Faculty Roles

The foundation of School is its tenure-system faculty. Tenure-system faculty members provide leadership across all areas of the School, and they are responsible for the research signature of the School; the teaching signature is a shared responsibility of tenure-system and supplemental faculty. Supplemental faculty may include adjuncts, academic professionals (with zero-time appointments as lecturers or non-tenure-system assistant professors), research scientists, retired faculty, visiting faculty, and others. Research areas in the field of library and information science that have been identified as having strategic importance for the School should be represented in the tenure-system faculty; other research areas may be represented by supplemental faculty. Tenure-system and supplemental faculty meet regularly to coordinate future course offerings across the different areas of the curriculum, in consultation with the associate dean for academic programs.

Faculty of many different types contribute in important ways to the success of the iSchool, and to the success of our students. As a professional school, we recognize the value of supplemental faculty, who can bring the experience of practitioners into the classroom. Retired full-time faculty also have a special value to the School, not only because of their experience in research and teaching, but also because of their alumni and professional networks. For the same reasons, from the perspective of the discipline at large, they are generally among our most well known, frequently cited, and highly respected faculty. Supplemental faculty, including retired faculty, are appointed and evaluated by the associate dean for academic programs. These appointments are normally for one semester at a time, but they may recur on a regular basis, if that serves the interests of the School and its students. In any case, supplemental faculty will teach only on a part-time basis: the School will not appoint full-time faculty whose sole duties are teaching, because we believe that teaching should be informed by a substantial engagement with research, practice, or both.

With a top-ranked master's program, a new advanced graduate program in digital libraries, a dynamic undergraduate minor, and the oldest extant LIS doctoral program in library and information science in the country, we cover significant territory in research and teaching, and we do so with a relatively small number of full-time faculty: in order to maintain the high quality of our programs, we need flexibility with respect to supplemental faculty, and in some cases retired faculty may be the best choice to teach in a given area. Given the necessary permission from the office of the Provost,

1. Retired faculty may teach in key research areas where iSchool seeks to recruit tenure-system faculty;

2. Retired faculty may teach in coordination with tenure-system faculty, in order to effect mentoring and succession;

3. Retired faculty may teach from time to time in areas where we do not have tenure-system faculty and do not expect to hire any, or in key areas where additional faculty are needed.

The School will not ask to rehire retired faculty for more than one course at a time or for more than one semester at a time, except in unusual circumstances (which may include unsuccessful faculty recruiting efforts).

Finally, it is important to note that faculty of all kinds also make significant contributions outside of the classroom. Independent study, individual advising and mentoring, research groups, reading groups, curricular planning, continuing and professional education, internships and practica, public engagement, lecture series, volunteer groups, student organizations, and honorary societies all offer valuable opportunities for interactions that deepen and enrich the experience that students have and the intellectual life of the School.

Endorsed by the tenure-system faculty, December 7, 2005
Updated pursuant to the January 2007 faculty retreat
Related documents at http://humanresources.illinois.edu/retirees/index.html