Resolution 102: Professor of Practice Title – Amend Legislation

Passed: April 9, 2014
Sponsor: Elizabeth Adkins Regain, Chair of Academic Freedom & Professional Status of the Faculty
Senate Discussions:

The Resolution

Reasons for Modernizing Cornell’s Academic Titles

• Despite 2002 approval of Clinical Professor titles, Cornell remains woefully behind its peers in terms of having a competitive set of academic titles

• This deficiency has four serious and demonstrable negative impacts:

– Non-competitive in hiring specialized faculty
– Tenure track hiring for dual career couples
– Special diversity considerations
– Impairment of tenure standards

Professor of the Practice Title

• Amend 2002 Clinical Professor legislation to allow alternate nomenclature

• Professor of Practice title used by most of our peers (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Penn, Chicago, MIT, Duke, Hopkins, Virginia, University of California …)

• Others use Teaching Professor, Professor in the Field

• Legislation retains unit specific approval processes and percentage caps of Clinical Professor legislation

• Allows units that have approved Clinical Professor titles to migrate to alternate nomenclature if appropriate

Use Limitations

“The title of Professor of the Practice is available only for long term, non-tenure-track faculty who are distinguished and highly experienced individuals in a relevant field of professional practice and who can provide effective, practice oriented instruction in areas that supplement the core pedagogical instruction provided by the tenured and tenure track faculty. While faculty of this rank may, depending on specific requirements of the college or school, have some additional research, service, or outreach obligations, teaching will be their primary responsibility. The title may not be used for positions whose responsibilities largely replicate those of tenure-track faculty.”

Professor of the Practice Enabling Legislation

• Proposal is supported by all Colleges and Schools and by AFPS Committee on Academic Freedom And Professional Status of the Faculty

Elizabeth Adkins Regan (Chair)
Sandra Greene (A&S)
Patricia Johnson (CALS)
Ronald Kline (Eng)
Suzanne Mettler (A&S)
Stephen Morgan (A&S)
Peter Stein (A&S)
Susan Suarez (Vet)
Sharon Tennyson (HumEc)
Joseph Burns (ex officio) (Eng)
Michael Fontaine (ex officio) (A&S)

Committee on Academic Freedom And Professional Status of the Faculty

• Met three times to discuss the proposed title and draft enabling legislation

• Interviewed people to hear arguments for and against

• Compared duties and benefits of the Clinical Professor and proposed Professor of the Practice title with existing tenure track and non-tenure track titles

• Reached a consensus of support for the proposed resolution Arguments in favor:

• “Clinical” makes no sense for some colleges; an amendment to the Clinical Professor enabling legislation would fix that

• Thus solving some problems that hamper competitiveness

• The appropriate safeguards are already in place in the Clinical Professor enabling legislation

Arguments against:

• Risks encouraging increased reliance on non-tenure track instructors to teach our students

• Continues dilution of the meaning of “professor” and of Cornell’s model of professors as researcher-teachers

• Risks eroding the all-important academic freedom for teachers/professors that tenure provides

On balance, CAFPS thought benefits outweighed negatives given that:

• The core concept was already debated and decided upon in 2002

• Only the nomenclature is being amended, by providing an alternative title

• Additional language narrowly defines the role of Professor of the Practice

• The ground rules for the title remain the same as for Clinical Professor

• Whereas the 2002 enabling legislation that created the Clinical Professor titles was an effective first step in modernizing Cornell’s titles for non-tenure-track faculty engaged heavily or exclusively in a primary teaching function, and

• Whereas Cornell could further benefit from the addition of the Professor of the Practice titles in common use at peer institutions, and

• Whereas the need for and value of these new titles are widely recognized across campus, and

• Whereas the 2002 enabling legislation, including its various process and approval requirements, provides an appropriate framework for the implementation of the Professor of the Practice titles as alternatives to the Clinical Professor titles,



Term 2013-2014
Senate University Faculty Senate
Status Adopted 4/9/14
Abstract Amend 2002 Clinical Professor legislation to allow alternate nomenclature
Resolution File view
Title Professor of Practice Title – Amend Legislation
Sponsors Elizabeth Adkins Regain, Chair (AFPS)
Reviewing Committee Academic Freedom & Professional Status of the Faculty (AFPS)

Resolution History

Date Action View Details
4/9/14 Adopted by University Faculty Senate
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