Chapter 4: Criterion Two
The institution has effectively organized the human,
physical resources necessary to accomplish its purposes.
There have been numerous changes in the composition of UNK faculty in the past decade. While the number of positions has remained relatively stable, the University has made a concerted effort to balance the ethnic and gender make-up of the faculty. Figure 4.13 in Appendix D shows the history of UNK faculty by college, gender, tenure status, degree status, ethnicity and rank. The following paragraphs highlight major points.
Full-time and Part-time Headcount. The total full-time faculty count for the fall of 2003 was 296, including nine librarians who held faculty rank. This number does not include 13 on-campus Nursing faculty who are formally members of the faculty of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The Fall 2003 total is 11 less than the Fall 2002 total, and 22 fewer than the Fall 1994 total.
The total part-time faculty count for the fall of 2003 was 86. This number is somewhat lower than the 93 part-time faculty reported in the fall of 1994. In the fall of 1994, full-time faculty were 76.9.0% of the total faculty, and part-time faculty comprised 23.1% of the total. For Fall 2003, full-time faculty represented 77.5% of the total faculty.
Gender. There has been a gradual gender shift over the decade, reflecting a movement toward gender equity in faculty numbers. In the fall of 2003, female faculty members represented 39.9% of the full-time faculty, compared to 32.2% of the faculty in 1994.
Ethnicity. In the fall of 1994 ethnic minority faculty totaled 14, comprising 4.5% of the total faculty. For the fall of 2003, ethnic or foreign faculty totaled 24, comprising 8.1% of the total faculty. The most distinct trend in this category is the growth in faculty of Hispanic origins.
Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty. There has been a noticeable shift from tenured and tenure-track positions to specific-term positions in the last ten years. Tenured and tenure-track faculty declined from 271 to 239 positions from the fall of 1994 to the fall of 2003. Specific term positions increased from 47 to 57 during the same period.
Terminal and Doctoral Degrees. In the fall of 1994, 68.1% of the full-time faculty held terminal degrees, and 63.5% held doctoral degrees. In the fall of 2003, 72.6% of the full-time faculty held terminal degrees and 68.9% of the held doctoral degrees.
Faculty Compensation. Faculty compensation is established within the context of a collective bargaining agreement between the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska at Kearney Education Association (UNKEA). The University and UNKEA have established a shared goal of maintaining faculty compensation at least at the midpoint of the UNK peer institutions list. With a variety of salary adjustments over the decade, ranging from 1% annual increases to 6.87%, the average total faculty salaries and total compensation package (salary plus major benefits) have generally met that goal.
Age. Figure 4.14 in Appendix D shows the distribution of full-time faculty by age in the fall of 2002. At this time, 30.6 % of the faculty were above the age of 55. Faculty age 35 and under accounted for 10.7 % of the total.
Graduate Assistants as Faculty. Graduate assistants teach a very small percentage of UNK courses and are not included as faculty in the above data. Graduate Assistants were the instructor of record for 18 undergraduate courses in the fall of 2002, which was 1.8 % of the total number of undergraduate lecture and seminar sections. Graduate assistants were the faculty of record for 12 laboratory sections, which accounted for 8.1 % of the total laboratory sections.
Faculty Workload. The University of Nebraska at Kearney assigns faculty teaching loads in accordance with an approved workload policy, included in the Faculty Handbook. The collective bargaining agreements have recognized the UNK Faculty Workload Guidelines as the official workload policy for UNK and acknowledge that the administration and UNKEA will meet and confer in the case of any proposed amendment to the policy. The foundation of the UNK workload is based upon four documents:
- The Board of Regents By-Laws 3.4.4: Assignment of Duties (1979)
- The UNK Faculty Workload Guidelines (1992)
- The Policy on Faculty Reassigned Time (1993)
- The Addenda to Workload Guidelines-By College (1994)
Generally, eleven to thirteen credit hours per semester is the assigned teaching load, subject to special consideration for laboratory, practicum, and other unique assignments. Individual faculty may have one course, normally three credit hours, reassigned for scholarly activity. The Chair makes such assignments, subject to the Dean's approval, in accordance with specific expectations that grow out of the annual faculty evaluation process. The role of the Department within the College and University and the availability of financial resources are also factors in reassignment decisions.
Because of the fiscal pressures of budget cuts of the last few years, the administration began to constrict the application of 9-hour load assignments. For some faculty these actions appeared to contradict both practice and formal policy, and appeared to place faculty in jeopardy in the promotion and tenure process. In an attempt to analyze the specifics of this issue and work through a shared governance experience, in April 2003 the UNK Faculty Senate passed a resolution requesting the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to create a Workload Study Committee. This committee will evaluate the issue, make policy recommendations, and will annually review and report on the implementation of the policies to the SVCAA, the Dean's Council, and the Faculty Senate.
Graduate Faculty. The University of Nebraska at Kearney is a Master's I university in the Carnegie classification system. By definition, these institutions offer a wide range of baccalaureate programs, and are committed to graduate education through the master's degree. UNK offers five Master's Degrees and the Specialist Degree in thirteen separate disciplines. A total of 191 graduate degrees were awarded in the1993-94 academic year. For 2002-03 the total was 240.
On July 1, 1991, when Kearney State College became the University of Nebraska at Kearney, all members of the UNK faculty who had graduate faculty status at KSC were given a temporary term appointment as University of Nebraska Graduate Faculty. They were provided a 5-year period to formally apply and meet University requirements for graduate faculty status. In the fall of 1995, UNK had 172 Graduate Faculty members, representing 55% of the total UNK faculty. In the fall of 2003, UNK had 157 Graduate Faculty members. This total represented 53% of the total UNK faculty. The slight decline in total Graduate Faculty reflects the end of the 5-year probationary period and the retirement of senior faculty over the past decade.
Faculty Evaluation. The annual evaluation of faculty performance includes both student and peer evaluation. Policies for these evaluation procedures are defined in the Board of Regents Bylaws and in the UNK Guidelines for Evaluation, Promotion, and Tenure. These are also available in the Faculty Handbook, and in college and departmental guidelines. Student evaluations are solicited in every class every semester. Peer evaluations are done at the departmental level on an annual basis.
- Over the past decade the overall faculty profile at UNK has demonstrated a marked improvement in numerous categories. The percentage of full-time faculty increased with a corresponding decrease in part-time faculty. In addition, the percentage of faculty with terminal and doctoral degrees has grown, and the balance in gender has continued to improve.
- For faculty, the collective bargaining environment provides a degree of stability and accountability in the workplace. The written contract covering wages, workload, and a wide range of other issues, has insured that employment at UNK is competitive and comparable to most other institutions within the region and nationally. Faculty development programs of mentoring, teaching resources, and administrative reviews also contribute to a positive and supportive work environment that encourages a long-term commitment to the university.
Three concerns highlight the faculty profile. These are interrelated and are significant relative to the development of the faculty profile over the coming decade.
- Nearly a third of the current faculty are over 55 years of age.
- While the percentage of ethnicity represented among the faculty has increased, it remains marginal.
- While gender balance has been improved, continued efforts are necessary.
- While the compensation for faculty has remained competitive, the current and potential budget crisis may undermine that advantage.
In terms of the coming decade, the retirement of a significant portion of the faculty will provide the opportunity for new employees who will continue to enhance the excellent profile of qualified and accomplished faculty. This personnel change will also challenge the institution to find ways to attract a more gender and ethnically diverse faculty and to maintain a competitive salary and benefits package in the face of potential budget shortfalls.
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