Update on revised standards for tenure and promotion

There has been an ongoing effort for quite a few years now to revise our procedures and standards for faculty review, including tenure and promotion, in the faculty handbook.  These have culminated in a number of revisions being approved by faculty and sent on for final approval to the trustees. The trustees have accepted some of our proposed changes but questioned others, resulting in further revisions. One of the sticking points in this process has been in one of the four categories for faculty review – the category of growth as a scholar or creative artist. The faculty’s most recent approved document in this process, approved at the February 5, 2014 faculty meeting, is attached here:

FAC Revision – Growth as a Scholar or Creative Artist

I attended the meeting of the Academic Affairs committee of the Board of Trustees this past May. I noted at that meeting that there was no discussion of the faculty’s recent efforts to revise standards for tenure and promotion or of the approved document from February.  I thought this was odd, so I contacted Bob Jones, chair of the Academic Affairs committee and asked where they were in their discussions.

He wrote me a detailed and cordial response, and he gave me permission to summarize it for you.  He related the following main points:

  • The standards for review, particularly for scholarly growth, are very important to faculty life and can raise contentious issues among both faculty and trustees.
  • The trustees have discussed and made progress on these issues, but they were not at a point where they’d reached consensus on a way forward.
  • They decided to await guidance from the new president rather than to push forward on their own.
  • The discussion and issues surrounding the standards for growth as a scholar or creative artist were significant enough to the trustees that they felt they needed to resolve those before moving forward with the other parts of the revision to the review process.

Please let me know if you have questions about the process, or if there’s anything you’d like me to communicate to the administration or to the trustees. I’ll be attending the next meeting of the Academic Affairs committee at the October Board of Trustees meeting.