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2009 shaping up as DLIFLC's 'Year of the Faculty'

By J.F. Morgan,

Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs Office

Two initiatives that are under way at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center will make 2009 “the Year of the Faculty,” DLIFLC Commandant Col. Sue Ann Sandusky announced. One initiative is participating in a thorough review to determine whether the DLIFLC faculty is adequately paid. A second initiative is helping lay plans for a program to prepare the next generation of academic leaders at DLIFLC. Sandusky, who describes the 1,700-member DLIFLC faculty as “world class,” said instructors and students are the Institute’s major players. She said the success of DLIFLC instruction -- and of DLIFLC’s Proficiency Enhancement Program, which is designed to produce graduates with higher levels of proficiency than ever before -- requires about equal measures of hard work from those who teach and those who seek to learn.

“Recognizing that the faculty are key to the entire enterprise, and particularly to the Proficiency Enhancement Program, I thought that it was very appropriate to highlight the faculty for 2009,” Sandusky said. Sandusky said she is concerned about the pay DLIFLC instructors receive because most faculty members are outside the government-wide General Schedule pay system and are in the Faculty Pay System, a facet of DLIFLC’s Faculty Personnel System that was established in 1996.

A wage-setting board in Washington, D.C., devises pay bands for the Faculty Pay System, indexing them against the salaries of community college instructors, Sandusky said.

She said the system has not undergone a thorough review since it was established and that the time for one has come, “particularly to look at the structure of our faculty pay bands and how the basic pay index is established.”

To get the process started, Sandusky said, Dr. Donald Fischer, DLIFLC Provost, has done considerable leg work and members of his staff, along with the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Logistics staff have made a number of trips to Washington, D.C., to discuss the Faculty Pay System with federal government officials.

“It’s important, I think, that we undertake locally a thorough review of the Faculty Pay System,” Sandusky said, “and also bring the results of our own internal review to the attention of senior decision-makers who have the authority to adjust the pay band structure and the indexing.” Sandusky said she cannot unilaterally make changes in the system.

“What we’re trying to do in 2009 is identify all of the areas that need to be updated or modified and make the case to the decision-makers that this is the right thing to do in order to adequately compensate our great faculty,” she said.

Sandusky said she also wants to use a collaborative process to identify a “pathway to academic leadership” to serve DLIFLC in the future.

“We have an active program to grow our faculty, mostly in their teaching capacity,” she said, citing classes and seminars available from DLIFLC’s Faculty and Staff Development Division and elsewhere. “But what we don’t really have is a clear career path to grow the next generation of department chairs, assistant deans, deans, assistant provosts, associate provosts -- that kind of academic leadership.” Serving in those positions requires different skill sets than being a good teacher, Sandusky said.

“If faculty members are to step out of classrooms to head schools with multiple departments and several hundred instructors,” she said, “they will need managerial, supervisory and leadership skills.”

What is taking shape for 2009, Sandusky said, are ongoing formal discussions of what an academic leader at DLIFLC needs to know.

Sandusky wants participants to include faculty members from all the schools, members of all DLIFLC directorates and members of DLIFLC’s Academic Senate.

“And I hope we have good discussions about what leadership means,” she said. “What skills do we need? Are there particular skills we need at DLIFLC that you might not need at a civilian university or at some other large organization in which you’re managing the same amount of money and the same number of people?”

“And then we’ll look at what tools are available to help us do the leadership training that we will have identified. And those tools will include courses that are already offered through the civilian education system and possibly through the new Army Civilian University.”

Sandusky said the effort is not to assist individuals seeking advanced academic degrees.

“That’s not what this is about,” she said. “This is about identifying training programs for leadership skills -- leadership, management and supervisory skills that people need to run this organization.”

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