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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Are Chairs Faculty? 

Even if we were to accept that an argument about whether Chairs are faculty is somehow relevant to cost-of-living increases, why exactly wouldn’t they count as faculty? 

Chairs are elected by faculty members from among themselves for a 3-year term. They can repeat the term once. After that, somebody else is elected. While they perform their Chair duties, they still do both teaching and service and are evaluated according to the same teaching \ research \ service criteria as all of the other faculty members of the department. 

It’s a deranged argument to have because if we start down the road of saying that performing administrative duties excludes you from the rank of faculty, we’ll arrive at a conclusion that there are no faculty members at this school at all. Because all of us have some administrative duties. It’s called academic self-government, and it’s something we all are contractually obligated to do. ​

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10 thoughts on “Are Chairs Faculty? 

  1. Contingent Cassandra on said:

    Your argument makes sense to me. In fact, I wish more administrators were faculty temporarily taking on administrative roles, but it’s increasingly rare for deans, provosts, and presidents to have any intention of returning to the faculty after their administrative terms are finished. Faculty governance is eroded by that, as well as by the decreasing proportion of tenured/tenure-track faculty among the teaching faculty. So yes, it’s worth at least asserting that chairs remain faculty while in their administrative role.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I was a new hire, untenured, and I was discriminated in terms of salary on the basis of my gender, my Chair stood up for me, filed paperwork on my behalf, and forced the administration to recognize that this was discrimination. I got my backpay as a result.

      This is the kind of thing that this Chancellor wants to prevent from happening.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Is this maybe a first step toward declaring that tenured faculty are administration? If so, then what would be the next step after that?

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  3. Evelina Anville on said:

    That is indeed completely deranged. What happens when the faculty cease being chair? Do they have to reapply to be chair? I have never heard of such a thing. Chairs are always considered faculty.

    Maybe he’s hoping to make being a chair completely unattractive to the average faculty member? (I certainly wouldn’t want to surrender my faculty status to be chair.) And if that happens, then he can install puppets as chairs?I just don’t see why he would make such a strange declaration.

    And I cannot believe that he is holding up cost of living increases over this. This should be illegal. I’m shocked.

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  4. Per   UP chairs are faculty. Under head system that is debatable but elected chairs are faculty…esp. If they serve the depth not some overlord

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    • I mean, if they are in the department as faculty and serve the faculty then they are faculty. Under a head system like ours, they’re nominally ratified by faculty but actually appointed by and serving at pleasure of dean, and they’re not evaluated by/as faculty but by/as administrators, so it is harder to say but AAUP considers them faculty–you stop being faculty when you become dean (even if you retain faculty rank and teach a class or two, while you are dean you are primarily an administrator).

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  5. Jonathan Mayhew on said:

    I think chairs technically are pieces of furniture…

    Liked by 1 person

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