College of Liberal Arts

Lecturer Appointments

Wed, May 4, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

In mid April 2011, the Gender Council task force on lecturers submitted the following recommendations re lecturers’ terms of appointment:

  1. The preferred term of appointment for Lecturers in the COLA is one academic year, though department chairs should have the flexibility to make appointments for one, two, or three years.
  2. An appointment of one-semester is advisable only when appointing a new and unknown lecturer or when appointing a lecturer specifically to cover a one-semester leave of absence.   Otherwise, appointments of only one semester should be discouraged.   
  3. For Senior Lecturers and Distinguished Senior Lecturers, we recommend appointment terms of three-years or “rolling” three-year appointments.  This recommendation is in line with the recommendations made by the Langlois Committee on Non-Tenure Track Faculty (2002) and with the recommendations made by the Provost in 2005.

Communication with COLA chairs on these recommendations indicated broad based support of the recommendations, and a strong sense of shared “best practices”.  It reflected the recognition of the important role lecturers fill in advancing our instructional mission and the need to provide academic units and our lecturers with maximum stability within the limits associated with lecturers’ terms of appointment.  Equally strong was the recognition that chairs must maintain a degree of flexibility that would allow them to plan carefully and respond to the needs of individual departments and to a variety of budgetary contingencies.

Based on the recommendations and the follow-up communication with chairs, the College will adopt, for lecturer appointments as of the fall of 2011, the following policy:

  1. The minimum term of appointment for established lecturers is one year (two long semesters) of full-time appointment. “Established lecturers”, for the purpose of this policy, are those who have taught at UT as faculty members for one year (two long semesters) or longer immediately prior to the sought appointment. The minimum does not apply to appointments involving new lecturers and lecturers who seek part-time appointments, or appointments that respond to temporary or special needs (e.g., faculty leave that leaves a course uncovered, a unique opportunity to offer a course). Appointments of established lecturers for terms that are below the minimum length or percent time are discouraged.  Such appointments will require prior approval by the Dean’s office.
  2. Lecturers, senior lecturers, and distinguished senior lecturers with full time appointments may be appointed for one, two, or three years at a time without prior approval from the Dean’s office.
  3. Rolling two- or three-year appointments may be extended to Senior Lecturers and Distinguished Senior Lecturers only.  Such appointments require prior approval by the Dean’s office.

We would like to thank Megan Seaholm and the task force, and all COLA chairs who responded to our request for input.  We encourage chairs to capitalize on the advantages that this policy offers, while exercising great caution as they proceed with the appointments—the same budget will continue to cover TA/AI appointments.

Our office will be glad to assist with all issues that come up as we implement this policy.


Randy L. Diehl, Dean
David Bruton, Jr. Regents Chair in Liberal Arts


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