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Sloan addresses faculty+s concerns

Sept. 27, 1996

Sloan addresses faculty's concerns

By Amy Priour

Lariat Staff Writer

President Robert B. Sloan Jr. focused on basic facts such as enrollment and the recent Baylor Board of Regents meeting before opening the floor for questions at the first of at least two President's Faculty Forums.

Several faculty members voiced concern over the letter from Sloan to prospective faculty members.

Dr. David Pennington, professor of chemistry, questioned the 'use of words that don't have particular meaning to me.' He said he feels more thought needs to be given as to what kind of a perception the letter is encouraging.

Sloan said he had already begun to reread the letter and ask himself, 'What's here?'

'Either way you go, you don't want to create the wrong impression,' Sloan said.

However, not everyone is concerned about the letter.

One faculty member told Sloan, 'I got your letter. I liked your letter.'

Another faculty member said there are two issues that need to be taken into consideration: when the letter is sent out and how the tradition of the University is articulated. He said it needs to be done in a way that will not mislead people and keep those who could thrive at the University from applying.

Dr. John Jonsson, professor of religion, said more needs to be done to stress the academic excellence of the University. The academics are what attracted him to the University, he said. Jonsson recently returned from South Africa. He said that when he returned, he felt as if religion had taken a greater priority than academic credentials.

Another faculty member raised the question of what a candidate could say about religion that would make Sloan not sign him or her on as a faculty member.

Sloan said he can recall one instance where an applicant's 'academic credentials, I thought, were inferior' and did not sign for this person to be hired.

In response to another question, Sloan said he would not hold it against a candidate if they have not been involved in a church while at graduate school, as long as they can show a previous history of having actively participated in a church. Sloan said it is important to exercise discernment from person to person.

'All of us have that role of listening to people and making the best judgment we can,' Sloan said.

Faculty members also expressed confusion as to when the letter to prospective faculty members is actually mailed or given out.

Differing opinions were offered and Sloan said there is 'clearly a sequencing' in the events but was unable to give a specific time frame.

Sloan also discussed the budget, the financial cap of 7.8 percent and the payment and guaranteed tuition plans. This year, faculty salary is set at five percent plus equity, which is up from last year's three percent.

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