Convocation, August 25, 2016. I asked the audience to remember two numbers, 80 and 300. Both were undercounts of the number of service roles for a) tenured faculty, and b) all tenure-track faculty.
Undercounts? Let’s touch base again, now that I’ve included things like Program Personnel Committees and Disciplinary Search Committees, and done more work assembling disparate requests for faculty service.
391 service roles for senior tt faculty; 709 for all tt faculty. Evidence? This spreadsheet will always be a work-in-progress, but here’s the list as of Sept. 12, 2016.
Let’s take a look:
So for all this to work out, each of the 122 available tt faculty member would take on an average of 5.8 service roles. (And of course, not all tt faculty are completely available, for health or other reasons.) These service roles include major commitments such as program chairs, mission center directors, chairing major senate and university committees, etc., yet do not include major grant work and some other things. Many of the service roles included do not pair well with other roles, let alone with 4.8 or more other roles.
It’s time to seriously reimagine how we do things. We can’t simply continue to expect the same few people to continue to take on more. And let’s not forget the primacy of working with students and of scholarship in the varied professional lives of faculty.
First step: Senate Officers are prioritizing university committees and will field calls and responses for volunteers on a priority basis.
Second step: Share this and related information; seek solutions university-wide.