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R6: Creation of an “RTE Faculty Issues” Committee

The 2004 Report on the Status of Non-tenure Track Faculty identified a wide range of issues that deserve attention. We need a committee that is dedicated to working on the identified problems.

We propose the creation of a standing committee of the Senate called the “Committee on the Professional Status of the RTE Faculty.” It would consist of ten RTE members reasonably distributed across the colleges and across the three RTE faculties. Two of the seats would be reserved for RTE faculty who do not have voting rights. The Dean and Associate Dean of Faculty would be ex officio members.

This  Committee would be charged to consider RTE issues that relate to free speech, hiring, promotion, professional development, and retention. It would continually monitor how the different colleges are using RTE faculty and how the University and RTE faculties interact. It would develop criteria procedures for awarding emeritus/a status for those who retire from certain RTE titles.

Last Updated: September 7, 2018 at 11:58 pm


  1. This is an excellent idea as issues of RTE staff rarely surface, and are sometimes handled unevenly across colleges

  2. I agree that the “challenges facing Cornell and higher education are so great that we need all points of view ‘on deck.’

    Considering that Cornell students have voting rights from Day 1, it seems only fair that our RTE faculty would also have the opportunity for representation, including voting rights. According to your numbers, 1500 of the 2,565 RTE faculty (about 58.5%) will not be granted voting rights in the Faculty Senate under the proposal you are considering.

    I have no argument with not granting them voting rights in the Faculty Senate, but it does seem unfair and un-inclusive to preclude them from having voting rights within any assembly. Is it possible for these 1500 employees to be clearly assigned to the EA?

    My perspective is shaped by my experience here: I have been on one-year terms appointments at Cornell for more than five years now. I’m not sure how many of our visiting scholars and postdocs have a similar experience, but I know that many Cornell employees have term appointments for one or two years. These term positions are only funded on a yearly basis, but the people in these positions may be extended for multiple terms.

    I think that everyone should have some channel to participate and vote on matters that affect them as members of our Cornell community.

  3. This is something that I have brought up with Charles Van Loan, and he directed me to post it here. It is an ideal topic to be taken up by this committee should RTE faculty receive representation in the senate.

    I would like us to consider adding a third rank to the lecturer titles, and perhaps any other RTE title that we feel is of equal importance. This is motivated by actions that I have noticed at peer institutions.

    Adding new titles is always a difficult, delicate issue. There was quite a bit of controversy with the addition of (Senior) Research Scientist and then Research Professor to the research lines. In many cases these titles were treated as a replacement for existing titles. Those existing titles then became less valued, and units had to shift people to new titles as they were reclassified.

    In the teaching lines, there has been an attempt (at least in the School of Engineering) to be more careful about this. Professor of the Practice and Clinical Professor do not replace the lecturer titles. They are clearly differentiated, serving a different need, and having distinct hiring and promotional requirements (again, at least in the School of Engineering).

    However, the alt-professor titles have the classic three ranks, while lecturers only have two. The result is a tacit indication that the lecturer line is not as valued (despite assurances otherwise from our unit).

    Our peers have been addressing this problem by introducing a third rank: principal lecturer. At these other institutions, this rank requires either significant educational impact outside of the university, or major teaching awards within the university (such as level
    of our Weiss awards).

    Adding a third rank to a title is a way to put it on similar footing with the alt-professor titles without the controversy of adding a new title. In addition to the lecturer title, I invite this committee to look at this option for any other RTE title that we feel is equally valued.

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