Senators to vote on recommendations on titles

Modernization Initiative adds pressure on faculty to find accurate categories



Pamela Thoma, senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, raises concerns about a proposed change to the faculty manual that could affect faculty promotions and tenure tracks Thursday in the Food Science and Human Nutrition building.

ELAYNE RODRIGUEZ, Evergreen reporter

Faculty senators will vote this coming fall on whether or not they approve of the recommended changes for WSU tracks and appointment titles.

Judi McDonald, faculty senate past chair, said the senate has the absolute power to determine the ideal tracks and appointment titles for faculty and then make changes.

McDonald said the WSU Modernization Initiative, which aims to update the university’s Administrative Information Systems, is pressuring faculty because the modernization effort pushes the faculty to decide on categories as soon as possible.

“If we do not act on this now, we will set up those categories under the old system and then completely rework a more sophisticated structure,” she said.

Pamela Thoma, senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, said faculty are already struggling in terms of titles and how to promote themselves.

Thoma said faculty have an irrational set of categories and engaging in the modernization initiative would help to make it rational.

“We have the flexibility to say, ‘This is your appointment,’ but your working title can be different as approved by your own,” she said.

Rachel Sanchez, senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, said faculty can call themselves whatever is appropriate. She said some faculty cannot move from a tenure-track position to a non-tenure track.

Sanchez said instructors who have worked for decades have held appropriate titles and feel that the recommended titles may not represent them well.

Thoma said she suggested referring to some faculty as career-track rather than temporary.

“Part of why we are having problems sorting this out is [because] we are doing different things, and we are trying to set this basic structure to build on and not interfere with what is wrong,” she said.

Thoma said there should be a way to make the titles professional.

Sanchez said losing the recognition of working with the university for a long time may bring a bad distinction between career faculty and short-term faculty.

“I think we have an ethical responsibility [of] being considered what this vision could put in place down the line in other aspects in the university,” Sanchez said.