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August 29, 1967 - Image 40

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1967-08-29

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TUESDAY, AUGIIST 29, 1967

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

TUE MICHIGAN DAILY TUESDAY. AI7Cil7~T 2f~. 1*~

- - - - -, AIV I

lood, Sweat,

Tears Stain Path to Prof's Podium

By WALTER SHAPIRO
Somewhere in this vast land,
perhaps on this very campus, a
youth sits avidly studying by the
light of a Tensor lamp and dreams
of someday lecturing to an en-
thralled class at the Harvard of
the Midwest. But the road leading
to the podium of Aud. A is long
and ardous. And despite the hun-
dreds of books on college admis-
sion, there is nary a guide to
teaching at the university of your
choice.
It is in recognition of this cry-
ing need that The Daily will at-
tempt to explain those twin riddles
of where the University's profes-
sors come from and how they get
here.
Definite Path
According to William Hays, as-
sociate dean of the literary col-
lege, there is a definite path fol-
lowed by a large number of those
who eventually become professors
here.
First Hays says one usually goes
to an academically good school for
undergraduate study.
Far more important, however, is
attending a high prestige graduate
school. Hays estimates that about
half of the University's new fac-
ulty members come from "leading"
graduate schools. Since these
schools fear intellectual inbreed-
ing, few are invited to stay at the
same school where they took their
PhD's.

As a result, Hays says, profes-
sors are usually recruited from
within one academic circle. Many
professors come here from Har-
vard, Princeton, Stanford, the Uni-
versity of California and Big Ten
schools-notably Wisconsin, Il-
linois, and Ohio State. And a'
majority of the University's de-
parting professors leave to take
offers from these same schools.
Key Factors
There are several key factors
which determine how well the
University does in competition for
faculty members, and salary is not
necessarily the most important of
these. It is generally thought that
a well-paid faculty is a good fac-
ulty. And to some extent the his-
tory of the University bears this
out.
.Before World War II, the Uni-
versity was regarded as pre-emi-
nent among state institutions be-
cause of the high quality of the
faculty. During this same period
its faculty salaries were the high-
est of any state-supported insti-
tution.
With the economic boom at the
end of the war, many other state
schools were able to vastly im-
prove their financial positions and
increase their faculty salaries. In
addition this change was intensi-
fied by the improvement of the
financial resources of prviate in-
stitutions. These other institutions
were then able to lure faculty

members from the University.
Moreover, since 1950, the rate of
increase in salaries at the Univer-
sity has been lower than at any
other Big Ten university.
Space Shortage
An equally important disadvan-
tage the University faces in the
recruitment of new faculty mem-
bers is the shortage of space.
"It is hard to recruit a mathe-
matician of quality when he knows
that at the University he will be
forced to share an office with an-
other faculty member," Hays ex-
plains.I
Hays cites as another problem
the fact that theUniversity does
not offer fringe-benefits offered
y. other schools, primarily private
institutions.
"The University," he says, "could
not offer the frequent leaves of
absence that other schools offer to
faculty members." Another fringe
benefit offered by many colleges is
free college tuition for children
of faculty members.
There are other factors which
also minimize the importance of
salary in recruiting faculty. Sala-
ries may be less crucial in the
physical and social sciences be-
cause of alternate sources of in-
come such as fellowships and re-
search grants.
Ann Arbor has one of the high-
est costs-of-living in thercountry
and this too serves to increase the
importance of financial com-
parisons. However, Hays says that
most high prestige schools are
located in relatively high-cost of
living areas.
Recruitment of faculty is not
limited to a particular time of the
year-talented teachers are always
in season. If a department finds
itself in need of personnel it sends
a request to recruit to the dean's
office of the particular college
where it is either rejected or ap-
proved,
Often in preparing a list of can-

didates for the vacancy the de-
partment chairman at the Uni-
versity contacts his opposite at
other leading schools. For due to
the aversion of most universities
to home-grown professors, there
exists a high degree of informal
information swapping about the
caliber of junior faculty members.'
The department gathers informa-
tion on a candidate's background,
recommendations, and his record
of publications. Usually as many
as six to eight people are asked
to give evaluations of a prospective
candidate.
According to Hays, the Univer-
sity is after men who are able to
both teach and to publish. He ex-
plains that generally faculty mem-
bers should at least be "demon-
strably adequate" in both areas..
A prospective professorial candi-
date has to make a "remarkable
contribution" in either teaching or
research to outweigh a lack of
interest or ability in the other
area.
Top Contender
The top contender for the ap-
pointment, during his visit to cam-
pus, may conduct a class or discuss
research projects; he will partici-'
pate in endless conversations con-
cerning his teaching experience
and academic interests. He will
speak with atbleast one dean and
be evaluated by as many depart-
mentt.memberseasapossible.
If the proposed appointee is ac-
cepted by a majority of the de-
partment, permission to extend
an offer to him is requested of the
dean. If tha dean gives his ap-
proval the bargaining process be-
gins.
The University has "bargaining
flexibility," Hays says. The bar-
gaining is done by the dean and
the department chairman and
often the University is 'prepared
during the negotiations to raise
the salary offer by as much as one
thousand dollars.
Hays indicates that this year

with the "budget prospects grim"
the University has been "cautious"
in making new appointments.
"What is affected is not the
quality of the people, but the
number of the people we will ap-
point," he says.
Since the University has a cer-
tain number of dollars to spend
on new faculty, they could either
hire less experienced people, or
hire fewer experienced professors.
Hays says that in general the
University is just hiring fewer
people, though he adds that this
varies from department to depart-
ment.
If unanimous agreement is ob-
tained from all involved, the ap-
pointment is made and undergoes
processing through the executive
council of the college involved. It
then goes to the office of the.Vice-
President for Academic Affairs
and then to the Regents. At the
end of this rigorous process the
recruited professor's name is duti-
fully added to the fat University
catalogue.
The end of each year brings
many applications for junior po-
sitions to each department. Be-
cause of this Hays explains, "a
school like this does not have to
recruit like a teacher's college."
Excess Applicants
Despite this excess of applicants,
there is a national shortage of
PhD's in teaching. The problem
is simply that while thousands of
schools are desperate for PhD's,
they naturally gravitate toward
the leading universities.
Perhaps the largest variable -de-
termining the University's success
in recruiting is the quality of the
academic department involved. A
leading department serves as- a
magnet for superior faculty mem-
bers. As Prof. Samuel Eldersveld
of the political science department
says, "It is much easier to build
on strength that you already have,
rather than strengthen a weak
area within the department."

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