The purpose of this memo is to outline the process for requesting the reauthorization of a faculty position. The Faculty has established a procedure for review of the allocation of tenure-line positions when they become vacant or are soon to become vacant. Requests for reauthorization are reviewed by the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEP), whose role is to advise the President and the Dean on whether vacant positions should be reauthorized and reallocated in the same department or program or allocated elsewhere and whether they should potentially be redefined. Please consult with me about the particular circumstances that your department or program faces.
CEP will review requests for reauthorization of faculty positions based on the following criteria:
- The likelihood that the faculty’s diversity goals could be advanced through recruitment to fill the position;
- The relevance of the particular subject matter to the broader nature and trajectory of the discipline and emerging disciplines and subfields and to the current and future curriculum of the individual department or program;
- The importance of the particular subject matter in the College’s curriculum as a whole, including the potential contribution to distribution requirements and/or to existing interdisciplinary programs as well as the relationship to course offerings in other departments;
- The role that the position would play in satisfying student interest in the subject matter, either by maintaining existing offerings in which there is substantial student interest or by providing improved access to over-enrolled subjects; and
- The capacity of the position to reduce chronically heavy teaching loads and/or to reduce course size in the department or program.
In reviewing requests, the Committee’s general responsibility will be to reach qualitative judgments that look principally to the long-term curricular interests of the College. Please note that the list of criteria above is not a rank-ordered list of priorities, but rather an inclusive list of areas the Committee will take into account. Materials that CEP may consult in the process of reviewing the request include: departmental annual reports, self-studies, and reviews; enrollment patterns and course data; profiles of related departments/programs at peer institutions; and data on PhD’s awarded in particular fields and subfields.
A department or program in which a vacancy occurs in a tenure-line position, and which desires authorization to recruit a replacement, has two options: the department may request reauthorization of the same position or it may request the authorization of a position in another field of specialization. In either case, the criteria listed above must be addressed fully in the proposal.
A request for reauthorization should be in the form of a memorandum to me. Please be sure to attach any statistical information or other supporting documents that might help the Committee understand and evaluate the request. Please be sure that the following questions are addressed in the memorandum:
- In which field or subfield would the appointment be made? Please include a prototype job description and give examples of courses that an individual appointed to the position might contribute to the curriculum.
- What is the rationale for reauthorizing the position in terms of the criteria listed above? Please consider the following points:
- Note specifically whether (and how) the position might be described so as to attract applicants who would contribute to a more diverse faculty. Please attach a detailed description of a search plan for the position. The search plan should outline the anticipated pool of candidates, the planned outreach to ensure a diverse pool, conferences to which Bowdoin faculty should be sent as part of an interviewing or recruiting measure, and appropriate venues for dissemination of position information.
- With respect to subject matter, indicate how the field is related to other fields in your discipline and what educational values would be served by including the field in the department’s or program’s curriculum. How would this appointment contribute intellectually to the long-term direction of the department/program and Bowdoin’s position with relation to the disciplinary field represented.
- Describe how this position would contribute to satisfying curricular needs beyond your department or program. If appropriate, comment on the potential contribution to distribution requirements; if appropriate, comment on the potential contribution to the interdisciplinary or departmental programs that would be touched by this appointment. (Where such a contribution is possible, it would be advantageous to discuss the position with the director of the pertinent program or department chair or chairs and to obtain their endorsement of the request.)
- With respect to enrollment and workload pressures, explain as best you can any trends you observe in departmental or program course enrollments and in the numbers of majors and minors.
- Please provide relevant background data, including an overview of staffing, anticipated leaves and curricular offerings (including those anticipated for the new position) for the next three years and trends observed in relevant enrollment/workload pressures, numbers of majors/minors, etc.
- Would the position entail any additional non-salary costs (e.g. lab space, instructional support, etc.) in your department or program or the College budget generally? How much and for what purposes? Would it imply any additional staff costs (e.g., for a laboratory instructor)? How much and why?
In order to ensure that CEP fully understands the intended role of a faculty position in a department or program, the committee may consult with the chair/director and other representatives of the department for more detailed discussion. If it appears that the Committee is considering the possibility of moving that position to another department/program, it may also consult with the chairs/directors of other departments/programs.
Requests for reauthorization of a position that falls vacant should be submitted as soon as possible after a vacancy is known. Requests received when CEP is not in session may, in rare cases, be reauthorized without consultation with CEP at the discretion of the dean and president; however, requests received after April will normally be deferred to fall semester. The CEP decision constitutes a recommendation for action; the President and Dean have final authority regarding the reauthorization and allocation of faculty lines.
I encourage chairs and program directors to be in touch with me to discuss anticipated requests and related questions. On behalf of all the members of CEP, let me thank you and your colleagues for the time devoted to the preparation of these requests. The articulation of departmental and program priorities in these proposals is essential to our ability to think institutionally and to plan for the future.