Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Post-Tenure Review Document, November 17, 2000
- We don't have PTR and we don't need it. Why are we doing this now?
- Even if we technically already have a PTR document, it is not actually used so we don't need to address the issue at this time. Why can't we wait until there is a problem before we try to solve it?
- Even if this document is much better than existing faculty review documents, how do we know that it will replace the existing documents?
- Doesn't this document add one more mechanism to remove tenured faculty tenure and as such isn't it a threat to the tenure system?
- We can't trust administrators to review faculty fairly. What if they try to remove faculty for unfair or capricious reasons?
- A five-year review process with a three-year development plan is too long. Why can't this process be shorter?
- Why should faculty who are not doing their jobs be given eight years before any action can be taken?
- Does the process conform to AAUP guidelines?
- How will the post-tenure review plan be implemented initially?
There are currently two documents in the system that provide for review of tenured faculty with the possibility of consequences, including dismissal for cause. One is Executive Guideline 27, which applies to faculty on all campuses. The other is Chancellor's Memorandum #77 at UMKC, which applies to tenured faculty at UMKC. These existing documents provide for review of faculty with very little protection. The new document provides meaningful review of faculty while affording the maximum protection against unfair or arbitrary attempts to remove tenured faculty.
Even if we technically already have a PTR document, it is not actually used so we don't need to address the issue at this time. Why can't we wait until there is a problem before we try to solve it?
Although we have heard reports that some faculty do not receive annual reviews, for the most part faculty are reviewed annually according to Executive Guideline 27. This means that most tenured faculty are participating in a review process driven exclusively by administrators without any protection afforded by their faculty peers and without any requirement for a development plan.
If we wait for a problem to be identified by constituents external to the University, they will probably define the problem from their perspective, and not from a faculty perspective, which could impose undesirable constraints on a review and dismissal process.
Even if this document is much better than existing faculty review documents, how do we know that it will replace the existing documents?
This document, if adopted, will replace Executive Guideline 27. Since it will be a part of the Collected Rules and Regulations of the University of Missouri System, it will supercede campus documents such as Chancellor's Memorandum #77 at UMKC.
Doesn't this document add one more mechanism to remove tenured faculty tenure and as such isn't it a threat to the tenure system?
The only mechanism for revoking tenure is specified in Procedures in Case of Dismissal for Cause described in section 310.060 of the Collected Rules and Regulations. The PTR document does not change the existing criteria for dismissal for cause and does not provide an additional mechanism for removal of tenured faculty. The faculty review may provide evidence that could be used in a proposed action for dismissal by the University; however, that process is independent of the review process. Just as the proposed PTR document provides no new mechanism for removal of faculty, similarly it provides no added protection for faculty who may be subject to dismissal for cause for reasons other than unsatisfactory performance (e.g., conviction of a felony).
We can't trust administrators to review faculty fairly. What if they try to remove faculty for unfair or capricious reasons?
As proposed in this document, the review and evaluation of faculty will be done within the department or unit by the chair or unit administrator. Any faculty member who receives an unsatisfactory evaluation for a 5-year period by the chair or unit administrator must then be evaluated by a departmental committee (typically the promotion and tenure committee). Only if a majority of the members of this committee and the chair agree that performance is unsatisfactory can any further action be taken. It would be very difficult for higher administrators to manipulate the review process.
A five-year review process with a three-year development plan is too long. Why can't this process be shorter?
The time frame used to review faculty work needs to allows sufficient time for faculty who are involved in longer-term projects to demonstrate productivity and a performance trend. This might be accomplished with a shorter time period, but a longer period provides more protection to faculty. A shorter period of development might be appropriate, but again it is important to provide ample time to support a redirection or reengagement of activities for low performing faculty. Faculty who have received two or more unsatisfactory annual evaluations may request a development plan. In addition, chairs will strongly encourage faculty who have had three consecutive unsatisfactory annual evaluations to participate in a development plan.
Why should faculty who are not doing their jobs be given eight years before any action can be taken?
Faculty who are seriously derelict in their duties can be subject to dismissal for cause independent of the post-tenure review process. The new review process does not change this existing policy.
The process was developed with the AAUP guidelines in mind. Specifically, the plan conforms with the major standards published by AAUP, including the following: ensures protection of academic freedom, follows current review procedures, is not a revalidation of tenure, was developed by faculty, includes a mutually agreed-upon development plan, allows for response/challenge by the faculty, and specifies that the standard for dismissal is adequate cause (i.e., it is not a new mechanism for dismissal).
The committee will recommend to Dr. Pacheco: 1) All tenured faculty will begin the 5-year review process in the year following approval of the document by the Board of Curators. 2) Faculty who are reviewed for promotion to associate/full professor during the initial 5-year period will begin the post-tenure review 5 years after the review for promotion. 3) Departments must develop and publish standards for satisfactory performance of faculty as soon as possible.