On Friday, February 5th, over fifty faculty and staff attended this panel tracing the history of advocacy for Teaching and Professional Faculty at DU. This advocacy led to the creation of the teaching and professional line series in 2015. Laura Sponsler, Resident Scholar for Teaching and Professional Faculty and author of the 2021 white paper Institutionalizing a Culture of Respect for Teaching and Professional Faculty, hosted the event, which featured Chip Reichardt, Professor, Psychology; Scott Leutenegger, Professor, Computer Science; Paul Michalec, Clinical Professor, Curriculum and Instruction; John Tiedemann, Teaching Associate Professor, University Writing Program; and Claude d’Estree, Teaching Professor, International Studies.
The conversation began by recognizing that DU is a nation-wide leader in institutionalizing full-time positions with opportunities for advancement off the tenure track. But, as one panelist reminded us, there is “[n]ever an end to growth and peril.” Despite significant progress to be celebrated, panelists indicated there are still challenges around issues like compensation, respect, and variation between units. The obvious camaraderie on display in this panel points to the important role that campus leaders, especially TPF, have played in building a more just ecosystem centered on respect. This panel, and Dr. Sponsler’s work, will continue to provoke conversation and policy innovation on campus.