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Department of Chemistry

Plan for Retention of Junior Faculty

The new faculty member has three major goals to attain during her/his probationary period: to become an excellent teacher, to be successful in initiating and obtaining funding for her/his research program, and to contribute significantly to the governance of the department and College. These are not easy goals to attain. The new faculty member requires the conscious and active support of the chair and senior members of the faculty during her/his probationary period to achieve each of these goals and, ultimately, to earn continuing appointment (tenure).

We must not withhold this support. The probationary faculty member represents a huge investment of money, time and energy to both the Department and the College by the end of the probationary period. Therefore, it is as important to each of us that the probationary faculty member attain these goals as it is to the probationary faculty member.

To help the probationary faculty member attain these goals and earn tenure, we, the senior members of the faculty of the Department of Chemistry, offer the following support, as well as our encouragement.

Support for Teaching

The Vice President for Academic Affairs has approved reduced teaching loads for all junior faculty while they are serving in their probationary period. This teaching load is not to exceed a three-course assignment, or its equivalent, each semester. In chemistry and the other sciences, where laboratory sessions are common features of a faculty member's assignment, this maximum teaching load translates to nine contact hours per semester.

All faculty in the Department of Chemistry are expected to teach courses outside of their major sub-discipline at regular intervals. This is done to keep each member of the faculty "fresh" in her/his approach to teaching and to avoid "burn out" in the teaching of a particular course. However, the chair will attempt to provide the probationer with a teaching assignment which is reasonably constant, having relatively few preparations at first, so the probationer may hone her/his teaching skills on a manageable and familiar teaching assignment. The chair will only change the probationer's teaching assignment to include a wider variety of assignments when the probationer has become established as a teacher.

The senior faculty, led by the chair, will be available to the probationer throughout the probationary period to discuss different pedagogies and to comment on their implementation in the classroom. New faculty will be encouraged to work closely with the Center for Excellence in Teaching to develop their teaching style. New faculty will be encouraged to participate in teaching seminars and workshops offered by the Center.

Support for Scholarship

The College, through the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the School of Letters and Sciences, will provide the new faculty member with a budget to purchase a computer and printer to facilitate her/his research and teaching and to purchase those major items of equipment necessary to begin her/his research. The College will also provide on-going support of the faculty member's professional development during her/his probationary period by providing up to $600 per year for travel to professional meetings, conferences, and/or workshops. Finally, the College will support all grant proposals authored by the faculty member and approved by the College's Research Foundation Office which call for institutional matching funds.

The Department of Chemistry will provide the probationary faculty member with high-priority access to funds available within the departmental budget to purchase chemicals and small items of equipment which he/she might find necessary to start her/his research and/or to stock her/his teaching laboratories. The Department will also provide the probationer with first-priority access to equipment replacement funds which may be made available to the department, provided no urgent departmental need has arisen. These funds may be used to up-grade or replace existing equipment which the probationer may find necessary to support her/his research program or serve her/his courses.

The Department of Chemistry will give the probationer first-priority access to discretionary funds within the departmental Library budget such that the probationer may improve the department's collection in her/his sub-discipline, if necessary. The Department will also provide funds of up to $500 per year to supplement institutional travel grants or College travel funds.

The senior faculty, led by the chair, will be available to the probationer throughout the probationary period to discuss research strategies and research projects and to comment on the papers and grant proposals that the probationer writes. They will also help guide the probationer to colleagues in other departments and to appropriate centers and institutes on campus should the probationer wish to explore interdisciplinary research opportunities. The chair will introduce the probationer to the personnel of the College's Research Foundation Office and encourage the probationer to seek external funding for her/his research. The chair will also ensure that the probationer is aware of College research funding that may fund pilot programs that will lead to external research funding.

The junior faculty member, like any member of the faculty, is eligible to apply for and receive small scholarly incentive grants, travel grants and faculty development grants as they become available from the College or from the UUP.

Support for Service

While the Department of Chemistry recognizes the importance of service to the College in the development of an academic career, the Department will attempt to ease the probationer into such commitments. The Department will encourage the probationer to participate in university life and governance in and through the Department first.

The Department will encourage participation in professional organizations to the degree that they facilitate the achievement of research and teaching goals and enhance the professional visibility of the probationer as a significant scholar.

It is essential to the health of the Department that each member of the faculty, including the probationer, contribute in service to the Department. The probationer will be assigned to the departmental Facilities and Equipment Committee in her/his first year so she/he may initiate requests for and prioritize the use of funds from the departmental budget and may participate in the prioritization of equipment replacement requests. The probationer may also be assigned service activities which place her/him in direct contact with our majors, such as Advisor to the Chemistry Club. In such a capacity the probationer may get to know our students at a sufficiently early stage that a research collaboration might be discussed.

As the probationer becomes more established in her/his research and teaching, the chair will alert her/him to opportunities for service to the College. These service roles should be chosen to fit the probationer's interests and skills and should advance the probationer's career without interfering with the probationer's all-important roles as teacher and scholar.

Support for Discretionary Salary Increases

The United University Professors (UUP), acting as the faculty member's agent, negotiates across-the-board percentage increases for all faculty and professional staff. The contract between UUP and the State of New York usually provides 1% of the salary pool as discretionary money in lieu of proportionately larger across-the-board percentage increases. Money in this pool is used to fund discretionary salary increases (merit increases) of $800 - $1,600 per year, on base, for excellence in teaching, scholarship or service for deserving members of the faculty and staff. The chair and the Departmental APT Committee will be aggressive in putting the probationer forward for discretionary salary increases as her/his dossier warrants and as provided for in the UUP-negotiated contract.

The chair and departmental APT Committee will also be aggressive in pursuing early promotion, should the probationer's teaching and scholarship seem to warrant such action. Promotion, of course, carries with it an increase in base salary.

Adopted by the Faculty of Chemistry on February 16, 2000