University Provost Peter Salovey released a report to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences today that examines how Yale tracks its faculty resources.
The report was prepared last fall by a faculty committee chaired by economics professor William Nordhaus and makes nine recommendations on faculty budgeting and accounting, including a proposal to revamp how the University counts its senior and junior faculty appointments.
Under the current system, faculty resources are budgeted to academic departments in units known as junior-faculty-equivalents, or JFEs. Tenured faculty count as two JFEs, while non-tenured faculty equal one JFE — units based on a roughly 2-to-1 salary ratio between senior and junior faculty. The report recommends replacing the JFE measure with an increment known as a full-time-equivalent.
JFEs are the remnant of an old tenure system that the University used until 2007, and Salovey told the News that JFEs have become less relevant since a new tenure system was introduced. Professors now earn tenure based on their qualifications, he said, whereas the old system awarded tenure to professors partly based on the availability of faculty resources in their departments.
Salovey said a discussion of faculty accounting is necessary in light of how the approval process for faculty searches has changed — a consequence of the University’s tightened budget over the past few years. According to the report, individual departments have had less influence on faculty appointment decisions in recent years. The report recommends that the “process of allocating and budgeting positions in the FAS should be one in which departments have secure and predictable control of positions assigned to them.” The Nordhaus committee also expresses concern over how the ratio of tenured faculty to non-tenured faculty has risen in recent decades.
Salovey requested a review of the faculty budget and accounting system in May 2011, and the Nordhaus committee developed its recommendations through consultation with Yale faculty and administrators, as well as administrators at other universities.