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Faculty Senate approves new professor, lecturer ranks

The Faculty Senate, in its first meeting of 2013, approved on Wednesday a set of measures that included the creation of a new Professor of the Practice, a non-tenure-track position designed to bring experts and leaders with a distinguished career outside the academy into Northeastern’s classrooms.

“This seeks to formalize and create a rank of Professor of the Practice and Distinguished Professor of the Practice, which many institutions have and which Northeastern—perhaps more than other institutions—should have,” said Mary Loeffelholz, the university’s vice provost for academic affairs.

The rank formalizes positions already created within some colleges, according to Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. Those colleges acted in order to bring top-tier talent into their classrooms.

The senate also voted to create two new ranks for the university’s lecturers, non-tenure-track faculty who teach but do not conduct scholarly research. The new ranks of Senior Lecturer and Principal Lecturer recognize talented teachers, but will not create larger ranks of non-tenure-track instructors.

The senate also voted Wednesday to amend the Administrator Evaluation Process, formalizing a practice that has been in place since 2009 to redact potentially slanderous material from copies of administrator evaluations available for review within the Faculty Senate’s offices. The changes, noted George Adams, the Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering who proposed the motion, would be used only under “a very specific set of conditions” which seldom occur.

“As far as I know, there haven’t been any such problems in the last 20 years,”—when the current administrator evaluation rules were enacted—Adams said, “but it’s important to address this nonetheless.”