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January 22, 1993

                         Commission on Faculty Affairs

                                    Minutes

                               January 22, 1993

 

  Present: F. Carlisle, S. Crumwell (for J. Buffer), D.  de Wolf, S. Fuller,

  C. McDaniels, S. Ritchey, N. Shumsky, J. Smith

 

  Visitors: P. Hyer, J. Johnson

 

  The meeting was called to order at 1:15 by David de Wolf, the chair of the

  committee.

 

  Announcements: 1.) Steve Fuller was introduced as a new member of the com-

  mittee who has replaced Marge Murray 2.) Tom Sherman will substitute for

  Felix Pierce for the remainder of the semester because Pierce has a sched-

  ule conflict 3.) The resolution on faculty grievance procedures has been

  introduced at university council 4.) The order of the agenda is being modi-

  fied to accommodate Janet Johnson who is representing the commission on re-

  search and is here to discuss the resolution on termination procedures for

  research faculty on restricted appointments.

 

  New Business: the commission turned immediately to the discussion of termi-

  nation procedures of research faculty on restricted appointments.  J.

  Johnson discussed the history of the issue and the major points of the re-

  solution. C. McDaniels raised the question of whether it should be neces-

  sary to provide termination letters to research faculty who were appointed

  to positions for a specific length of time or whether letters of appoint-

  ment specifying a date of termination were sufficient. A lengthy discussion

  about this issue followed. When it was discovered that this provision of

  the resolution seemed to conflict with the new faculty handbook, the com-

  mission asked J. Johnson to take the resolution back to the commission on

  research for modification and then bring it back to the CFA.

 

  Agenda: the agenda was adopted.

 

  Minutes: the minutes of January 8, 1993 were read and approved.

 

  Old Business: the commission once again took up the Virginia Tech Future

  Professors Program. D. de Wolf noted that C. Morton could not be present

  and suggested that the commission not discuss major elements of the program

  or its philosophy in Morton's absence. While it was appropriate to discuss

  revisions and details, no major decisions should be made without him. P.

  Hyer then discussed the revisions that had been made in the program in re-

  sponse to the discussion at the last CFA meeting. In particular, she

  pointed out that another level of departmental review had been added after

  a student had finished his/her doctoral training and that no department was

  under compulsion to hire a person who had completed this program. W.

  Williams noted that he personally would have made the revisions more em-

  phatic but agreed to the new draft in order to have a revised submission to

  the CFA. He agreed with the idea of making initial commitments to students

  but could not commit himself to the idea of making commitments years in ad-

  vance.

 

  D. de Wolf then asked what department meant. Did it mean the head, the

  search committee, or the whole faculty? The commission interpreted the pro-

  posal to mean whatever definition a department would normally use in making

  final hiring decisions.

 

  S. Fuller then asked if the program would be redundant in the sense that it

  would duplicate existing strengths in departments since students are ori-

  ginally identified and nominated from masters degree candidates at Virginia

  Tech. F. Carlisle responded that the program could either enhance already-

  existing strengths or bring new strengths into a department. He reiterated

  that no department is under any compulsion to participate in the program.

  As long as departments have choices about participating in the program, se-

  lecting the participants, and appointing faculty, the program resembles the

  procedures used in other searches.  The application of the program is ini-

  tiated by departments who apply their own standards. D. de Wolf said that

  he was very susceptible to these arguments but wondered if the existence of

  the program would be at the cost of other faculty positions and programs

  and if it would therefore exist at the expense of open, qualitative

  decision-making; he noted that whenever restrictions are imposed on hiring,

  openness and evaluation of candidates is limited. F. Carlisle noted that

  all searches have distinctions that eliminate some candidates. The question

  is what distinctions and criteria we are applying, on what bases are we

  making decisions. Given the goal of trying to teach a diverse society, it

  is legitimate to give this kind of emphasis. D. de Wolf responded by saying

  that the goal is entirely laudable but that he opposes making any decisions

  on the basis of class, race, or gender.

 

  Adjournment: there being no further discussion, the Commission adjourned at

  2:40pm.

 

  Respectfully submitted,

 

  Neil L. Shumsky

  Secretary

 

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