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Swoboda, Marian J.; Roberts, Audrey J. / Wisconsin women, graduate school, and the professions

Elder, Joanne
Chapter 11: Women on the academic staff,   pp. 101-108

Page 101

11. Women on the Academic Staff
by Joanne Elder
When the University of Wisconsin-Madison began in 1848, the president
and faculty did all the jobs related to higher education. By the 1890s, "in
interest of lessening the burdens of the faculty"' a non-faculty person
registrar and secretary of the faculty. During its first 124 years, the University
of Wisconsin lumped most of its professional personnel together and called
them academic staff. In 1974 the statute merging all public higher education
institutions in Wisconsin made a clear separation between legal faculty and
academic staff. Since women make up over half of the academic staff and
only 18 percent of the legal faculty in the UW System,2 it is very important
a book which looks at the contributions of women to the UW to understand
the distinct role of the academic staff.3
There are many functions in the university vital to its operation today
that are filled by academic staff. The office of admissions, registrar, financial
aids, counseling center, placement, Memorial Union and Union South and
housing are examples of student support services staffed by academic staff.
Academic deans and advisors, archivists, editors, architects, computer
specialists and directors of special programs like the arboretum are seldom
faculty. Coaches whose positions depend on winning teams are not faculty
and many scientists and lab technicians on grant money are academic staff.
Distinguishing clearly between faculty and academic staff is not always an
easy task. One cannot make the distinction whether or not the person teaches.
For example, at UW-Madison, the clinical professors and lecturers in social
work and medicine are academic staff rather than faculty. Lecturers may be
distinguished visitors sharing their expertise for a single semester, or
they may
be advanced graduate students given a chance to acquire a semester's teach-
ing experience. Lecturers may also be persons called upon to fill an un-
expected demand for a course. Many women have been used as standby lec-
turers. In the UW System, 41.3 percent of the lecturer positions are filled
Explaining who is academic staff is made more difficult by the fact that
the support functions performed by academic staff are sometimes also per-
formed by faculty and civil service employees. For example, a specialist
the academic staff and a person who has a civil service appointment do the
same work in the senior summaries office. Librarians are the best example
the dilemma of definition of academic staff. A few have professorial rank,
few hold civil service appointments, one has faculty status, and the rest
the title of specialist.
A major difference between faculty and academic staff concerns
representation on the faculty senate. Only legal faculty are represented
by the
faculty senate. However, a few people on the academic staff have been given
faculty status and they consequently are represented. In 1977, of over three
thousand persons on the academic staff, thirty have faculty status, and eight
of these are women. However, having faculty status does not give those thirty
members of the academic staff job security or affect their salaries; it simply

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