Faculty Senate looks at hiring process, program review

The process by which a potential employee gets hired is being reviewed by the Faculty Senate.

At Tuesday’s meeting, senators discussed the potential changes to the process SIUC faculty go through to make a recommendation for hire. Provost John Nicklow said a new hiring plan is in the works, and will prioritize criteria reviewed by deans and committees when a prospective employee is under consideration.

Nicklow said one recent change to the hiring process is a new position request form faculty and deans must use to recommend someone to be hired.

The next step in revising the hiring process is to create a new committee, which will be formed to help the provost in selecting new hires, he said.

Nicklow said faculty can help  form the committee that will work as an advisory panel for all recommendations of tenure and tenure-track hires. Once formed, the committee will review potential hires and refer them back to the provost’s office with recommendations, he said.

One of the main concerns the senators discussed was the new prioritized list Nicklow said may be formed to emphasize what should be looked at when reviewing a candidate.

Bill Recktenwald, Faculty Senate president, said some of the criteria that may be used for a prioritized list to judge whether an employee is hired is enrollment growth, research productivity and accreditation requirements.

However, Nicklow said the priorities deans look at do not necessarily focus on any of those areas.

Nicklow said he has seen hiring searches fail three times in a row. Because of that, he said he is asking what the university can do differently. He said he is seeking input on how interdisciplinary components might affect hires in different departments across campus.

Another potential change discussed at the meeting was university program review. As part of a recently enacted public act that requires universities to review and work on their programs’ weaknesses, the program changes review committee submitted a five-page letter to Chancellor Rita Cheng Feb. 6 the letter detailed the committee’s progress in the creation of a rubric for program review.

Committee member Stephen Ebbs wrote in the letter, programs should be able to present their own information on their strengths in addition to the committee’s recommendations.

Recommendations on how the program review will be implemented must be compiled by Feb. 29.

“We would expect that the programs themselves would be best able to articulate their strengths rather than asking an assembled committee to research those strengths,” Ebbs stated in the letter.

Senator Allan Karnes said the list of new programs at the university over recent years is significantly longer than the list of terminated and consolidated programs. That imbalance, he said, may be reviewed by legislators who view the report and might question what is being done with programs that have low enrollment.

“If we’re not doing anything at all about it, somebody’s going to say to us, ‘You need to get rid of these programs,’’” he said. “Before that happens, we need to make this decision ourselves.”

Karnes said there are options outside of elimination that can be used to work with programs that have low enrollment. The internal review by the committee, could help that outcome, he said.

Nicklow said before the deadline at the end of the month to submit the proposed metrics for program review at SIUC, the provost’s office is compiling comments from faculty in different departments about how programs can be measured for presentation to the state legislature.

 

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