The University of Maryland's Faculty Affairs Committee passed a proposal to clarify language in a previous bill loosening promotion requirements for faculty. Under this proposal, a continuously employed candidate is able to apply for a promotion if they meet the minimum number of years and have an extra year of employment.
The proposal brings clarity to the language of the original bill, which states when librarians can apply for promotions and full-time jobs as well as the requirements for each grade.
It also aligns the bill with current University System of Maryland policy, according to Faculty Affairs Committee Chair, Patricio Korzeniewicz. The current policy requires candidates to apply for promotion by the end of their fifth year of employment.
But if a candidate has the minimum number of years of experience or will reach it by the time promotion would be granted, they can apply for the next rank, regardless of the number of years of continuous, full-time employment at this university, according to a University Senate proposal.
Librarians have four grades — librarian I, II, III and IV — which represent how long someone has been a librarian and their degree or specialization. Grade I indicates the librarian is just starting; Grade II indicates the librarian has served a minimum of three years at Level I and has a specialization in a subject, administration or service; Grade III indicates the librarian has shown significant service to the community, such as mentoring or helping colleagues to develop, and is the first level at which they can apply for permanent status, rather than a 12-month contract. A requirement of the position of faculty librarian is to apply for permanent status. At Grade IV, the librarian must have a leadership role recognized by the library and campus, state, regional and national levels. As a whole, the proposal would allow librarians to move from a librarian I to a III in six years.
"People were coming in as a one and they were getting about nine years to go from one to two to three," said Timothy Hackman, Director of User Services and Resource Sharing and Faculty Affairs Committee member. "It was leaving people on the hook for entirely too long."
Librarians would be able to apply for promotions or full-time employment upon completion of a minimum number of years of experience depending on the position. Previously, this was considered "'going up early' for promotion," according to the proposal.
The proposed bill will let librarians apply for promotion within three to six years of holding their current position, said Stephanie Ritchie, the Agriculture and Natural Resources librarian. "It just depends on the level you are starting at. They have a set of expectations for each rank."
Ritchie is a level three librarian, meaning she can specialize in a subject — agriculture and natural resources — and is able to apply for permanent status. She also takes on a leadership role, helping students, faculty and staff with research in her area and will be applying for permanent status in the upcoming months.
"The goal is to ensure that the candidate is making sufficient progress toward promotion and permanent status," the proposal states.
The Faculty Affairs Committee first received the proposal in spring 2017. The committee has since consulted with Interim Dean of Libraries Babak Hamidzadeh, representatives of the Library Assembly's Appointment, Promotion, and Permanent Status Committee Heidi Hanson and Vin Novara and the library representative for the Faculty Affairs Committee Tim Hackman.
"The Libraries had done a great deal of hard work on the policy revisions and the committee was pleased to be able to work with the Libraries to finalize the revisions," Coordinator of the Faculty Affairs Committee Sarah Hughes said.
The Committee took time to review and revise the proposal to make the language clear and make sure the proposal aligned with other policies in place, according to Korzeniewicz. It also consulted with the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and the Office of General Counsel.
"This change was necessary to align our policy with the University System of Maryland Policy," Korzeniewicz said. "The new language provides clarity to librarians on what is expected in terms of promotion review timelines."