March 20, 2007
Dr. Susan Thomas, Associate Provost
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Edwardsville , Illinois 62206
The Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association (NTTFA) asked its members to provide feedback about the BRIDGE proposals. Many members of our Association took the opportunity to respond to our inquiry. While most of the responses came from members in the College of Arts and Sciences, replies were also received from the School of Business .
The Distribution Model is the overwhelming choice of our membership. This model utilizes existing courses to fulfill university requirements or will create new courses that will be staffed by members of the Association. As you know an overwhelming number of general education courses are taught by NTTs, the Distribution Model will allow our members to continue teaching in their area of expertise. Some faculty members will need to teach new course offerings (i.e. Quantitative Literacy); the university will be able to count on the NTT's to rise to this task.
It also seems that certain departments will need to hire additional faculty members to meet the needs of the new curriculum. As an example, the report indicates that the Speech Communication Department may need to hire eight additional full-time faculty members to teach Public Speaking if the new model is adopted. Other departments will also need to hire additional faculty. Because of budgetary considerations, many of these new hires will probably be Instructors. NTT's will continue to make significant contributions to the reputation of the university.
The Distribution Model also seems the easiest to adopt. The other two models will produce many difficulties for teachers. For example, not all professors can work effectively in a team-teaching situation; “power” issues may arise when one teacher is reporting to another; and academic freedom can be seriously compromised. A hierarchy of courses is established when one faculty member dictates course content to another faculty member. How will instructor load be determined when faculty are team teaching a class? The Distribution Model is closest to the status quo and will cause the least upheaval within the university.
It is unfortunate that the Non-Tenure Faculty will not be voting on this issue (especially since we will be teaching the majority of the courses). There are members of our Association who feel this action is producing another wedge among the faculty ranks at a time when we should be emphasizing the collaborative process. The Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association will continue to meet the needs of the university with whatever model is chosen to enhance the educational process at SIUE.
Alan H. Shiller, President
Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association