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Faculty Definition Changes Receive Final Approval

The “general faculty” designation will be retired July 1 as a result of the Academic Faculty, Academic Senate, and General Faculty’s April 22 approval of revisions to the Faculty Handbook that streamline definitions of faculty. The vote followed a second reading of the proposed changes; the first reading occurred at the groups’ joint Feb. 18 meeting.

Under the new system, all Georgia Tech employees will fall under one of three classifications: academic faculty, research faculty, and staff. Definitions of these designations can be found at

Titles falling under the academic faculty designation will include varying levels of professor, professor of the practice, academic professional, archivist, librarian, lecturer and senior lecturer, and instructor. Also included in this category will be the president, provost, vice provosts, executive vice president for research, executive vice president for administration and finance, college deans, dean of the libraries, dean of students, school chairs, and the registrar.

Research faculty will include varying levels of regents researcher, research associate, research engineer, research scientist, research technologist, and the new title of extension professional. Others to be included are the president, provost, executive vice president for research, executive vice president for administration and finance, and director – research (as the term is used for GTRI lab directors).

Those with titles including the terms “temporary” or “visiting” – or having other limited-term appointments – will not be eligible to participate in faculty governance. Those holding only adjunct appointments or other honorary titles will not be considered members of the faculty.

Employees whose classification is affected by the redefinition will be notified prior to July 1, and there will be an option to appeal the removal of a job title from faculty status. Appeals will address only the status of particular job titles, not individual circumstances. Those who are currently designated as general faculty and whose classification is changed to non-faculty will continue to receive their current rate of leave accrual and will be permitted to complete their terms on faculty standing committees.

Jeanne Balsam, chair of the faculty’s Statutes Committee, explained that the motivation for overhauling the faculty definitions was twofold: the term “general faculty” is not widely understood at other institutions of higher learning, and over the years job titles outside the realm of traditional faculty have been added to the general faculty, primarily to provide faculty-specific benefits packages for certain positions.

The new system calls for the formation of an Academic Faculty Senate and a Research Faculty Senate; the combination of these two groups will comprise the Faculty Senate, which is expected to have a meeting schedule similar to the existing General Faculty Assembly. Also called for is the creation of a Staff Advisory Council and a Postdoctoral Association to provide a voice for those two constituencies, as well as a new standing committee of the faculty addressing the needs of postdoctoral associates and visiting faculty.

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