Welfare Note: Providing Input on Tenure about a Fellow Faculty Member

Some Faculty Members have been asked to provide input about a fellow Faculty Member regarding the awarding of tenure. While the intentions of an Administrator making this request may be well intentioned, the consequences of a Faculty Member’s involvement in the tenure decision are quite problematic. Because of this, Faculty Members should not be involved, in any way, in the tenure-granting process.

Central to the definition of the membership of Faculty Association is the notion that we do not evaluate each other. As found in Section A. 1. a. Recognition, of our CBA with the Board of Trustees, specifically excludes those who make “meaningful recommendations/decisions concerning the “evaluation, transferring, [and] assignment… of full time Faculty Members.” Included among the Administrator’s responsibilities is this decision-making. Administrators are charged with the responsibility of planning with the Faculty Member, observing and evaluating their effectiveness, and assessing their contributions to the College. Asking fellow Faculty Members to indicate their preferences in the matter compromises that separation.

This separation of the evaluators from the evaluated is important. It is important to know who is responsible for the decision. It is too easy after a “no” decision to avoid responsibility for it by saying that “others” did not want it. The last place we would want to find ourselves is in a situation where fellow Faculty Members are being “blamed” for the decision to not grant tenure. We do not have the vantage point of the Administrator. And most importantly, it is not our prerogative, responsibility, or authority.

If you are approached by a member of the Administration and asked to voice your opinion on the question of granting tenure to a fellow Faculty Member, the Welfare Committee asks you to avoid being put in this predicament. Encourage the Administrator to do their best at their job and wish your colleague well. Avoid any efforts to involve you, as a Faculty Member, in the tenure decision.

As always, first, read the section (A1.1a Recognition) in the CBA between the Board and the Association.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact any member of the Welfare Committee.

Return to Welfare Notes home