Changes proposed for tenure policy

The Tenure, Promotion and Grievance Committee of the Faculty Senate is rewriting the faculty grievance procedure, specifically targeting tenure and promotion grievances.For the 2006-2007 school year the TPG Committee was specifically charged to propose or revise the faculty grievance procedure and has been working on doing so since August.

Stuart Youngblood, chairman-elect of the Faculty Senate and TPG Committee member, said the committee has been working to clarify and simplify what is known as a complicated procedure.

He said tenure denial is often seen as the capital punishment of the academic world and they want to ensure the process is thorough, leaving no holes.

Proposed changes include the creation of a mediation process, the addition of an ombudsman and the removal of the Faculty Senate from the procedure.

The TPG committee is still working on a revised draft and hopes to have a proposal by May 2007, Youngblood said.

If a proposal is not ready for presentation, he said the committee plans to propose that a task force made up of senators, faculty members and administrators be formed to ensure the continuance of the procedural changes.

Youngblood updated the Faculty Senate at the meeting Thursday and said the committee decided to start from scratch and rewrite the procedure entirely.

Youngblood said the Faculty Senate has been working on trying to update the tenure and promotion grievance procedures for about six years.

He said it is difficult because there tends to be a proposal ready right before the academic year ends. When a new committee is formed the next year, there are often different initiatives and the proposal gets left behind.

Dianna Newbern, a member of the TPG Committee, said the first draft of the new procedure was sent to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the deans of all the schools and the provost.

Newbern said the committee received helpful feedback and is working on incorporating suggestions into a revised draft.

Suzy Lockwood, chair of the Faculty Senate, said the old procedure was outdated and confusing.

Youngblood said, “If you want to go to sleep easily at night, pick up the handbook and try to read the faculty grievance procedure.