Draft has potential to change faculty titles

Unclear definition of “terminal degree” for faculty members



Judi McDonald, faculty senate past chair, proposes alternate appointment titles to faculty members.

ANGELICA RELENTE, Evergreen editor-in-chief

Faculty Senate hosted a town hall meeting Monday to discuss efforts in changing appointment titles for non-tenure track faculty members at WSU.

Judi McDonald, faculty senate past chair, said there are departments in the university who want to remove modifiers when referring to faculty. These modifiers include career track, scholarly and clinical.

“There are units that really want to move in that direction,” McDonald said.

She said there was a request from the health and sciences department to not use the term “clinical” when referring to faculty who are not in the health industry.

McDonald said she would also prefer not to use the term “scholarly” when referring to faculty members not in the health industry.

In order to secure a faculty position, requirements include a terminal degree or alternative credentials that the provost or chancellor must approve, according to a Faculty Tracks draft document.

Elizabeth Siler, a clinical assistant professor at WSU’s English department, said one concern she had was the definition of having a “terminal degree.”

Siler said there are faculty members in her department who have terminal degrees, but are not necessarily teaching in the field they have the degree in.

McDonald said she thinks it is up to the departments to make this decision. It is not something they would prefer to put in the faculty manual.

“Peer-evaluations is what we should trust,” McDonald said. “I don’t come over with my math degree and evaluate English PhD’s or English [Master of Fine Arts] or English Master’s.”

The photo caption has been updated to reflect the subject of the photo is Judi McDonald, not Elizabeth Siler.