September 14, 1998
XTI.99.01 Report of the Tenure Issues Committee
Web Site: http://www.uiuc.edu/providers/senate/tenure.asp
Last Year Senate Council appointed an ad hoc Tenure Issues to lead the Senate's efforts to address a number of special, tenure-related issues including the question of adopting some form of Post-tenure Review process at UIUC beyond the current system of Annual Reviews. This year the committee hopes that the Senate, building on work done last year, will reach closure on the Post-tenure Review question and perhaps move forward on other tenure-related issues. This information report is intended to provide Senators with a summary of work done last year, to report on comments received, and to sketch some of the work to be done this year.
II. Accomplishments Last Year:
The Tenure Issues Committee . . .
- studied the report of the Seminar on Tenure,
- debated at some length and on several occasions the pros and cons of the draft proposal, but did not come to consensus about recommending that particular draft procedure for UIUC,
- prepared an interim information report (Summary of Post-tenure Review Options and Call for Comments) which was distributed to all UIUC faculty under a cover letter of 3/30/98 and posted on the newly created web site,
- created a web site on which important information about the work of the committee could be accessed by the UIUC academic community,
- participated in and listened to several discussions of post-tenure review of the senate sitting as a committee of the whole,
- prepared a digest of the comments received by faculty regarding the options for post tenure review and took those comments into account in its further deliberations,
- seemed to develop a consensus that one preferred approach for PTR at UIUC could be to rely primarily on the annual review of faculty process
- to implement some additional process to assure that each department was effectively conducting the annual review process (the additional process might involve a review of each UIUC department, say every 5 years, to ascertain that is has an effective annual review process and that appropriate follow through on information obtained through the process was being taken),
- the committee also concluded that a survey to learn the current status of annual reviews at the department level would be valuable.
III. Summary of Comments Received
The first report of the Tenure Issues Committee was (and remains) available at:
and "A Draft Post-tenure Review Process" (prepared by a predecessor Senates Conference Sub-committee) is also available at http://www.uiuc.edu/providers/senate/princple.asp
Comments on these documents were invited last year and the committee was pleased to receive a number of thoughtful comments, not only from individual faculty and administrators, but also from faculty representing groups such as College Executive Committees and Faculty Advisory Committees.
The comments are still being analyzed, but several themes can be reported in this information report:
- Respondents generally believe that the tenure system is working reasonably well here at UIUC; that the initial, rigorous tenure decision is usually a good one; and that the incidence of inadequately performing tenured faculty is minimal.
- Many respondents recognize that the system of Annual Reviews of Faculty can be an effective Post-tenure Review (PTR) tool; many report that this tool is being used effectively in their own departments; people who so report generally don't want an additional layer of PTR because they believe such an additional system would not be worth the cost.
- There is a great reluctance to adopt any kind of an additional PTR system if it places an onerous burden on faculty and administrators, a burden not commensurate with the benefits to be gained.
- Of those who commented on the various policy choices described in the committee's earlier report, Option D (Unit-focused Evaluation System) and Option E (Reliance on Existing Procedures) had more support than any of the others.
- The relationship between Academic Freedom, Tenure, and PTR was frequently noted; many are concerned that a system of PTR, if not properly designed, could be abused, resulting in an erosion in the principles of academic freedom and tenure.
- Many expressed concern about the need to increase understanding between the public and the higher education community.
The committee wishes to thank members of the Senate who participated in the Committee of the Whole discussions (see Senate minutes of 3/30/98 and 4/18/98) and the following members of the UIUC academic community who submitted comments to the committee:
Marie Banich (Psychology)
Howard Berenbaum (Psychology)
Paul Bohn (Head, Department of Chemistry)
Bruce Chassy (Head, Food Science & Human Nutrition)
John Cheeseman (Head
Jimmy H. Clark (Animal Sciences) James Cordova (Psychology)
Manny Donchin (Psychology)
Fritz Drasgow (Psychology)
Wanda Haschek (Head
Robert Hauser (Head
Agricultural and Consumer Economics)
John Katzenellenbogen (Chemistry)
John F. Lalande II (Germanic Languages & Literatures)
Harry Liebersohn (History)
Gregory A. Miller (Psychology)
Armine K. Mortimer(French)
Nancy O'Brien (Head
Education and Social Science Library)
Eric Oldfield (Chemistry & Biophysics)
Ronald J. Peters (Chair
UIUC Faculty Advisory Committee)
Nona Prestine (for the Merit Review Committee of the College of Education)
James Robinson (Animal Sciences)
Ian Robinson (Physics)
Walter Robinson (Atmospheric Sciences)
Sonya Salamon (ACES Executive Committee)
W.R. Schowalter (Dean
College of Engineering)
Wesley Seitz (Associate Dean
Janet Smarr (Critical & Inter.Theory)
Donald Talleur (Institute of Aviation Advisory Committee)
Charles Tucker (Engineering)
Lila Vodkin (Crop Sciences)
John Walker (Vice Chair
College of Engineering Executive Committee)
Bob Wengert (Chair
Department of Philosophy)
Carroll Goering (Ag Engineering)
David Gross (Vet. Biosciences)
Michael Grossman (Animal Sciences)
Len Heumann (Urban & Regional Planning)
Jim McGlathery (German)
C. A. Rabeiz (Plant Pathology)
Alex Scheeline (Chemistry)
Helaine Silverman (Anthropology).
IV. Next steps for the Tenure Issues Committee
- Develop better information about the annual review process at UIUC
- Develop and recommend a specific PTR proposal and report this to Senate Council
Respectfully submitted by the chair on behalf of the committee,
Susan Larson (new member)
Don Uchtmann, Chair