Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Committed to Committees

We have 29 tenure-line faculty in our department. These are the folks for whom service is one of the requirements of the contract. (Our adjuncts sometimes generously do service, but it can't be part of their contract and thus they can't be evaluated on their service. We have some other folks who aren't tenure track but do have service in their contracts.)

With our current committee structures, we have 64 positions in different committees that are supposed to be filled by tenure-line faculty. The chair, and two other faculty members in the 29 count have re-appointments that mean they sit on some committees by appointment, and so don't sit on other committees.

So, that's 26 bodies to fill 64 committee slots. (We have a couple other folks who are partially re-assigned to the big marble hallways of administration, but I'll include them in this count.)

We've totally done this to ourselves. And yes, we approved a new committee in the past year, one with five slots. A few years ago, we approved a different new committee with five slots.

Note: the slots don't include search committees or college/university committees.


  1. Eep! This seems to call for a review of the committee structure -- how about you guys strike a new five-person committee to tackle the problem?

    *ducks* Seriously, you have my sympathy and I hope that you can go through and figure out what might not be necessary going forward.

  2. At my uni there is actually a Committee on Committees!!!

  3. I was told when I arrived here that the Committee on Committees was the powerful one, because it did the nominations.

    But these are departmental committees? Can the department consolidate functions so that not everyone has to serve on two departmental committees? Or make smaller committees?

    Sigh. Much of our administrative structure is set from the system, and since our campus is still small, with relatively few senior people, the senior folks serve on lots and lots of committees.

  4. OMG. Are you saying that *your department* has 64 committees? *Why?*

    My department is so small that we don't have committees! The three of us meet in the lounge and say, Whaddya wanna do about ___?

    At the uni level, it's impossible for me to serve on a committee, although I'd actually welcome the opportunity. I'm technically a full-time lecturer, so can be assigned any duty. Most of our university committees are senate-approved; people actually *apply* to be on them (our senate is one of the most powerful I've ever seen). Although the senate invites lecturers to apply, lecturers are never admitted to serve.

  5. Janice, Our committee on committees is already at work on making some decisions. If only the committee that decides the big stuff would bother to look at their proposal...

    Terminal Degree, Yep, we have those at every level.

    Susan, Yes, these are all departmental committees, and don't include the one university mandated committee (which handles personnel issues). If you have tenure, you already serve on that, too.

    Victoria, Not 64 committees. More like 12 committees of varying sizes that require 64 warm bodies to fill them in various configurations. The same warm body has to serve on several committees.

    And yes, we've totally done this to ourselves.

  6. Ooooh. Duh. [blush]