Bloomington Faculty Council discusses anonymous flier, new lecture rank


The Bloomington Faculty Council meets in Presidents Hall on March 20. The meeting began with memorials to Ernest W. Horn and Grahame Bennett, who were both professors at IU, followed by reports from Faculty President Alex Tanford and Provost Lauren Robel.  Ty Vinson Buy Photos

A possible new lecture rank, amendments to the Bloomington Faculty Council’s constitution and an anonymous flier posted today were discussed at the Tuesday BFC meeting. 

The proposals and the anonymous flier drew discussion from members, but nothing was voted on. Further revision and discussion will be made to the proposals before they come to a vote.

The anonymous flier, titled "The Black Paper," asks why it has taken so long to implement a required general education course on diversity in the United States for IU students. According to the flier, the BFC passed a resolution in the spring of 2017 requiring every school on the IU Bloomington campus to fulfill the requirement.

Faculty President Alex Tanford said part of the reason for delay in implementing the required diversity course was that the council started down one path and then realized they needed a slightly different group of people to think about the course. 

The paper was found tacked to a bulletin board outside of the BFC's office. More copies of the paper were on a bulletin board in the basement of the Indiana Memorial Union. 

The paper also claims the council structure excludes students.

“I would encourage students with ideas on how to make the University a better place to get in touch with me,” Tanford said. "Most of us came into university education because we actually do care a lot about students.”

Tanford said the council was not prepared to respond to the paper today but suggested that a report be given at the next meeting.

One of many copies of “The Black Paper” is pinned to a bulletin board in the basement of the Indiana Memorial Union. The flier questions a lack of student representation on the Bloomington Faculty Council and why a delayed council resolution to require all IU-Bloomington schools to have students fulfill a diversity requirement has taken so long to be implemented. Peter Talbot Buy Photos

Proposed new lecturer rank

The proposed new lecture rank would be a promotion from senior lecturer, giving faculty additional recognition and prestige, said Alan Dennis, chair of the faculty affairs committee. 

The rank was proposed to be called teaching professor. 

Many council members were supportive of offering upward career paths for lecturers but thought there were better ways to approach the issue. 

Promoting lecturers to the third rank would be difficult because distinguishing between the teaching excellence of lecturers is difficult, said Bruce Solomon, associate chair of the mathematics department.

Creating a third rank will not fix the root problem that some faculty have tenure, but more and more do not, Moira Marsh, a University Librarian said. 

Fritz Breithaupt, a professor in Germanic Studies took issue with including the word professor in the title for the new rank, but agreed with offering a career path to lecturers that involves further advancement.

“At university, everyone is somewhat always in some upwards movement, and I would love it if lecturers could be involved in that," Breithaupt said.

Proposed amendments to the BFC constitution 

The council then went over proposed amendments to their constitution they did not have time to discuss at their Feb. 20 meeting.

The amendments went over increasing non-tenure track faculty representation at the council, keeping tenure track and non-tenure track faculty in the correct proportion, keeping the council at a manageable size and changes so amendments do not need to be made as frequently. 

Council members discussed the proposals, but further discussion will happen before they come to a vote. The next meeting will be March 27 in Studio 6 at the Radio and Television building, where the council will continue to discuss the proposals. 

Editor's Note: This article has been clarified to reflect, according to "The Black Paper," it is the structure of the council which excludes students.

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