Rutgers University currently has two business schools, Rutgers Business School in Newark and New Brunswick (RBS), and the School of Business in Camden (SBC).  Both schools offer undergraduate and MBA degrees with several specializations; in addition, the Rutgers Business School also offers a Ph.D. in Management in cooperation with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Both the Rutgers Business School and the School of Business in Camden have full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty whose criteria for reappointment and promotion are teaching, research, and service.

Rationale for Creating a Professional Practice Track in RBS and SBC:

The tenured and tenure-track faculty at the schools are accomplished scholars and researchers who make important contributions to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge, and who teach a variety of courses in their respective areas of expertise.  They provide business students with an appreciation of methodology, access to the latest statistical and analytic techniques, and casework and competitions that develop critical thinking.  However, to provide the highest quality management education, the Schools must also give students training and experience in “practitioner” skills through instruction provided by individuals expert in the application of theory and  conversant with current business practice.

At present, instructors, invited guest lecturers, and/or part-time lecturers (PTLs) fill such a role in RBS and SBC, and the results are less than ideal.  Instructors are limited to annual appointments not to exceed a total of four years, regardless of the instructors’ quality or the schools’ need.  Many do not feel that they are an integral part of the school since their term is limited and they have no long-term stake in the school’s success.  Similarly, invited guest lecturers and PTLs do not provide continuity and consistency from year to year.  The inability to offer longer and more stable commitments to highly-skilled professionals thus limits the ability to find and retain appropriate faculty, and this has led in the past to frequent last-minute cancellations and substitutions.  This is not a mode of staffing of courses that works in the best interest of the students or of the educational program as a whole.

The educational programs at both RBS and SBC would be enhanced by the ability to hire and retain a stable complement of seasoned practitioners, particularly in highly specialized areas. Professional Practice faculty in Business would complement but would be very different in orientation and skills from the tenured and tenure-track faculty.  They would provide professional expertise in such areas as Pharmaceutical Management, Supply Chain Management, and Quantitative Finance, areas in which research-oriented faculty, particularly those in doctoral-level programs, are not generally conversant.  In addition, their network of contacts would be important in providing opportunities for graduating students. The combination of these two types of faculty, the researcher and the practitioner, will result in an optimally-balanced educational program and will produce graduates who are most attractive to potential employers and prepared to make an immediate contribution to the work place.

Expectations for Professional Practice Faculty:

When appointing Professional Practice faculty, the schools will be looking for different experiences and expertise than for tenured and tenure-track faculty.  Professional Practice faculty will be expected to be active practitioners, and as such, professionals whose identity is drawn from the practice of management rather than from the academic setting. Rather than placing an emphasis on the potential and already-demonstrated capacity for producing the highest quality theoretical and empirical research and scholarship, as is the case when hiring tenure-track faculty, Professional Practice faculty will be judged by the quality of their knowledge of, and demonstrated excellence in, the skills of the practice of management. The type of scholarship they produce, as well as the quantity of that scholarship, will not be the same as that required for tenure and promotion of tenured and tenure-track faculty. Their activities in their departments will emphasize instruction and service, rather than research.

Details of Professional Practice Appointments:

Term of appointment:  Appointments of Professional Practice faculty will normally be made for periods of three years.  Appointments may be renewed for additional three-year periods, but no faculty member appointed as a Professional Practice faculty member will be eligible for tenure.  Professional Practice faculty members may apply for and be considered for appointment to other faculty titles where there is the possibility of tenure, but no preference will be given to Professional Practice faculty in the selection process for such positions. Time spent as a Professional Practice faculty member will not ordinarily count in the probationary period for such an appointment.  In the rare instance that a faculty member in a tenure-track position wishes to become a Professional Practice faculty member instead, he or she may apply for any available and appropriate Professional Practice position.
Criteria for Appointment and Reappointment:  As noted above, Professional Practice faculty will contribute primarily in the areas of teaching and service, and to a lesser extent in the area of scholarship. Consequently, initial appointment will be based upon experience in the business world and ability to provide quality instruction in the practice of management. Subsequent reappointment will be made in recognition of the faculty member’s accomplishments in instruction; in service to the School, University, and profession; and to a lesser extent in scholarship.  Because the responsibilities of the Professional Practice faculty member de-emphasize traditional scholarship, activity in this category is more likely to take the form of publication in practitioner journals, participation in the application of theory to practical situations, and success in competitive program grants involving the recommendation of peer panels.  Professional Practice faculty may be hired, reappointed, or promoted to the titles of Assistant Professor Professional Practice, Associate Professor Professional Practice, or Professor Professional Practice.  As Professor II emphasizes traditional forms of research and scholarship, there will be no Professor II Professional Practice.
Evaluation of Professional Practice Faculty:  Evaluation shall take place in the third and final year of each three-year contract.  Chairs should also meet with each Professional Practice faculty member annually.
Voting rights:  Professional Practice faculty may not vote on hiring, reappointment, or promotion of either tenured or tenure-track faculty or other Professional Practice appointments.  At the discretion of the department or School, they may be granted a vote on other matters.
Practices at Peer Institutions:

Emerging best practice at peer institutions is to permit non-tenure track faculty with special expertise as practitioners and instructors to continue to remain with the institution without limit of appointment, but in non-tenured positions.  Columbia University, Yale University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Maryland all have mechanisms to retain untenured practitioner faculty on long-term contracts, and other universities are considering or are in the process of developing such mechanisms.

Requirements Relating to Accreditation:

AACSB-International Standards approved in April of 2003 state that “these standards focus on maintaining a mix of both student and faculty participants that achieve high quality in the activities that support the school’s mission.  For the purpose of these standards ‘faculty’ refers to all instruction-related faculty members, including tenured, non-tenured, full-time, part-time, clinical, etc., as appropriate.”  The standards further require that “Each school recruits, develops, and maintains a faculty to accomplish its mission with respect to learning, practice, and scholarship.  A variety of faculty skills may be needed to meet the mission, and individual faculty members may be appointed to meet specific aspects of the mission.”  Hence, while the accrediting agency does not mandate a separate practitioner title, it clearly contemplates the existence of such faculty as part of the appropriate academic mix needed to provide quality instruction.

Benefits to Schools and Students; Conclusion:

Tenured and tenure-track faculty alone cannot provide all of the specialized instruction needed in today’s professional business education. The use of lecturers, visitors, and PTLs to provide such specialized instruction has not proven to be satisfactory, in the sense that such appointments do not provide continuity or stability of staffing, and that instability has proven to be a detriment to both the academic programs and the students. In order to attract and retain the high quality practitioner faculty that RBS and SBC need,  an attractive and stable practitioner track should be developed.  The combination of the traditional tenured and tenure track faculty and the Professional Practice faculty will provide students with the combination of theory and practice that will make them most competitive upon graduation.