Provost could create new titles for faculty

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    The Provost is considering a plan that would recognize longtime faculty for distinguished teaching or research. 

    The plan was mentioned in the Chancellor’s greeting and was also discussed last semester.

    “These are what we call capstone positions. The idea is that there are some faculty on this campus who have been here quite a long time who have exemplary careers, and we want to honor them,” Provost Nowell Donovan said.

    Titles have not been finalized yet, but “Master Teacher” and “Distinguished University Professor” are titles being discussed.

    The Provost said he intends for the rankings to be a rare distinction. Only about 20 teachers will be awarded with each new distinction.

    “I have no problem creating competition between people,” Donovan said. “I think competition is healthy. It drives us all.”

    In addition to the prestige that comes with the title change, appointed professors will also be rewarded with a salary stipend. Details will be finalized by a task force comprised of the academic deans and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

    The committee will be responsible for creating a mechanism for how faculty members are nominated and accepted. Dr. Jan Quesada, chair of the Faculty Senate Committee, said the titles are meant to inspire and reward faculty.

    “Once you’ve gotten the highest level of tenure, where do you go from there? Some people achieve that very early on,” Quesada said.

    The appointments are expected to motivate teachers and give them something to aim for beyond tenure.

    Baylor University has a similar program. It awards “Master Teacher” distinctions to faculty who have been at the university for more than ten years, have made an impact beyond their classrooms and have maintained the engagement of their students. Selections are made by a committee of administrators, other faculty members and three students.

    Donovan and his task force are still working on the criteria to determine how teachers will be chosen.

    “These are not awards that will be won by someone who has only been here two years,” Donovan said. “These are lifetime achievement awards.”