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Regents approve new faculty position

Nov. 18, 1998


Staff Writer

Last weekend the Baylor Board of Regents approved a new non-tenure-track faculty rank.

The position of senior lecturer will be implemented in the coming academic year.

Baylor's approximately 140 full-time lecturers now are evaluated and have their contracts renewed on a year-to-year basis. When the senior lecturer position begins, it will provide a two-year contract to lecturers with more than seven years of full-time teaching at Baylor.

Dr. Stan Madden, vice president for university relations, said he thinks this is a positive move for the university because it allows more stability for faculty and administration.

'The role of lecturer has always been very limited,' Madden said. 'The problem is that for many years we've had people here on a year-to-year contract.'

The two-year contract will be signed in December of the previous year; currently, most contracts for the coming year are signed in April, Madden said.

'This is a step that gives them (lecturers) a little more security,' said Madden. 'At the same time it gives us a process whereby we can evaluate them, and they can know what their expectations are going to be.'

A faculty member seeking the status of senior lecturer will be evaluated after seven years.

'That doesn't guarantee anybody that they'll always get a contract, but it will give them the security of a couple of years at a time,' Madden said.

After seven years, if a lecturer is not given a contract, his or her employment will be terminated. However, this policy is not the university's way to 'weed out' faculty members, said Baylor spokesman Larry Brumley.

Dr. Jeter Basden, associate professor and associate director of ministry guidance, was the chairman of a seven-member faculty committee appointed to examine the issue. The committee was appointed by the university provost and by the Faculty Senate.

Basden said he is excited about the move.

'I'm delighted that they received and adopted the position,' he said. 'I think it is a step forward for all of us.'

Basden said the senior lecturer position will give stability to lecturers who had previously had very little.

'What has happened is that these lecturers were on a one-year assignment, but now Baylor University is saying that we cherish these folks who make a contribution by. . .giving them senior classification and benefits,' Basden explained.

Madden pointed to another aspect of the introduction of the new position.

'The downside is when you hit that seven years, if you're not named a senior lecturer, you are not continued,' said Madden. 'The idea is if you're worthy of [the position], then we'll keep you, and if you're not, then we need to find somebody else who could potentially take that role.'

Madden said preserving the exemplary classroom atmosphere at Baylor is of utmost importance for the university.

'It safeguards the classroom to some degree, because there is now a formal evaluation process, so we don't have somebody who's here just because they've been here a long time--they're here because they're good,' Madden said.

The Lariat attempted to contact several of Baylor's full-time lecturers. Discussions with lecturers indicated that most do not feel sufficiently informed to comment on the new position.

Brumley said a meeting will be scheduled before the end of the semester to inform and address lecturers' concerns. The meeting will present the policy and give affected faculty a chance to ask questions, he said.

Contributor Kristen Eppner and editor in chief Alyson Ward contributed to this report.

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