Mississippi State faculty votes to move forward with initiative to add expanded ranks for instructors, teaching professors

Contact: Allison Matthews

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State faculty have voted in favor of a new instructional faculty ranks initiative, designed to better address an appropriate promotion ladder for university instructors and add improved terminology for teaching professors.

The initiative, proposed by the Robert Holland Faculty Senate in collaboration with MSU administration, and voted on by members of the general faculty, will make additions to the university’s faculty ranks—a move described as “modernizing” the university’s academic titles and aligning with similar changes at peer institutions. Final voting shows 87% in favor of the measure (644 voted “yes” and 99 voted “no”). The 743 ballots cast represent 58% of the university’s faculty which participated in the vote.

“This vote by our dedicated MSU Faculty is an extremely positive and important step forward toward the goal of retaining high-quality classroom instruction,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “I am grateful to MSU Provost and Executive Vice President David Shaw and Faculty Senate President Rebecca Robichaux-Davis for their vision and leadership in advancing this important initiative through the necessary faculty review.”

Shaw said he is pleased about the “strong response from our faculty on this vital initiative,” and called it “a win-win for both tenure-track and non-tenure-track academic personnel.”

“This vote provides MSU the opportunity to uplift and support the work of both groups engaged in the shared mission of teaching on our campus,” Shaw said.

Rebecca Robichaux-Davis, president of the Robert Hollard Faculty Senate and professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education said “The Faculty Senate gave a rigorous review to the new faculty rank system and overwhelmingly approved it as the best option moving forward. I am grateful to my colleagues for their time and wisdom in reaching this decision.”

New faculty tracks and ranks, include:

            —Teaching Professor (Assistant, Associate, Professor)

            —Professor of Practice (Assistant, Associate, Professor)

            —Instructor/Extension Instructor/Clinical Instructor I, II, and III

More information about the initiative, including background and an FAQ, is available at https://www.facultysenate.msstate.edu/proposed-faculty-ranks.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - 1:00 pm