Resolution: Lecturer Representation on The Towson University Senate
(Passed by the Towson University Senate, May 3, 2010)
Whereas Lecturers make up approximately 21% of full-time faculty; and
Whereas the renewable status and workload expectations of lecturers differentiate them from other full-time faculty; and
Whereas Lecturers share workplace commonalities that differentiate them from other part-time faculty classified as contingent; and
Whereas Lecturers at Towson University comprise a significant and integral aspect of fulfilling its mission as a Metropolitan university and as a growth institution for the state of Maryland;
Be it resolved that the TU-AAUP/Faculty Association acknowledges the ongoing contributions of this category of faculty by supporting the addition of a Lecturer Representative on the University Senate, elected by Lecturers to a three-year term, according to standard university elections procedures for faculty.
We recommend this action in compliance with the processes of shared governance recommended by the University System of Maryland for all USM institutions. According to the USM description of shared governance, Lecturers should be allowed to participate in decisions relating to curriculum, course content and instruction.
We recommend this action in order to promote, support, and maintain the ideals and virtues of academic freedom in the face of the changing demographics of university teaching faculty. As renewable employees, Lecturers share the precarious working circumstances of their part-time contingent colleagues, currently lacking among other things appeals or due process options to mediate workplace grievances.
And we recommend this action in order to promote fairness and equity in our workplace. Given their important contributions to the educational mission of Towson University, Lecturers should be allowed representation on the University Senate along with tenured and tenure-track faculty, librarians, students, staff, and administrators.
Lecturers’ experiences and perspectives risk being discounted and overlooked during vital decision-making moments when one-fifth of full-time faculty (sharing similar contractual terms and working conditions) have no appointed or elected representative on the university’s governing body, to participate in discussions about university-wide academic policies, budgetary matters, and various staff and student initiatives.
Most Lecturers have served at Towson for longer than three years and usually come to the university already having significant professional, teaching and work experiences; the overwhelming majority maintain 4/4 loads, covering a range of courses based on department needs and faculty expertise; in addition, Lecturers also often perform various student advising duties (pertaining to FYE, campus groups, internship opportunities, general education curriculum, and major fields of study).
Many Lecturers have helped organize and have participated in on-campus conferences, reading series, and other events and symposiums. They also enable and serve as integral participants in a range of community activities and other organizational partnerships. Some additionally pursue publishing and research activities, so that their teaching and scholarship may reflect current developments in their fields of expertise.
Lecturers appreciate and respect the various efforts tenure-line colleagues make to include lecturers in department-level matters within the scope of their relevant interests, responsibilities and qualifications. To acknowledge and encourage the professionalism of Lecturers, most departments have given them a vote on matters relating to them and allow them to serve on relevant department-level committees (e.g., curriculum committees, steering committees). We recognize the extra service work involved when tenure-line faculty participate on committees responsible for recruitment and for assessment of portfolios, for the purposes of lecturer contract renewal and merit-based dispensation.
Leaving Lecturers without a voice or vote on the university’s governing body effectively excludes them from educational and workplace policies, from discussions on issues concerning all Towson faculty and students. As full-time professionals, many lecturers have expressed a sincere desire to serve the Towson community to the best of their abilities and would welcome the challenges and responsibilities that come with participating in a university-wide governing body.