UW system tenure task force aims to finish in December

December 1, 2015 By Greg Bump

A UW System task force reviewing policies on faculty layoffs and post tenure review will finalize its recommendations at a December meeting, the task force chair said Monday.

The recommendations will be reported to the Regents’ Education Committee, which will vote to approve a final policy for tenure and post-tenure review, said Regent John Behling, the chair of the task force. The committee could consider the recommendations as early as the Regents’ February meeting, and the full board could take them up in March.

Behling said Monday that the task force recommendations, when drafted, should be taken to each campus for comment prior to the Education Committee taking them up. He said he would like to see the task force reach on consensus on most points in December to allow time for faculty at each campus and members of the public to review them and offer comments.

“While we are all eager to have a policy in place, it’s important that we take the time to do it right,” said Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, a task force member. “I appreciate the willingness of Regent Behling and the other members to allow more time for careful deliberation and input.”

Prior to Monday’s meeting, the Faculty Senate’s executive body, the University Committee, sent a letter to the UW System Tenure Policy Task Force voicing concerns. Another letter came from representatives of the American Association of University Professors. 

Among the UC’s recommendations:

  • Program discontinuance should be handled separately from program curtailment, modification, or redirection.
  • The process of program changes should be overseen by shared governance.
  • Faculty members who receive an unfavorable review should have the right to request another extra-departmental peer review. (This step would precede, but not substitute for, the steps described in the subsequent remediation and appeal processes.)
  • Faculty members should have the opportunity to improve upon unfavorable reviews and the provost should not be given the option of bypassing remediation.

UW-Madison’s Faculty Senate is scheduled to consider a post-tenure review policy next week. The Faculty Senate approved a set of recommendations on tenure policy changes in November.