- Teaching Professor Titles: As you may have read in a recent university announcement, UIC can now offer titles with “Teaching” modifiers to NTT faculty–an item we bargained hard for in our last contract, but which was held up pending changes to UI Statutes.
- Third Rank: The new titles open opportunities for some NTT faculty with larger teaching responsibilities to earn a third rank, not currently available on the Lecturer track. We encourage members to discuss title conversions via shared governance in their units.
- Fall Plans Refocus on Hy/Flex: In an announcement last week, the Provost’s office walked back reported plans for mandatory in-person classes, though the plan now appears to prioritize (and budget for) a hybrid/flexible delivery model with its own complications.
- Bridge-to-Faculty Showcases: UIC is showcasing Bridge-to-Faculty scholars’ research this spring, and we encourage you to attend. The B2F program is intended to create a pipeline to tenure lines at UIC for scholars from underrepresented groups.
At the very bottom of an email sent on February 22 regarding changes to Promotion and Tenure, new teaching titles for NTT faculty were announced. This is a potential game-changer, with new ranks including Teaching Assistant Professor, Teaching Associate Professor, and Teaching Professor. These ranks could allow faculty with significant teaching responsibilities currently limited to a single rank progression, from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer, the possibility to earn promotion to a third rank.
An Achievement Years in the Making
This has been a long-sought goal of UICUF, and we pushed hard to include these new ranks in our contract but were ultimately held back by limitations in the U of I statutes at the time. Since then, the UICUF caucus within the Senate worked to make the statutory changes ultimately adopted by the Board of Trustees late last year. Importantly, though, there was no specific process outlined for transitioning teaching faculty into these new titles, seemingly leaving the decisions to be made at the academic unit level.
This is a meaningful opportunity for many of our NTT colleagues. We highly encourage our union members to bring transition plans up for discussion through shared governance in your unit. We hope this effort will include all faculty, not just those who might directly benefit from the new titles. If you are unsure of how to discuss this and would like some help initiating the conversation, just email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com, and we will offer any support we can.
Fall Planning Still in Flux
As we reported last week, some of our members, especially those in LAS, were given guidelines appearing to mandate in-person classes based on class size. After both the Senate and UICUF forcefully questioned these guidelines, the Provost announced that the only mandate at this time is the need to keep large, 100+ student classes fully remote. The remainder of classes will prioritize in-person attendance at the discretion of the Deans with supposed input from faculty. To support this priority, the email announcement that followed outlined a potentially large outlay of spending to equip classrooms for hybrid/flexible learning, where students may be in-person or remote simultaneously in real time, or may rotate between the two.
UICUF is, at a minimum, calling on the administration not to repeat the same frustrating process of last year, when decisions were made without input or transparency, only to be walked back at the last minute. We also believe that financial priorities for spending CARES Act and other federal relief funds should not just be used to improve our technology but also classroom ventilation and campus safety. Most importantly, though, we need to make sure this spending doesn’t come at the expense of our members, who are still reporting potential financial contingencies in their units, including job cuts that could severely harm non-tenure-track faculty.
Bridge To Faculty Showcases
We here at UICUF want to spotlight work being done by our colleagues in the Bridge-to-Faculty program, a program intended to ultimately improve diversity in the ranks of UIC’s faculty. The university will be hosting a series of presentations this fall for the B2F scholars to share their research (see link above), and we highly encourage our members to drop in and engage with these scholars and the new program. There are currently 10 scholars in the program, but it is set to expand with a new cohort of 20 or more next year.
UIC United Faculty
We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even SAFER place to work and learn!