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March 30, 2017

Provost looking at recommendations from Senate on part-time NTS faculty

A provost’s committee is being formed to examine ways to implement University Senate recommendations for part-time non-tenure-stream faculty.

Provost Patricia E. Beeson told Senate Council that she has appointed Laurie J. Kirsch, vice provost for faculty affairs, development and diversity, to head the committee. Additional members have yet to be named, Kirsch told the University Times.

Following Faculty Assembly’s approval earlier this month (March 16 University Times), Council on March 22 endorsed the Senate ad hoc committee on part-time non-tenure-stream (PT NTS) faculty’s report, which called for changes to practices in the areas of transparency, seniority and compensation.

Among the more than a dozen recommendations were: standardizing hiring practices and providing orientation; ensuring that PT NTS faculty have access to IDs and necessary resources; and providing performance reviews for recurring PT NTS faculty.

The committee also recommended setting a minimum pay level of $4,000 per three-credit course for instructional faculty on all campuses; extending contract lengths when ongoing needs are foreseen; and providing some compensation when a scheduled course is canceled.

In her comments to Senate Council, Beeson commended the ad hoc committee’s efforts. “This is a committee that’s worked really quite well over the last four years in a really wonderful way to bring the issues forward and to address them in a constructive way,” the provost said, thanking the committee leaders, administrative liaisons and members for their work.

The Senate’s anti-discriminatory policies committee (now the equity, inclusion and anti-discrimination advocacy committee) gender subcommittee initially took up a review of conditions for Pitt NTS faculty.

Following the subcommittee’s report in 2012 (Jan. 10, 2013, University Times) Faculty Assembly authorized the formation of an ad hoc committee to analyze University policies and procedures related to full- and part-time NTS faculty. (See Sept. 12, 2013, University Times.)

Given the complexity of the issues, the ad hoc committee, headed by Senate past-president Irene Frieze, soon chose to limit its initial focus to an investigation of full-time NTS faculty issues.

The committee issued a report in February 2015 that, in part, called for more clarity and consistency in policies for NTS faculty as well as career paths and incentives to promotion. (See Feb. 19, 2015, University Times.)

Changes have ensued. Among the efforts: the University has increased fulltime and multi-year contracts for NTS faculty and has made longtime NTS faculty eligible for emeritus status.


Staff Association Council Vice President of Public Relations Andy Stephany, a SAC representative to Senate Council, expressed support for the latest recommendations but voiced concern about the lack of staff representation on the ad hoc committee that developed the report.

In a prepared statement to the council, he said: “Overall the staff council is excited about and in favor of the recommendations by the Senate ad hoc committee on non-tenure-stream faculty. These recommendations address issues that those Pitt staff members who are in regular contact with the part-time non-tenure-stream faculty witness and confront on a regular basis.

“We’re particularly supportive of the call to improve timely and consistent access to University resources, improve communication and overall making the experience of PT NTS faculty more consistent across the University. The staff council philosophically and wholeheartedly agrees that addressing issues, including transparent fair compensation policies for those Pitt employees who perform essential tasks, will elevate the overall University community.

“We have had some staff concerns expressed over implementation of these recommendations. Therefore the Staff Association Council looks forward to continuing to represent the voice of staff in this matter, particularly for those who provide administrative, budgetary and other support at the school, department and unit levels for PT NTS faculty as we move these recommendations forward into specific actions.”


The full report and recommendations on PT NTS faculty can be viewed at

The Feb. 10, 2015, report on NTS faculty issues can be viewed in the documents section of the committee’s page at


—Kimberly K. Barlow



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