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Professional Affairs Committee

Professional Affairs Committee

Professional Affairs Committee

Annual Report 2003

Revision of the tenure and promotion policies occupied most of Professional Affairs' time this academic year. Initially charged with examining the possibility of combining tenure and promotion, the committee has undertaken an extensive revision of existing policy language to clarify as well as streamline the two processes.

Early in September, the committee established a rationale for combining tenure and promotion. It determined that maintaining two separate processes constituted an unnecessary duplication of effort, since the candidate is required to compile two separate documents with two sets of supporting materials for two separate sets of committees. It also examined how having two separate processes may create an unreasonable expectation of tenure given a candidate's ability to apply for promotion the fourth year. The committee also grappled with the problems a combined policy might incur, including the effective discrimination against junior faculty, who would be required to wait an additional two years before applying for promotion. This issue seemed especially important given the new Merit Plan Policy, which was approved by the Board on October 18.

Prior to drafting the bills, Professional Affairs researched AAUP policy as well as how the issue is treated by other comparable universities in the State of Missouri. The committee also consulted with Dr. Alan Journet, a Senate alternate from the Department of Biology, who had asked the Senate to look into the issue. Professional Affairs likewise met with Provost Jane Stephens for an administrative take on combining tenure and promotion with tenure decisions to be made in the fifth year. Provost Stephens agreed to consult with the President regarding this proposal. At this time, Professional Affairs also began discussing the possibility of making the tenure and promotion documents identical.

At its first meeting of the spring semester, Professional Affairs made plans to introduce revisions to the tenure and promotion policies by way of three resolutions calling 1) for the preparation of a single, identical set of tenure and promotion documents, 2) the streamlining of tenure and promotion committees, and 3) the linkage of tenure and promotion, with the tenure decision to be made during the fifth year. The rationale for these resolutions was to gather Senate and constituent feedback prior to the drafting of revisions. After lengthy discussion, the Senate approved the first two resolutions and by straw vote, instructed Professional Affairs not to pursue a combined tenure and promotion policy.

Alternate Alan Journet replaced Senator Champine on the Senate and on Professional Affairs during spring semester. Professional Affairs met numerous times between March 7 and April 9 to work on revisions to the tenure and promotion policies. The committee, in addition to incorporating the language approved by Senate resolution, also began a general review of tenure and promotion policy language to address grammar, terminology, redundancy and clarity issues. It introduced the revised policies to the Senate on April 9 and conducted a question and answer forum for the faculty on April 23. Based on Senate feedback, as well as comments received from the faculty at the forum and elsewhere, the committee further revised the policies which were re-introduced at the April 30 concluding Senate meeting for the 2002-2003 academic year.