The first academic senate meeting of the spring proved to be a substantial one as, among other things, President Bierman updated the faculty on recent title changes in both deans’ offices, and Dean of the College Ann Davies outlined her plans for strategically addressing historic shortfalls in faculty pay rates.
Following several committee reports, Bierman took the floor in Richardson on Wednesday, Jan. 19, to directly address two recent title changes at the dean level. The title changes, he explained, came about during discussions leading up to the search for the college’s next Dean of Students. As he explained at senate, with the blessing of several faculty committees, he and the search committee decided to drop the “vice president” title from the Dean of Students position. The move, Bierman said, is intended to remove a corporate-sounding title that runs counter to the way Dean Flanagan, and surely his chosen successor, interfaces with students. In the same way, it was announced that the title of Vice President for Academic Affairs is being dropped in favor of Provost and Dean of the College. Both changes, as professors Jerry Gustafson and Ken Yasukawa pointed out via e-mail, are a return to past practices at Beloit.
Dean Davies closed out the meeting with more news. In addition to senior staff’s work to increase staff and faculty pay across the board in the next fiscal year, she is planning to systematically address lower-than-average pay rates for Beloit faculty. Although the plan is still tentative (and still under discussion in senior staff), Davies has outlined a strategy for raising entering pay for tenure-track faculty while also quickly addressing shortages at the associate professor level and among senior faculty.
As a part of that plan, Davies, in consultation with President Bierman, has decided to repurpose dollars formerly used to meet matching requirements for important grants, and direct them toward a higher priority. The funds, which generous and longtime donor Bill Keefer bequeathed to the college, will now go toward development for senior faculty members, who make up more than 40 percent of the Beloit faculty. Over the next 10 years, the Dean's Office will have access to that $1.5 million fund, which it will direct, Davies said, “toward senior faculty’s renewal and extension of their scholarship, with emphasis placed on faculty members recently promoted to full professor, senior faculty members with upcoming sabbaticals, and those faculty who are returning to a fuller scholarly agenda after a period of significant college service, such as multiple terms on a major committee or the chairmanship of such a committee.”