TAMU AAUP Guide for New Faculty
The Texas A&M Chapter of the American Association of University Professors
(AAUP) welcomes you to Texas A&M University. We, your new colleagues here,
have written this pamphlet to share some of the strategies for success we
have found useful.
1) Any person who has the term "Professor" in her/his title,
not tenure-track. The responsibilities of these persons are usually in
the three areas of independent research, teaching, and service.
2) Any person who has the term "Lecturer" in his/her title.
Lecturers are nontenured; their responsibilities are primarily
teaching with a small service component.
3) Any person who has the title "librarian" or "instructor."
Faculty are qualified to vote in faculty elections (depending sometimes
on their rank) and to apply for internal research funding.
Research scientists are not faculty. Although they may have many of
the same responsibilities as faculty, they are neither eligible for
tenure nor usually eligible to apply for internal research funding.
Regardless of your title, you are welcome and invited to join the AAUP.
We like to define success in terms of your ability to set up win-win
interactions (such as social interactions and professional associations).
Obviously, circumstances may not always allow a win-win result. Still
the effort is worthwhile, if only because you help create and enjoy
a more congenial academic community.
Texas A&M University recently released its Vision 2020 plan, which
calls for the university to join the ranks of the top ten public
universities by 2020. This goal cannot be attained without raising
standards of all kinds. We hope the state legislature will accept
the ideas embodied in Vision 2020. If it does, we can expect to see
rising salaries and increased funding for projects that will raise
the quality and standing of the university.
We expect the standards of work expected of faculty will rise
noticeably during the next five or six years. Thus it is important
to recognize that standards for your tenure may be higher than those
for your predecessors. In any case, here you have the opportunity to
demonstrate your best.
Your career development is your own responsibility. Thus you should
carefully focus the arenas in which you invest your efforts, and make
certain these efforts increase your standing in your field.
It should be unnecessary to discuss strategies for working with
colleagues, since we are all highly educated and experienced in
the academic world. But disputes between faculty and administration
or among faculty often reveal a remarkable lack of concern, on all
sides, for mending fences. We cannot do much about preventing the
errors we have seen administrators and colleagues make, but a few
suggestions may prevent such problems from affecting you.
First, it is important to realize that all faculty, tenured and
untenured, are under tremendous pressure (often self-imposed) to
produce quality work. Moreover, our creative work is our best
claim to immortality. Many of us harbor the quiet dream that we
will be known hundreds or thousands of years from now for the
wonderful work we did, just as Darwin, Goethe, Newton, Michelangelo,
Dante, and Archimedes are. Even at our most realistic, we all want
to bask in the glow of professional appreciation. This makes us very
jealous of our work and the time it takes to do it. Some suggestions
follow from these observations:
1. Give credit generously. It won't hurt your reputation.
2. Be friendly, join in hallway chats and trips out to lunch.
3. Be careful about dropping in and visiting in your
Even if your neighbor accepts your visits, he or she may not always have
time to chat.
4. Stay focused. The faculty who have the best reputations for
accomplishing things have chosen a limited number of goals of value
to themselves, their colleagues, departments, and the university,
and worked on them with vigor. Successful probationary faculty
usually do not aim for goals outside their research and teaching.
5. We have tenure to guarantee the academic freedom to inquire and
teach without fear of retaliation. Tenure is important because to
teach and research well means making people think. This often means
challenging popular assumptions and commercial interests. If you are
considering entering into controversial areas relating to your field
of study, make sure your research can back up your statements and
actions. If you enter into controversial areas outside your field
of study (an example would be arguing for the legalization of
marijuana when your area is English literature), you must be
careful to explicitly say you are speaking for yourself alone
and not for the University. Nor should such speech occur in
the classroom if unrelated to the course content.
6. Stay cool. Anger usually results in errors. Think until you are
no longer working with your emotions before you act or speak.
Managing your time effectively may prove one of the greatest challenges.
Research, teaching, and service will easily consume 150% of your
available time if you are not careful. Most departments try to
limit the service component of non-tenured faculty. Do not resist --
you will have many opportunities to serve once tenured.
Of prime importance during your pre-tenure years are research and
teaching. First-rate research with ensuing publication in highly
respected and refereed journals or a book is expected and essential.
As mentioned earlier, standards can be expected to rise during the
next few years, so even the standards which were successfully met by
recently promoted and tenured faculty should not be your definition
of excellence. Aim higher.
The actions most useful to advance your research include:
1. Build a research program. Research is not made up of
of a succession of unrelated or somewhat related problems. Rather, it
is motivated by overall questions, and the particular problems being
studied should be well guided by the overall questions.
2. Establish an independent research program. When you go up for
tenure, the question of your independence from colleagues will arise
if too much of your work is collaborative. Collaboration does have
many advantages. Working with other faculty can teach you a lot,
bring in early grant money unavailable otherwise, and can add an
interdisciplinary element to your work. But too much collaboration
may raise a red flag: Can the candidate perform well without the help
of senior people? Before embarking on collaborative work, make sure
a division of responsibility is delineated and your department will
judge your efforts worthy of tenure.
3. To accomplish your research program, apply for grants, if grant
funding is expected in your field. Start writing grant proposals if
you have not already started. If you are immediately funded, do not
rest on your laurels. You should aim to be funded during the entire
probationary period and when you go up for tenure. Previously funded
professors who were not funded at the time of tenure decision have
been denied tenure for that stated reason.
4. Seek out faculty who have been successful at getting grants and
ask for their advice. Ask for a copy of a successful grant application
to the agency to which you are applying.
5. Moderate the drive for funding with good sense. A
official once said that "persons who are after the money rather than
the research question are easily recognized and are less likely to
obtain funding." Funding is an means to an end, not an end in itself.
6. Publish. Publication can be problematical, as some
kinds of research
are inherently slower than others. However, some of your colleagues may
not be aware of this aspect of your research, so it's wise to focus your
research upon publishability during your next several years. Find out
from recently promoted colleagues how many papers they had when they
were promoted, and plan to produce more than that. While it is certainly
true that quality counts much more than quantity, given equal quality,
more is better. Most papers in a given journal are judged to be at about
the same level of quality, and from then on, quantity counts.
7. Publish in leading journals. Publication in lower-level journals
is not nearly as good as publication in leading journals, even though
publication in a lower-level journal may be faster and easier.
8. Publish in lower-level journals. If you have a result that is
not significant enough for a leading journal, don't just set it aside.
A publication in a lower-level journal, while not as good, still
benefits you and the field.
9. Network. Develop a list of researchers around the world who are
interested in your work, and send them preprints of your papers. Your
department will support you in this effort because the university
benefits from publicizing your research.
10. Attend professional meetings in your field. This is one way
to create a network of interested colleagues worldwide as well to
stay abreast of others' research.
11. Give talks. Often giving a talk is a requirement
funding for attending a meeting. But even if it is not, it's a good
way of spreading the word of your work and getting feedback prior to
submitting a paper for publication. Even the best work, if unknown,
has no impact.
12. Give more talks. Many universities will pay something toward
your travel expenses to give a colloquium. These talks are good
for expanding your reputation, especially among people in your area
but not your specific field.
13. Self-promote within the university. Give colloquia and invite
colleagues to sit in the advanced courses you offer. Get mentioned
in the various newsletters that TAMU publishes or in the local
newspaper, and try to add a community service component to your research.
You are the world's leading expert on your results; now your job is
to become recognized as a leading expert in your field. Focus your
efforts on your field; do not try to compete with others in their field.
Teaching is your other priority. The assumption is that you will teach
well. The evolving state of information technology means more opportunities
and challenges for us to teach effectively. Suggestions for teaching
1. Ask to sit in on colleagues' classes to see how they teach.
2. Invite your colleagues to sit in on your classes and ask for
suggestions on how you could improve your teaching.
3. Obtain feedback from students about your courses.
4. Take advantage of university resources, including the Center
for Teaching Excellence, to improve your teaching and to enable
students to take advantage of support services.
You are hired to teach and perform some service. Get a very clear
idea from your department head of the expectations set by the
department. Confirm this in a pleasant memo and file the memo.
As a faculty member, you are eligible to run for Faculty Senate,
and you are eligible to serve on Departmental, College, and
University committees. Such service will usually help satisfy
the service expectation of your job.
It is possible to be promoted from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer
with a concomitant increase in salary.
The Faculty Senate has a Subcommittee on the Status of Lecturers
to handle the concerns of lecturers and has worked successfully in
the past to alleviate problems. For example, the raise on promotion
to Senior Lecturer arose in this subcommittee. Non-senators may serve
on this committee. You are encouraged to volunteer for this service
if your department head concurs; call the Senate office (845-9528).
All research scientists (including assistant and associate
research scientists) should:
1. Get your duties and evaluation criteria in writing.
2. Document the fact that you have completely fulfilled your duties
and satisfied the criteria.
3. Before writing grant applications, check to see if you are
eligible to be the principal investigator. Particularly for assistant
and associate research scientists, eligibility is not automatic.
4. Keep in mind that you are not faculty. Despite the fact that you
may have some duties and responsibilities of faculty, you are
nevertheless not faculty. You may not vote for the Faculty Senate
and are not eligible for internal sources of research funding, even
if independent research is your primary responsibility.
These suggestions may seem obvious, but a little repetition is
not necessarily bad.
1. Act ethically. You hold a position of trust, honor, and
responsibility. The university has a commitment to you, but you
also have a commitment to the profession, the university, and the
taxpayers of Texas.
2. Give credit to all who added to the intellectual effort of a
paper, book, or other work, regardless of their rank.
3. Add junior colleagues to your grant applications. The extra
brain-power may help your research, and you will help your colleagues.
4. Seek feedback and document it.
1. Don't cleverly or unintentionally intertwine your personal
business(es) and your job. Our auditors are very good at untangling
the tangles you make, and when they finish your troubles have just begun.
2. Don't abuse your colleagues' trust. If you work with
give credit. It costs almost nothing, you will feel better about it,
and colleagues who believe you failed to credit their work often have
3. Don't coerce post docs, graduate students, staff, etc., into
doing work for you that is illegal, unethical, or just outside of
what they are supposed to do.
We are confident you will find your work here satisfying and
productive. But there are times when you will see ways to improve
the university which would require more time (or perhaps even more
ability) to effect than you presently have. Sometimes taking such
ideas up the "chain of command" (Department Head, Dean, Dean of
Faculties, Provost, President) is the best way to get these ideas
implemented. Another avenue is through the Faculty Senate.
Conflicts do sometimes arise, and most of us wish the State
Legislature, the Regents, and/or our administrators would treat
us better (more pay, fewer obstacles to our work, etc.). To help
us, there are the Faculty Senate and several organizations for faculty.
We recommend running for the Senate after you have tenure or are a
fully established non-tenure-track person and have more time to devote
to service. We recommend joining a faculty association, but do not
become very involved before you have tenure.
The Faculty Senate is an elected body of faculty members charged
with advising the president. As such, the Senate's powers are
limited, but they include considerable access to administrators
and a strong voice because it represents the faculty as a whole.
The Senate consists of approximately 90 senators, each elected to
a three-year term by the faculty of their colleges.
We advise you to get to know your senators and discuss issues
of concern to you or to the faculty as a whole. As a faculty
member, you are eligible to serve as a senator. Because membership
in the Senate will be of very little value in gaining tenure (unless
you and your department think that you need more involvement in a
service component), we strongly advise probationary faculty to
avoid running for the Senate. Experienced lecturers and tenured
faculty are encouraged to serve on the Senate; such service gives
you a voice on the overall direction of the university.
CONTACT INFORMATION: 845-9528,
or see any of the senators in your college.
The AAUP's purpose is "to facilitate a more effective cooperation
among teachers and research scholars in universities and colleges ...
for the promotion of the interests of higher education and research,
and in general to increase the usefulness and advance the standards,
ideals, and welfare of the profession," according to its constitution.
Since 1915, the AAUP has provided faculty and administrators with
guidelines on how to function ethically and effectively in areas
ranging from academic freedom and tenure to professional ethics and
student rights and freedoms.
The AAUP is often called upon by faculty who have landed in some
sort of trouble. It is important to realize that the national AAUP
cannot fight for individuals, but rather fights for principles and
procedures implementing those principles. The local chapter supports
the national AAUP in its efforts. In addition, we do support
individuals, but our time is severely limited. We are all volunteers,
and the way to get more action from the local chapter is to volunteer
your own time and get others to volunteer.
When called upon by an individual, the local chapter is always
willing to monitor the processes set up to handle the individual
case, to make sure that procedures in place are followed fairly.
When they are not, we will protest; we will ask the Faculty Senate
and other organizations to protest; and we will notify the national
AAUP office. In such cases, the national office may write to the
university administration, inquiring about the case. Such inquiries
can be helpful.
In cases where we notice weak or missing procedures, we try to
get appropriate changes made. We have successfully proposed
resolutions to the Faculty Senate, and many of our members are
or have been Faculty Senators. Thus changes can occur as a result
of AAUP actions.
By state law, the AAUP cannot act as a union. We cannot negotiate
for faculty, nor can we call a strike. This greatly limits our power.
Nevertheless, we have the not inconsiderable powers of access to
administrators, investigation and publicity, as well as lobbying.
CONTACT INFORMATION: Chapter President Arthur Hobbs (845-3250,
http://www.math.tamu.edu/arthur~hobbs , or
TFA is a part of the Texas State Teachers Association, itself part
of the National Education Association. Consequently, TFA is
considerably more expensive to join than AAUP, but offers a range
of benefits, including legal help and professional insurance, which
can have great value in some circumstances. TFA is the most effective
lobbying group for Texas faculty.
CONTACT INFORMATION: Charles Zucker, Executive Director
or Garret Ihler (845-8686,
TACT, as its name indicates, is also focused on Texas concerns and
lobbies the Legislature. Its concerns include salaries, retirement
options and other statewide concerns to higher education. TACT has
the lowest dues of the three associations.
TACT holds statewide meetings twice each year jointly with AAUP.
Attending these meetings provides you with a sense of higher education
throughout the state (yes, there is academic life outside Bryan-College
Station) and a chance to meet other involved faculty.
CONTACT INFORMATION: Charles Schultz (862-1555, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Women's Faculty Network encourages and promotes the professional
development of women faculty through both formal programs and informal
networking opportunities. WFN sponsors professional development
opportunities for faculty, addressing such issues as expanding
research opportunities, excellence in teaching, transition to
administration, and retention of women faculty.
The Steering Committee consists of representatives from each TAMU
college who are elected for three-year terms. There are also three
at-large positions and three ex-officio positions: Dean of Faculties,
Director of Women's Studies, and Chair of the Faculty Senate
sub-committee on the status of women.
All members of the A&M community are invited to participate in
CONTACT INFORMATION: Prof. Nancy Ing (862-2790,
Faculty are usually treated very well here. As in any large
organization, however, problems do arise, and so grievance
procedures and committees exist. Outside your department and
college are the Dean of Faculties and, far less called upon, CAFRT.
As a precaution against future disputes, keep all written and other
evidence of events and activities which might someday be contested.
This includes all letters between administrators and yourself as well
as accurate records of your research and teaching activities.
According to "Faculty Policies and Information," issued by the
Office of the Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost,
"The Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost deals with any and all
issues of importance to the faculty of the university. ...
"The Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost is available to all
faculty for confidential consultation on any matter of importance to
the faculty member. Follow up actions to consultation are taken only
with express agreement on the part of the faculty member. The faculty
ombudsperson role of the Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost
carries with it the authority and access to information to facilitate
resolution to situations of concern to faculty. The Office of the Dean
of Faculties and Associate Provost is in a location (6th floor Rudder
Tower) separate from other administrative offices, thus offering a
further dimension of privacy and confidentiality."
CONTACT INFORMATION: Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost
Janis Stout (845-4274, email@example.com,
CAFRT, the Committee on Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure,
hears appeals of disputed cases of denial of tenure or dismissal for
cause. Its recommendations are only advisory for the president, and
its recommendations have been overruled in the past. However, its
recommendations have also been accepted and can be strong evidence
in a court of law.
The TAMU System Policy at
the TAMU Rules at
relating to tenure should be read carefully. They are the governing
documents when disputes arise in tenure cases.
CONTACT INFORMATION: The Faculty Senate appoints the CAFRT Chair,
so contact the Senate (845-9528, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Some types of grievances have special rules, notably:
Research integrity cases.
Sexual harassment cases.
Furthermore, "Faculty Policies and Information" states
"Faculty members believing that they have cause for grievance
concerning a matter not covered by the procedures described in
the University's Statement on Academic Freedom, Responsibility,
Tenure and Promotion, University Policy on Sexual Harassment, or
in other regulations should discuss the matter in a personal
conference with their department head. If the matter cannot be
resolved by mutual consent at this point, the issue should be
discussed in a personal conference with the dean.
"If no resolution can be reached at the foregoing levels, faculty
members may take their grievance before a college-wide committee,
either standing or ad hoc, created for the purpose of reviewing
such grievances. Some colleges may choose to have the college
wide committee enter the process before the deans become involved.
"If a resolution cannot be reached at the college level, the faculty
member may petition the University Grievance Committee (UGC) for
redress. The UGC will not hear grievances that have not been heard
by a college grievance committee. The faculty member shall submit
the grievance to the UGC through the Dean of Faculties and Associate
See pages 52 through 54 of "Faculty Policies and Information" for
Whether going up for tenure and promotion, or, far more rarely,
finding yourself in serious trouble, keeping good records is a must.
The time to start is now; when you find yourself needing good records,
it is too late to start. As a rule, keep good records of your actions,
accomplishments, and expectations by others.
Make sure you obtain written notification of what is expected for
tenure and successful annual reviews in your department or college.
You should receive an written annual review. Discuss the review with
your department head to ensure there are no misunderstandings by
anyone. A friendly memo afterwards to confirm your impressions is a
It is wise to maintain (preferably in your home) hard copies of
all significant e-mails. Your e-mail and the contents of your
professional computer are the property of your employer who can
access them with or without your knowledge. Personal computing is
best done at home.
You may want to keep a professional diary, tracking your daily
activities, such as your research, service and teaching, as well
as phone calls and appointments, their outcomes, and the names of
the participants. Date each entry. You could keep this information
on a computer and print it out on a weekly basis, but a bound diary
is a legally more convincing document. If nothing else, you may
learn how your time is actually spent.
Your employer maintains one or more personnel files which you are
entitled to see upon request. You may want to ask to look at them
on an annual basis, simply to inform yourself of what is in the
file. You may copy these items at your expense.
It is wise to maintain your own copy of your personnel file,
because it is in your best interest to have a complete file, and
employers' files are normally not complete. In your personnel file
at home you should keep copies of everything that is in your
personnel file(s) at work, as well as other items of importance.
This will include all letters of instruction or praise or results
of meetings. If you wish to document the results of a meeting
(thus ensuring that there are no misunderstandings), you may send
a friendly memo containing your perception of its results, and keep
As you will discover when you write your annual report and go up
for your third-year and tenure reviews, documenting your
accomplishments is important. A record kept today may save much
time and frustration a few years later.
One approach is to build files that contain the written requirements
of your department, college and the University for (1) teaching and
(2) promotion and tenure. Each file should also contain a thorough
documentation that you have fulfilled and exceeded these requirements.
For the teaching file, go to the Center for Teaching Excellence and
learn the preferred method for creating a teaching portfolio. Save
all your teaching evaluations, including the computer-processed forms
filled out by students every semester, as well as the summation of
those forms. For the tenure file, save and respond positively to
your annual evaluations. If you are not given an annual evaluation,
ask for feedback and document your response to it.
These files have two significant values. First, you will be aware
of deficiencies either in your performance or in your perceived
performance, allowing you to take steps to improve. Second, you
will be prepared at your time of tenure or promotion to present
yourself at your best.
Winston Churchill, speaking of his widely criticized flowery note
informing the Japanese Ambassador that Great Britain and Japan were
at war, said, "After all, when you have to kill a man, it costs
nothing to be polite." From time to time, you may find yourself
embroiled in disagreements with administrators and colleagues, and
passions will flare. You can be witty and cutting and make your
points; or you can be polite and still make your points. Is it
better to win with all parties still friends, or win with bitterness
as a legacy?
The answer is obvious, but in a surprising number of cases,
professors have made enemies unnecessarily. You don't have to join
them. When you are angry and write a note, let it sit overnight
before sending it. The next morning, you may see ways of being
polite and less cutting and still make your points. Work at keeping
collegiality the tone in your department, college and university.
Recognize when others are becoming angry, and suggest breaks for
chatting and cooling off. In short, be a source of pleasantness,
rather than a source of misery.
Again, we welcome you to Texas A&M University. Parts of this brochure
may seem unduly pessimistic or bureaucratic. We have focused on areas
where problems have occurred in the past in order to avoid such
problems in the future. But we have found this university to be a
stimulating and rewarding place to work, and we hope you will have
the same experience.
Good luck in all you do.
To comment on this guide, please send e-mail to
Arthur M. Hobbs, President, TAMU AAUP