MADISON – The University of Wisconsin System will use a $500,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to study how to improve the workplace and facilitate faculty and staff careers.
The Sloan Foundation selected the UW System for the project because of its diverse array of campuses and its previous studies on workplace issues. Data gathered through the project will be applicable to work environments in higher education and other public and private sectors throughout the nation, said UW System President Katharine C. Lyall.
“In times of dramatic budget cuts, the UW System is looking for creative ways to continue to develop and make optimal use of our human resources,” Lyall said. “The funding will help support research on policies and practices, and to make changes when necessary, to promote high-quality workplaces. We hope to be able to share best practices and successful models with other universities and sectors of employment.”
Through the UW System Sloan Project for Academic Career Advancement, the university system will create a multi-campus “laboratory” to examine how to create more equity, flexibility and career options for faculty and academic staff. The project will examine the “dual ladder system” in higher education, consisting of tenure-track faculty members and non tenure-track instructional and research academic staff.
This issue is critical, as institutions in the UW System and nationally are hiring a greater proportion of non tenure-track instructors. This practice is becoming more common as tenure-track faculty positions are reduced due to budget cuts, while student enrollments are growing.
Bernice Durand, associate vice chancellor for diversity and climate at UW-Madison, will serve as executive director of the project. Louise Root-Robbins, coordinator of women’s issues at UW System, will serve as the project’s director of research and administration.
The Sloan Foundation is a national leader in providing support for research and strategic change projects that address issues related to the workplace, workforce and, in particular, the needs of working families.
“We are delighted to work with the UW System as it commits its talent and resources to ensuring that faculty and staff have a more equitable and flexible workplace,” said Kathleen E. Christensen, director of Sloan’s Program on Workplace, Workforce, and Working Families. “The UW System and President Lyall need to be recognized for their vision and leadership on this issue.”