A Consideration of UCF Academic Career Path Models

As UCF matures, the mission of our university has become more complex. We continue to emphasize access and solid undergraduate teaching while also encouraging research and the growth of our graduate programs. Faculty experience the tension caused by these two goals and may not be well served by our present workload, evaluation, and promotion and tenure system.

For instance, some of us who give priority to our teaching have found it difficult to earn tenure and promotion. Some think that our criteria for teaching in our existing promotion and tenure process are insufficiently developed.

Some of us who are research faculty face teaching expectations that hinder our research efforts, or we carry reduced teaching loads and are replaced with full-time instructors or part-time adjuncts in the classroom.

Here is our dilemma: How do we encourage research while also supporting professionals in the classroom? Are there alternative faculty workload, evaluation, and promotion models that could support the goal of “the best undergraduate education in Florida” and also develop our national reputation for excellence in research?

We would like to initiate a faculty-wide discussion about career track options. Here are some models to consider:
  • A formal, university-wide, work-load differentiation plan, in which faculty are assigned to either a research or a teaching track, keeping existing promotion and tenure criteria
  • A tenure-track for teaching professionals (terminal degree required) that parallels our existing research tenure track, with new promotion and tenure criteria correlated to teaching success
  • A track for teaching professionals (terminal degree required) that parallels our existing research tenure track, which replicates the tenure track in all matters but does not provide tenure, with new promotion criteria correlated to teaching success
  • Maintaining the current system
In addition, we might also consider other academic professional career tracks, such as:
  • Clinical professionals
We might also think about a career-track for some of our non-professional colleagues:
  • Teachers who do not have terminal degrees, whom we now refer to as Instructors.