Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Faculty Awards

I served as a member of an awards committee last week and found the experience to be very disappointing. We were giving awards to the student, staff, and faculty member who does the most to represent the culture of the school and serves as a means to unite people around campus.

While the student and staff awards were fairly clear-cut, I was upset with how the faculty award was decided. The two top candidates were both well-deserving individuals who are excellent colleagues. However, the person who ended up getting the faculty award teaches less than 1/2 time. The other 1/2 of the time that person is involved in running a program in the Dean of Students office. Through this program the award recipient comes in contact with almost all of the incoming students. In fact the main arguments for giving this person the award was that program is run so successfully and does so many innovative things to bring the campus together. I brought up the point that this person's job was to do these things for the program and that how would any 'regular' faculty member ever win, unless they too had some administrative post. But in the end I was out-voted (of course full-time faculty were a minority on the awards committee).

Is it too much to hope that the people who are given faculty awards actually spend most of their time teaching?

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