A Recap of NTT Faculty Meetings with President Schill

Last month the Daily Emerald published an article reporting on the non-renewals of non-tenure track (NTT) faculty and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences. It became apparent from the article and the ensuing discussions that the UO administration and Board of Trustees do not have a complete picture of how NTTF provide essential contributions to the successful functioning of the University in fulfilling its teaching and research missions.

This apparent lack of understanding inspired many of our University community members to respond. In support of this dialogue, United Academics invited President Schill to a dialogue with a group of NTT who were interested in sharing what we do, and initiated a postcard campaign, gathering cards from faculty, students and staff of the University with the purpose of raising awareness about the many roles of NTT at the University of Oregon.

During the week of May 8th-12th, 25 Career faculty at the University of Oregon met with President Schill in three 1-hour meetings with the goal of articulating the important role NTTF must play at a university that excels in research and provides an outstanding environment for undergraduate learning. The group represented non-tenure track instructional faculty and researchers from 4 schools and colleges and 19 departments or units. At the last of these three meetings, on May 12th, 486 postcards were delivered to President Schill.

Deb Bauer, Senior Instructor II in the College of Business who has taught at the University for 16 years reported afterwards, “The meeting was a great way for NTTF to share all of their impressive contributions and accomplishments with President Schill. I was impressed by his thoughtfulness and interest in our work.”

Susie Bassham, a Senior Research Associate in the Institute of Technology who has been faculty at the University for 15 years, was also pleased to have the chance to articulate NTT investment in the “long term effects on the quality and productivity of the University’s research.”

Miriam Gershaw, Senior Instructor I and the Interim Director of Composition, in her 14th year with the University, added, “I’m glad [President Schill] spent three hours listening to us last week. I can’t remember a previous president who was interested in hearing from 20-odd NTTs about what we do here at UO.”

President Schill noted the same thing, commenting that “It was striking how many people wrote to me telling me this was the first time that they had met with a president. We need to make this set of meetings something we do regularly. It was a great idea and I am grateful to UA for organizing the sessions.”

And, while both Ty Warren (Senior Instructor I, Art & Technology, 10 years) and Michael Copperman (Senior Instructor I, English, 13 years) observed that a gap remains between how President Schill views NTT at the UO and how we see ourselves, indicating there is still much work to be done, they too expressed being glad for the opportunity to participate and for President Schill taking the time to listen.

Thank you to the 25 Career faculty who took time out of your busy Week 6 to participate in the initiation of this important dialogue.