The University of Nebraska at Lincoln has adopted a new initiative in an effort to recruit and retain minority faculty members who teach in ethnic studies disciplines. Under the new plan, faculty members who teach in an academic department and also in one of the ethnic studies programs at the university will be required to teach only five courses over a three-semester period instead of six. If they choose, faculty who teach in two disciplines can stack the releases from teaching so they can have one of six semesters over a three-year period, where they have no teaching responsibilities.
The university found that faculty who have joint appointments have two sets of department meetings to attend, twice the number of files to review, and more co-curricular obligations. The new initiative is designed to ease the teaching burden of these faculty members so they have time for research and other activities.
The new policy is focused on faculty who are affiliated with the Institute for Ethnic Studies as university statistics show that these faculty members are the most likely to have joint appointments. It is hoped that the new initiative will attract new ethnic studies faculty and to help in retention efforts to keep minority faculty members at the university.