Background to Faculty Code Appendix C
Compiled by Anne Whisnant, Deputy Secretary of the Faculty, February 2016
The Committee on University Government has asked for background information on Appendix C of the Faculty Code, a section titled “Status of Graduate Students Involved in Instructional and Research Programs,” apparently added to the Code based upon a resolution passed at Faculty Council on January 10, 1969.
A search of the Faculty Council records in University Archives starting in January 1969 and working backwards to find the origins for this Appendix uncovers the following key events (links go to full copies of referenced primary documents).
“To His Coy Mistress” controversy related to and English course taught by graduate student instructor Mr. Michael Paull (see the library exhibit about this here).
“In executive session the Chancellor recounted all the facts of the Paull case as he knew them, without passing judgment.” They key developments in the situation are summarized in the minutes. At the conclusion, the minutes note a discussion of “why in remanding the case to the English Department the instructor was called a graduate student rather than an instructor, since as an instructor he is serving as a faculty member, the Chancellor replied that all questions were now in the hands of the English Department and suggested that there needs to be further study of the role of the graduate student instructors in the University and of their status as instructors.”
There was a statement appended from Professor Corydon Spruill on these issues, on which it was noted that no action was at that time undertaken. That statement raised the basic question of whether “an instructor, part-time instructor, or graduate assistant who is ‘an active candidate for a graduate degree’ (University Code, p. 37) have any element of faculty tenure.” It noted various ambiguities between the University Code tenure policies and recommendations by the AAUP about faculty tenure and dismissal procedures. The statement asserted that the Paull case highlighted “serious handicaps [in current policy] in the way of clear understanding and wise action.” Spruill suggested an effort be undertaken “to clarify the procedures governing suspension, dismissal, and appeal, and especially those affecting junior members of the instructional staff.”
There is no further reference to this issue during the rest of the 1966-67 academic year.
Professor Carroll Hollis announced his intention to propose at the December 1967 meeting “the appointment of a Council committee to study and clarify the status of part-time instructors, who are both teachers and graduate students.” His explanatory statement is included in the minutes.
This meeting included approval of a motion by C. C. Hollis “that a Council committee be appointed to study the status of Part-Time Instructor[s] and to report as soon as practicable to the Council.” Hollis explained that the study was needed because of confusion as to what “faculty privileges” and “protection” should be extended to part-time instructors. Specifically, he said that it was often assumed that part-time instructors should have the same privileges and protections as full-time instructors, but that “this implication is not necessarily true, for the part-time instructor is a graduate student, which is his primary reason for being here.” There was no indication in this stated rationale that part-time instructors might hold any status other than graduate students (e.g., what we now call “fixed-term” or “adjunct” instructors).
The meeting discussion of this issue did not make any direct reference to the “To His Coy Mistress” affair.
January 5, 1968 Faculty Council Minutes
It was announced that the Committee on the Status of Part-Time Instructors had been appointed by the chancellor.
That is the last mention of this issue in the 1967-68 year.
This meeting contained the following relevant actions:
- Approval of the Report and recommendations of the Faculty Council ad hoc Committee on Status of Part-time Instructors (from W. F. Little). The purpose of this committee, the report noted, was to “study the status of [the] Part-Time Instructor and to report as soon as practicable to the Council.” This committee came about as a result of a motion approved at the December 1, 1967 Faculty Council meeting. The Committee on the Status of Part-time Instructors report is included as part of the minutes document linked above.
- The report defined “part-time instructor” as: “the graduate student (by whatever title) who is directly involved in the instructional program, but whose primary objective in the Universiity is pursuit of an academic degree. This has excluded from our consideration part-time instructors who are professionals in their fields and have taken part-time employment in the University. We have not concerned ourselves with research assistants, non service fellowship holders and trainees.”
- The report noted a wide variety of titles used for graduate instructional personnel and a “great diversity of practices with respect to degree of supervision, credentials for employment, grievance procedures, teaching experience as a requirement for the Ph.D. degree, income tax liability, etc.” In terms of “academic status” of these instructors, the report described this variety and concluded that “graduate student teachers should be considered junior faculty members and should be accorded some privileges beyond those of other graduate students, but not all privileges of regular, full-time faculty.”
- The report included a “Recommendation for Action by the Faculty Council” which seems to form the core of Appendix C (see report document included within the minutes linked above).
- The report went on to describe privileges available to those with these graduate teaching appointments, including in-state tuition, access to Student Health Service, various tax advantages where teaching is a degree requirement (not having to report or be subject to Social Security withholding), use of student housing, and “financial considerations in the University athletic programs.”
- The report identified a number of other concerns to be followed up on:
- From graduate students: library privilege issues, parking, stipend levels, participation in the Graduate Students Association, the need for a graduate instructor handbook, payroll schedule, workload disparities, various welfare issues.
- From Department “Chairmen”: need for more money for graduate assistants, graduate assistant training and quality, payroll schedule issues.