Statement on Non-Tenure-Track Faculty and Shared Governance

The statement below was collaboratively drafted by two tenure-line faculty members and a member of the Task Force for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty & Shared Governance.

If you are a faculty member — of any rank or position: tenure- or non-tenure-line, full- or part-time — at the University of Mississippi and would like to add your signature to the statement, please fill out this Google Form. We will update this document with new signatures as we receive them.

If you don’t have a Google account, which is required to fill out that Form, you can email your full name, title, and department (or unit) to the Task Force Chair.

The statement and its signature list was published on Friday, February 23, 2018 by The Daily Mississippian.

It was also published on Sunday, February 25, 2018 by The Oxford Eagle.

NTTF Fall 2017 Census Survey Data

At the end of the Fall 2017 semester, the Task Force emailed a survey link to all university faculty in non-tenure-track positions.  The first email was sent on November 15, 2017; a follow-up, reminder email was sent on December 5, 2017.

We received responses from 26.2% of those who received the emails.  The results indicate that NTTF at the university are actively engaged in both research/scholarship and departmental/university service — but they also have varying experiences with access to and participation in shared governance at the departmental levels.  Perhaps most importantly, however, the NTTF who responded to the survey overwhelming indicated being open to the idea of serving on the Faculty Senate if given the opportunity:

  • Yes: 39%
  • Maybe: 38%

These and other data points from the survey results are available in this PowerPoint presentation. 

Signatures Requested: Statement on Non-Tenure-Track Faculty and Shared Governance

The statement below was collaboratively drafted by two tenure-line faculty members and a member of the Task Force for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty & Shared Governance.

If you are a faculty member — of any rank or position: tenure- or non-tenure-line, full- or part-time — at the University of Mississippi and would like to add your signature to the statement, please fill out this Google Form.

If you don’t have a Google account, which is required to fill out that Form, you can email your full name, title, and department (or unit) to the Task Force Chair.


Statement on Non-Tenure-Track Faculty and Shared Governance

We are calling on tenured and tenure-track faculty (T/TTF) at the University of Mississippi to use their relative positions of power to actively support their non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) colleagues who are advocating for full representation in the Faculty Senate. To do so means listening to, collaborating with, and amplifying the voices of NTTF faculty in our own departments and across campus, including the Task Force for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty and Shared Governance (formed in September 2016).

There are roughly 600 NTTF members at our university. Faculty Senate seats are currently allocated based solely on departmental T/TTF numbers, and NTTF are explicitly excluded from serving on that body. NTTF are thus the only people at the university who do not have access to shared governance.

While the university’s core values statement highlights promoting “inclusiveness in its student body, faculty, and staff,” fostering “a civil community of shared governance,” and honoring “the dignity of all employees,” the current exclusion of NTTF members from shared governance undercuts our ability to live up to our mission.

Nationally, about 70% of university faculty are in contingent positions. Our ratio is more balanced: NTTF and T/TTF each comprise approximately half of our academic personnel, though NTTF teach nearly 60% of the student credit hours on our Oxford, Jackson, and regional campuses. While we all share serious concerns about the eroding of tenure lines on national and local levels, the existence of NTTF at our university is our reality. Ignoring our NTTF — in terms of both their talents and their concerns — does not change that reality and only reifies their isolation and maltreatment.

Our continued exclusion of NTTF from shared governance also runs counter to our peer institutions: currently, 88% of public R1 universities include NTTF in some way in shared governance. Furthermore, the scholarship on shared governance is clear: a single, unified body that incorporates all faculty equally, including both tenure- and non-tenure-line and full- and part-time faculty, results in not only a stronger shared governance body with an established, united voice but also the dissolution of departmental and status-based silos that proliferate across universities.

The Faculty Senate recently heard a proposal from the Task Force for full inclusion of NTTF in its body. The comments offered in response to this proposal at the January meeting came from a small percentage of the Senators but were overwhelmingly negative. Additionally, the Senate’s current plan for drafting a resolution unequivocally removes part-time faculty from all considerations and appears to suspend substantive input from NTTF about their own university lives.

We believe that a truly united faculty body makes us a stronger faculty body. When we fail to practice genuinely shared governance, we undermine university values, exacerbate inequities that affect NTTF disproportionately, and render invisible the labor and talents of half our faculty members. Moreover, we should strive for a more civil and fair workplace for everyone at our university, especially our most vulnerable colleagues. We accordingly call on T/TTF, especially, to use their status to work towards the common good.

Studies have consistently demonstrated that faculty working conditions are student learning conditions; in particular, contingent faculty members’ poor working conditions negatively affect student retention and completion rates. We therefore hope that T/TTF across our university will rally to support the full inclusion of NTTF in a unified Faculty Senate. A step towards improving NTTF working conditions is a step towards living up to our highest principles.

The Undersigned University of Mississippi Faculty Members


Again, if you are a faculty member — of any rank or position — at the University of Mississippi and would like to add your signature to the statement, please fill out this Google Form.