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Provost's Letter Announcing the Report

July 17, 1998

Deans, Directors, and Chairs

Dear Colleagues:

In February 1998, I appointed two committees to explore matters of deep concern to me and to our faculty members: the ad hoc Committee on Faculty Responsibilities and Rewards and the ad hoc Advisory Committee on Faculty Salaries.

Both committees have completed their charges and submitted their recommendations. With this letter, I am transmitting to you copies of these two very significant reports. The report of the Committee on Faculty Responsibilities and Rewards has already received a good deal of attention, including presentation in open forum at the Board of Regents' meeting on June 19. The report of the Advisory Committee on Faculty Salaries has just been received.

I would like to highlight three themes that run through both reports:

  1. The need for more explicit goal-setting at both the individual and unit levels. Both reports emphasize the need for individual faculty members to enunciate their professional aspirations and to link them to unit and University goals. Both reports encourage faculty members to set these goals in dialogue with their chairs. In turn, chairs are urged to lead their departments in creating unit plans that embody the collective goals of their faculty.

  2. The need for greater recognition of achievement. There is a sense that we provide insufficient recognition for notable achievement, particularly superior teaching performance, during long careers. Suggestions for reward include salary and additional awards recognizing excellence in teaching. Both reports recommend that achievement in teaching, research, and service should be recognized by the addition of grades within ranks or the creation of new ranks.

  3. The need for improvement in communication at all levels. Many faculty feel unaware of, or unclear about, performance expectations, policies, and goals. Departments are encouraged to set clear expectations and rewards for the attainment of individual faculty goals.

One of my main purposes in appointing these committees was to stimulate a UW-wide discussion. The committees have done their work to survey the faculty and start the conversation. I now ask you to encourage discussion at the departmental level, especially in your faculty retreats this fall.

The recommendations in these provocative reports have potential impact on our actions throughout the UW: action by the Faculty Senate, including possible changes to the Handbook; by the Board of Deans and other standing committees; within colleges and departments; by individual faculty members. The Faculty Senate has undertaken this summer to identify those items requiring Handbook revision. Special committees will draft proposed legislation for discussion and possible adoption during the academic year. The University-level committees will discuss the recommendations for their impact on policy-making and fiscal decisions. I anticipate a major discussion at the Board of Deans in the fall, and I urge chairs to make your deans aware of your thinking and that of your faculty members. Faculty members should also communicate their ideas to their Faculty Senators.

On a related note, you have been invited to attend the annual all-day workshops for UW administrators on September 9. This year's theme will relate to strategic thinking and goal-setting, which ties very closely into these committees' recommendations. I hope you are planning to attend. Because the administrators' workshops will precede most faculty retreats, I believe you will find yourself better prepared to moderate this conversation within your department, having participated in what we believe will be a dynamic, timely exchange of ideas.


Lee L. Huntsman

c:   Dr. Richard L. McCormick
Dr. Mark N. McDermott
Dr. Theodore Kaltsounis
Members, ad hoc Committee on Faculty Responsibilities & Rewards
Members, ad hoc Advisory Committee on Faculty Salaries
Board of Regents
Ms. Jennefer Penfold

Faculty Salaries