Thank you for sending me the Report and Recommendations on Clinical Faculty Tracks as approved by the University Senate on April 22, 2005.  My thanks to the Senate’s Faculty Affairs and Personnel Committee for its comprehensive and thoughtful report.

I am pleased to accept the Senate’s recommendation that the clinical title series be extended to the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, the Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick and Newark, the School of Business-Camden, and the Mason Gross School of the Arts.  The use of the clinical track in pharmacy, nursing, and Law has proven invaluable in helping those units broaden their instructional offerings and meet changing accreditation requirements; the extension of the clinical title to four additional units is expected to produce similar enhancements to their educational offerings.  The Senate’s recommendation that the PII designation not be excluded from the clinical track seems a reasonable one.

With respect to the Senate’s recommendations regarding the imposition of caps on clinical track faculty, I strongly affirm the importance of setting caps on the percentage of clinical track faculty within a unit, but do not think that the Senate’s proposal to establish and rigorously enforce three set tiers of caps is the best approach to ensuring appropriate levels of clinical track faculty.  Deans should establish and enforce caps on clinical faculty appointments within their units, with the review and approval of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs or their Provost.  Deans also should have the flexibility to propose modifications to those caps, subject to the same academic review and approval, when changing enrollments, program modifications, or new accreditation requirements justify making such changes.  The recent transformation of the Pharm. D. degree, which significantly altered both the nature and magnitude of that program, provides strong evidence against establishing and imposing artificial caps on clinical faculty appointments.  Nor do I see the need for Deans to provide case by case justification of clinical track appointments.  Clinical track appointments follow the same guidelines as other faculty appointments and promotions.  I prefer that the Deans and faculties of the relevant units determine when the use of the clinical track is justified, and rely on the academic oversight of the Executive Vice President and Provosts to ensure the appropriate use of clinical track faculty lines.

Regarding the Senate’s recommendation that there should be separate budgeting of clinical faculty, I view the imposition of such strict budgetary controls as running counter to the new all funds budgeting process, the intention of which is to afford deans more flexibility in using their available resources to achieve academic excellence and respond to changing needs of their units and disciplines.  Further, in practice the requirement seems likely to prove both cumbersome and inefficient, likely hampering the ability of deans and department chairs to respond quickly to changes in student demand or program offerings.  If the purpose of this provision is to guard against “…the potential erosion of tenure-track faculty lines as less expensive clinical lines are included…,” I am persuaded that the establishment of clinical track caps, as monitored by the Vice President and Provosts, provides sufficient academic oversight to prevent such a shift in faculty resources.  (I note that several deans have taken issue with the report’s characterization of clinical faculty as less expensive; in their experience market forces have driven certain clinical faculty starting salaries higher than those of tenure-track faculty.)  In addition, the transparency of the new funding process ensures that any such shifts would become apparent through fiscal accounting mechanisms as well, negating the need for a separate budgeting process.

We accept the Senate’s recommendation to inform the units about their responsibilities and options with respect to clinical faculty members’ voting rights, and also will reiterate to units that clinical faculty are afforded the same protection of academic freedom that are provided to tenure-track faculty.  In addition, we will share with the relevant units the Senate’s recommendations regarding the length of clinical faculty appointments.  While I believe the length of appointment appropriate for the particular position is best determined by the unit, with the caveat that appointments and reappointments are by University Regulation ordinarily for a term of not less than three years, it is appropriate that the units consider the Senate’s advice on this matter.  Finally, I agree to report back to the Senate periodically about the extent and use of clinical faculty appointments in both the units where it currently exists and those where it is newly proposed.

The support and guidance of the University Senate is appreciated as we take steps to provide the units with the flexibility they need to continue to offer high quality educational programs and meet shifting student demands and curricular changes.

Sincerely yours,
Richard L. McCormick

c:    Dr. Philip Furmanski, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs;
Dr. Steven Diner, Newark Campus provost; Dr. Roger Dennis, Camden Campus Provost; Dr. Martha Cotter, Chair of the University Senate