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View Diary: Teachers' Lounge: Joint Appointments, Good or Bad (11 comments)

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  •  People living a life in academia always talk (4+ / 0-)

    about that sort of stuff amongst each other, and if a couple is part of academia, it becomes a focus of most conversations. :-)

    We have some joint appointments where I work, and they rarely work out. It isn't that you can't find great people to teach in those positions, but having someone with feet in two units doesn't really work.

    Do they attend all department faculty meetings? How are courses allocated? What happens if their research in the different areas shifts over time? How is tenure and promotion achieved between two units, particularly if there is competition or other bad feeling between the two units? How is departmental service allocated in an equitable way?

    I can only say that all the joint appointments that I am aware of at my large state University haven't really ended well. The worst ones are when the appointment is not only across departments, but across schools. The biggest downside to joint appointments has to be the political back-stabbing between departments, with that poor person in the firing line of the warring departments. We've lost people in nasty tenure fights that way.

    I wouldn't recommend it unless things are very spelled out in terms of contract, tenure and promotion.

    I don't know what the solution to the problem you put forward is. You have tenured experts in an area where they are not needed. Perhaps they can do things that relate to their expertise but are outside the tight circle of what they've taught in the past.

    One solution, of course, is to close departments or programs, so those people can be let go despite tenure.

    No solution is particularly good.

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