June 10, 2003

 

Jon Whitmore, Provost

111 Jessup Hall

 

Jeffrey Cox, Faculty Senate Past President

109 Schaeffer Hall

 

Margaret Raymond, Faculty Senate President

490 Boyd Law Building

 

Katherine Tachau, Faculty Senate Incoming President

171 Schaeffer Hall

 

Dear Jon, Jeff, Margaret, and Katherine:

 

I am enclosing the report of the ad hoc Committee to Review Tenure/Promotion Procedures.  Jeff and Jon initiated this committee early in Spring Semester to review the current procedures by which faculty are evaluated for tenure and/or promotion.  Jeff summarized our charge as follows:

 

Your committee is charged to report to the Provost, the Faculty Council, and the Faculty Senate.  It goes without saying that the guidelines should not only be working efficiently, but should also be seen to be working efficiently.  The best guidelines in the world will be ineffective if they do not have the confidence of the faculty.  You have broad scope to examine the guidelines as you see fit, but faculty and administrators alike will be interested in the following questions among others.

1.  Are the procedures working as they are intended to work, or have there been major unintended consequences that defeat their purposes?

2.  Are the procedures efficient, or have they placed unnecessary administrative burdens on faculty, department chairs, the Associate Provost for Faculty, and/or the Provost?

3.  Are the procedures working substantively to protect high professional standards, academic freedom, tenure, shared governance and due process?

4.  Do the procedures have the confidence of the faculty?

5.  Do the procedures contribute to diversity on campus?

 

In order to meet this charge, committee members met with representatives from the Offices of the Provost, Ombudsperson and Affirmative Action; and with representatives from all academic colleges.  Notes were taken at all meetings and were summarized for committee members not in attendance; in addition, we received some materials that are enclosed with our report.  I also met with Bill Buss, who chaired the committee that recommended the present procedures and obtained materials from their work that were reviewed by the current committee.

 

I would like to highlight two aspects of our report.  First, during our review, we oriented ourselves to considering recommendations for changes in procedures without creating accompanying text with which to modify the current procedures.  Our reasoning for this orientation was to allow a full discussion of the possibilities for change and their accompanying rationale. Once changes have been agreed upon, the Provost and Faculty Senate can name a small writing group to develop appropriate wording.  We also wished to finish this project in a timely manner, which we were able to do by focusing only on the procedures without dealing with language.

 

Second, we heard from many units that instituting the current procedures had required considerable changes in their previous procedures for tenure and promotion review.   Indeed, some of these units were now comfortable with the current procedures when they formerly had been quite concerned about their implementation.  Thus, we were asked to hold a “high bar” for recommending changes.  We reasoned that unless aspects of the current procedures are plainly wrong or not working, changes should not be recommended.

 

We appreciate this opportunity to be of service to the University.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Elizabeth M. Altmaier (for the committee)

Professor