CU planning to offer contracts for non-tenure-track faculty

Leadership gathering input on how best to use recruitment/retention tool

University of Colorado leadership plans to make available contracts of up to three years for some non-tenure-track faculty, following new legislation adopted earlier this year that gives state universities and colleges the right to do so.

During its first meeting of the academic year, held Aug. 23 at CU system offices in Denver, the CU Faculty Council heard information on early planning for the contracts from Kathleen Bollard, vice president for academic affairs, during her regular report to the group.

“President Benson and the chancellors have said, yes, we want to offer these contracts,” Bollard said. Leadership next month will discuss guidelines for instituting the contracts; they hope to have the guidelines determined by January. In the meantime, she said, input from faculty will be helpful to the process.

Not all faculty who meet the criteria, including those working 50 percent of time or more, would necessarily receive a contract; contracts would be up to three years but could be shorter as well.

“Leadership is very aware of the value of non-tenure-track faculty members’ contributions to the university,” Bollard said. “This is a way of recruiting and retaining valued educators.”

Colorado House Bill 12-1144 was passed and signed into law earlier this year. Many, but not all, state universities and colleges now are pursuing the addition of contracts for non-tenure-track faculty.

Also at last week’s meeting, Bollard said she continues to help assemble a new task force that will consider the impact of new technology and what these changes mean for higher education. President Bruce Benson asked chancellors and provosts to suggest task force members.

“Part of this is to make everyone aware of what’s going on with groups (across the CU system) already working on the cutting edge,” Bollard said. “How can we leverage that expertise? What might we be doing in terms of teaching and learning?” She added that Benson has stressed that “anything having to do with teaching and learning, with course delivery, has to be a faculty initiative.”

The group being formed, likely with five to eight representatives per campus, may be convened in September.

In other business at last week’s Faculty Council meeting:

  • Michele McKinney, director of external affairs and advocacy, presented information about CU Advocates, comprising CU friends, parents, alumni, faculty and staff who volunteer to promote CU’s educational, research and economic contributions to Colorado and beyond. An example of faculty involvement might be a high school appearance to answer students’ questions about the university experience. Said Faculty Council Chair Melinda Piket-May, “I think it’s a really strong program and I’d love to see us involved in it.”
  • E. Jill Pollock, vice president of employee and information services, said leadership is considering the addition of a smoking cessation initiative to employee health plans next year, in response to the relatively high number of tobacco users (12 percent of employees).
  • Piket-May said she has asked the Staff Council to have its chair present at Faculty Council meetings during discussion of issues affecting both groups; she also wants to boost interaction with student leadership and have Faculty Council play a role on Staff Council.
  • Tom Riis, co-chair of the GLBTI Committee, said plans are under way for a one-day symposium, “Reaching Out to Friends and Allies: Building the LGBTI Community,” set for Oct. 19 at St. Cajetan’s at CU Denver on the Auraria Campus. Registration information for the free event is forthcoming.
  • Karen Jonscher, chair of the Women’s Committee, discussed preliminary plans for the 11th Annual CU Women Succeeding Professional Development Symposium. It’s set for Feb. 21 and 22 at CU-Boulder, with registration information coming later in the year.
  • Piket-May said there will again be a Faculty Council retreat this year; a date has not yet been chosen.