Title change for ‘non-tenure-stream’ faculty passed on to Senate Council


Faculty Assembly members were divided on a proposal that would change the title “non-tenure-stream” faculty to “appointment-stream” faculty because some were unsure how the name change would affect salary data and other records.

In the Nov. 5 meeting, professors approved of the name change, but some were unsure what the change would mean for recordkeeping and benchmarking purposes. 

Provost Ann Cudd introduced the proposal to the Senate Faculty Affairs Committee on Oct. 8. In addition to changing the “non-tenure-stream” label, which many in the committee felt sounded negative, Cudd suggested that all schools use “assistant,” “associate,” and “full professor” to label these positions. The professor titles also could be modified with the terms “teaching,” “research,” “clinical” and “field” to further set them apart from tenure-stream and tenured faculty.


Digital accessibility policy hits roadblock in Faculty Assembly, sent back to University committee. See related story.


The committee agreed with the “appointment-stream” proposal but didn’t fully endorse the modified titles because they may work for some units, but not for all. The name changes should be up to individual schools, the committee said. 

Budget and Policies Committee Co-Chair Tyler Bickford said this name change could alter salary benchmarking by regrouping professors into different categories based on their titles. That, in turn, could change the way the University tries to adjust salaries, he argued.

These and other changes could make recordkeeping more complicated in five years, Bickford said.

Senate Council President Chris Bonneau initially approved of the title change, saying it would let colleagues know that “their work has significant value to the University.” However, he admitted that the title change isn’t perfect.

After Bickford raised his concerns, Bonneau said he brought a perspective he hadn’t considered before.

“I think that’s something that hadn’t occurred to me,” Bonneau said. “The benchmarking reports and everything else, I definitely think that we want to make sure that if we make this change, that it’s not going to affect how things are currently benchmarked and everything else because we don’t want to have a situation where we’re leaving our colleagues worse off.”

He suggested that, moving forward, the Assembly should give the provost’s office more guidance on this to make sure the reporting isn’t altered too much.

The Assembly voted 21 to 3 to approve the title changes, with five abstentions.

Pa. residency requirements

The Student Admissions, Aid and Affairs Committee brought its endorsed Pennsylvania Residency Classification: Eligibility for Reduced Tuition Rates proposed policy to the floor.

In a September meeting, the committee initially declined to endorse the policy, citing concerns with the language of certain passages, but eventually decided to push it forward.

However, SAAA Co-Chair Marylou Gramm, said the proposal still doesn’t address the committee’s concerns about graduate student tuition waivers. Gramm said out-of-state graduate students lack tuition waivers, which could make Pitt’s programs less competitive and would deter these students from enrolling.

And even though an appeal policy is available, she said, there isn’t a transparent process for graduate students to learn about it, and tuition scholarships are “communicated as a last-ditch measure.”

The Assembly unanimously voted to push the proposed policy forward in spite of these concerns.

The next Faculty Assembly is scheduled for Dec. 3.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at dharrell@pitt.edu or 412-383-9905.


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