New Term Faculty Task Force already energized

When Kim Eby, George Mason University’s associate provost for faculty development, announced the creation of the Term Faculty Task Force, she was pleasantly surprised at the response.

“I got a slew of names of people who wanted to volunteer and be part of it,” Eby said. “We’ve tapped into something. There’s going to be a lot of energy around this.”

The task force, which meets for the first time in mid April, is charged with identifying challenges and difficulties faced by term faculty and developing recommendations to address those situations. It also will concentrate on career development and advancement opportunities and issues related to well-being.

In addition to Eby, the 12-person task force includes six term faculty members, one of whom will be co-chair with Eby, a representative from the Faculty Matters committee of the Faculty Senate, an associate dean, a department chair, a human resources representative and the chair of the Faculty Senate.

Eby said term faculty play a critical role, especially as fewer and fewer tenure-track jobs are available in higher education.

“We’ve got all these innovation initiatives,” she said. “If we’re going to be relying on our term faculty, in part, to be delivering on innovative learning as part of our strategic plan, then surely they need a voice at the table in the building and designing of that curriculum.”

Eby stressed these issues are not specific to George Mason, and the formation of the task force, endorsed by the Office of the Provost, is a way to acknowledge the contributions and importance of term faculty members.

“A lot of our teaching power lies in our term faculty,” Eby said.

“I’m excited about this,” she added about the task force. “I think it’s going to do important work. I think it’s going to be really good work.”