Appropriate degrees for renwable lecturers

Our department is in the process of moving to renewable terms for lecturers in our writing program, and the question has come up as to what consitutes appropriate degrees for the faculty in renewable terms. Currently we have primarily PhDs and MFAs as lecturers with a few MAs in English. The administration wants to implement policies that are consistent across the departments and one of their questions concerns what degrees for renewablelecturers are in line with best practices. The standard for continuing positions at our school has been a terminal degree but if many schools have renewable terms for lecturers who hold MAs, it would be helpful to know that.

Thanks for any advice and information on this.



Our full time lecturer positions for composition require only a MA, MFA or similar degree so we do renew (and even promote to senior lecturer status) without the PhD. Technically our contracts are one year only, but internally we've treated the positions as three-year positions. The director recommends renewal on the basis of teaching performance (student evaluations and classroom visits). In the third year, there is a formal renewal process that includes a committee of tenured faculty interviewing the candidate and examining a portfolio of teaching-related materials. When we developed the senior lecturer positions (which are renewable on a five-year rotation), we had to work out standards that separated the lecturers for the literature program (who ARE required to have a PhD in the field) from those in composition (who do not have to have the terminal degree).

Margaret Marshall
University of Miami


Here at UC Davis, where we have a large cadre of renewable lecturers (now called "Continuing Lecturers" after 6 years and a major review, considered permanent employees), almost ALL have PhDs. A few have MAs, including one with two MAs, one in Biology.

This is entirely appropriate. Although lecturers are hired primarily to teach and have no responsibility for research or publication, most here do both. It strengthens the program to have lecturers with PhDs and varied kinds of writing experience, who attend and present at conferences and keep abreast of literature in the field.


Gary Sue Goodman
Assistant Director, Writing Across the Disciplines
UC Davis University Writing Program