Through three years of debate and discussion, the University had explored seemingly every option.
Distinguished lecturer. College lecturer. University lecturer.
Each one was proposed.
But after several conversations — the kinds that “would only happen at a university” — Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney provided faculty with the brightest glimpse to date for the creation of a third promotional rank for fixed-term faculty, deciding on the title of “master lecturer” for lecturers and senior lecturers who have long sought for a rank that would more closely parallel the three-tiered career trajectory for tenure-track professors.
“We have debated the names of things, the pluses and minuses, of teaching assistant, teaching associate, teaching professor; about lecturer, senior lecturer, distinguished lecturer,” said a relieved Carney at the Dec. 17 Faculty Council meeting. “They have all had objections from greater or lesser numbers of faculty, and whether through acceptance or resignation, I think we have at least, finally, a path forward.”
He said the title is intended primarily to recognize exceptional service by fixed-term faculty members.
“Titles matter here,” he said, adding that the criteria and contractual benefits for the master lecturers have yet to be determined, leaving it uncertain whether the title will provide any significant gains for the job security of fixed-term faculty members.
With an anticipated state budget shortfall of $3.7 billion, fixed-term faculty are viewed by some as vulnerable to budget cuts, though administrators have frequently relented from making instructional cuts.
As a new position, the rank of master lecturer will require the approval of both the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors. Carney said he is aiming to have the rank in place by the July 1 start of the next fiscal year.