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'Just let us vote': Bloomington Faculty Council finally votes to name third lecturer rank



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Alex Tanford, the president of the Bloomington Faculty Council, holds a framed photo of an asterisk he calls the Asterisk of Reality. The BFC met for the last time this semester Tuesday, April 17, in Presidents Hall.  Ty Vinson Buy Photos

The Bloomington Faculty Council approved a proposal to name the third lecturer rank Teaching Professor in a vote of 32 to 20 at its Tuesday meeting. 

In the BFC’s last meeting of the semester, members continued to debate what to name the third lecturer rank as well as proposed amendments to BFC’s constitution. The BFC did not make it through its entire agenda, with three proposals not being voted on. 

Proposal to name the third rank Teaching Professor

Discussion on the title of the third lecturer rank included a campus survey from all schools, detailing the break down of support and opposition to various proposed titles for the third rank. The survey included a total of 806 responses. 

Outside of the BFC, tenure track faculty gave the most support to the title Senior Lecturer with Distinction. Non-tenure-track faculty gave the most support to Teaching Professor.

Rebecca Spang, a past president of the BFC, said she'd like to leave her last BFC meeting on a positive note. However, she said she could not support the proposal.

"Having a group of people called Teaching Professors suggests that the other professors don't teach,” Spang said.

More proposals were made to change the name, all of which ultimately failed. Finally, a vote was made to close debate on the subject in order to force the vote. 

"We have done this for weeks,” Provost Lauren Robel said. “Can I beg you to just let us vote on the proposal from the committee and get that done one way or the other so that we can come to some conclusion.”

With the proposal approved in a roll-call vote, the recommendation to name the third lecturer rank Teaching Professor will go to the University Faculty Council to be approved. 

Amendments

The BFC approved only four of the seven proposals on the agenda due to time. 

Robel asked if council members were interested in going over time to finish the business, but going beyond the scheduled length of the meeting takes a unanimous vote of the BFC, and grumbles of disapproval from the room shot the vote down. 

Proposal eight was given by the Constitution and Rules Committee, which specifies who has access to the Faculty Board of Review to address academic freedom issues such as reappointment, tenure or salary adjustment.

The rest of the proposals came from the Non-Tenure-Track Task Force, focusing on increasing the representation of non-tenure-track faculty on the BFC. 

Nick Williams, co-chair of the task force, said he acknowledged a few matters were beyond the scope of the proposals such as the overall number of non-tenure track faculty on campus and percentage of credit hours taught by tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty.

"It's perfectly possible to have that concern and simultaneously want to expand the franchise for the non-tenure-track faculty who are currently on campus," Williams said.

All proposals to amend the BFC's constitution that went up for a vote were approved. 

Other business

Moira Marsh, a University Librarian, will be the next president of the BFC, taking over for President Alex Tanford. 

In the tradition of the BFC, Tanford ceded the symbolic Tiara of Power to Marsh.

“It never fit me,” Tanford said. “Maybe it will fit Moira.”

However, Tanford added to the regalia a framed picture of an asterisk he found on Google Images, dubbing it the Asterisk of Reality. 

Tanford said it serves as an asterisk to the tiara to remind the president-elect that as president of the faculty, everything will take longer than you thought and you will get less done than expected. 

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