statement of policy on the hiring of language program directors
(Last Update: February 2008)
in 1980, the American Association of University Supervisors and
Coordinators (AAUSC) is the largest organization of its kind. It
represents the intellectual and professional interests of scholars who
oversee a staff of teaching assistants, fellows, and other non-tenure
track or temporary instructors. The AAUSC enjoys a large membership
composed of professionals affiliated with public and private
institutions of higher education throughout North America.
following statement is intended for several audiences. Departments of
foreign languages will find below important parameters for discussing
the creation and maintenance of faculty positions that entail the
supervision of teaching assistants and other teaching staff with their
administration. Job search committees will find important guidelines
for drafting announcements for new language program directors. For job
candidates, the statement provides a basic outline of reasonable
expectations for the position of language program director.
Understanding the Work of the Language Program Directors
program directors (often also called “coordinators,” “supervisors” or
“directors”) are specialists in many fields. Some have expertise in
applied linguistics; others have degrees in foreign language pedagogy;
still others are scholars of literature, film, and/or culture.
Regardless of their particular research area, language program
directors sustain a significant and continuous service load.
of the primary responsibilities of the language program director is to
educate new graduate student instructors/teaching assistants and other
teaching staff. At Ph.D. granting institutions, graduate students
typically teach the majority of lower-division foreign language
courses. Solid training in both the theory and practice of foreign
language teaching is vital to the strength of the programs as well as
to the graduate students’ future success as teachers and scholars.
Teacher education often takes place over the course of several
semesters or years and involves such activities as intensive
pre-service workshops, classroom observations and regular meetings.
significant responsibility of language program directors is to design
and maintain foreign language curricula at the beginning and
intermediate levels, which typically encompasses at least four
different sequenced courses with multiple sections. In addition,
language program directors define program goals, select textbooks,
write detailed syllabi for multi-section courses, and conduct
Language program directors also maintain an active
research program. In many foreign language departments today, language
program directors are the only faculty members who conduct research in
the fields of applied linguistics and foreign language pedagogy. These
fields have sophisticated theoretical foundations and are
intellectually rigorous. They have diverse publishing venues,
including prestigious refereed journals and academic presses. The
presence of a scholar, or scholars, in these fields strengthens and
broadens every foreign language department and their institutions as a
whole. In some foreign language departments, language program directors
are literary and cultural scholars whose research is quite separate
from the work they perform in the name of their language program.
is the policy of the AAUSC that all junior faculty hired as language
program directors to supervise graduate student teachers or other
non-tenured instructors receive a tenure-track appointment at the
assistant professor level. Because of their tremendous influence over
a department’s curriculum, language program directors must be afforded
the same voting rights and institutional standing of other tenure-track
colleagues. In the event that an institution is unable to create a
tenure-track position for its language program director, the AAUSC
advocates a secure, long-term appointment equivalent in status to a
tenure-track position in the hiring department (including such titles
as “professor of the practice” or “senior lecturer”).
program directors should have the same rights and privileges as their
colleagues of equal rank, particularly with respect to raises,
promotions, and tenure. In recognition of their additional workload,
language program directors should have a reduced teaching load.
Institutions must also account for the involvement of language program
directors in preparing for their department’s summer courses;
organizing their department’s pre-semester teaching orientation; and
participating in regular departmental committee work for which their
expertise is essential.
Because of the extensive
responsibilities of the language program director, the AAUSC also
strongly recommends that foreign language departments implement a plan
that, at a minimum, involves other faculty members in the duties of
coordination and supervision or, ideally, establishes a procedure for
relieving language program directors from their coordination and
supervision capacities after a specified time period. Just as the
other administrative positions within the department are handled on a
rotating basis, so too should language program direction not become the
responsibility of one individual for the entire length of her/his
tenure in the department.
Two exceptions to AAUSC’s hiring policy may occur:
At universities with high enrollment in language classes that require
multiple supervisors, some may be hired in lecturer or adjunct
positions. AAUSC recommends, however, that a senior level language
program director oversee these colleagues and courses.
temporary hiring of an ABD or recent Ph.D. in a supervisor position is
acceptable if the candidate is to work closely (such as in an
apprenticeship position) with a scholar established in a relevant field
of expertise. An arrangement of this nature will strengthen the
candidate’s professional training.