Post-tenure policy changes cause controversy at Tennessee
- Professors and academic leaders from the University of Tennessee are concerned about a new post-tenure performance review policy, which they say unfairly categorizes instructors' performance based on data such as program enrollment and costs, and puts a heavy administrative burden on faculty members, according to Inside Higher Ed.
- The current version of the school’s Enhanced Post-tenure Performance Review (EPPR) policy states that faculty members who receive two below average annual performance reviews within a four-year period to be assessed by a provost-level academic officer. The Board of Trustees is attempting to add language that allows for “some or all tenured faculty of a campus, college, school, department or division at any given time or at periodic intervals, as the board in its discretion deems warranted.” Additionally, the policy proposal recommends that all tenured faculty undergo review at least every six years.
- Faculty say that the policy puts unnecessary stress on faculty members and administrators to conduct the reviews. “We spent a lot of time creating a policy that is just now in place, and now this sloppy proposal is being put forth very quickly and in a very vague way,” said Monica Black, the Lindsay Young Associate Professor of History and president of Knoxville’s American Association of University Professors advocacy chapter, in an interview with Inside Higher Ed.
Trustees with the University of Tennessee are attempting, seemingly, to ensure that tenured faculty members who are underperforming in outreach, scholarly research or publishing can be let go. From most appearances, it could be construed as a cost-saving effort, given its similarities to proposals made in Wisconsin and North Dakota in recent years.
Altering tenure or post-tenure review processes is the fastest way to create a messy, public fight with faculty members. Developing policies that affirm teaching and research quality must include diverse faculty representation, and should be implemented using metrics that blend traditional and contemporary assessment methods, such as factoring social media reach, media exposure and industrial engagement as metrics of a successful teaching career.
- Inside Higher Ed Posttenure review or a plan to undercut tenure?
- Education Dive Post-tenure review proposals threaten what's left of tenure protection in Wisconsin
- Education Dive Can faculty productivity be predicted with an algorithm?