenure to a half time appointment.

Right now, we're going with the "half-time = half the amount of productivity expected" model.  Is that how everyone else does it?   
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tuxthepenguin
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 2:54:57 PM »

When someone is on the TT in two departments, they're 0.5 in each department, so the expectations are half of what they would normally be in each department. Our affirmative action rules wouldn't allow us to do anything different. If they're 0.5 time, you multiply a full-time workload by 0.5.
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msparticularity
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 4:40:28 PM »

The question in my mind is whether a .5 TT or tenured person has any right to ever be eligible for an upgrade to full-time tenured status, under the terms of your university's faculty contract/procedures. If so, then the issue is whether someone with half of the research productivity has demonstrated the ability to be tenured.
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copper
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 10:22:00 PM »

I would be inclined to have the standard be at the same quality level, but "half" the quantity, if quantities are specified.  This would be very hard for our most important criterion, which specifies something to the effect of "demonstrates the ability to sustain an externally-funded research program."  I have no idea what "half" of that would be.  But I do know that a half-way productive scientist has zero chance of sustaining external funding these days.

One option is to be a stickler on the letter of the law, so to speak.  The appointment specifies eligibility for tenure, but does not specify a different standard of assessment, if I understand you correctly.  If that's true, I think you can defend holding the individual to the exact same standards as a full-time person, and probably should.  That, however, may defeat the purpose of the half-time appointment, depending on why the individual wanted a half-time appointment and what your criteria actually are.  I have heard faculty grumble that people with a half-time appointment just have more time to do research because they have a lighter teaching load and thus have an easy road to tenure (e.g., when a couple splits an appointment within a department).

Rock|Johnr|HardPlace.

Getting guidance from your dean/provost early on (in writing) may be useful to all concerned.

--Cu

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larryc
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2013, 2:15:43 AM »

I am in exactly this position. My appointment is half in a history department, and half in a government agency. For the latter half I am expected to put in 20 hours a week (and more, really) doing related but non-academic things.

For tenure, my standard was exactly what Copper suggested:

I would be inclined to have the standard be at the same quality level, but "half" the quantity, if quantities are specified. 

So I made tenure with half the publications and half the service of others in the History Department. In some ways it sounds like I am getting away with something. Particularly since tenure obliges the department to pick me up full time if the other half of my job ends for some reason. On the other hand, how could they ask for more given that my responsibilities at the other half of my job? I benefitted very much from a department that was committed to my success.

So yes, ask for half of what you would ask of a FT appointment.
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munificence
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2013, 12:12:45 PM »

Interesting thread.  I'd think any judgments besides 0.5 would cause serious acrimony and cause problems for the dept.

Larry, I have an appointment that is similar to yours except with a hostile department and a dean who is petrified of the senior faculty.  What do you and others suggest?  My department wants to require 75-100% (and more than) across research, teaching, service, which is an impossibility when it comes to teaching.

My counterparts at other positions across the country (there are a few) have suggested 3 courses of action from most to least attractive:  go on market, find another department, or wait for dean to disappear as the last holdover who refuses to acknowledge the college is the last in the university to acknowledge the importance of funded research. 
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daniel_von_flanagan
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2013, 12:33:08 PM »

Our promotion and tenure requirements include language on the candidate's stature in their field.  This is an ordinal variable that cannot be halved.  In the face of that I would find it hard to reduce the expectations for the quality and penetration of the research, though for quantity it makes sense to adjust for the partial appointment. - DvF
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johnr
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 12:44:36 AM »

I would be inclined to have the standard be at the same quality level, but "half" the quantity, if quantities are specified.  This would be very hard for our most important criterion, which specifies something to the effect of "demonstrates the ability to sustain an externally-funded research program."  I have no idea what "half" of that would be.  But I do know that a half-way productive scientist has zero chance of sustaining external funding these days.


Thanks everybody  for the thoughts and comments.  In the end, we ARE going with an, "equal quality, 0.5 quantity" research requirement for tenure.  Copper, we are a regional masters granting university and while it is still a publish or perish environment for tenure, there isn't so much pressure to obtain the huge grants that are more the domain of the R1 universities (or whatever they are called now).  We are also fortunate in that our 0.5 timer is turning out to be a rock star with excellent teaching evaluations and a good research program already underway.
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larryc
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 2:19:45 AM »

I would be inclined to have the standard be at the same quality level, but "half" the quantity, if quantities are specified.  This would be very hard for our most important criterion, which specifies something to the effect of "demonstrates the ability to sustain an externally-funded research program."  I have no idea what "half" of that would be.  But I do know that a half-way productive scientist has zero chance of sustaining external funding these days.


Thanks everybody  for the thoughts and comments.  In the end, we ARE going with an, "equal quality, 0.5 quantity" research requirement for tenure.  Copper, we are a regional masters granting university and while it is still a publish or perish environment for tenure, there isn't so much pressure to obtain the huge grants that are more the domain of the R1 universities (or whatever they are called now).  We are also fortunate in that our 0.5 timer is turning out to be a rock star with excellent teaching evaluations and a good research program already underway.

Fantastic--this sounds like a win for everyone, particularly for your department.

Interesting thread.  I'd think any judgments besides 0.5 would cause serious acrimony and cause problems for the dept.

Larry, I have an appointment that is similar to yours except with a hostile department and a dean who is petrified of the senior faculty.  What do you and others suggest?  My department wants to require 75-100% (and more than) across research, teaching, service, which is an impossibility when it comes to teaching.

My counterparts at other positions across the country (there are a few) have suggested 3 courses of action from most to least attractive:  go on market, find another department, or wait for dean to disappear as the last holdover who refuses to acknowledge the college is the last in the university to acknowledge the importance of funded research. 


I think it might be best to begin a new thread for your question. Be careful though--you situation is unusual enough that if someone in your institution were to read the thread, they migh easily determine who you are, and to share the thread with others at your institution. This happened to me once. So be careful how you phrase things.
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skeptical
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 6:56:13 PM »

Our department has but one part-time faculty on the tenure track. In her letter of hire, tenure expectations were spelled out: She teaches fewer courses, but is expected to produce the same quality/quantity of research as full time T-T people.
In my experience, the best way to ward off annoying lawsuits is to spell out expectations. I would have a meeting with the tenured faculty to hear their expectations; meet with the Dean to hear hers, then meet with the part-timer.
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