Original Issuance Date: May 9, 1975

Last Revision Date: September 28, 2021

The paper begins with a brief examination of the difficulties attending planning for faculty development and renewal in a period of uncertainty concerning enrollments and increasingly austere budget support.  The essential challenge of these difficulties is one of maintaining flexibility in faculty resource allocation and intellectual vitality of existing faculty resources. Current faculty development and renewal activities within the University are reviewed and then a framework or matrix of needs and objectives is presented for considering the expansion and integration of future efforts in this area. Finally, a specific approach to the challenges of faculty development and renewal is proposed and recommended.


The decade of the 1960’s in higher education has been referred to as the growth era. The 1970’s, by contrast, might well be called the decade of transition. The earmarks of recent changes in higher education now are recognized widely across the nation. Stabilizing or declining enrollments, coupled with an inflationary economy and increased competition for financial resources, have led to tightened fiscal accountability and a relatively fixed resource base for most institutions of higher education. Further, the students who elect to attend institutions of higher education are reflecting other types of change that impact program and resource planning and allocation: there are changing patterns in student mix (undergraduate/graduate); shifts in student preferences among degree programs (e.g., law, medical and health sciences); changes in the pattern of student course-taking behavior (more part-time); and changes in the actual composition of the student clientele (a wider age-range among students, more student from various minority groups, and more women students). Also, rapidly changing societal needs and the accelerated expansion of knowledge place new demands upon institutions of higher education.

These many changes present higher educational institutions with several crucial challenges [1].  First, how can adequate flexibility in the allocation of existing faculty resources be attained and then maintained?  Second, how can a high level of intellectual vitality and program quality be nurtured among faculty during an extended period allowing relatively few additional resources or new faculty appointments? Third, how can faculty be prepared in a timely and effective fashion to take on emerging new roles in higher education, most notably new roles occasioned by the transition from traditional to non-traditional areas of instruction such as the new Regent’s State University?  The problem is intensified by the fact that historically it has been assumed that virtually all faculty would experience a high level of career continuity; this assumption is no longer valid.  Higher education now is in need of built-in retraining and career-orientation mechanisms for faculty, mechanisms that have long been a way of life in other professions, business, and industry.

To meet these challenges, a major goal of the seventies and beyond is to foster intellectual vitality among faculty, ensure excellence in academic programs and to increase flexibility of response to changing academic program needs and shifting student preferences within the constraints of a relatively fixed resource base [2].  The response to this goal can spell the very survival of strong universities and colleges.

Purpose of this paper

The intent of this document is essentially threefold:  (1) to note some of the current activities regarding faculty development and renewal within the University of Wisconsin System; (2) to provide a framework of assumptions and objectives for developing and integrating a University-wide response to the challenge, combined with examples and references for campuses in preparing policy and program responses; and (3) to propose, within the context of the framework, a series of possible steps to the formulation of policies and procedures designed to facilitate the establishment of self-perpetuating faculty development and renewal practices within the University.

Current activities

The current activities pertaining to faculty development and renewal within the University can be summarized in three categories:  (1) a System program of faculty retraining and reassignment; (2) a request for funds for specific programs in the 1975-77 biennial budget request; and (3) miscellaneous campus efforts.

Retraining and reassignment

With the close of the growth era of the 1960’s institutions now comprising the University of Wisconsin System entered upon a period of stabilizing and declining enrollments. The financial developments that accompanied this phenomenon necessitated the notification for release of 616 non-tenured faculty and for layoff of 122 tenured faculty in 1973 and 1974.  (Further detail on this problem can be found in Central Administration Analysis Paper #11 [3].

In an effort to deal with this sudden displacement, the System undertook a dual program of retraining and reassignment. For faculty members who had been designated for layoff, an attempt was made either (1) to reassign the faculty member in another department/program on the home campus, or on another campus within the System, or on a campus outside of the University of Wisconsin System, or (2) to retrain the faculty member in an academic field related to his/her current discipline in which additional faculty were required. In certain instances, retraining was provided to a faculty member not designated for layoff in order to defer for one year the immediate layoff of another faculty member in the given department.

Although the majority of the tenured faculty designated for layoff were not retrained, the retraining effort, nonetheless, has been of assistance in adjusting to the demands of retrenchment. In the long run, however, it is intended that other policies and practices will anticipate and address the causes of the faculty layoff problem so that a program of retraining and reassignment need not be relied upon so extensively for remedial action.

Biennial Budget Report

Selected needs of faculty development and renewal also are represented in the 1975-77 Biennial Budget Request. A multi-purpose employee development program is advanced in Biennial Operating Budget Policy Paper #8 [4]. In that paper, it is proposed that the Governor and Legislature reinvest a portion of the funding from the current base budget of the University of Wisconsin System currently used to meet productivity savings targets in a Systemwide program of employee development.

The proposed program has three major components:

  1. Selective retraining of a limited number of faculty in alternative or secondary disciplines or subject fields as a means of increasing institutional flexibility in staff assignments and reducing the prospect of layoff for such qualified permanent faculty;
  2. selective renewal of permanent faculty through professional development assignments in on-campus or leave status; and
  3. provision for fee remission to employees (faculty, academic, and classified) taking supervisor-approved, work-related course work aimed at improving their job competence, performance, and productivity.

This budget request is supported by Summary Decision Item #322 and is the top priority in Category C, Fulfilling University System and State Commitments to Program Development and Reform. In addition, the University System is seeking funds from several extramural sources, reflecting the priority and urgency of the need.

Other Campus Activity

Finally, several campuses are contemplating or already are engaged in some form of faculty development and renewal activity. For example, UW-Parkside, UW- Superior, UW-Whitewater have proposed faculty development and/or retraining programs, while UW-Oshkosh is beginning to implement a four-part program as an integral part of its academic calendar revision for that campus. Further, developmental planning of steps needed to maintain faculty vitality is underway on several campuses. Although these activities represent important efforts in faculty development and renewal, the magnitude and significance of the needs demand a more comprehensive, systematic, and balanced approach.

A Framework

A comprehensive program of faculty development and renewal can be viewed as encompassing five primary dimensions of concern:  (1) individual faculty professional development and renewal; (2) improvement and elaboration of curricular and resource offerings; (3) refinement of interpersonal and media instructional skills in the instructional process; (4) development of new faculty roles and responsibilities visa vie new emerging student clientele groups; and (5) changes in administrative structures and procedures to achieve flexibility of faculty resource deployment and to facilitate other measures in the pursuit of faculty professional growth and academic program excellence.

Assumptions and Objectives

A set of assumptions and objectives are suggested by the basic goal of the University’s faculty development and renewal program and by the above framework. The assumptions and related objectives discussed below are intended to serve as a means by which to view the challenge of faculty development, to aid in the identification and formulation of appropriate policies and programs, and to integrate such efforts into a comprehensive, coordinated plan for faculty development and renewal within the University of Wisconsin System.

Assumption #1:  While recognizing the professional responsibilities of faculty, the University must seek further ways to enable individual faculty members to renew their intellectual vitality and further their professional growth in order to ensure excellence in academic programs.

  • Provide adequate opportunities for faculty to keep pace with the expanding fields of knowledge in their respective disciplines or areas of interest; a faculty member cannot be expected to become or remain a productive scholar if he/she does not have the opportunity also to be a life-long student of his/her academic interest.
  • Provide opportunities for faculty discovery of new knowledge and cultivation of the sense of creativity.
  • Provide opportunities for the improvement and expansion of methodological and research skills necessary to a faculty member’s academic area of inquiry and instruction.
  • Encourage faculty to broaden their areas of specialization in order to achieve greater flexibility of response to changing programmatic needs and to improve program quality by an enrichment of faculty perspective.

Assumption #2:  The University will experience the emergence of new roles and will encounter the need to develop new materials and modes of instruction as it seeks to serve a more diverse student clientele and their educational needs and interests.

  • Achieve greater teaching effectiveness through increased proficiency in interpersonal and group communication skills.
  • Achieve improved teaching effectiveness by use of new modes of presentation and various types of mediated instruction.
  • Achieve more effective teaching through the development of improved and new course materials and curricular offerings.
  • Facilitate broadened opportunities for faculty members to convey or apply their expertise to matters of public service in a non-degree credit setting.

Assumption #3: The University can achieve and maintain increased flexibility of faculty response in meeting shifting programmatic and student needs, and support efforts aimed at ensuring academic excellence by means of selected changes in administrative structures and procedures.

  • Development and experimentation with new inter-disciplinary education models.
  • Encourage the development of administrative program and budget planning mechanisms that are directed at achieving greater flexibility in the allocation of faculty resources in response to shifting student preferences, as to changing program needs. Some flexibility should be sought for the faculty in its program planning and the institution in its resource allocations.

The assumptions and objectives identified above are not exhaustive, but are meant to be representative of areas in need of significant and sustained faculty development and renewal efforts within the University.


Given such objectives, the task is to identify and develop policies and programs at the campus and System levels that effectively meet one or more of these (or other) objectives of faculty development and renewal.  For example, policy options or modifications could be considered with respect to such practices as hiring, promotion, the granting of tenure, termination, and retirement.  Further, there are policies or practices such as a campus FTE faculty pool, increased use of temporary faculty FTE, endowed chairs for visiting scholars (either for established senior scholars or promising junior faculty), colloquia, faculty exchanges, temporary or permanent inter-institutional transfer of faculty, use of part-time or adjunct faculty, redefinition of academic calendars and faculty workloads, summer workshops, and adequate reward system for meritorious academic service, periodic post-tenure review, offices of instructional development, and faculty development assignments.  Again, this is only a partial list, intended to be illustrative of various policy alternatives available to campuses within the University.

The Recommendation

It is recommended that UW System Administration and the System Units move to develop and implement faculty development and renewal policies and programs within the University during 1974-75 and the 1975-77 biennium in ways consistent with the direction outlines in this policy paper.

An Approach

It is recognized that the individual Institutions within the System face differing problems in faculty development and renewal.  Further, it is recognized that differences in mission, resources, current staffing profiles, and faculty development practices among the various Institutions require a certain flexibility of approach.  Hence, the series of steps that follow are not designed to constrain Institutions in analyzing their current situations or in designing a program of faculty development and renewal; rather, the steps are intended to initiate campus consideration of faculty development and renewal policies and practices, to facilitate inter-institutional communication of good practice, and to provide the necessary integration and coordination of those aspects of faculty development and renewal that are properly of a systemwide nature.

Step One

Since the Institutions are at the action center of any faculty development program, only they can play the leading role.  As a first step, Institutions should develop a current faculty profile that summarizes the ratio of temporary to permanent faculty and the historical rates of appointment, termination, promotion, tenure granting, resignation, retirement, and death among temporary and permanent faculty by department.  Campus, collegiate, or division-level summaries can mask significant variances within individual departments.  Then, using the recent historical ratios, the impact of this current practice should be projected over a four-year period, at a minimum, through 1978-79.

Step Two

As the next step, campuses should analyze and evaluate the faculty staffing profiles, by department, in light of anticipated future student enrollments and approved academic program goals and plans, including targeted capacity planning elements.  This analysis and evaluation should form the basis for establishing faculty development objectives and for developing corresponding policies and programs to achieve those stated objectives. The resultant policy/program proposal for faculty development and renewal for each Institution should be comprehensive, including existing faculty development activities as well as those proposed.

The framework described in the previous section should aid in developing and organizing campus policies and programs. However, Institutions should not be constrained in this planning step by the limitations of the proposed framework; important objectives undoubtedly have been overlooked and should be added accordingly.

Step Three

The resulting analyses and policy/program proposals, upon being forwarded to the Office of Academic Affairs in UW System Administration, will be compiled and shared with all campuses in order to provide constructive input to each campus in preparation for an Institutional statement on faculty development and renewal activities over the 1975-77 biennium. The Office of Academic Affairs will play a coordinating and informational role in this step and will provide assistance to campuses upon request.

Further, the Office of Academic Affairs, in conjunction with other functional areas in UW System Administration, will develop appropriate Systemwide policies and programs for faculty development and renewal, provided such policies or programs are needed to support Institutional statements.

Step Four

Following dialogue between the Institutions and the Office of Academic Affairs, Institutions should proceed to develop an Institutional statement on faculty development and renewal. Based upon cooperative review and evaluation of their reports, any needed changes can be made in Institutional or System policies and programs for the 1977-79 Biennium.

Step Five

By June 30, 1977, each Chancellor shall send to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs a report on Institutional progress toward its stated objectives of faculty development and renewal. Based upon cooperative review and evaluation of their reports, any needed changes can be made in Institutional or System policies and programs for the 1977-79 Biennium.


A Note on the Relationship of Faculty Development and Tenure:

The identification of objectives and the development of policies and programs cannot proceed without reference to certain guide posts historically so important to the higher education enterprise. First it is assumed that any policies or programs proposed for faculty development and renewal will not violate the basic concept of tenure. An attempt to alter significantly faculty tenure practices could have a detrimental impact upon faculty morale and academic standards, to elaborate, it is recognized that more rigorous standards must be applied in tenure decisions if program excellence is to be sought and if the long-term negative effects of lower tenure standards on faculty vitality in a period of fewer appointments are to be avoided.  Although opportunities for new probationary faculty to secure promotion and tenure are likely to decline, however, it is important that the opportunities exist. Finally, tenure serves as the basic safeguard to academic freedom. This principle is the precondition under which the pursuit of truth and the free expression of views can flourish; consequently, it must be preserved, regardless of the issue of the day.


Literature Cited

  1. Bowker, Albert H. “Berkeley in a Steady State,” A Report to the Board of Regents of the University of California, Berkeley, September 21, 1973.
  2. Gerth, Donald R. “Institutional Approaches to Faculty Development.” In Facilitating Faculty Development, pp. 83-99.  Edited by Mervin Freedman. San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass Inc., 1973.
  3. The University of Wisconsin System, “Prologue to a Problem: Tenure Density and the Steady State,” Central Administration Analysis Paper #11, Madison, February 19, 1974.
  4. The University of Wisconsin System, “Investing in a Multi-Purpose Employee Development Program,” 1975-77 Biennial Operating Budget Policy Paper #8.0, Madison, October, 1974.

Revision 1: September 28, 2021

Approved by the Board of Regents: May 09, 1975